Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a blogger and producer who currently works on The Two Way, NPR's flagship blog. In the past, he has coordinated digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, and edited the rundown of All Things Considered. He frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as All Tech Considered and The Salt.

Chappell's work at NPR has ranged from being the site's first full-time homepage editor to being the lead writer and editor on the London 2012 Olympics blog, The Torch. His assignments have included being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road, as well as establishing the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR.org.

In 2009, Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that redesigned NPR's web site. One year later, the site won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

At NPR, Chappell has trained both digital and radio staff to use digital tools to tell compelling stories, in addition to "evangelizing" — promoting more collaboration between legacy and digital departments.

Prior to joining NPR in late 2003, Chappell worked on the Assignment Desk at CNN International, handling coverage in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, and coordinating CNN's pool coverage out of Qatar during the Iraq war.

Chappell's work for CNN also included producing Web stories and editing digital video for SI.com, and editing and producing stories for CNN.com's features division.

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

A holder of bachelor's degrees in English and History from the University of Georgia, he attended graduate school for English Literature at the University of South Carolina.

Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter is speaking at the beginning of the 65th Congress of soccer's worldwide governing body. Blatter faces a reelection vote Friday, in the face of new corruption and bribery charges against senior members of FIFA.

"These are unprecedented and difficult times for FIFA," Blatter said. "The events of yesterday have cast a long shadow over football and over this league's congress."

It was a somber opening to FIFA's meeting of international sporting bodies, an assembly that was celebrated with flag-bearers and other pageantry.

Even though its predictions call for a below-normal Atlantic hurricane season with six to 11 named storms this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says strong and devastating storms remain a possibility.

From NOAA:

One day after a string of bribery arrests and indictments was revealed to center on FIFA, the soccer organization's president, Sepp Blatter, says he will not resign. Accusations of rampant corruption at FIFA came just days before Blatter stands for reelection in Switzerland Friday.

Updated at 12:33 p.m. ET

Former New York Gov. George Pataki is adding his name to the list of Republicans running for their party's 2016 presidential nomination.

The Department of Defense says an attempt to ship inactive anthrax samples resulted in live samples being sent to labs in nine U.S. states and to a U.S. Air Force base in South Korea.

Fears of exposure to the potentially deadly disease prompted officials to advise four civilian workers to get preventive care; more than 20 military personnel are also being monitored. The samples were sent via commercial shipping companies, but the Pentagon says there is "no known risk to the general public."

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has blocked an Arkansas law that bans abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The case was filed by two doctors on their own and their patients' behalf.

The court's ruling notes:

"By banning abortions after 12 weeks' gestation, the Act prohibits women from making the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy at a point before viability. Because the State made no attempt to refute the plaintiffs' assertions of fact, the district court's summary judgment order must be affirmed."

Tripling a penalty that was announced this spring, Penn State has shut down the school's Kappa Delta Rho fraternity chapter for three years, after an inquiry over a Facebook group page that collected pictures of nude women also uncovered other transgressions.

British science-fiction and fantasy writer Tanith Lee has died, according to her publisher. Lee, 67, was a prolific author who also worked in radio and television; her dozens of books include Don't Bite The Sun and Death's Master -- the latter of which was part of her popular Flat Earth series.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will not lift a hold that has stalled President Obama's plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president sought to give temporary protection to people who were brought to the U.S. as children, and to the parents of people who live in the U.S. legally.

The decision blocks an executive action the White House issued late last year and leaves in place a hold that was issued in February by District Judge Andrew Hanen in South Texas.

Update at 4:35 p.m. ET: White House Evaluating Options

It's believed to be the oldest pub in England — but now Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is facing a call to change its name. Citing modern society's compassion for the birds, the UK's People for Ethical Treatment of Animals suggests an alternate name: Ye Olde Clever Cocks.

From PETA:

More than 10 months after Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian was detained on vaguely defined espionage charges, his trial began Tuesday in a closed court in Tehran. Rezaian is a citizen of both Iran and the U.S.

Noting the trial's start, Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency notes that Rezaian, 39, "is accused of espionage for the US government and activity against the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Saying that it tests parallel parking skills in other ways, Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administration is phasing out the portion of its test that has intimidated new drivers for generations.

Maryland is joining the list of states that have stopped making new drivers prove that they can maneuver a car into a parallel parking spot. Virginia, California and Florida are among those that have made the move.

A new batch of 6,500 words are now available to Scrabble players, after publishing house Collins updated its widely used Official Scrabble Words list Thursday. The list includes tech jargon and slang, such as pwn, twerk and shizzle.

Also added: aji (the pepper), coqui (the frog) and the more old-fashioned ixnay and zowee. (See a longer list at the bottom of this post.)

Citing the completion of a pretrial intervention program, a New Jersey judge has dismissed a felony assault charge that was filed against former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice over a now-infamous incident in which Rice struck his then-fiancee in a casino elevator.

Rice hit Palmer during an argument while they were visiting Atlantic City, N.J., in February of 2014. A month later, he was indicted on a charge of third-degree aggravated assault. He then entered into a one-year pretrial program that would allow him to avoid a trial.

Update, 1:10 a.m. ET:

David Letterman approached his final, hour-plus of late-night TV on Wednesday with the same self-deprecation he displayed in the previous 6,027 episodes, but leavened the snark with heaps of nostalgia and praise.

Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, The Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS AG have agreed to plead guilty to felony charges and pay billions in criminal fines, the Department of Justice says. The offenses range from manipulating the market price of U.S. dollars and euros to rigging interest rates.

A Texas hunter who paid $350,000 for the right to hunt a rare black rhino in Namibia has killed the animal. The hunt has drawn controversy and spurred debate over the best way to manage endangered wildlife.

Corey Knowlton won an auction last January for a hunting permit that would allow him to kill a black rhino weighing around 3,000 pounds.

The new American Fitness Index is out, with some good news and bad news. Five metro areas fell five or more slots; nine others rose by five or more places. The rankings tally several criteria, from rates of smoking, diabetes and obesity to access to parks.

Hitting a new all-time high, 60 percent of Americans say they believe marriage between same-sex couples should be recognized by law, with the same rights and privileges as traditional marriages, according to the latest Gallup poll.

We're learning more about the circumstances around Sunday's gunfight between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, that left nine people dead and sent 18 to the hospital. At least 170 people were arrested after the fracas broke out at a Twin Peaks restaurant.

The crime drew international headlines for its ingenious design and massive take. But now Scotland Yard says its "Flying Squad" has arrested seven men, ages 48 to 76, over the Hatton Garden theft that was reportedly one of the richest heists in Britain's history.

The arrests took place Tuesday, when more than 200 officers raided 12 addresses in north London and Kent, police say. They recovered some of the heist's haul, which has been difficult to estimate (but has been placed at up to $300 million).

The cartoonist who drew the image of the Prophet Muhammad that appeared on the comeback issue of Charlie Hebdo is leaving the satirical magazine, citing stress and a lack of inspiration. The cartoonist, Luz, was one of the few artists who survived January's attack on the magazine's office in Paris.

"I will no longer be Charlie Hebdo, but I will always be Charlie," said Luz.

In a complicated legal battle that touches on questions of free speech, copyright law and personal safety, a federal appeals court has overturned an order that had forced the Google-owned YouTube to remove an anti-Muslim video from its website last year.

In a ruling that will trigger the loss of millions of dollars in tax revenue and is likely to affect many other states, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down Maryland's practice of double-taxing residents' income earned in other states.

The case challenged Maryland's refusal to grant residents who paid income tax on money earned in other states a credit against that amount when they tally up the taxes they owe to their home counties (and some cities). The state allows the credit to be applied only against the state taxes; county income taxes can be as high as 3.2 percent.

The world of climbing lost a daring innovator Saturday when Dean Potter, 46, died during a wingsuit flight from Yosemite National Park's Taft Point. Potter was killed along with Graham Hunt, 29, as they attempted to soar above Yosemite Valley and El Capitan.

The pair attempted their wingsuit flight on Saturday around dusk — a time that National Geographic says many athletes choose for BASE jumping, which is illegal in all of America's national parks. They were found Sunday by a search and rescue helicopter.

Over decades of studying the oceans' fishes, some species have been found to have partial warmbloodedness. But scientists say the opah, or moonfish, circulates heated blood — and puts it to a competitive advantage.

Days after a stinging report and punishment was announced by the NFL over "deflategate," the New England Patriots have elaborated on their response, publishing its own scientific findings and version of events online.

On Monday, the NFL suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games, fined the Patriots $1 million and stripped the team of a first-round draft pick over the findings in the report by attorney Ted Wells' investigative team.

After 26 seasons of giving life to nincompoops, do-gooders, and even God, actor Harry Shearer has announced he'll be leaving The Simpsons. A stalwart of the show, Shearer has voiced central characters such as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy and Principal Seymour Skinner.

In a tweet sent in the wee hours of Thursday, Shearer said he was leaving "because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve a measure that would, among other things, end the mass collection of Americans' phone data.

The USA Freedom Act extends many parts of the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which expires June 1. The measure's fate in the Senate is less likely.

One day after Senate Democrats blocked the "fast-track" trade authority bill that has been championed by both President Obama and Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says an agreement has been reached to move forward.

The solution calls for separate votes on bills that Democrats had wanted to move as a single package on the floor, according to NPR's Ailsa Chang. Ailsa says the Senate will vote on a customs enforcement bill that includes Sen. Charles Schumer's safeguards aimed at reducing currency manipulation.

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