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Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

Chappell's work for NPR includes being the lead writer for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 to Pyeongchang in 2018 – stints that also included posting numerous videos and photos to NPR's Instagram and other branded accounts. He has also previously been NPR.org's homepage editor.

Chappell established the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR's website; his assignments also include being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road. Chappell has coordinated special digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing the rundown of All Things Considered. He also frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as The Salt.

At NPR, Chappell has trained both digital and radio staff to tell compelling stories, promoting more collaboration between departments and desks.

Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that performed one of NPR's largest website redesigns. One year later, NPR.org won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

Prior to joining NPR, Chappell was part of the Assignment Desk at CNN International, working with reporters in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Chappell also edited and produced stories for CNN.com's features division, before moving on to edit video and produce stories for Sports Illustrated's website.

Early in his career, Chappell wrote about movies, restaurants, and music for alternative weeklies, in addition to his first job: editing the police blotter.

Queen Elizabeth II's portrait will no longer hang in a key gathering place at Oxford University's Magdalen College after students voted to remove the picture due to concerns about it symbolizing colonialism.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson sharply criticized the move, calling it "simply absurd," and saying the queen is "a symbol of what is best about the UK."

Updated June 8, 2021 at 1:12 PM ET

The criminals texted each other about drug deals and money laundering, confident in special encrypted devices using a platform dubbed Anom. There was just one problem for the crime rings: The FBI was being copied on every message — millions of them worldwide. In fact, the agency had sent the Anom devices into the black market in the first place.

Photographer Tony Austin knew he had gotten lucky when a murder of crows landed near him on a recent nature walk. But then one of the birds started acting strangely. Austin started shooting — and he was astounded later, when he enlarged his photos: The crow had large black ants all over its body.

"I noticed there were like little bumps all over this bird that was flopping around," Austin says. "And sure enough, it was covered in ants."

Former President Donald Trump transfixed a sizable part of the nation over the weekend — not through his words, as he has often done, but because of his pants. Or more specifically, because of unusual wrinkles in Trump's pants that people struggled to explain.

The focus on Trump's attire overshadowed his speech Saturday night at the North Carolina Republican Party's state convention as people weighed an unlikely question: Could the former leader of the free world be wearing his suit pants backward?

For the first time since baseball became part of the Olympics, Cuba's national team won't compete in the sport at the Summer Games, after suffering a devastating loss in qualifying play to its longtime nemesis from the north: not the U.S., but Canada.

"Clearly we have not learned how to beat Canada," reports Granma, the official newspaper of Cuba's ruling Communist Party.

Are we alone? Have alien spacecraft been buzzing across Earth's skies? Those are the questions being asked in the U.S. government's new report on unexplained aerial phenomena — its preferred term for what many of us call unidentified flying objects, or UFOs.

So far, it looks like the answers in the report will leave UFO spotters and conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. U.S. officials and analysts who examined video footage from U.S. Navy planes and other records say the evidence doesn't point to alien technology — but they also say they can't explain the unusual phenomena.

Canada's public health agency says people can mix COVID-19 vaccines if they want to, citing cases where local supply shortages or health concerns might otherwise prevent some from completing their two-dose vaccination regimen.

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The speech that high school valedictorian Paxton Smith pulled from inside her graduation gown was not the one she had shown the school.

A nonprofit group that helps Black and marginalized communities in Kentucky has received a six-figure donation from a white donor who says they recently inherited family wealth — and then learned that their great-grandfather owned enslaved people.

The money is a reparations payment, said the donor, who has chosen to remain anonymous.

The COVID-19 pandemic proves that the world needs a pandemic treaty, says WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. It's the one major change, Tedros said, that would do the most to boost global health security and also empower the World Health Organization.

"This is an idea whose time has come," Tedros told diplomats attending the final day of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

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Belgium is recalling Ambassador Peter Lescouhier from his post in South Korea, saying the diplomat can't perform his duties in a "serene" manner after his wife was acc

Updated May 28, 2021 at 12:50 PM ET

The same Russian hackers who carried out the SolarWinds attack and other malicious campaigns have now attacked groups involved in international development, human rights and other issues, according to Microsoft. The company said the breach began with a takeover of an email marketing account used by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Americans strongly support trans service members being in the military — even as they say trans athletes should compete in sports according to the sex listed on their birth certificates, according to a new Gallup survey.

In the survey, 66% of respondents said they're in favor of openly transgender men and women serving in the U.S. military. But only 34% said trans athletes should be allowed to compete in sporting events that match their gender identity.

Maybe the sky was cloudy; maybe waking up in the middle of the night to look at the moon just sounds like lunacy. Whatever the reason, if you missed seeing last night's lunar eclipse, you're not alone. Luckily, there are plenty of photos and video of the rare sight.

Updated May 25, 2021 at 2:42 PM ET

The U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program has gone from zero to 50% in less than six months.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Biden administration said, half of the country's adults are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

"This is a major milestone in our country's vaccination efforts," Andy Slavitt, a White House senior adviser on the COVID-19 response, said during a midday briefing. "The number was 1% when we entered office Jan. 20."

Trials of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine show that it's safe and effective for teenagers, the company said Tuesday — a finding that could boost supply ahead of the start of the new school year this fall.

"We will submit these results to the U.S. [Food and Drug Administration] and regulators globally in early June and request authorization" for use in kids ages 12 to 17, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said.

"I can't breathe." "I'm scared." For many people, hearing someone say those words would prompt a scramble to help. But not all. It depends on who's listening.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a bill to allow public schools to offer yoga, ending a ban that stood for nearly 30 years. Christian conservatives who back the ban said yoga would open the door for people to be converted to Hinduism.

The new law allows yoga to be offered as an elective for grades K-12. While it erases a ban that, over the years, some schools had not realized existed, it also imposes restrictions on how yoga should be taught. Students won't be allowed to say, "Namaste," for instance. Meditation is not allowed.

In rural Oregon, voters in several counties want their state to go from Democratic blue to Republican red — and to do that, they hope to leave Oregon altogether and join neighboring Idaho. Five counties approved ballot measures this week, joining two others that had already voted in favor of the idea.

"This election proves that rural Oregon wants out of Oregon," said Mike McCarter, president of the advocacy group Citizens for Greater Idaho.

The battle between Israel and Hamas is taking a deep toll on people in the Gaza Strip, where families are being forced to live in a war zone. And in separate interviews with NPR, two people — one in Gaza, one in Israel — who spoke about the violence also discussed their desire to keep children safe.

One view came from Gaza, where a father of a young son says he is desperate for safety and security — conditions that seem hopelessly out of reach amid sustained airstrikes and artillery barrages conducted by Israel.

The European Union is poised to allow travelers from more countries to visit the bloc, as long as they've been vaccinated with an approved vaccine, in its latest loosening of travel restrictions.

The new policy is expected to allow EU member states to admit travelers from the U.S. and other countries, though the EU has yet to clarify to which countries the policy applies. EU ambassadors formally approved the new policy Wednesday; it now heads to the European Council, an EU official told NPR, with a formal adoption possible on Thursday.

Updated May 19, 2021 at 4:39 PM ET

New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating former President Donald Trump's business, the Trump Organization, "in a criminal capacity," her office says, ratcheting up scrutiny of Trump's real estate transactions and other dealings.

When the Pentagon launched its first-ever independent financial audit back in 2017, backers of accountability in government welcomed it as a major step for a department with a track record of financial boondoggles.

Updated May 18, 2021 at 1:07 PM ET

Enough rhetoric, it's time to act: that's the gist of a new report from the International Energy Agency, which says the world must bring about "a total transformation" of its energy systems if it hopes to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and minimize the worst effects of climate change.

Working long hours poses an occupational health risk that kills hundreds of thousands of people each year, the World Health Organization says.

People working 55 or more hours each week face an estimated 35% higher risk of a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared to people following the widely accepted standard of working 35 to 40 hours in a week, the WHO says in a study that was published Monday in the journal Environment International.

Israel has ramped up its attacks on the Gaza Strip to a new level, including using 160 aircraft along with artillery and tank fire to pummel what it says is a tunnel network that Hamas militants rely on to move people and equipment. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel isn't done.

"This is not yet over. We will do everything to restore security to our cities and our people," Netanyahu said in a statement issued from Tel Aviv.

Israel is pounding the Gaza Strip with artillery and tank fire as well as airstrikes, sending Palestinians rushing to find safety in the latest escalation of the conflict. Palestinian militants have now fired roughly 1,800 rockets at Israel, including hundreds that were intercepted or fell short of their targets.

More than 119 Palestinians have died, the Gaza Health Ministry said. In Israel, authorities say seven people have died.

Updated May 13, 2021 at 3:23 PM ET

The trial on state charges facing Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao will be pushed back to March of 2022, a judge ruled Thursday. The former Minneapolis police officers are also facing federal charges over the killing of George Floyd that outweigh state charges of aiding and abetting.

Airstrikes, rocket attacks and street violence are reaching new levels of intensity in Israel and Gaza, with at least 90 people dead from the unrest as of Thursday. Many large international air carriers have now halted flights to Tel Aviv, a key target of rocket barrages.

The violence has killed at least 103 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including at least 27 children, according to Palestinian health officials. Israeli officials say seven people in Israel have been killed, including two children.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed dangerous failings on the national and international scale, according to an independent review ordered by the World Health Organization. The review found a range of problems, from a slow initial reaction to the coronavirus to "weak links at every point in the chain of preparedness and response."

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