Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a blogger and producer who currently works on The Two Way, NPR's flagship blog. In the past, he has coordinated digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, and edited 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.

Move over, hot cross buns — here come the hot KISS buns. They're spicy and black, and starting next week, a limited number will be sold in stores in Japan, marking the rock group's 40th anniversary world tour. The bun's official name: Spicy Chili Tomatoman.

The steamed bun's black exterior derives from bamboo charcoal. It has a bright red filling, consisting of tomato paste, onions — and very hot peppers. Its surface is branded with one of four icons associated with KISS members, such as a star symbol for Paul Stanley.

Thailand's attorney general filed criminal charges against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Thursday. The former leader, who was forced out of office last May, could be jailed for 10 years if she's found guilty.

From Chiang Rai, Thailand, Michael Sullivan reports for our Newscast unit:

"Yingluck was charged with negligence for her role in a badly bungled rice subsidy scheme that ended up costing the country billions. She denies any wrongdoing and insists the charges against her are politically motivated.

Trying to salvage a cease-fire that has not stopped the fighting in eastern Ukraine, the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia held a conference call Thursday in which they called for full implementation of the truce's terms.

Ukraine says that in the past 24 hours alone, 14 of its soldiers have died and 172 were injured.

With the bailout package that has kept Greece's economy afloat set to expire in just over a week, the country has formally asked Eurozone members for a six-month extension. Finance ministers will hold an emergency meeting Friday to consider the proposal.

The new request will face opposition, with Deutsche Welle reporting, "A spokesman for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble rejected the proposal saying it lacked substance."

Four months after he was brought back to an agency that was struggling to cope with a series of embarrassing missteps, Joseph Clancy was named the permanent director of the Secret Service on Wednesday.

Clancy has been the agency's acting head since the service's director, Julia Pierson, resigned in October. He is the former leader of the Secret Service's Presidential Protective Division.

The household spending of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become a political issue in Israel, where the attorney general is now considering whether to open an official inquiry over allegations of excessive spending and related crimes.

From Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris reports:

"Israel's comptroller general issued a report on the Netanyahus' household spending following complaints from members of parliament.

It started with frustration at Christmas, says Connor McLeod, 13. Blind since birth, he couldn't tell how much money he'd been given. So he started a petition — and now the Reserve Bank of Australia says it will create bank notes with tactile features to help visually impaired people tell the difference between denominations.

McLeod explains to Australia's ABC network what prompted him to act:

Prosecutors in Geneva conducted a search of HSBC bank's Swiss headquarters Wednesday, looking for signs of what they termed "aggravated money laundering." The bank, recently accused of helping wealthy clients hide money from tax collectors, says it is cooperating.

Part of a criminal probe, the raid comes a week after leaked documents showed that HSBC's Swiss unit had helped international clients launder profits and shelter their holdings from their home countries.

Seeking to spare civilians from deadly fighting, Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special envoy for the Syria crisis, says that he's gotten President Bashar al-Assad's government to promise that it won't carry out airstrikes or shelling on Aleppo — if the rebel opposition also halts its attacks in the city.

Following heavy shelling in what had been a Ukraine-controlled city, the central government's force is retreating from Debaltseve, a key railroad and transportation hub. Ukraine says it has now withdrawn 80 percent of its armed forces from the city.

"I can say now that the Ukrainian armed forces and the National Guard completed an operation on the planned and organized withdrawal of some units from Debaltseve this morning," Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said, according to the Interfax news agency in Ukraine.

After showing herself to be in the elite class of female runners at the Austin Marathon, Kenyan Hyvon Ngetich hit the wall — hard. She didn't win, despite leading for most of the day. But the way Ngetich finished the race is being celebrated, because she did it by crawling, refusing to quit.

The cold and snow that walloped Washington overnight didn't stop Ashton Carter from reporting for work Tuesday. Carter was sworn in as the 25th U.S. Secretary of Defense after starting his day with meetings at the Pentagon.

Sworn in by Vice President Biden at the White House Tuesday, Carter formally replaces Chuck Hagel, becoming President Obama's fourth defense chief in the past six years.

In what could be the end of a headline-grabbing trial, a prosecutor in France has asked that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, be acquitted of charges that he procured prostitutes for orgies.

The move comes after several prostitutes dropped their allegations against Strauss-Kahn, who had been charged with "aggravated pimping."

In Haiti, a celebration for Carnival became a source of sorrow and concern, after a crowded float came into contact with a power line during a parade early Tuesday. Conflicting reports on the number of people killed range from 16 to 20, with dozens more wounded.

Details about the accident are still coming in; we'll update this post as news emerges.

Update at 1:45 p.m. ET: Death Toll Lowered; Carnival Canceled

This Post Was Last Updated At 5:15 p.m. ET.

Two days before the first of President Obama's executive actions on immigration were to take effect, the new rules have been put on hold by a federal judge's ruling in South Texas. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen said the president overstepped his authority.

Gov. Tom Wolf has declared a moratorium on the death penalty in Pennsylvania, taking a stance that he had embraced during his successful campaign to unseat incumbent Tom Corbett. Wolf, a Democrat, was sworn in last month.

From Philadelphia, NPR's Jeff Brady reports:

The police chief in Madison, Ala., says that an officer who threw a man to the ground faces assault charges and dismissal. Sureshbhai Patel, 57, was stopped last week as he walked in his son's new neighborhood. Patel remains hospitalized after surgery to fuse bones in his neck; his son says he now has limited mobility.

"I found that Officer Eric Parker's actions did not meet the high standards and expectations of the Madison City Police Department," Chief of Police Larry Muncey said after an investigation. He added that he is recommending Parker be fired.

Two days before a cease-fire is set to take effect in eastern Ukraine, forces on both sides are fighting over strategic territory they hope to control after the peace begins. A truce between the government and Russian-backed separatists is set to begin Sunday.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

President Obama called cyberspace the "wild West" and that everyone is looking to the government to be the sheriff. But he said in his address to leaders in the tech industry, that private industry, policy makers and security experts had to do more to stop cyber attacks, the Associated Press reported.

"Growing up in America has been such a blessing," Yusor Abu-Salha said in a conversation with a former teacher that was recorded by the StoryCorps project last summer. She later added, "we're all one, one culture."

The recording gives us a new insight into Abu-Salha, 21, who was killed Tuesday along with her husband, Deah Barakat, 23, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, in Chapel Hill, N.C.

NPR will broadcast part of Yusor Abu-Salha's conversation with her former teacher on Friday's Morning Edition, as part of its StoryCorps series.

Citing violations of aviation safety rules, a court in South Korea has sentenced Cho Hyun-ah, former vice president of Korean Air, to one year in prison. Cho sparked an uproar after she demanded that the jet she was on return to an airport gate to leave behind a flight attendant.

The incident on the plane at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport immediately drew criticism from Koreans who saw the outburst by Cho, whose family controls Korean Air, as another sign of the entitlement enjoyed by the country's wealthy families.

It also inspired a nickname that stuck: "Nut Rage."

Decorated journalist Bob Simon, a correspondent for 60 Minutes known for his insightful reporting from far-flung spots around the world, has died in a car crash in New York City. He was 73.

Simon was a passenger in a town car on Manhattan's West Side on Wednesday evening when the car hit another vehicle and then crashed into a pedestrian median, according to local media citing police.

A new cease-fire is set to begin Sunday in eastern Ukraine, in a deal after 16 hours of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. The leaders of France and Germany helped broker the deal, which calls for a buffer zone free of heavy weapons. News of the temporary peace emerged along with a new international aid plan for Ukraine.

As has been the case in Ukraine's nearly yearlong conflict with separatists, the new arrangement established by Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko leaves some important issues unresolved.

Famous for his ever-present white towel and what seemed to be a perpetually worried expression, former college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian has died. He had been hospitalized in Las Vegas after fighting a string of ailments in the past year.

The coach's son, Danny Tarkanian, announced on Twitter Wednesday that his father had died.

Space, you may have heard, can be a cold and lonely place. But the NASA/ESA Hubble telescope has identified a particularly well-adjusted corner of space — or at least that's what a recent image suggests, with the help of an effect called an Einstein Ring.

In the Hubble image of galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849, two bright galaxies resemble eyes, NASA says, "and the misleading smile lines are actually arcs caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing."

(This post was last updated at 8:15 p.m. ET.)

Hundreds of people gathered on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to mourn the killing of three young Muslims.

Police have arrested Craig Stephen Hicks and charged him with first-degree murder in a crime that has sparked a heated debate over whether Hicks was fueled by hate against Muslims.

In a move that is sure to set off a new round of debate over how the U.S. should fight ISIS, the Obama administration has sent Congress a request for formal authorization to use military force against the extremist group.

Taping last night's show shortly before the news of his departure became public, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart faced an awkward task: telling a studio audience that he's leaving the show.

In the process, Stewart couldn't resist making fun of himself.

"Seventeen years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job," he said, "by 16 years and 5 months."

A bill that would let property owners shoot down a drone that's over their land has made its way out of a Senate committee in Oklahoma, setting up a potential vote on the matter.

It's unclear whether the legislation has a chance of passage; we're reporting on it here as another facet of the debate over how drones are integrated (and regulated) in modern society.

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