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.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species — the first such designation for a bumblebee and for a bee species in the continental U.S.

The protected status, which goes into effect on Feb. 10, includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.

Volkswagen has agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle civil and criminal allegations over its diesel emissions cheating scheme involving some 590,000 vehicles in the U.S.

The company has also agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts.

Hundreds of thousands of people tuned in to an hours-long rescue operation of a deer hopelessly stuck on ice in Simsbury, Conn.

The scared deer splayed on the frozen river was streamed live by several television channels on Monday, in some cases for more than three hours, as rescue workers tried to get it to safety.

You can watch the full, agonizing rescue operation in this video — it begins about 2 1/2 hours in.

Two bomb blasts near the parliament building in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, have killed at least 30 people and injured at least 70.

"The first bomb exploded near a parked minibus," NPR's Nishant Dahiya reported. "The second, when the police arrived to help the victims." It happened during the evening rush hour as parliament staff were leaving work.

A female lawmaker was said to be among the injured, Nishant added, and other parliament staff were also reportedly victims of the attack.

In a decade, soccer's biggest tournament is set to become even bigger.

FIFA, the game's governing body, unanimously voted to expand the tournament to 48 teams from 32 teams starting in 2026.

The new format starts with the 48 teams playing one another in 16 groups of three. Then, the top two teams from each group will advance into a 32-team group for the knockout stage.

Pages