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.

Alexei Navalny has been in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator since last week, but the Charité hospital in Berlin says the Russian opposition figure's condition is stable and his life is not in danger.

"While his condition remains serious, there is no immediate danger to his life," the hospital said in a statement released Friday.

"There has been some improvement" in Navalny's condition, it added.

Emergency crews, utility workers and residents are mourning over the damage and cleaning up the mess Hurricane Laura made in southwest Louisiana. The storm — whose 150-mph winds tie for the strongest to ever hit the state — wrought destruction on a broad scale, leveling warehouses and crashing trees through roofs.

Residents are finding telephone poles and large trees strewn across streets. In Iowa, a small town a few miles east of Lake Charles on Interstate 10, the hurricane smashed Fire Station No. 1.

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.

The Confederate statue bore the words "The South's Defenders." But when Hurricane Laura walloped Lake Charles, La., on Thursday, the controversial statue was toppled by one of the strongest storms ever to hit Louisiana.

Protesters had asked the parish to remove the prominent memorial this summer, only to be turned away — prompting talk of an economic boycott. Then came the hurricane.

Laura is now a tropical storm, bringing sustained winds of up to 65 mph to the area just south of Louisiana's border with Arkansas. But forecasters warn that the storm remains a dire threat, due to flood-inducing rainfall and other perils.

The former hurricane is now moving north at 15 mph – maintaining the same motion it has taken for much of Thursday, since making landfall in southwest Louisiana with intense winds and a large storm surge.

About 600,000 electrical customers are currently out of power, Gov. John Bel Edwards said in an update at 2 p.m. ET.

Hurricane Laura is diminishing – but it still has sustained winds of at least 100 mph, and it will remain a hurricane "near Shreveport, almost into Arkansas," National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said in an update Thursday morning.

"Even if you're well inland, you could still see some of these impacts because it can knock down the trees. You can see flash flooding and power outages throughout Louisiana, East Texas and even into Arkansas," Graham said.

Hurricane Laura is destroying buildings, sparking flash floods and bringing a "catastrophic" storm surge to southwestern Louisiana on Thursday morning, remaining a fearsome hurricane more than seven hours after making landfall.

Laura rapidly intensified into an extremely dangerous storm as it neared land, with the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters spinning its maximum sustained winds up to at least 150 mph.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is asking state legislators to legalize recreational marijuana, saying the government could use the tax revenue to support small businesses and to fund restorative justice programs.

The governor's call to legalize the sale and use of marijuana is part of a broader plan that Wolf says will help Pennsylvania's economy, which is suffering from months of shutdowns and slowdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Alexei Navalny, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics, was poisoned by an unknown substance from a group of drugs that affect the nervous system, according to the German hospital that is treating the Russian opposition leader.

The drug is a cholinesterase inhibitor, meaning it disrupts the body's ability to break down acetylcholine — an important neurotransmitter in the brain and body.

Navalny remains in a medically induced coma in intensive care.

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

Tropical Storm Marco has made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River but it is Tropical Storm Laura that has Louisiana and Texas residents bracing for what could be the strongest storm since 2005's Hurricane Rita — still ranked as the most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Updated on Aug. 23 at 4:30 a.m. ET

Two tropical systems — Marco and Laura — are heading toward the Gulf of Mexico, and both are expected to become hurricanes before they near the U.S. mainland early next week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The current forecast sees both storms hitting the near Louisiana, with Marco arriving on Monday and Laura on Wednesday.

Updated Saturday at 10:16 a.m. ET

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in a coma from an apparent poisoning, has been flown to Berlin where doctors are now attending to him.

"The plane with Alexei flew to Berlin," his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, said in a tweet late Friday. "Many thanks to everyone for their support. The struggle for Alexei's life and health is just beginning, and there is still a lot to go through, but now at least the first step has been taken."

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."

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.

Updated at 3:07 p.m. ET

Alexei Navalny, Russia's most outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, is fighting for his life in a hospital, and his spokeswoman says she believes Navalny was poisoned as he was flying from Siberia back to Moscow.

Navalny is unconscious and on a ventilator, spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh, who had been traveling with the opposition leader, said via Twitter.

The graph of Spain's daily coronavirus case count is taking on an emphatic U-shape, with 3,715 new infections in the past 24 hours – joining Germany and France on Wednesday in reporting the most cases since lockdowns helped Europe quash an initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic months ago.

France reported 3,776 cases in the past 24 hours, its health ministry reported.

The idea of using a public bathroom with see-through walls may sound like the stuff of nightmares. But a famous Japanese architect is hoping to change that view, using vibrant colors and new technology to make restrooms in Tokyo parks more inviting.

"There are two things we worry about when entering a public restroom, especially those located at a park," according to architect Shigeru Ban's firm. "The first is cleanliness, and the second is whether anyone is inside."

Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita went on state television to announce his resignation after soldiers carried out a mutiny Tuesday. Soldiers reportedly detained Keita after surrounding his residence.

Demonstrators had taken to the streets, tired of corruption and of a government that seemed unable to tamp down an Islamist insurgency in the West African country.

In the morning, soldiers took over a huge army base outside the capital, Bamako. By afternoon, local news reported the soldiers had arrested Keita.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says President Trump's claim that New Zealand now has a "big surge" in coronavirus cases is "patently wrong," adding that the two countries are not comparable in how they handle the pandemic.

"We are still one of the best-performing countries in the world when it comes to COVID," Ardern said on Tuesday. "Our workers are focused on keeping it that way."

Updated 5:10 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is pushing ahead with plans to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The first leases to drill for oil and gas in the area could be sold by the end of 2020, Interior Department Secretary David Bernhardt said as his agency formally announced its leasing program on Monday.

The temperature at Death Valley National Park hit a scorching 130 degrees on Sunday, marking what could be the hottest temperature on Earth since at least 1913, the National Weather Service says. Any visitors to the park are getting blunt advice: "Travel prepared to survive."

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.

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