Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and producer who currently works on The Two Way, NPR's flagship news portal. In the past, he 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.

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

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, and editing and producing stories for'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.

A roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan killed five members of the U.S. Army Saturday, according to military officials. The International Security Assistance Force says an improvised explosive device was used in the attack.

Update at 5:15 p.m. EDT. Another Deadly Attack:

An Afghan National Army soldier "turned his weapon on coalition troops in the west, killing two in the most recent of so-called insider attacks, the AP reports. NPR has confirmed that both victims of that attack are American.

Our original post continues:

It's been 70 years since the letters of John Pryor were understood in their full meaning. That's because as a British prisoner of war in Nazi Germany, Pryor's letters home to his family also included intricate codes that were recently deciphered for the first time since the 1940s.

Pryor's letters served their purpose in World War II, as Britain's MI9 agents decoded the messages hidden within them — requests for supplies, notes about German activities — before sending them along to Pryor's family in Cornwall.

Firefighters in Southern California are welcoming the latest weather forecast, as lower temperatures and higher humidity could help them control the Camarillo Springs Fire. But the wildfire along the coast remains formidable: It has reportedly burned at least 43 square miles of land and property, nearly doubling in size Friday.

Update at 1 p.m. ET, May 1: Victims Identified:

A soccer referee who was reportedly punched in the face by a teenager during a game is in critical condition in a Utah hospital, four days after the incident.

After sustaining what seemed to be minor injuries, the 46-year-old official later lost consciousness — leading doctors to find "far more serious head injuries than thought," The Salt Lake City Tribune reports.

The Neskantaga First Nation is grappling with mental health and other issues in northern Ontario, Canada, where a high suicide rate prompted officials to declare a state of emergency earlier this month. With a population of about 400, the community has seen an average of about 10 suicide attempts a month in 2013, according to local officials.

NASA is calling it "The Rose." By any other name, it's a mammoth storm on Saturn's north pole. Its eye spans an estimated 1,250 miles — 20 times the size of an average hurricane's eye on Earth. Winds in the Saturn storm's eye wall are believed to be four times as fast.

The stunning image of the spinning vortex was given "false colors" to emphasize low clouds (in red) versus high clouds (in green). NASA estimates that the clouds at the outer edge are moving at up to 330 miles per hour.

Three popular pesticides will soon be illegal in the European Union, where officials hope the change helps restore populations of honey bees, vital to crop production, to healthy levels. The new ban will be enacted in December.

"I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22 billion ($28.8 billion) annually to European agriculture, are protected," said EU Health and Consumer Commissioner Tonio Borg.

Three climbers have halted their expedition on Mount Everest, after an argument with the Sherpas who were guiding them devolved into an alleged fistfight on the mountain.

The man accused of sending letters containing the poison ricin to President Obama and other officials made a brief appearance in an Oxford, Miss., federal court Monday morning. J. Everett Dutschke, 41, was arrested Saturday, several days after another Mississippi man, former suspect Paul Kevin Curtis, was released.

Dutschke is charged with possessing a biological weapon, identified as ricin, and attempting to use it as a weapon. If convicted, he could face a sentence of life in prison.

Excitement is building in the Netherlands a day before Crown Prince Willem-Alexander will be named king. Queen Beatrix will abdicate the throne Tuesday, and when the prince is sworn in, he'll become the first Dutch king in 122 years.

The transition will take place April 30, a national holiday known as Queen's Day — a busy holiday in any year in the Netherlands and especially popular in 2013. It will be renamed King's Day during the reign of Willem-Alexander, and moved to April 27, the new king's birthday.

Cellist Janos Starker has died at 88, ending a life and career that saw him renowned for his skills as a soloist, his prodigious work with orchestras, and his commitment to teaching. Starker was born in Budapest in 1924; his path to becoming an international star included surviving life in a Nazi labor camp.

Iraqi officials have suspended the right of 10 satellite TV channels to operate in the country, as media regulators say the stations' coverage of sectarian conflicts incites more violence.

"Most of the channels, including local stations such as 'Baghdad' and 'al-Sharqiya,' are pro-Sunni and often critical of the Shi'ite-led government," Reuters reports. "Al Jazeera is based in Qatar, a Sunni-ruled kingdom."

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev "vaguely discussed" jihad during a 2011 phone conversation with his mother, according to a U.S. official who described the recording to the Associated Press. The call, taped by a Russian government agency, reportedly did not include any mention of a plot inside the U.S.

Less than a week after mandatory furloughs began that idled as much as 10 percent of U.S. air traffic controllers, the Federal Aviation Administration has ended its furlough program. The move comes after Congress voted to let the FAA move money around in its budget — a quick response that came after several days of travel delays that were either caused by or worsened by the furloughs.

In a statement released Saturday, the FAA said that it is suspending furloughs for all its employees.

Faced with sharp financial losses stemming from the Boston Marathon bombing attack and the days of forced closure that followed, businesses in the affected Copley Square area can apply for federal help, the Small Business Administration announced Friday.

The news comes as people continue to flock to Boylston Street, to pay their respects to victims of the April 15 attacks and to support stores and restaurants that were open for the first Saturday since the bombings and the ensuing manhunt.

Sectarian tensions are fueling violence and protests in Iraq, where more than 170 people have been killed since Tuesday, when government forces clashed with Sunni Muslim protesters at a demonstration camp in Hawija, near Kirkuk.

That incident left at least 23 dead, outraged Iraq's Sunni minority, and stoked fears among some Iraqis that their country is heading for a new civil war. Several deadly attacks have been staged on Iraqi soldiers and police this week.

Federal agents who are investigating poison-laced letters that were sent to President Obama and others have arrested Everett Dutschke, of Tupelo, Miss. The Daily Journal of Tupelo reports that the arrest occurred around 1 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to the president, letters containing the poison ricin were sent to Sen. Roger Wicker and a Mississippi state judge.

Update at 11:55 a.m. ET. Charges Filed, Court Date Set

The bidding hasn't closed yet, but a charity auction of a cup of coffee shared with Apple CEO Tim Cook has already attracted offers of more than $600,000 — more than 10 times its estimated value of $50,000. Cook is one of several celebrities taking part in the auction, which benefits the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

The coffee klatch, currently valued at $605,000, will take place at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. And the price may rise even higher — the auction closes on Tues., May 14.

The number of people who died in a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last week now stands at 15, officials said Tuesday. Some earlier reports had indicated that 14 people had lost their lives. At least 200 more were injured.

In Waco, TV station KXXV says that officials believe they have found all the victims, quoting Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek saying "No more victims. Everything is searched," in a news conference today.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye Monday, part of a visit to build business ties and boost nuclear energy plans. But it was the handshake they shared that created the biggest stir in Korean society, after Gates greeted Park with a smile — and his left hand jammed into his pants pocket.

A federal court has approved a settlement agreement between the Department of Justice and Anheuser-Busch InBev that will allow the mammoth beer company to complete its purchase of Grupo Modelo, a Mexico-based brewer that produces Corona, Pacifico and other beers.

The deal, which requires AB InBev to sell all of Modelo's U.S. business, clears the way for the $20.1 billion acquisition of the remaining portion of Modelo that AB InBev did not yet own. Terms of the deal were announced Friday.

FIFA's efforts to rehabilitate its tarnished public image were dealt twin setbacks Monday when the international soccer federation's Twitter account was hacked and used to send messages joking about corruption. And a member of its reform committee quit, saying they were making no progress.

Update at 3:20 p.m. ET. FIFA Executive Resigns:

Paraguay's Nicolas Leoz resigned from FIFA's executive committee Tuesday, the same week an extensive report on bribery from the group's ethics investigator is to be released.

A 6-year-old boy's day off from school Friday left him with a vivid story to tell his classmates, after he was seized — and eventually released — by an alligator in South Florida. The attack occurred at a wildlife refuge near Boynton Beach, Fla., where Joseph Welch had taken his son, Joey, for a canoe ride.

As Welch, a native of Rhode Island who now lives in Pompano Beach, says in a Morning Edition interview airing Tuesday, his idea had been to do "something new and different."

Canadian authorities have disrupted an alleged plot that targeted a passenger train line running between New York and Toronto, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced Monday. The plan involved derailing a train, but police officials would give few details about the plot at a news conference this afternoon.

But they did say they believe the suspects received support or help from al-Qaida.

Many airline passengers saw only moderate flight delays stemming from the first full day of furloughs for nearly 15,000 flight controllers and other Federal Aviation Administration workers, as industry analysts' worst fears did not materialize. But the reduced staffing was blamed for some slowdowns, and observers say it also increased the length of unrelated delays.

We'll be keeping an eye on possible delays today, and updating this post with new information.

Update at 6:45 p.m. ET. Delays Build, Tied To Weather And Furloughs:

The Antares rocket launch is back on for 5 p.m. ET Sunday afternoon, as engineers and spectators look for the rocket to lift off from a launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. A check of all systems at 10 minutes before its launch was positive.

Update at 5:20 p.m. ET. Mission Called A Success:

Towns in Missouri, central Illinois and at least four other Midwestern states are under a flood warning, as heavy spring rains swell the Mississippi and other rivers to dangerously high crests. In some areas, rivers have already hit record flood levels.

In places where residents have been forced to evacuate their homes, the American Red Cross has set up shelters at schools and other facilities.

Hundreds of Boston-area residents gathered Sunday to pray, to sing and to remember the victims of bombs and other violence in the city this week.

Six churches organized an interfaith service near the intersection of Boylston and Berkeley streets, close to the cordoned-off area where investigators are examining the crime scene created when two bombs tragically altered the finish of the 2013 Boston Marathon.