Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and producer who currently works on The Two Way, NPR's flagship news portal. In the past, he has edited and coordinated digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing 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

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, and editing and producing stories for'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.

Updated at 9:22 a.m. ET

Undoing a three-year prison sentence that had drawn protests from media groups and other organizations, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has pardoned 100 people, including two journalists for Al Jazeera English.

The journalists are Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed.

A statement from the president's office read:

President Xi Jinping delivered several surprising remarks in a speech at a banquet in Seattle on Tuesday night, dropping pop culture references to the show House of Cards and recounting how he drank rum at a bar in Cuba out of his affection for Ernest Hemingway.

For large portions of his speech at a Westin hotel, Xi stuck to the expected topics of intellectual property and cybercrime. But the Communist leader illustrated his points with an array of American cultural references.

From Seattle, NPR's Aarti Shahani reports for our Newscast unit:

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

A 9-year-old police dog named Rex is ready to retire from the force. That presents a quandary for the Albuquerque, N.M., police department: what to do with a devoted and capable dog whose law enforcement training makes it a challenge to find him a new home?

In announcing Rex's retirement Monday, the department also outlined a sad story. The dog's handler recently retired from the force — and though the two have emotionally bonded, the officer couldn't take his work partner home because he has a small child.

The newspaper whose motto is "All the news that's fit to print" didn't meet a printer's requirements in Thailand on Tuesday. The printer opted to skip a day of The New York Times after deciding that a story about Thailand's future — and its king's health — was inappropriate.

The software that allegedly causes Volkswagen cars to cheat official emissions tests exists in only one type of diesel engine, according to the carmaker — and it has sold 11 million of them around the world. The company says it's setting aside 6.5 billion euros (around $7.25 billion) to fix the cars.

Providing an update to a scandal that began Friday, when the EPA said it found wide variations in emissions from VW cars that use a "defeat device" to fool emissions tests, the German company said that it's "working at full speed" to investigate the problematic software.

Recreational marijuana use is legal in Washington state — but only for adults. And after the state's law was tweaked this summer, minors who break that rule risk felony charges. That's the case for three minors in Asotin County, who could now face up to five years in prison.

The man who made a mark in America as a cub reporter has died: Actor Jack Larson, who played a sidekick to Superman's alter-ego Clark Kent at the fictional Daily Planet newspaper, was 87.

Iran is hailing the International Atomic Energy Agency's visit to a controversial military base, saying it disproves "fictions" about the site's nuclear capabilities. But critics note that samples were taken by Iranian officials, without inspectors being present.

NPR's Peter Kenyon reports:

"The head of the IAEA and his top nuclear safeguards official visited the Parchin military base, long a target of suspicions involving possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program. Tehran insists its program has always been peaceful.

Updated 7:30 p.m. ET

"I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public," says Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, days after the EPA said the German carmaker had purposefully rigged its diesel cars to pass emissions tests.

The CEO's sentiments did not stop investors from punishing VW's stock Monday in Europe, when they hacked away nearly a quarter of the company's market value.

Days after negotiators struck a new deal that paused a strike, Seattle's teachers voted Sunday night to ratify the new contract. For the Seattle school district's 53,000 students, the strike had delayed the start of the school year by six days.

As the old contract expired, Seattle's teachers hadn't received a state-funded cost of living raise in six years. Under the latest deal, teachers' base pay will rise 3 percent this year, 2 percent in 2016, and 4.5 percent in 2017.

From Seattle, Kyle Stokes of member station KPLU reports:

By a 241-187 vote, the House of Representatives has approved a bill that would cut off federal money for Planned Parenthood. The bill isn't expected to pass in the Senate — and President Obama has said he would veto any bill that defunds the group.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The Environmental Protection Agency says Volkswagen intentionally violated the Clean Air Act by using sophisticated software in its diesel-powered cars that detects emissions testing — and "turns full emissions controls on only during the test."

Installed in four-cylinder cars, the software, which the EPA calls a "defeat device" that's meant to trick official tests, allowed diesel Jettas, Beetles and other cars to "emit up to 40 times more pollution" than allowed under U.S. emission standards.

Next week, it will be easier for people, money, and goods to flow between Cuba and the U.S., which announced a new round of relaxed sanctions Friday. The changes also allow U.S. companies to provide Internet and communications services in Cuba.

The new rules by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Commerce will take effect Monday.

"This qualifies as huge," John Kavulich, president of the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, tells NPR's Michele Kelemen. "We'll see what the Cubans do with it, but from the U.S. side, this is just unprecedented."

"The only way to see a scale model of the solar system," Wylie Overstreet says, "is to build one." So he and a group of friends did just that, tracing out the planets' orbits and then filming a time-lapse video from a nearby mountaintop in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.

After nearly 10,000 refugees and migrants entered Croatia in the past two days, the country has placed its army on alert to deploy on the country's border with Serbia. People who were turned away by Hungary now see Croatia as an alternate route into European Union countries.

Reporting from the Croatia-Serbia border, Lauren Frayer spoke to Jamal al-Shahoud, a refugee from Syria, who told her, "Here no food, no water. No buses, no trains. Nothing here. Just tired."

Lauren reports for our Newscast unit:

The Syrian man who became part of an international story after he was tripped by a camerawoman in Hungary is now in Spain, where a sports organization plans to offer him work. Osama Abdul Mohsen was tripped by a camerawoman as he ran from police, holding his young son.

Arriving in Spain late Wednesday, Mohsen said, "I love you all. Thank you for all. Thank you for España."

Mohsen was part of a crowd of refugees and migrants who were trying to enter Hungary last week, when a videographer put her foot out and tripped him, sending him and his son to the turf.

European telecom giant Altice is buying the largest cable provider in New York City's metropolitan area, agreeing to pay $17.7 billion to acquire Cablevision, the company that was founded in 1973 by the Dolan family.

The total value of the transaction reflects $10 billion in equity (valuing Cablevision at $34.90 a share) and another $7.7 billion in net debt.

After an absence of 17 years, Karin Kanzuki, the Goldilocks lookalike who became an unlikely hit in the long-running Street Fighter video game series in the late '90s, is returning to the game.

In a Democratic mayoral primary race in Bridgeport, Conn., that pitted a former mayor who served a seven-year prison sentence for corruption against a two-term incumbent, Joe Ganim pulled off a surprising comeback Wednesday night.

"Ganim's message that everybody deserves a second chance earned the former felon the endorsement of the city's police union and the support of the FBI agent who'd locked him up," Diane Orson of member station WNPR reports from New Haven.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Weeks before a scheduled national election to choose a new government, soldiers of Burkina Faso's presidential guard say they've taken over the country. The announcement comes after members of the military arrested the interim president Wednesday.

Expressing his admiration for a high school student's curiosity about science, President Obama has invited Ahmed Mohamed to the White House.

A tweet from the president reads: "Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great."

Rock fans who are going to Metallica's concert in Quebec City Wednesday will see an unusual sight: a 48-foot tanker truck filled with Metallica-branded beer. Made at the Labatt facility, the beer is to commemorate the band as it opens a large new venue, the Centre Vidéotron.

The Centre Vidéotron says:

"Budweiser has partnered with legendary rock band Metallica to channel the brute force of this historic show and be inspired by its vibrations, its energy and its decibels to create a beer in the image of the power of rock."

A 14-year-old boy says he was just trying to show off his engineering skill when he brought a digital clock he had made to his new high school in Irving, Texas. But Ahmed Mohamed was detained and reportedly suspended from school, after a teacher thought that his clock looked like a bomb.

With Hungary's southern border now sealed, many refugees and other migrants are looking for other ways to reach refuge in northern Europe — and they hope to find an answer in a tricky route through Croatia.

Update at 1 p.m. ET: Tear Gas And Water Cannons At Hungary's Border

With thousands of migrants now bottled up in Serbia after Hungary sealed its border, a tense scene played out after frustrations boiled over Wednesday.

From the border, Lauren Frayer reports for our Newscast unit:

After last week's crane collapse that killed at least 107 people at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, the main developer in the city, the Saudi Binladin Group, is barred from any future projects, according to a statement from Saudi Arabia's Royal Court.

Updated 11:10 p.m. ET

Leaders of Seattle's public school teachers voted Tuesday evening to suspend their week-old strike and return to work on Wednesday. The district's 53,000 students begin classes on Thursday.

The decision follows a tentative contract agreement which will go before the full membership for a vote on Sunday.

The Associated Press reports the plan includes a pay hike:

In a new expansion of commercial efforts to launch earthlings into space, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos plans to build rockets on Florida's Space Coast — in an area he calls "a gateway to humankind's greatest adventures."

Defeating Democrats' attempt to filibuster a large budget shift, Republicans in Alabama's state Senate approved transferring $100 million from the education budget to the general fund to help cover a large deficit.

A critic of the move said his colleagues decided to "rob children" instead of finding the money elsewhere.

That statement came from Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, whose attempt to filibuster the move was cut off by the Republican supermajority.

Saying it has restarted a nuclear facility shut down since 2007, North Korea announced Tuesday that it has also upgraded its nuclear weapons program. The country has been working to restart the Yongbyon reactor since 2013.

The news about the reactor that produces weapons-grade plutonium was announced by the Korean Central News Agency, which says the Yongbyon 5MWe reactor and other facilities have "started normal operation."

With new border control laws taking effect, Hungary has sealed its border with Serbia. Processing areas that were packed with more than 9,300 refugees and other migrants on Monday now stand empty.

Hungary declared a crisis in two southern counties today, as crowds of migrants were halted in Serbia, having missed the midnight deadline before the new and stricter laws took effect.