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Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and producer on the Newsdesk, in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

Chappell's work at NPR has ranged from being the site's first full-time homepage editor to being the lead writer and editor for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London 2012 to Pyeongchang 2018. 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 the past, Chappell 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.

In 2009, Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that redesigned NPR's web site. One year later, NPR.org 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, Chappell was part of 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 on major events.

Chappell's work for CNN included editing digital video and producing web stories for SI.com. He also edited and produced 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, Chappell attended graduate school for English Literature at the University of South Carolina.

The U.S. economy grew at a surprisingly fast 5 percent annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, up sharply from the 3.9 percent of the last revision. The figure blew past the consensus estimate of 4.3 percent put forth by economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.

It's the fastest the U.S. economy has grown in one quarter in more than a decade: The GDP grew at a 6.9 percent pace in the third quarter of 2003.

Update at 10:30 a.m. ET: Dow Tops 18,000 For First Time

Signs of water currents and sediments are seen in the latest photos NASA's Curiosity rover sent home from Mars, the space agency said Monday. The images suggest "ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes," NASA says.

In the huge Gale Crater where Curiosity has been exploring, the water and sediment flow might have been massive enough to build a mountain — the 3-mile-high Mount Sharp — NASA researchers say. But they acknowledge that they're still working to solve the mystery of how the mountain formed in a crater.

Updated at 6:54 a.m.

Public reaction to a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson has ranged from fire and looting close to where Wilson shot Michael Brown to peaceful protests nearby.

Other protests were held in large and small cities and college towns across America on Tuesday; photos from those scenes show a variety of demonstrators, tactics and responses.

Adding his voice to the mounds of grand jury evidence released Monday night by St. Louis County, Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer who killed Michael Brown, told his side of the story in an interview Tuesday.

Wilson told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he has "a clean conscience" about the shooting; he also said he's sorry for the loss of life. The shooting led to both violent protests and serious conversations about race and law enforcement.

In a speech in which he said he understands the frustrations of people who feel they're not treated fairly under the law, President Obama also stated, "I have no sympathy at all for destroying your own communities."

The president had been scheduled to speak about immigration policy during his appearance at Chicago's Copernicus Community Center. But he began his remarks by calling for calm in Ferguson, Mo., responding to the fiery unrest that has followed a grand jury's decision not to charge police officer Darren Wilson over the killing of Michael Brown.

Philae, the lander currently on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, may not be able to perform its extended mission — scientists at the European Space Agency worry that the probe may have landed in a spot too shadowy for solar panels to recharge its batteries. The ESA says it may not be able to contact the craft after Friday night.

Worries over the robotic lander's power supply prompted engineers to take the risky step of activating its drill, an operation that had been shelved out of fears that it would sap the remaining charge.

Hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, a man-made object was flung at a comet Wednesday — and now it's sticking to the rock as it hurtles through space.

"We are on the comet," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, announced Wednesday, marking a historic achievement.

Gov. Rick Scott will hold on to his job in Florida, NPR projects, as the Republican narrowly defeats Charlie Crist, the former GOP governor who was running as a Democrat.

Earlier, Arkansas voters elected Republican Asa Hutchinson as their new governor.

We'll update this post with other gubernatorial race results, particularly in contests that are expected to be close. You can also follow our special coverage at NPR's Election Party.

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. Hickenlooper Wins Second Term:

NASA has chosen Boeing and SpaceX to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, putting the two American companies on a course to take over a job that NASA has recently relied upon Russia to perform: carrying out manned space flights.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says vehicles from the two companies are expected to be ready for service by 2017.

Announcing its decision Tuesday, the space agency included these details:

Posting photos this weekend that show him recovering from a chainsaw accident, Australian golfer Greg Norman says he's a lucky man. Norman says he hurt his left hand while cutting branches off a tree at his home in Florida.

Norman, 59, a former world No. 1 player who went on to a successful business career that includes ventures in sport, apparel and wine, announced his injury via Instagram Saturday by posting a photo of himself in a hospital bed.

Cuba's parliament isn't big on dissent. Most legislation that makes it to a vote is endorsed unanimously, as a matter of course. But Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro — and the niece of Fidel Castro — is making waves by voting "no" on a workers' rights bill, saying it didn't protect people with unconventional gender identities.

It seems that before the December 2013 vote was publicized recently in a Cuban blog, no one could recall anyone voting against a measure in Cuba's legislature. Some say a dissenting vote has simply never happened in Havana.

Margaret Low Smith, a longtime NPR executive who has served as senior vice president for news for three years, is leaving the company to become the president of The Atlantic's live events business.

"Her departure will be felt as profoundly as any in recent memory," NPR Chief Content Officer Kinsey Wilson wrote in a memo to staff Tuesday.

He added that Smith's final day at NPR will be at the end of July. She joined the company in 1982 as an overnight production assistant on Morning Edition.

Wilson added that:

Did fake accusations that Sen. Robert Menendez had visited underage prostitutes come from Cuba's intelligence agency? That's the question the senator wants the Justice Department to look into.

The Supreme Court has ruled that family owned and other closely held companies can opt out of the Affordable Care Act's provisions for no-cost prescription contraception in most health insurance if they have religious objections.

The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores and those of another closely held company, Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., had objected on the grounds of religious freedom.

The ruling affirms a Hobby Lobby victory in a lower court and gives new standing to similar claims by other companies.

FBI

Eleven children from Florida were among the nearly 170 rescued during a nationwide sex trafficking sting conducted by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies last week.

Authorities around the country rounded up 281 pimps and freed 168 children, targeting child sex-trafficking operations in more than 100 U.S. cities.

Police arrested 21 pimps in Phoenix, the most of any FBI division. Other hotspots in the coordinated raids were centered in Denver, Cleveland, and Los Angeles, while eight children were freed and three people were arrested in the Tampa FBI office's region.

NBA star LeBron James is shaking things up at the Miami Heat, reportedly opting to end his contract early to become a free agent. The move comes one week after James and the Heat were trounced by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals.

"LeBron James' agent Rich Paul has told Heat LeBron will exercise early termination option," ESPN's Chris Broussard tweeted today.

His big-league career began in the 1950s and included the most recent Yankees dynasty. Along the way, the word "beloved" was often attached to his name. Baseball — the players, the fans, seemingly the sport itself — is mourning Don Zimmer today, after he died at age 83 Wednesday.

The tributes to the feisty guy with a good sense of humor and a bottomless love for the game are pouring out from all over, proof that he didn't waste any time during his 66 years in baseball. In recent years, Zimmer had been suffering from kidney and heart problems.

New federal regulations announced Monday aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

The draft proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency has sparked opposition from industry groups who say the changes would be prohibitively expensive. But the proposal's backers say the rules are needed to cut carbon pollution that scientists say contributes to climate change.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET: Proposed Rule Published

A Florida law that sets an IQ test score of 70 as a minimum in determining who's eligible for the death penalty is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court says. In a reversal of a state court's decision, the justices say Florida's rule ignores norms in the psychiatric profession. The opinion also cites the Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishment.

"Florida set a hard-line rule that the death penalty could not be imposed on convicted felons whose IQ is 70 or below," NPR's Washington desk says in its summary of the case.

An all-new meteor shower makes its debut tonight, and astronomers say it could put on a show starting as early as 10:30 p.m. ET Friday and peaking early Saturday. Called the Camelopardalids, the shower is named after the giraffe constellation. It's expected to be visible in nearly all of the U.S., if skies are clear.

"No one has seen it before," NASA says, "but the shower could put on a show that would rival the prolific Perseid meteor shower in August."

Media industry veteran Jarl Mohn will be NPR's new CEO, the organization's board of directors has announced.

Mohn, 62, currently sits on the board of directors at several media organizations, including Scripps Networks Interactive and Web analytics company ComScore. He is also on the boards of KPCC Southern California Public Radio and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Announcing the hire, Kit Jensen, who chairs NPR's board of directors, said Mohn has "an ability to find nuanced and new ideas." He is slated to start work at NPR on July 1.

Easter Sunday is a busy time for many Christian churches. And for one Florida church, "busy" only begins to describe it. The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe has no permanent members, but it will host tens of thousands of worshippers today.

Cash prizes await "citizen scientists" who can improve algorithms that help NASA find and identify asteroids in our solar system, the agency says. A contest to find more asteroids begins next week, in what NASA calls an attempt to crowdsource innovation.

The Associated Press

The Conservative Political Action Conference ended in Washington Saturday, after giving Sen. Rand Paul a second consecutive victory in the presidential straw poll that's seen as an indicator of how Republicans see their leaders.

From :

"The Kentucky senator received 31 percent, far ahead of second place Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who received 11 percent. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson finished third with 9 percent, ahead of New Jersey Gov.  Chris Christie, who received 8 percent.

A mistrial was declared on Saturday in the first-degree murder charge of Michael Dunn after a Florida jury failed to come to an agreement. The jury did find Dunn guilty on four lesser charges, including three counts of attempted second-degree murder in the 2012 killing of a teenager in a Jacksonville gas station parking lot.

Police say Dunn shot and killed an unarmed man, Jordan Davis, 17, after an argument broke out over loud music coming from Davis' car. Dunn had claimed he acted after being threatened.

David Beckham's career in American soccer isn't over, despite his recent retirement from the field. Beckham confirmed Wednesday that he will create a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami. Details about the team's stadium and start date are still being worked out.

A Florida vacation got off to an odd start for Judith Fleissig, 58, of Rochester, N.Y., when she and her daughter realized the car they'd rented had an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. More oddness followed: The gun was left there by the wife of Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, police say.

Saying that "zero tolerance" discipline policies at U.S. schools are unfairly applied "all too often," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is urging officials to rethink that approach. The Obama administration issued voluntary guidelines today that call for more training for teachers and more clarity in defining security problems.

The police chief of Miami Gardens is resigning, weeks after allegations arose that his officers stopped and searched customers of a convenience store as a matter of routine. Charges of racial profiling and civil rights abuses were bolstered by videos that showed police frisking and arresting people.

A U.S. judge says American Airlines can exit bankruptcy and join forces with US Airways Group, all but ensuring that their merger can take place within weeks. Wednesday's bankruptcy court ruling was one of the final hurdles for a huge merger that's been in the works for more than a year.

The ruling by Judge Sean Lane comes months after he gave his preliminary approval to the plan. The two companies are now planning to finalize their merger on Dec. 9, when they would combine to create the world's largest airline.

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