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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 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.

Former Irish Republican Army commander Martin McGuinness, who left violence behind to choose peace — and who eventually met Queen Elizabeth II — has died at age 66. For nearly a decade, McGuinness served as Northern Ireland's deputy first minister.

From London, NPR's Frank Langfitt reports:

"McGuinness retired from politics in January, suffering from a rare genetic disease. Today, he was lauded for his crucial role in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which brought peace to Northern Ireland.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. doesn't want to take military action against North Korea, but "all of the options are on the table" if a serious threat arises. Tillerson made his frank remarks in a visit to South Korea on Friday, a day after saying diplomatic efforts "have failed" to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Tillerson's Asia tour began in Japan and will end in China. The top American diplomat is traveling without a press contingent.

Updated at 1:55 p.m. ET

The House has approved legislation that would make it harder to keep veterans who are "mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent" or prone to blackouts from buying guns. Critics of the bill say it could raise the suicide rate among veterans — a rate that has risen in the past decade.

At least a dozen Democrats joined Republicans to support the bill, which was approved by a 240-175 vote.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

A post on McDonald's corporate Twitter account caused a stir Thursday morning, denigrating President Trump and calling for Barack Obama's return. The tweet was up for about 20 minutes only — but in that time, it was liked and retweeted more than 1,000 times.

"You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back," said the tweet, which was briefly pinned to the top of the McDonald's page. It concluded, "also you have tiny hands."

An executive assistant suffered minor burns after opening a letter that exploded at the International Monetary Fund's office in Paris on Thursday, according to multiple local news reports citing police statements. The device doesn't seem to have been very powerful — but French officials say it was an act of terrorism.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte's center-right party is celebrating a resounding win over populist Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom, in a result that's being welcomed by centrists and progressives in France and Germany, which will also hold national elections this year.

"I warmly congratulate @markrutte for his clear victory against extremism," French President Francois Hollande tweeted Thursday.

Polling places saw strong turnout for today's election in the Netherlands, with 55 percent of voters casting a ballot before 6 p.m. local time, according to local media. The crowd was manageable at a house in Marle, in the eastern Netherlands, that's hosted a voting booth for decades.

Dutch voters are choosing a new government Wednesday, in parliamentary elections that right-wing politician Geert Wilders — aka "the Dutch Donald Trump" — hopes will put his Freedom Party in power. The vote is seen as a test of the power of populist nationalism, which won key votes in Britain and the U.S.

U.S. automakers may not have to reach fuel efficiency standards that were set during President Obama's administration, as the Environmental Protection Agency says it's reopening a review of the rules.

President Trump is expected to make that announcement Wednesday in meetings with auto industry executives and workers in Michigan.

In Washington, a senior White House official said the president wants to "set standards that are technologically feasible, economically feasible and allow the auto industry to grow and create jobs."

Bodies are still being recovered from a clandestine grave in Mexico's Veracruz state that a local prosecutor says could turn out to be the largest in the country. Jorge Winckler Ortiz, the state attorney general of Veracruz, says that at one large site, 250 skulls have been found, with more excavation to be done.

Winckler says the bodies are those of people murdered by gangs, with the complicity of the government. He added that officials had also deceived families who asked for help in identifying whether their missing loved ones might be in the graves.

A Muslim woman who was fired over her wish to wear an Islamic headscarf at her job in Belgium did not suffer from direct discrimination, according to the highest court in the European Union. Because her employer had a general rule against religious or political displays, the court says, the woman wasn't treated differently than other workers.

Jason Greenblatt, who went from being President Trump's longtime lawyer to leading his effort to bring a lasting peace to Israel, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday, one day after Greenblatt met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks that touched on Israeli settlement construction.

The State Department calls this an "orientation trip" that's meant to hear from the two sides about returning to peace negotiations.

From Jerusalem, NPR's Daniel Estrin reports for our Newscast unit:

"Gender equality benefits all of us," Iceland's Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said on International Women's Day, as his government works on a law to require companies to show they pay men and women the same salary for the same work.

Benediktsson discussed the plan in New York, where he attended an International Women's Day summit and other meetings this week.

President Trump has reportedly offered former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman the job of U.S. ambassador to Russia. Huntsman has been a U.S. ambassador twice before, in Singapore (1992-1993) and China (2009-2011).

Like all ambassadorships, the position requires Senate confirmation — but the diplomatic posting to Moscow was expected to face particular scrutiny in light of ongoing investigations into Russia's attempts to meddle in U.S. politics and reports of repeated contacts between Trump's campaign and Russian officials.

Witnesses to Wednesday's deadly crash involving a freight train and a bus say that the charter bus appeared to be trapped on the tracks just ahead of the crash that killed at least four people and injured dozens more in Biloxi, Miss. Transportation agencies say the crossing is a known problem.

"Since 1976 there have been 16 vehicle-train collisions at this grade crossing prior to Tuesday's accident," the National Transportation Safety Board says.

Edith Fuller, 5, has booked a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, after she out-spelled dozens of older competitors to win a regional bee in Tulsa, Okla. The home-schooled student will be the youngest competitor ever in the national spelling bee, which will hold its 90th contest in May.

With France's presidential election less than two months away, the race is coming down to two options, as political newcomer Emmanuel Macron, who is running as an independent, is neck and neck with far right candidate Marine Le Pen in polls released Wednesday.

Statues of Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis are targeted for removal in New Orleans, after a federal appeals court approved the city's plan to change how it treats symbols of its history. Opponents of the move vow to keep fighting it in court.

Citing the threat posed by North Korean missiles, the U.S. military has sent the first elements of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system to South Korea. China has opposed the move, which has also drawn mixed reactions in South Korea.

Bonuses paid to executives and administrators in the University of Missouri System "may violate the Missouri Constitution," the state auditor says in a new report that details hidden bonuses, "excessive" luxury vehicle allowances — and $100,000 in retention payments to a chancellor who resigned amid a furor, only to be rehired in a new post months later.

In a reversal, the Supreme Court will not decide Gavin Grimm's lawsuit over a school policy that requires students to use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex. The court was scheduled to hear the case this month.

Hundreds of Marines are reportedly under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, after a trove of photographs were shared online that show female service members and veterans in the nude. The images were spread via a closed Facebook group with thousands of members.

There's no pool, but there is a piano bar that exudes "an air of undeserved authority." That's part of the promise at The Walled Off Hotel, the artist Banksy's vision of a hotel along the wall Israel built in the occupied West Bank.

The project blends Banksy's trademark style — a trickster's eye for trompe l'oeil and a political cartoonist's ear for satire — into more traditional hotel amenities such as food, drinks and well-appointed rooms. The hotel will begin taking reservations on March 11.

The U.S. is producing less air pollution, but smog levels are still rising in the western U.S. because of pollutants released in Asian countries that then drift over the Pacific Ocean. Researchers say their findings show the importance of a global approach to preserving air quality.

"Scientists found Asian air pollution contributed as much as 65 percent of an increase in Western ozone in recent years," NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Shanghai. "China and India, where many consumer products are manufactured, are the worst offenders."

In Kansas, the state's public school finance system "is not reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed the minimum constitutional standards of adequacy," the Kansas Supreme Court says.

The court ruled Thursday in a a much-watched case about state obligations to provide public education that was originally filed by four school districts — including Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools — back in 2010.

With the decision, the court also gave state lawmakers time to devise a new school financing system, setting a deadline of June 30.

Saying that the U.S. still requires citizens of five EU member nations to obtain an entry visa, the European Union's Parliament approved a measure on Thursday calling for the EU Commission to urge full visa reciprocity — and reinstate visa requirements for Americans who want to visit Europe.

A gunshot was heard near the spot where French President Francois Hollande was speaking Tuesday, momentarily disrupting his inauguration of a new line in France's high-speed train system. Local media are reporting that the shot was mistakenly fired by a police sniper. The shot left two people wounded.

Hollande was nearly 17 minutes into his roughly 20-minute speech when the loud crack of gunfire was heard. While there was no sign of panic, the leader was also plainly uncertain of what had just happened.

A Georgia judge has sentenced Kayla Norton, 25, and Jose "Joe" Torres, 26, to spend a combined 19 years in prison for their role in a group's racist rampage at an 8-year-old's birthday party — an assault that included shouting racial slurs, making armed threats and waving Confederate battle flags.

"I'm so sorry that happened to you," Norton told the family that endured the assault, weeping in the courtroom at Monday's sentencing. "I am so sorry."

Three of the five people who were aboard a small plane when it crashed into a neighborhood in Riverside, Calif., have died, in a crash that occurred shortly after the craft took off Monday afternoon. Residents were not at home when the plane hit one house; fire destroyed another.

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