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.

In a vote that sends his nomination to the full Senate, the Senate Armed Services Committee approved Ashton Carter's bid to be the next secretary of defense Tuesday. Carter had strong support in the vote, with 25 members voting in favor.

"Hopefully, we can get a vote perhaps even as early as tomorrow" on the floor of the Senate for Carter's confirmation, said Sen. John McCain, who chairs the panel.

Syrian President Bashar Assad says his government is being informed about the U.S.-led coalition's attacks on the extremist group ISIS — but that there's no dialogue between Syria and the Americans. Assad said word comes through Iraq and other nations.

"There is no direct cooperation or link," he said, adding that information comes "through third parties ... Iraq and other countries. Sometimes they convey [a] message."

Boston has had more than 72 inches of snow in the past 30 days, breaking a record set in 1978, the National Weather Service says. The city has repeatedly been among the hardest-hit by several winter storms — and it could get another 4 to 6 inches later this week.

The extremist group ISIS is exploiting an informal finance network in Spain to pay its fighters in Syria, according to intelligence officials in Spain. The system has no oversight; it's often used by immigrants to send money to their families back home.

From Madrid, Lauren Frayer reports:

"Spanish officials are investigating a network of 250 local businesses — butchers, small grocery stores, mobile phone shops — allegedly funneling money to jihadi fighters in Syria. They're accused of doing so through Spain's hawala network.

More than half of the accounts with allowable claims against disgraced financier Bernard Madoff have now been fully repaid, according to the trustee handling recovery efforts. Trustee Irving Picard says more than $355.8 million was recently doled out, in the fifth round of repayments.

As with many elite industrial designers, you know his work even if you don't know his name. Decades after Kenji Ekuan created Kikkoman's iconic soy sauce bottles with their red caps, he designed Japan's Komachi bullet train, in a career driven by a desire to make good design accessible to everyone.

Ekuan died Sunday in Tokyo at age 85; Japanese news outlets say he had suffered from a heart disorder.

Alabama has become the 37th state to recognize same-sex marriage, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request that would have extended the state's ban Monday. But the state's chief justice says probate courts don't have to follow federal rulings on the issue.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET: Supreme Court Rejects State's Request

Expressing regret at the Supreme Court's decision, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says it will probably bring more confusion and will keep him "from enforcing Alabama's laws against same-sex marriage."

(This post was last updated at 6:29 p.m.ET.)

Two large storms are bracketing the upper corners of the continental U.S., with heavy rains and flooding in the Northwest and a fresh blanket of snow over the Northeast — that area's third bout of heavy snow.

With more than 5 feet of snow in the past 30 days, Boston set a new record Monday morning, the AP reports, citing the National Weather Service. In the city, the snow isn't expected to stop falling (this time) until late tonight.

An American woman taken hostage by the self-declared Islamic State has died after Jordanian warplanes attacked the building where she was being held in Syria, the extremist group says.

The claim was announced on Twitter and reported by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi activity. NPR is working to determine the facts of the story.

Update at 1:25 p.m. ET: Hostage's Name Confirmed By Family

In a unanimous ruling, Canada's supreme court struck down the country's law that bans doctor-assisted suicide Friday. The court said the law denies people the right "to make decisions concerning their bodily integrity and medical care" and leaves them "to endure intolerable suffering."

The ruling includes several provisions:

  • Patients must be competent adults who clearly consent to terminating their life.
  • They must be suffering from "a grievous and irremediable medical condition ... that causes enduring suffering that is intolerable."

Health officials in Illinois are trying to find the source of a measles infection, after five babies were diagnosed with the contagious respiratory disease in a Chicago suburb. Saying that more cases are likely, a health official warns, "The cat is out of the bag."

Because the Illinois patients are all under a year old, they can't be vaccinated. The new cluster of cases joins more than 100 other reports of measles in 14 states this year; most of them have been traced to an outbreak at Disneyland in California in December.

Within seconds of takeoff, the TransAsia Airways plane that went down in a dramatic and deadly crash in Taipei Wednesday was already in trouble. Investigators say the turboprop plane's right engine lost thrust 37 seconds into the flight, and that the left one failed to restart not long afterwards.

Repeated air strikes on the self-described Islamic State are "the beginning of our retaliation" for the extremist group's brutal killing of a captured pilot, Jordan's foreign minister says.

Nasser Judeh made the remark on CNN, adding that Jordan will continue to target ISIS fighters and facilities in both Iraq and Syria.

"We are upping the ante. We're going after them wherever they are, with everything that we have," Judeh said.

For the first time, Harvard University is banning sexual relationships between faculty and undergraduates, strengthening language in its policies on sexual misconduct. The change comes as the school examines its rules and undergoes a federal review.

Last year, Harvard was among dozens of schools the Department of Education said it's investigating for how they handle sexual abuse allegations.

Responding to criticism over a scandal involving an alleged bombing cover-up and a prosecutor's death, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will write letters to Mia Farrow and Martina Navratilova, who tweeted about the case this week.

A prominent cleric in the Al-Qaida in Yemen organization was among those killed in a drone strike this weekend, the group says. Sheik Harith al-Nadhari was among those who praised the recent attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

From the AP:

The U.S. and its allies are holding talks today in a new push to ensure Ukraine's borders amid heightened fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops. But a key question that's being debated is whether to supply weapons to Ukraine to counter the aggression.

"Clearly what we see is that conditions in eastern Ukraine have to change," NATO Commander Gen. Philip Breedlove tells NPR's Renee Montagne.

Breedlove says "hundreds and hundreds" of members of Russia's military are in separatist areas of Ukraine, supplying air defense and other crucial help.

London Mayor Boris Johnson's ambitious plan to reshape how the city handles cyclist traffic got final approval Wednesday, clearing the way for the spread of segregated bike lanes and dedicated traffic signals. Johnson plans to create a network for cyclists that rivals the city's transit system.

He started out in golf as a caddy, earning handfuls of change as a boy. Decades later, Charlie Sifford was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame, after a career marked by talent, character and the drive to change his sport. Sifford, the first black golfer to hold a PGA Tour card, has died at age 92.

Nearly 20 years after an earlier proposed merger was rejected by U.S. regulators, Staples says it is acquiring Office Depot for $6.3 billion. Combined, the two office supply giants would have annual sales of some $39 billion.

"Staples began discussions to acquire Office Depot in September 2014," the companies said in a news release. "The agreement has been unanimously approved by each company's Board of Directors."

Responding to a horrific video that shows one of its pilots being burned alive, Jordan has executed two jihadists, including a prisoner whose freedom had been sought by the self-declared Islamic State militant group. The father of pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh is calling for revenge.

In Jordan, reactions to the pilot's killing have ranged from sorrow to anger. Today, the pilot's father said that ISIS must be eliminated.

To mark 80 years of Monopoly, game-maker Hasbro has tucked real money into 80 game sets to be sold in France. The amount of cash in the boxes varies; only one set will come with the equivalent of the Monopoly bank.

Finding the 20,580 euros will be a challenge. Hasbro is putting a sticker on 30,000 boxes of the game to announce that they might contain real cash. The company says it sells about 500,000 of the sets in France each year.

Financial ratings service Standard & Poor's will pay almost $1.38 billion to settle charges that it took part in a scheme in which investors lost billions of dollars after putting money into securities whose credit ratings didn't reflect their true risk.

Under the settlement, S&P parent company McGraw Hill Financial will make two payments of $687.5 million: one to the U.S. Justice Department and another that's divided among 19 states and the District of Columbia.

McGraw Hill says it will also pay $125 million to the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

The conflict that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s included widespread killing, rape and torture, says the International Court of Justice in The Hague. But the court said Tuesday that the acts can't be deemed genocide, something both Croatia and Serbia have claimed in filings against each other.

Britain is on track to become the first country in the world to legalize a controversial procedure that uses DNA from three people to produce an embryo, as a way to cut out inherited DNA that can cause serious health problems in children.

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