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.

An Air India Express flight overshot its landing in heavy rain Friday night, skidding off a runway and plunging down a 35-foot slope – and cracking the Boeing 737 in two.

At least 17 people died, officials said. The jetliner had 190 people aboard on the flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Kozhikode in Kerala, a state in southern India.

"I offer my heartfelt condolences to their next of kin & pray for speedy recovery of the injured," Indian Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Twitter.

A county official in Michigan is defending his use of the N-word — by repeatedly saying the slur, and insisting that it does not imply he is a racist.

Leelanau County Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle has been facing calls to resign since Tuesday, when he reportedly used one of the most taboo words in U.S. society to explain why he would not be wearing a face mask.

"Well, this whole thing is because of them n****** down in Detroit," Eckerle said, according to the Leelanau Enterprise.

India is now the third country to record more than 2 million coronavirus cases. The country is enduring a terrible surge in new cases — 62,538 were reported on Friday alone. Only the U.S. and Brazil are reporting more.

India passed 1 million confirmed cases just three weeks ago.

Updated at 12:45 a.m. ET Friday

Some of Beirut's residents, angered by their city's seeming negligence that led to this week's deadly warehouse explosion, took to the streets late Thursday to demand reform.

Near parliament, Lebanese security forces fired tear gas as they clashed with anti-government protesters.

In the central square of Beirut's mostly destroyed downtown, a group of Lebanese, some carrying shovels to dig through the debris, shouted, "The people want the fall of the regime."

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is off to a record start – and it will only get worse as the season's traditional peak begins next week and will run through October. The latest estimates call for nearly twice the normal number of named storms this year.

Even before Aug. 1, nine named storms had already formed – "the most ever recorded since the satellite era began in 1966," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The police chief in Aurora, Colo., has apologized after officers handcuffed children and reportedly drew their weapons on a Black family — an incident captured on video this week that renewed criticism the department is racially insensitive and disconnected from its community.

A woman and four girls were wrongly detained, police later acknowledged.

Updated at 4:51 a.m. ET Thursday

Beirut is reeling and Lebanon is in grief after a powerful explosion tore through the capital's port area on Tuesday. The enormous blast, which officials said was driven by thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate, killed at least 137 people and injured thousands more. Emergency crews are still working to find all the victims.

Updated at 6:10 a.m. ET Wednesday

A huge explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, killing at least 100 people and shattering windows and damaging buildings across a wide swath of the city, according to officials. The blast sent a huge mushroom cloud into the sky, seemingly emanating from a spot close to where a large fire had been burning.

Updated at 12:15 a.m. ET Wednesday

Isaias, now a post-tropical cyclone, is still bringing strong winds, heavy rainfall and the threat of tornadoes as it moves into southeastern Canada after passing through southern and central New England.

As of 11 p.m. ET, the National Hurricane Center said the storm was about 45 miles south-southeast of Montreal, and clocking maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

Updated at 10:56 p.m. ET

Hurricane Isaias will drench Florida's Atlantic coast this weekend after passing over the Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center said, warning of a dangerous storm surge, flooding and high winds.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an order Friday declaring "a state of emergency in every coastal county of Florida's east coast, from Miami-Dade to Nassau counties," he said.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

A federal judge has unsealed hundreds of pages of deposition transcripts and other documents related to a now-settled defamation suit brought against Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of helping the late Jeffrey Epstein run a sex trafficking operation that catered to rich and powerful men.

The 47 documents include a deposition given by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the draft of a memoir she was writing about her experiences inside the sex-trafficking ring, and previously unseen email exchanges between Maxwell and Epstein.

"I was proud that John Lewis was a friend of mine," former President Barack Obama said on Thursday, delivering an emotional eulogy for the civil rights leader who was an inspiration for America's first Black president.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET

Former President Barack Obama called on Americans to honor the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis by working to expand voting rights — and if Congress has to abolish the filibuster to strengthen the Voting Rights Act, then so be it, Obama said.

Brazilian first lady Michelle Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus on Thursday, according to the office of President Jair Bolsonaro, days after her husband said he had recovered from the disease.

"She is in a state of good health and will follow all established protocols," the Planalto Palace, the president's official residence, said in a brief notice to the media.

Updated at 12:10 a.m. ET Friday

Isaias has become a hurricane as it approaches Florida.

The National Hurricane Center said late Thursday that the storm was threatening the Bahamas and had winds of 80 mph. It was about 70 miles east-southeast of Great Inagua Island, moving northwest at about 18 mph.

Updated at 11:11 p.m. ET

Florida will stop testing for the coronavirus for several days due to concerns about the potential impact from Tropical Storm Isaias.

After the state's testing sites close Thursday evening, they won't reopen until at least Tuesday morning, Candy Sims of the Florida Department of Health in Broward County told NPR. Some locations could be closed for longer, she added, depending on the weather.

Updated at 7:30 a.m. ET

Two emus – siblings Kevin and Carol — are now banned from a hotel in a tiny town in Australia's vast Outback. Raised by an animal rescuer, the birds are usually a friendly and wide-eyed source of entertainment. But then the emus learned to climb the stairs.

The new skill gave the birds access to the pub of the Yaraka Hotel in Queensland. Once inside, they unleashed a long-legged brand of chaos. They snatched toast and French fries away from customers. One of the birds even went behind the bar. A stern response was required.

The European Union successfully flattened the curve of COVID-19 cases in the spring – but a second wave could be building in parts of the EU, according to both British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the head of Germany's disease agency.

"I'm afraid you are starting to see, in some places, the signs of a second wave of the pandemic" in Europe, Johnson said Tuesday.

An alarming spike in U.S. coronavirus cases is prompting McDonald's to require customers to wear face masks at all of its more than 14,000 domestic-market restaurants, the company announced Friday. The policy takes effect on Aug. 1.

The U.S. now has more than 4 million known coronavirus cases; 1 million infections were diagnosed in just over two weeks.

Thousands of people attended prayers at Istanbul's historic Hagia Sophia on Friday, completing the famous building's conversion from a secular space into a Muslim house of worship. It had been a museum for more than 86 years.

The crowd was large with people spilling outside and into a plaza and grassy areas near the sixth century building that is revered by both Muslims and Christians. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sat front and center, removing a white face mask to recite passages from the Quran as he sat on a blue carpet.

The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General has opened an investigation into allegations that DOJ personnel have improperly used force this month in Portland, Ore., as well as an inquiry into their role in responding to mass protests in Washington, D.C., since late May.

Federal agents in Portland, Ore., used tear gas on Mayor Ted Wheeler and other people Wednesday night during a protest against heavy-handed police tactics and racial injustice.

"It was not great," Wheeler said, according to NPR member station Oregon Public Broadcasting. "It makes your eyes really burn."

Police are investigating the death of a Fort Hood soldier whose body was found at a nearby lake — the third service member from the Texas base to be found dead in the past month.

Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, was found unresponsive on July 17 in the area of Stillhouse Hollow Lake, according to the Fort Hood Press Center. His death is currently being investigated by the Bell County Sheriff's Department.

Chicago Police are investigating a mass shooting that left at least 15 people wounded Tuesday night at a funeral on the city's South Side. One of the victims remains in "extremely critical condition," and another is in critical condition, police say.

The violence exploded outside a funeral home in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, where mourners had gathered for a large funeral. Investigators say they found roughly 60 shell casings at the scene.

Updated at 10:37 p.m. ET

Federal agents operating in Kansas City, Mo., as part of a new push against violent crime will be identifiable and won't be roving the streets to make arrests, the local U.S. attorney said, responding to questions sparked by the controversial use of federal agents in U.S. cities.

"These agents won't be patrolling the streets," U.S. Attorney Timothy Garrison said in a statement to NPR. "When they are making arrests or executing warrants, these federal agents will be clearly identified by their agency's visible badges or insignia."

People traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut from 31 other states are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days, after 10 states with significant community spread of the coronavirus — including Virginia, Maryland, Indiana and Alaska — were added to a travel advisory Tuesday.

Minnesota lawmakers have voted to ban police use of chokeholds, part of a law enforcement accountability measure sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police offer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The bill's most high-profile sections would place new limits on police use of force and prohibit "warrior-style training" — which encourages officers to act aggressively in a way that "deemphasizes the value of human life or constitutional rights," the legislation states.

California will release up to 8,000 prisoners this summer in an effort to create more space and prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in prisons.

News of the plan comes after more than a third of the inmates and staff at the San Quentin State Prison in the San Francisco Bay Area tested positive for the coronavirus.

More than 20 states have now issued orders requiring people to wear face masks in public as the rate of new coronavirus cases surges to record heights in parts of the United States.

The U.S. has recorded more than 1 million coronavirus infections over the past month alone, pushing the number of confirmed cases past the 3 million mark this week.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Los Angeles police say they have arrested five people in connection with the killing earlier this year of Bashar Jackson — the rapper more famously known as Pop Smoke.

Three men and two juvenile males were arrested, the Los Angeles Police Department announced Thursday. They are in the custody of the Robbery-Homicide Division, a department spokesperson told NPR.

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