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Scott Neuman

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

He brings to NPR years of experience as a journalist at a variety of news organizations based all over the world. He came to NPR from The Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand, where he worked as an editor on the news agency's Asia Desk. Prior to that, Neuman worked in Hong Kong with The Wall Street Journal, where among other things he reported extensively from Pakistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He also spent time with the AP in New York, and in India as a bureau chief for United Press International.

A native Hoosier, Neuman's roots in public radio (and the Midwest) run deep. He started his career at member station WBNI in Fort Wayne, and worked later in Illinois for WNIU/WNIJ in DeKalb/Rockford and WILL in Champaign-Urbana.

Neuman is a graduate of Purdue University. He lives with his wife, Noi, on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Updated at 11:25 a.m. ET

Secretary of State John Kerry presided over a ceremony reopening the U.S. Embassy in Havana, including a flag-raising ceremony — an event that will mark the first time the Stars and Stripes have flown over a diplomatic compound there in 54 years.

Kerry, speaking before assembled dignitaries, remembered the strained history of U.S.-Cuba relations, including the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Soviet Union was discovered to be siting nuclear rockets on the island nation.

This year's El Niño is shaping up to be a whopper — potentially surpassing the one in 1997, which was the strongest on record, the National Weather Service says.

That could be good news for drought-stricken California, but not-so-good for places such as the Philippines and Indonesia, which typically experience below-normal rainfall or drought conditions during El Niños.

Health insurer Anthem has struck a deal to acquire rival Cigna for $48 billion — a buyout that would create the country's largest health insurer by enrollment.

The combined entity would have an estimated revenue of $115 billion and cover 53 million people in the U.S.

The Army is not happy about armed civilians who have been appearing at recruiting stations in several states in the wake of the Chattanooga shootings, ostensibly to help guard against such attacks.

In what could prove the largest-ever merger in the insurance industry, Aetna has announced a $37 billion deal to acquire rival Humana.

The agreement, announced by the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, "would bolster Aetna's presence in the state- and federally funded Medicaid program and Tricare coverage for military personnel and their families," according to The Associated Press.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

David Sweat, one of two inmates who escaped from a prison in upstate New York earlier this month, has been shot but taken alive just days after his accomplice, Richard Matt, was killed by police.

For the second time in as many days, a swimmer off North Carolina's Outer Banks has been attacked by a shark.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET

President Obama, commenting on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling today to uphold a key provision of his signature health care law, said after numerous challenges, the Affordable Care Act has been "woven into the fabric of America" and "is here to stay."

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

In a prison-break likely to draw comparisons to the film The Shawshank Redemption, two convicted murderers have escaped from a maximum-security facility in upstate New York by cutting through steel walls, shimmying through a steam pipe and emerging from a manhole on the outside.

Inmates Richard Matt and David Sweat broke out of the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, near the Canadian border, early Saturday morning.

Updated at 1:20 p.m. ET

The U.S. State Department announced Friday that Cuba has been dropped from a list of state sponsors of terrorism.

"The rescission of Cuba's designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism reflects our assessment that Cuba meets the statutory criteria for rescission," the department said in a statement. "While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba's policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation."

A series of tornadoes in North Texas over the weekend have left at least one person dead and others missing. Meanwhile, in South Carolina, a weakening Tropical Storm Ana made landfall early this morning near Myrtle Beach, S.C.

One of the tornadoes that hit Saturday destroyed homes in a rural area south of Cisco, a town about 100 miles west of Fort Worth, Eastland County, Judge Rex Fields was quoted by The Associated Press as saying.

Pope Francis, who plans to visit the United States in September, might tack onto his itinerary a side trip to Cuba, the Vatican says, but it cautions the talks with Havana are at an early stage.

The Catholic Herald quotes Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi as saying Francis is "considering the idea of a Cuba leg."

The Herald notes:

Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET

The co-pilot who deliberately downed an airliner over the French Alps this week, killing all 150 aboard, had told a girlfriend sometime last year that he would "do something" that would make people remember his name, a German newspaper reports.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. EDT

A day after President Obama spoke in Selma, Ala., to mark the 50th anniversary of 'Bloody Sunday' — a police crackdown on the 1965 voting rights march — tens of thousands of people gathered to trace the footsteps of the original protesters who were met by state troopers firing tear-gas and swinging truncheons at the foot of the Edmund Pettus bridge.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

President Obama, speaking in Selma, Ala., at an event marking the 50th anniversary of the "Bloody Sunday" civil rights march that witnessed hundreds of demonstrators attacked and beaten by police, said the nation was much closer to racial equality, but that the march is not over yet.

"There are places, and moments in America where this nation's destiny has been decided," the president said at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Alabama state troopers converged on protesters on March 7, 1965.

Astronauts at the International Space Station have ventured outside to perform a challenging cable installation on their orbiting platform.

Spacewalkers Terry Virts and Butch Wilmore have 400 feet of cable to install as well as two sets of antennas.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson says he's taking seriously a call by Islamist extremists for attacks on shopping malls in the West, including Minnesota's giant Mall of America.

In an interview on CNN's State of the Union program, Johnson said a video released by the Somali-based group al-Shabab "reflects [a] new phase" in which terrorist networks publicly call "for independent actors in their homelands to carry out attacks.

A U.S. Congressional delegation led by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy is in Cuba to discuss greater cooperation after President Obama embarked on a historic thawing of relations between the two countries after a decades-long chill.

SpaceX has successfully launched another resupply mission to the International Space Station months after a competitor in the private space-launch business suffered a catastrophic lift-off that resulted in the unmanned rocket's destruction.

In what could prove a sneak peek at the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a strong critic of President Obama's decision to open relations with Cuba, appears to be stepping up an attack on fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul over his support of the policy shift.

NASA TV/AP

NASA's unmanned Orion spacecraft has successfully splashed down about 400 miles west of La Paz, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean after a liftoff, two orbits and reentry that lasted just under 4 1/2 hours.

Orion, which could one day take astronauts to Mars, made a "bullseye splashdown" at 11:29 a.m. ET, mission control said, after the spacecraft enduring a searing 4,000 degree Fahrenheit re-entry before being gently lowered to the ocean surface under four giant red-and-white parachutes.

Update at 9:35 a.m. ET

NASA's Orion spacecraft, which could one day send astronauts to Mars, is stuck on terra firma for at least another day after the space agency's mission control was unable to satisfactorily resolve a number of issues before a 9:45 a.m. ET launch window closed.

Black Friday shopping at brick-and-mortar stores in the United States was down about 7 percent from a year ago, according to ShopperTrak, but more purchases on Thanksgiving Day nearly made up the difference. Meanwhile, online retailers recorded double-digit year-on-year increases in sales.

ShopperTrak says Friday store sales hit $9.1 billion, but that shoppers spent $3.2 billion on Thanksgiving — a 24 percent increase for sales on that day from over last year. Overall, it represented a 0.5 percent drop from last year.

Police in Ferguson, Mo., arrested 15 people overnight amid continued, though mostly peaceful, protests following a grand jury's decision earlier this week not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black youth Michael Brown.

Small protests were also held in Oakland, Calif., Seattle and Chicago.

Those arrested in Ferguson — all but one residing out-of-state — were charged with disturbing the peace.

If you missed the total eclipse of the moon in April, you might have another chance: On Wednesday morning, the second of four lunar eclipses this year and next will occur.

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

Associated Press

7/7: This post was updated at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The family of Tariq Abu Khdeir, the young man from Tampa reportedly beaten by Israeli police shortly after his cousin was kidnapped and killed, is scheduled to speak to reporters this afternoon. A press conference is scheduled for 4 p.m. today at the Tampa office of the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR Florida).

Atlanta-based SunTrust Mortgage Inc. has agreed to pay up to $320 million to resolve criminal allegations that it mishandled applications from homeowners seeking loan modifications under a federal program.

The deal with the Justice Department follows a similar settlement last month with SunTrust Mortgage over its mishandling of federally backed home loans.

John Ruthell Henry has received a lethal injection at Florida State Prison, becoming the third inmate to be put to death since the botched execution of an Oklahoma prisoner in April set off a flurry of legal challenges.

The Florida governor's office says Henry, 63, was pronounced dead at 7:43 p.m. ET after a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was turned down.

He was convicted of fatally stabbing his wife, Suzanne Henry, and her 5-year-old son in 1985.

You might call it the ultimate long shot — a group of space enthusiasts trying to re-establish contact with a wayward satellite launched in 1978. Figuratively speaking, it's been off the radar for decades.

No more.

"The initial contact was a tone followed by specific commands," project organizer Keith Cowing told NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce by email. "We learned a lot simply by being able to talk to it and get it to do things.

"May not sound like much but that was a huge unknown," he adds.

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