Merrit Kennedy

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.

Kennedy 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 ousting 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.

The International Olympic Committee has announced that it will not impose a blanket ban on the entire Russian team from the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro despite evidence of state-sponsored doping.

Instead, it has called on sports federations to carry out assessments on individual athletes to determine whether they can compete.

The decision is an attempt to balance "the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a teleconference with reporters on Sunday.

Twitter has permanently suspended conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos, saying that he subjected other users to targeted abuse. Yiannopoulos' suspension comes amid a recent campaign aimed at Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones in which users tweeted hundreds of racist and abusive messages. [linked site contains offensive material]

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

Theranos was poised to revolutionize the blood testing industry by using only a few drops of blood in inexpensive tests. But now, federal regulators say they will bar the company's dynamic founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes from owning or operating a lab for at least two years.

"Last year the government began to scrutinize the company after experts found that the results of the blood tests were inaccurate," as NPR's Laura Sydell told our Newscast unit.

U.K. voters have decided to leave the European Union — a result that's left many Brits reeling, especially young people.

Social media is flooded with expressions of shock and rage as the country begins to digest what the monumental decision will mean for its economy and its future.

After 71 hours and 8 minutes of flight time crossing the Atlantic, Solar Impulse 2 has touched down in Seville, Spain. It's a major step toward the team's goal of circumnavigating the globe using only the sun's power.

The end of this leg means they've now completed 90 percent of that journey.

As The Two-Way has reported, the single-seater plane took off from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport early Monday with pilot Bertrand Piccard at the controls.

A gunman opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday morning, killing at least 50 people in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history before being shot dead by police.

The suspected shooter has been identified by authorities as Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen who had previously been interviewed by the FBI over possible ties to a terrorist. Officials told NPR that Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS in a 911 call before the attack.

A new type of airport security screening lane is being tested in Atlanta, and "initial results show dramatic improvements," according to the head of the Transportation Security Administration.

The idea: a drone taxi that can transport a single passenger for up to 23 minutes.

For years, the Chinese government has been widely suspected of hiring thousands of paid commenters using fabricated accounts to argue in favor of the government on social media sites.

This presumed army of trolls is dubbed the "50 Cent Party," because of the rumored rate of pay per post – 50 cents in Chinese Yuan, or about $0.08.

Solar Impulse 2, the experimental plane attempting to circumnavigate the world using only the sun's power, has taken off from Tulsa on the latest leg of its journey.

The team says the flight to Dayton, Ohio — the 12th stage of the journey around the globe — is expected to take 18 hours, landing at approximately 11p.m. local time.

They're aiming to promote clean energy. "We have built an experimental aircraft that we use to explore not only altitudes, but also unknown territories within the realm of clean technology and creative team building," the team has said.

The SWIFT messaging network is used by banks to transmit instructions for money transfers around the world.

But hackers utilized the network to steal $81 million from Bangladesh's central bank in February. Now, SWIFT (an acronym for Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) says a second bank was attacked.

The rules of cricket are famously, almost comically, complicated.

Beyoncé has surprised the world yet again.

In case you missed it, she dropped her sixth studio album during her HBO special "Lemonade." Ahead of the release, she had released this cryptic trailer with such lines as, "The past and the present merge to meet us here / Why can't you see me?"

A solar-powered plane called the Solar Impulse 2 is preparing to resume its flight around the world after nine months on the ground for repairs.

The team's goal: to be the first plane to circumnavigate the globe using only solar power.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel tells our Newscast unit that the plane is getting ready for liftoff in Hawaii. Here's more from Geoff:

A court in central China has ruled against a gay couple seeking to register for marriage. It's the first time a Chinese court has addressed the issue of same-sex marriage.

The lawsuit against authorities in the city of Changsha, Hunan province, was filed after they said Sun Wenlin, whose age has been put at 26 or 27, could not register to marry his 36-year old partner, Hu Mingliang. In January, a district court unexpectedly accepted the case.

Blisters are the bane of weekend hikers and Olympic marathoners alike. Stanford researchers say they've found a simple, cheap method to help prevent them.

That humble hero is paper surgical tape, which often costs less than a dollar and is sold at most any pharmacy.

Their study, published Monday in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, found that the paper tape reduced the instance of blisters by 40 percent.

A Virginia State trooper who was shot multiple times at a Greyhound bus station in Richmond, Va., Thursday has died from his injuries, according to Virginia State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, facing mounting pressure from corporations with interests in his state, said Monday that he will veto a controversial "religious liberties" bill.

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted seven Iranians with intelligence links over a series of crippling cyberattacks against 46 U.S. financial institutions between 2011 and 2013.

The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, also accuses one of the Iranians of remotely accessing the control system of a small dam in Rye, N.Y, during the same period.

Malik I. Taylor, the rapper known as Phife Dawg who was a founding member of the seminal group A Tribe Called Quest, died Tuesday at the age of 45.

His family said in a statement that Phife died as a result of complications from diabetes.

NPR's Andrew Limbong tells our Newscast unit that Phife, who was one of two main vocalists for A Tribe Called Quest, brought a lot of humor to the group.

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear Samsung's appeal of a Federal Circuit Court ruling in the company's patent infringement dispute with Apple.

At issue in the case: What portion of the profits is a design-patent infringer liable to pay?

Apple accuses the South Korean tech giant of copying patented aspects of the iPhone's design, such as the round-cornered front face and the colorful icon grid.

Former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan testified in his invasion of privacy suit in St. Petersburg, Fla., against the media organization Gawker, which published a portion of a sex tape.

The case raises major questions about freedom of expression, privacy and celebrity. That being said — "it really couldn't be seedier in terms of the topic that provoked this suit," as NPR's David Folkenflik told Here and Now.

When astronaut Scott Kelly's space capsule touched down in Kazakhstan, it was a familiar scene to Mark Kelly, who is a retired astronaut and Scott's identical twin.

NASA is conducting a "twin study" on the brothers to explore what spaceflight does to the body. Multiple universities are involved in the research.

Removing any doubt about whether you're allowed to puff away on an electronic cigarette while airborne, the Department of Transportation has explicitly banned vaping on commercial flights.

Havana will meet the Rolling Stones later this month.

The band has announced they'll play a free open-air concert in the Cuban capital on March 25.

That will make them "the most famous act to play Cuba since its 1959 revolution," the Associated Press reports.

Clear Channel Outdoor — one of the largest outdoor advertising companies in the U.S. — is starting a new program called Radar that will use billboards to map real-world habits and behaviors from nearby consumers.

The technology is sure to help advertisers better target their ads. But privacy advocates argue that it's, well, a little creepy.

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