Merrit Kennedy | KNKX

Merrit Kennedy

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for The Two-Way, NPR's breaking news blog. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.

Merrit joined NPR in Washington, D.C., in December 2015, after seven years living and working in Egypt. She started her journalism career at the beginning of the Egyptian uprising in 2011 and chronicled the ouster of two presidents, eight rounds of elections and numerous major outbreaks of violence for NPR and other news outlets. She has also worked as a reporter and television producer in Cairo for The Associated Press, covering Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Sudan.

She grew up in Los Angeles, the Middle East and places in between, and holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from Stanford University and a master's degree in international human rights law from The American University in Cairo.

Updated at 1 a.m. ET on Wednesday

CNN has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration after the White House suspended CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials.

"This is my very first day at Xinhua News Agency," says a sharply dressed artificial intelligence news anchor. "I look forward to bringing you the brand new news experiences."

A team of researchers peered inside bumblebee colonies and spied on insects individually labelled with a tiny tag to figure out exactly how exposure to a common insecticide changes their behavior in the nest.

Girl Scouts of the USA wants to take Boy Scouts of America to court. The organization has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Boy Scouts of trademark infringement.

This started last October, when the Boy Scouts said it would start allowing girls to join its programs.

For a whopping 57 miles, a runaway train loaded with iron ore hurtled down tracks in Western Australia with nobody on board.

The train was eventually deliberately derailed, creating a dramatic crash scene with huge lengths of crumpled, twisted metal on the bright orange desert sand next to the train track.

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the man accused of having run the world's largest drug trafficking organization, is about to see his day in a U.S. court. Jury selection began Monday in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor said Thursday that the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their consulate in Istanbul was premeditated, reversing course yet again on the Saudi account of what happened.

Updated at 9:38 p.m. ET

At least seven suspicious packages containing what the FBI called potentially destructive devices have been sent since Monday to several leading Democratic Party figures and to CNN in New York, triggering a massive investigation.

An iceberg recently spotted by NASA scientists looks like it was carefully cut into a perfect rectangle, and it's getting a lot of attention because of those unexpected angles and straight lines.

It looks nothing like the craggy, uneven mass that sank the Titanic, perhaps the most famous iceberg ever.

A German court has sentenced a man to 12 1/2 years in prison on charges of attempted murder and attempted extortion for poisoning jars of baby food and leaving them on store shelves.

According to local media, the 54-year-old man was sentenced Monday at a state court in Ravensburg, located in southern Germany, over the scheme he confessed to last year.

Hold on to your hats: A sea cucumber that looks like a headless chicken has been caught on video in the deep seas near East Antarctica.

It's a surprising location for the species, Enypniastes eximia, to turn up. The last place it was filmed was thousands of miles away in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

Updated at 9:13 p.m. ET.

Newly released surveillance footage shows a man apparently wearing the same clothes Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was wearing the day he disappeared after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul. A Turkish ruling party official called the footage evidence of a Saudi cover-up, while another official described the man seen in the video as a "body double."

Editor's note: This story describes graphic allegations of sexual abuse.

The University of Southern California says it has reached a tentative class action settlement agreement worth $215 million over allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by a gynecologist who used to work at its student health center.

Approximately 500 current and former students have accused gynecologist George Tyndall of misconduct, according to The Associated Press.

The Washington Post has published the last column Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi wrote before he disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul.

"We held on to this column he filed the day before he entered the consulate in the hopes that we could edit it with him, as we normally did," Fred Hiatt, who runs the Post's Opinions section, told NPR.

After more than four years as the U.N. Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura is leaving his post. He says that in his final month, he'll make a major push to try to lay the groundwork for a new constitution in Syria.

De Mistura told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that he was departing for "purely personal reasons," and would wrap up the last week of November. He said that has always been his plan.

Still, he added: "A month can be a century in politics."

As U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May meets with EU leaders in Brussels, a deal for her country's imminent departure from the trade bloc appears far out of reach.

"We need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks," EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

May remained optimistic Wednesday, repeatedly saying that she thinks an agreement is possible. "I believe we can achieve a deal ... a deal is in the interest not just of the U.K. but also the European Union," she stated.

Updated at 5:22 p.m. ET

After Hurricane Michael slammed through the Florida panhandle and into Georgia last week, President Trump has surveyed damage and met with officials about recovery efforts.

At a briefing alongside Florida Gov. Rick Scott at Eglin Air Force Base, Trump praised the work of emergency responders and law enforcement.

"The job they've done in Florida has been incredible," he said, and described Scott as a leader who "steps up in the biggest emergencies, the biggest problems, and he gets it done."

Updated at 1:18 p.m. ET

To try to stave off the type of wildfires that have scorched California, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. warns it may pre-emptively turn off power for about 87,000 customers in 12 counties.

These areas are forecast to have weather conditions conducive to fires, including low humidity and gusty winds of up to 60 mph.

In the penguin habitat at an aquarium in Sydney, love is in the air.

The newest penguin couple here are named Sphen and Magic, and the two males are about to take the leap into parenthood.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

Roughly two years after Turkish authorities detained Andrew Brunson on suspicion of espionage, the U.S. pastor is a free man once more. Turkey ordered his release Friday, ending a case that heightened tensions between Turkey and the U.S.

The Washington Supreme Court has struck down the state's death penalty, saying that it is imposed arbitrarily and with racial bias.

"We are confident that the association between race and the death penalty is not attributed to random chance," the justices wrote in a majority opinion.

Indonesia is winding down its search and rescue operations, with thousands of people believed to be still missing after a devastating earthquake and tsunami struck last month on the island of Sulawesi.

The official death toll for the disasters stands at 2,073. But the national disaster agency says that the number of those still missing could be as high as 5,000, after the strength of the quake caused the ground to liquefy and swallow up buildings and people.

Search efforts had been set to end Thursday, but were extended to Friday.

Google plans to shutter its Google+ social network for consumers, citing its limited adoption with users. The tech giant announced the decision at the same time that it disclosed that the privacy of up to a half-million Google+ accounts could have been affected by a "bug."

The company says it discovered and patched the issue in March but decided not to disclose it immediately. It said it had no evidence that any third-party developer was aware of the bug or had misused profile data.

One of France's most notorious criminals, Rédoine Faïd, has been captured three months after he made an astonishing escape by helicopter from a French prison.

The repeat offender has fascinated the country, as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports, and is known there as the "jailbreak king." He's spoken about how his actions are inspired by Hollywood gangster movies like Scarface.

Faïd had been serving a 25-year-sentence for a botched armed robbery in 2010 that killed a policewoman. And, he had previously escaped from another prison in 2013, that time using explosives.

The bomb specialists suspected that an Oregon home was booby-trapped. As they entered the front door, they noticed what appeared to be a tripwire. Seconds later, a shot rang out, apparently from a booby-trapped wheelchair. And an FBI bomb special agent was hit in the leg.

The top U.N. court has dashed hopes for Bolivians longing for something they haven't had for more than a century: Access to the Pacific Ocean.

In a judgment on Monday, the International Court of Justice stated that it did not find that Bolivia's neighbor Chile has a legal obligation to enter into negotiations with Bolivia about access to the ocean. The vote on the decision was 12-3.

Three Orlando police officers shot dead an emergency room patient who they say was claiming to have a firearm. They later learned the man was unarmed.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters that officers responded to reports of an issue in the ER at Orlando Regional Medical Center at about 6 a.m. Monday.

The white male, who Mina said was approximately 35 years old, came to the hospital that morning for an unspecified medical issue.

Updated at 8:57 p.m. ET

Millions of years before the brontosaurus roamed the Earth, a massive relative was lumbering around South Africa.

Scientists think this early Jurassic dinosaur was, at the time, the largest land creature ever to have lived. And unlike the even bigger creatures that came later, they think it could pop up on its hind legs.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

Twenty-seven years after testifying that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her, Anita Hill says she believes the upcoming hearing on an alleged sexual assault by the current nominee "cannot be fair and thorough."

As it stands now, the hearing cannot provide the senators "with enough information to reach a reasonable conclusion," Hill tells NPR.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has lost a confidence vote, effectively forcing him out of his post and plunging Sweden's politics into uncertainty.

National elections earlier this month resulted in a hung parliament after a far-right party made significant gains. Now, the parliament's speaker will tap another leader to try to form a government, but the shape of any future alliance is far from clear.

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