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.

Not since the World War II era has Wisconsin vied for the NCAA's top men's basketball championship. They'll do it tonight against Duke, in a game that pits two balanced teams — and two talented big men — against each other.

For Wisconsin, a win will bring its first title since 1941. Perennial power Duke last won it all in 2010. Tipoff at 9:18 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on CBS or at the NCAA website.

Aid shipments are being planned for Yemen, after the International Committee of the Red Cross negotiated safe passage with Saudi Arabia, which has been bombing Houthi rebels. Help could arrive Monday.

When they arrive, medical teams and rescue workers will try to help those caught in the fighting that has intensified in the past two weeks. Three Yemen Red Crescent volunteers have died in the past week while trying help, the group says.

A pause in the fighting would also allow civilians to venture out for crucial supplies — and to hold funerals.

Sarah Thomas has officiated football games in the NCAA and for the NFL's preseason and training camps. For the 2015 NFL season, she'll reportedly be a full-time official.

The news was broken this morning by Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson, who called it "a ground-breaking move." Thomas, 42, is a Mississippi native who has been widely regarded as a contender for a regular NFL contract.

A sinkhole opened up on Dame Street in Dublin this week, and an Irish historian says a storied tunnel that allowed politicians to visit brothels in the 19th century could be to blame. The hole was measured at 6 feet deep and 2 feet wide.

One day after four gunmen killed at least 147 people in an attack on a university campus in Kenya, police are hunting terrorism suspects, and students are debating whether to return to Garissa University College. A teachers union says the school should shut down.

Citing data from the flight recorder of crashed Germanwings Flight 9525, officials say that the co-pilot accelerated several times as the airliner made its fatal descent with 150 people on board last week.

France's aviation safety agency says the plane's newly recovered data recorder shows the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, set the aircraft's autopilot to put it on a course and altitude that would crash it into a mountainside in the French Alps. He dialed the plane's altitude down to 100 feet, the lowest setting.

Dubai took on a Mars-like glow Thursday, after a major sandstorm descended upon the city in the United Arab Emirates. Conditions forced airlines to delay or cancel flights in Dubai after the sandstorm arrived from Saudi Arabia early in the morning.

For a sense of the scale of the sandstorm's impact, consider that Dubai is a city of more than 2 million people. Earlier this year, Dubai International Airport was named the busiest in the world, supplanting London's Heathrow.

Islam is growing more rapidly than any other religion in the world, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center that says the religion will nearly equal Christianity by 2050 before eclipsing it around 2070, if current trends continue.

"The main reason Muslims are growing not only in number but in share worldwide is because of where they live," Alan Cooperman, Pew's director of religion research, tells NPR's Tom Gjelten. "Muslim populations are concentrated in some of the fastest-growing parts of the world."

Less than three months after the U.S. announced it will ease travel to Cuba, home rental site Airbnb is listing properties in the island nation. The average price for a room or home in Havana is currently $43. The company says it's starting out with more than 1,000 listings.

A look at the offerings Thursday morning found everything from "beautiful colonial rooms for rent in the heart of Havana" for $27 a night to a "a holiday sanctuary" chalet on the outskirts of Havana that can accommodate 10 guests for $1,000. It includes a pool.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

Yemen's Houthi fighters and their allies seized a central area of Aden, capturing the presidential palace on a hilltop of the southern port city. The Shiite rebels took the area despite an eight-day air campaign by a Saudi-led coalition to stem the Houthis' advance.

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