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.

A federal judge has vacated the Trump administration's rule that would have forced hundreds of thousands of Americans off food stamps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's rule change was capricious and arbitrary, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said.

The USDA rule "radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice," Howell said in her ruling, adding that it would have "exponentially" increased food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans and imposed significant costs on states.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

United Airlines and American Airlines have sent furlough notices to a total of more than 32,000 employees, saying they can't afford to have them on payroll after Thursday – the expiration date for the federal CARES Act Payroll Support Program.

"To our departing 13,000 family members: thank you for your dedication and we look forward to welcoming you back," United said in a message sent to employees Wednesday night that it also shared with NPR.

Updated at 2:41 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is banning Americans from downloading popular video-sharing app TikTok and limiting the use of WeChat because of national security concerns, the Commerce Department announced on Friday.

As of midnight on Sunday, TikTok will also not be able to receive system updates, which could affect its functionality, including slowing down the app, but the app's current version will still work for American users. Over time, however, TikTok may stop working altogether.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he and other staff will take an unpaid furlough week, part of an effort to respond to billions of dollars in lost revenue and to show solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic shutdowns.

Updated at 11:17 p.m. ET

Hurricane Sally brought 100-mph winds and the threat of historic flooding to southeastern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle on Wednesday after making landfall as a Category 2 storm. Some isolated areas in its path could see nearly 3 feet of rain.

Updated at 10:27 p.m. ET

Hurricane Sally will likely make landfall on Tuesday or Tuesday night with sustained winds of at least 110 mph, making it a strong and dangerous Category 2 storm, the National Hurricane Center said.

Some coastal areas in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama are already seeing floods from the slow-moving storm, with Sally meandering over the north-central Gulf of Mexico. Its forward speed will slow even further as it heads northwest and finally north toward landfall.

Hurricane Laura has caused at least four deaths in Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards says. All of the deaths reported due to the Category 4 storm were caused by its powerful winds.

"All were related to trees falling on residences, which is in line with this being a major wind event," Edwards said in a news conference at 2 p.m. ET. He added that other deaths may be discovered as emergency crews perform rescue and recovery operations.

Updated at 10:24 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Laura is "rapidly intensifying" and will make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday as a major hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of Wednesday morning, Laura is a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of at least 115 mph. Forecasters predict a storm surge from 9 to 14 feet when it strikes near the Louisiana-Texas border.

Michigan has reached a $600 million agreement to compensate Flint residents for the state's role in failing to protect them from lead-tainted water, the state's attorney general says.

The deal "puts the needs of Flint's children first," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's office said in an announcement Thursday. A summary of the settlement shows that nearly 80% of the money would go to resolve claims filed on behalf of minors and children.

Dr. Anthony Fauci underwent surgery to remove a polyp from one of his vocal cords Thursday, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the agency Fauci has led for decades. The surgery was an outpatient procedure.

"He's now home and resting," an NIAID spokesperson tells NPR. "Expect him to be completely resting his voice at least through the weekend."

When Washington, D.C., resident Rahul Dubey realized dozens of protesters were facing pepper spray and arrest for violating curfew Monday night, he did what he says anyone else would do: He invited about 70 people into his home, to spend the night.

The protesters had been herded into Swann Street near Dupont Circle as police forces around the city used helicopters and flash-bang munitions in a crackdown on anyone violating the 7 p.m. curfew.

Catholics cannot tolerate racism and also "claim to defend the sacredness of every human life," Pope Francis says, commenting on the upheaval that has followed the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The pope is urging the U.S. to reach a national reconciliation, after days of protests and violence.

"My friends, we cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form and yet claim to defend the sacredness of every human life," the pope said on Wednesday.

The first U.S. death known to be from COVID-19 occurred on Feb. 6 — nearly three weeks before deaths in Washington state that had been believed to be the country's first from the coronavirus, according to officials in Santa Clara County, Calif. The person died at home and at a time when testing in the U.S. was tightly limited not only by capacity but by federal criteria.

Italy is seeing signs of progress in its fight against COVID-19, as health officials report a drop in active coronavirus cases for the first time since February. The decrease was small — a difference of just 20 cases — but it accompanied the lowest number of new coronavirus cases in more than a month.

The total number of people reported to have contracted the virus as of late Monday was 181,228, Italy's Civil Protection Agency said. Of that number, 108,237 people were still testing positive — 20 fewer than the day before.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee will not hold its popular finals event this year, calling off a showdown of the country's best young spellers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's the first time the spelling bee has been canceled since World War II.

The finals had originally been scheduled to be held in Maryland in late May, but organizers postponed the event last month, saying they hoped to reschedule the showcase event for later this year.

Shake Shack is returning a $10 million federal loan after the Paycheck Protection Program that was meant to help small businesses ran out of money in less than two weeks of operation. The burger chain and other large businesses were able to get the money because the program covers any company with fewer than 500 workers in a single location.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

A large nursing facility in New Jersey is emerging as a symbol of how nursing homes are being overwhelmed by COVID-19, after an anonymous tip led to the discovery of 17 dead people at the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center I and II long-term care facility.

Families who lost loved ones say they received form letters telling them their loved ones were sick – and in at least one case, the letter arrived after the patient died.

The Christ the Redeemer statue towered over Rio de Janeiro in a doctor's white coat on Easter Sunday, as a tribute to health care workers who put themselves at risk every day to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic. The striking scene included messages of thanks in many languages, along with images of nurses and doctors smiling in protective gear.

Updated at 11:03 a.m. ET

The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a terrible toll on the world's economy, with full or partial lockdown measures now affecting the livelihood of almost 2.7 billion people — more than 4 out of 5 workers in the global workforce of 3.3 billion, according to the International Labour Organization.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is extending a national no-work order through the end of April, hoping to clamp down on the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia reported a spike of 771 new coronavirus patients on Thursday, sharpening a dreaded upward curve in cases.

Russia has now confirmed more than 3,500 coronavirus cases, and 30 people have died from COVID-19. Moscow and St. Petersburg have been hot spots for the respiratory disease, officials say.

The U.S. Coast Guard is telling foreign-flagged cruise ships to be prepared to care for people with COVID-19 for an "indefinite period of time" at sea or to seek help from countries other than the U.S., citing a health care system that is being overwhelmed. The instructions are in a new safety bulletin that took effect this week along the southern Atlantic coast, including Florida – which is reporting more than 6,700 coronavirus cases, as of Tuesday evening.

Around 70 people in their 20s are under investigation in Austin, Texas, for possible infection with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 after they chartered a plane for a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, last month. At least 28 of the passengers from that flight have tested positive for the coronavirus, with dozens more tests pending.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

Eleven veterans have died at a soldiers' home in Holyoke, Mass., where a COVID-19 outbreak is now threatening even more residents and staff. At least five of the people who died have tested positive for COVID-19; other tests are still pending in the case, which Gov. Charlie Baker calls "a shuddering loss for us all."

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo says he has tested positive for the coronavirus and is currently isolating himself in his family's basement. The brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he has experienced COVID-19 symptoms, including "fever, chills and shortness of breath."

"I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath," Cuomo said in tweet Tuesday.

The Summer Olympics that had been scheduled to begin in Tokyo this July will instead take place almost exactly one year later, the International Olympic Committee says. The games were postponed last week due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be celebrated from 23 July to 8 August 2021," the IOC said Monday. It added that the Paralympic Games will follow, running from Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.

The USNS Comfort, one of the Navy's hospital ships that has often been called on to deliver humanitarian aid, has arrived in New York City to help ease the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ship entered New York Harbor on Monday morning, passing the Statue of Liberty on its way to Pier 88 in Manhattan.

The Sheetz convenience store chain is giving hourly pay raises of $3 to roughly 17,000 workers in its stores, the company announced Wednesday in response to the coronavirus crisis. It's one of the most aggressive moves yet by companies that are boosting pay to retain, attract and motivate employees.

The widescale raise is retroactive to March 13 and will be in effect through April 23.

The rate of new coronavirus cases in New York is "doubling about every three days" and is speeding up even more, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday. "That is a dramatic increase in the rate of infection."

The new estimates are "troubling and astronomical numbers," the governor said. He added that the apex of the curve of rising coronavirus cases in New York is still 14 to 21 days away, according to the latest projections. The governor also said New York is in urgent need of ventilators and other vital resources.

Prince Charles has tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and is now in isolation, according to a statement issued by Clarence House, the prince's royal residence in London. The prince and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, 72, are currently living at Balmoral Castle, the royal family's estate in Scotland.

"The statement said the 71-year-old prince of Wales is displaying mild symptoms but 'remains in good health,' " NPR's Frank Langfitt reports from London. He adds that Camilla, 72, has tested negative for the virus.

Updated at 6:13 p.m. ET

The Tokyo Summer Olympics will not begin in late July and instead will be held "by the summer of 2021," Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Tuesday. The delay comes after an increasing number of athletes and sporting federations called for the games to be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is the first time an Olympics has been postponed, though the games were canceled three times, because of World War I and World War II.

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