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.

Emmy-award winning writer and television producer Dinah Kirgo, one of six women accusing CBS chairman Les Moonves of harassment, told NPR that she is not trying to destroy Moonves as much as she is trying to change a culture that allows such misconduct.

"People think that we're trying to take these guys down, and that is, at least in my case, that is so not true," Kirgo said in an interview with All Things Considered. "It's about stopping this behavior."

Seventeen-year-old Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi has been released from Israeli prison after serving an eight-month sentence for slapping Israeli soldiers during a confrontation that went viral on the Internet. The teen has become a symbol of resistance for many Palestinians; for many Israelis, she's seen as a provocateur.

Tamini was greeted by jubilant crowds in her village of Nabi Saleh, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, as she smiled and embraced family members.

A California man has been taken into custody on suspicion of arson, as firefighters have contained just 5 percent of the blaze that started Wednesday in the Idyllwild area in Riverside County.

The Cranston Fire has destroyed five homes and forced some 3,200 people to evacuate. The fire spread very rapidly, expanding to 4,700 acres in just a few hours.

Nearly 700 personnel are fighting to gain control of the fire. All of Idyllwild, a quaint town surrounded by pine trees in the San Jacinto Mountains, is being evacuated.

New Zealand has passed a law that provides paid leave to survivors of domestic violence, making it one of the first countries to do so.

Employers must grant 10 days of paid leave to survivors of domestic violence to give them time to cope and potentially escape the abusive situation. This is similar to, but separate from, leave for illness or bereavement. The legislation passed 63 to 57 in New Zealand's Parliament.

Let's get the bad news out of the way first: You won't be able to see this Friday's epic lunar eclipse in person if you live in North America (aside from a very small portion of eastern Canada and parts of the eastern Caribbean).

But here's the good news: if you are almost anywhere else, you'll probably be able to see at least a portion of the event.

Prime viewing is in eastern and southern Africa, the Middle East, eastern Europe and south Asia, based on a NASA map.

Yosemite National Park's most popular destination is shuttering as of Wednesday, as a large wildfire continues to sweep through thousands of acres nearby.

The Ferguson Fire, stretching west of the park, has burned more than 38,500 acres and was just 25 percent contained as of Wednesday morning.

An FBI agent is facing trial on charges linked to a deadly incident in January 2016 during the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Jury selection begins Tuesday at a federal court in Portland.

Superstar U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte is again in hot water.

Two months ago, he posted a photo on social media of himself receiving an intravenous infusion. That caught the attention of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which launched an investigation.

Now, the six-time gold medalist has been suspended for 14 months. That clock started on May 24, the day he took the IV.

Mesut Ozil is widely viewed as one of the most talented players on the German national soccer team. But he says his days of playing for Germany, the country he was born in, are over.

In a lengthy statement posted on his Twitter account, the midfielder said he is quitting due to racism that flared up most dramatically after he posed for a photo in May with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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There is is a major deadline coming up this week for the Trump administration. A federal judge has ordered it to reunite the migrant children separated from their families by Thursday. NPR's Merrit Kennedy checks in on the government's progress.

Each spring, barnacle geese migrate more than 1,800 miles from the Netherlands and northern Germany to their breeding grounds in parts of Russia above the Arctic Circle.

The journey north usually takes about a month, and the geese make multiple stops along the way to eat and fatten up before they lay their eggs, says Bart Nolet of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and the University of Amsterdam.

Japan and the European Union have signed a massive trade deal that creates an open-trade zone for more than 600 million people. The EU and Japan account for about one-third of GDP worldwide.

Nicaragua saw another weekend of deadly violence, as forces in support of President Daniel Ortega besieged student protesters in a church and attempted to assert control over several areas outside the capital.

President Trump has said he has "low expectations" ahead of a summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin, and added that he sees the European Union as a "foe" of the U.S.

He made the comments in an interview with CBS that aired on Face the Nation, during a visit to Europe that has tested relations with some of the U.S.'s most important allies.

Convicted murderer Scott Dozier has clearly and repeatedly stated that he wants to be executed.

The planned execution, using a three-drug cocktail, had been set for Wednesday evening at Ely State Prison in Nevada. Experts say it would be the first time the opioid fentanyl was used in a U.S. execution.

U.S. officials made threats to Ecuador in an attempt to water down a resolution in support of breastfeeding, according to a report in The New York Times.

As the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed walked off the plane in Eritrea on Sunday, he smiled and gave a big hug to Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.

The simple, warm gesture shocked many observers, because it happened between the leaders of two Horn of Africa countries that have been locked in a conflict for nearly two decades that has killed tens of thousands of people.

It's a sign of a dramatic, rapid thaw in tensions.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says that the government will meet deadlines imposed by a federal judge to reunite migrant families that have been separated by the U.S. government.

At the same time, he criticized the deadlines as "artificial" and said that they could prevent the government "from completing our standard — or even a truncated — vetting process."

The Trump administration's separation policy has been met with widespread outcry, marches and legal action.

A London-based nurse has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for subjecting five young Nigerian woman to mystical, violent rituals and trafficking them to Germany, where they were forced to work as prostitutes.

According to prosecutors, the case marks the first time that the U.K.'s Modern Slavery Act has been used to prosecute a U.K. national for crimes committed elsewhere.

Josephine Iyamu, who is 51, has maintained that she is innocent.

If you squint, the image above bears a pretty strong resemblance to what you might see at a July 4 fireworks display.

But it's actually, dare we say, far cooler. Or hotter: The image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is a cluster of "huge, hot" stars called NGC 3603, about 20,000 light years away in the constellation Carina.

The 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach trapped in a complex cave system in Chiang Rai have captured global attention since they disappeared and were found by British divers on Monday, nine days after they'd gone missing.

Now, attention has shifted to the next extraordinary challenge: How can they be evacuated safely from the spot where they are trapped, deep in the flooded cave?

The head of Poland's Supreme Court defiantly arrived at work on Wednesday in Warsaw, rejecting a law by the right-wing government that aims at forcing her and many other top judges into retirement.

The controversial law is at the center of the storm of Poland's broader constitutional crisis, which is straining its relationship with the European Union.

Scientists think they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by tweaking the food that cows eat. A recent experiment from the University of California, Davis suggests that adding seaweed to cattle feed can dramatically decrease their emissions of the potent gas methane.

You may be just a few hours away from the Fourth of July holiday. Now, may we present to you a video of a bear that is truly channeling the spirit of a mellow summer BBQ.

This encounter happened on Friday afternoon, just as Mark Hough of Altadena, Calif., was settling into a relaxing margarita. Suddenly, a bear appeared in his backyard.

Mining and commodities trading giant Glencore saw its shares dive in trading Tuesday after the company disclosed that a subsidiary has received a subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice to produce documents tied to questions over potential corruption and money laundering.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

The charges against Harvey Weinstein in New York have expanded.

The former Hollywood mogul is already facing first-degree rape and other charges involving incidents with two women, in 2004 and 2013. Now, a grand jury in New York has charged Weinstein with allegedly committing a forcible sexual act against a third woman.

Four-time Tour de France title winner Chris Froome has been cleared of doping by cycling's international governing body, paving the way for him to compete in this year's race starting Saturday.

The proceedings against the U.K.'s Froome started after a sample he provided last September at the Vuelta a España was reported to contain a higher concentration of the asthma drug salbutamol than is permitted by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

To cut down on waste from single-use plastic bags, some of Australia's largest retailers are banning them.

And while environmental groups and many shoppers are applauding the move, implementing the change has been tense at times.

An infamous criminal managed to escape from prison on the outskirts of Paris after an "armed commando" landed a helicopter in the complex's courtyard and whisked him away, France's Ministry of Justice said on Sunday.

But perhaps the most unbelievable thing about Redoine Faid's prison break is that it's the second time he's done it. He used explosives to escape from a different prison in 2013.

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET

Nine people have been hospitalized following a stabbing attack at an apartment complex where refugee families live in Boise, Idaho, according to the Boise Police Department. Six of the victims are children.

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