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.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET.

The head of Veterans Affairs has apologized for misrepresenting his military record, after telling a man that he had served in the U.S. Special Forces. Secretary Robert McDonald says he made a mistake.

The story drew attention late Monday, weeks after McDonald, an Army veteran and West Point graduate, made the claim during a conversation with a homeless man he met during a community outreach effort.

NPR's Quil Lawrence reports:

In a claim that's meeting with skepticism in Kiev, Russian-backed separatists say they've started to withdraw heavy weapons in eastern Ukraine, as required by a recent cease-fire. Ukraine's military says separatist attacks are ongoing.

The development comes after Russia's President Vladimir Putin said he thinks a war with Ukraine would be "apocalyptic" — but that the area is now on a path to stability, after the recent Minsk agreement.

Extremist fighters from the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS, have kidnapped "at least" 90 Assyrian Christians in northeastern Syria, according to a monitoring group. The claim emerges from an area recently targeted by coalition attacks.

Alaska's voter initiative making marijuana legal takes effect Tuesday, placing Alaska alongside Colorado and Washington as the three U.S. states where recreational marijuana is legal. The new law means people over age 21 can consume small amounts of pot — if they can find it. It's still illegal to sell marijuana.

"You can still give people marijuana, but you can't buy it — or even barter for it," Alaska Public Media's Alexandra Gutierrez reports. "So, it's a pretty legally awkward spot. That probably won't stop people from acquiring it, though."

If you're ever standing near Byron Jones when he jumps, you might want to stand well back. At Monday's NFL scouting combine, the cornerback from the University of Connecticut nearly flew off the grid that measures the standing broad jump. He landed more than 12 feet away.

Jones recorded 12 feet 3 inches in the broad jump, a discipline that was once in the Olympics. No other player came close to Jones' mark at the combine, the scouting event for players who want to be considered in pro football's draft.

Honda Motor Co., which has struggled with an air bag safety recall and a sales slump, will get a new chief executive this year. Takanobu Ito, who has led Honda since 2009, will leave in June, giving way to Takahiro Hachigo, an executive who began his career as an engineer.

Ito, who has worked at Honda since the late 1970s, will reportedly remain with the company both as an advisor and as a board member. Announcing the move Monday, Honda did not connect Ito's move to the carmaker's recent problems, which range from safety issues to lackluster sales.

Along with learning who won an Oscar at last night's Academy Awards, we learned a lot more: Who to call (your parents), and what women should be paid (the same as men). From civil rights to immigration and health issues such as Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's diseases, advocacy was a big part of last night's show. Here's a quick rundown of what people are saying Monday.

Noting deadly attacks by Russian-backed separatists who have renewed a push near the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine says it can't withdraw heavy weapons from the front lines, as required by a week-old cease-fire.

"Ukraine's military says two government soldiers were killed and about 10 wounded in the past 24 hours," NPR's Corey Flintoff reports from Moscow. "A government spokesman say its positions were hit by shelling 27 times in the past day. Meanwhile, of course, the separatists are claiming that the government initiates the attacks."

Concerned by game times that have bloated beyond three hours, Major League Baseball is putting baseball on a diet for the 2015 season. In upcoming games, timers will regulate the pause between innings, and hitters must now keep one foot in the batter's box nearly all the time.

A federal judge has sentenced Maureen McDonnell, the wife of former Gov. Bob McDonnell, to 12 months in prison, plus one day. Last fall, a jury found the McDonnells guilty in a corruption trial that charged them with taking gifts and loans from a vitamin entrepreneur in exchange for favors.

U.S. District Judge James Spencer delivered the sentence in Richmond this morning. He said McDonnell could be freed on bond pending an appeal.

A member of Canada's House of Commons has earned laughs and toasts from his colleagues, after he blamed his absence during a vote on tight underwear that makes him uncomfortable.

MP Pat Martin of Winnipeg Centre gave the explanation to foil an attempt to have his vote thrown out because, contrary to parliamentary rules, he had left his seat during the voting process.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

After lengthy negotiations, Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to extend Greece's financial rescue package, removing the immediate risk of a default that could have forced Athens out of the grouping's common currency.

"It's done. For four months," one of the finance ministers was quoted by Reuters as saying following a meeting in Brussels.

Looking to take back a city that has high strategic and symbolic value, the Iraqi military will launch an offensive against fighters from the self-proclaimed Islamic State in the coming months, a senior U.S. military official says.

NPR's Tom Bowman reports:

"A U.S. Central Command official told reporters at the Pentagon that the military operation to retake Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, will be in the April-May timeframe, and this operation will involve an estimated 20,000-25,000 Iraqi soldiers.

Pitchers and catchers have reported for Major League Baseball's spring training in Florida and Arizona. But for defending champions the San Francisco Giants, the excitement is being tempered by concern for manager Bruce Bochy, who underwent heart surgery Thursday.

The procedure, in which doctors inserted heart stents, came one day after Bochy underwent a physical exam. The Giants say that the team's medical staff was monitoring Bochy, 59, after he experienced some discomfort.

From Arizona, Mark Moran of member station KJZZ reports:

"The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie and all of us — regardless of our faith — have a responsibility to reject it," President Obama said Thursday, at a summit on defusing violent extremism.

Move over, hot cross buns — here come the hot KISS buns. They're spicy and black, and starting next week, a limited number will be sold in stores in Japan, marking the rock group's 40th anniversary world tour. The bun's official name: Spicy Chili Tomatoman.

The steamed bun's black exterior derives from bamboo charcoal. It has a bright red filling, consisting of tomato paste, onions — and very hot peppers. Its surface is branded with one of four icons associated with KISS members, such as a star symbol for Paul Stanley.

Thailand's attorney general filed criminal charges against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Thursday. The former leader, who was forced out of office last May, could be jailed for 10 years if she's found guilty.

From Chiang Rai, Thailand, Michael Sullivan reports for our Newscast unit:

"Yingluck was charged with negligence for her role in a badly bungled rice subsidy scheme that ended up costing the country billions. She denies any wrongdoing and insists the charges against her are politically motivated.

Trying to salvage a cease-fire that has not stopped the fighting in eastern Ukraine, the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia held a conference call Thursday in which they called for full implementation of the truce's terms.

Ukraine says that in the past 24 hours alone, 14 of its soldiers have died and 172 were injured.

With the bailout package that has kept Greece's economy afloat set to expire in just over a week, the country has formally asked Eurozone members for a six-month extension. Finance ministers will hold an emergency meeting Friday to consider the proposal.

The new request will face opposition, with Deutsche Welle reporting, "A spokesman for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble rejected the proposal saying it lacked substance."

Four months after he was brought back to an agency that was struggling to cope with a series of embarrassing missteps, Joseph Clancy was named the permanent director of the Secret Service on Wednesday.

Clancy has been the agency's acting head since the service's director, Julia Pierson, resigned in October. He is the former leader of the Secret Service's Presidential Protective Division.

The household spending of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become a political issue in Israel, where the attorney general is now considering whether to open an official inquiry over allegations of excessive spending and related crimes.

From Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris reports:

"Israel's comptroller general issued a report on the Netanyahus' household spending following complaints from members of parliament.

It started with frustration at Christmas, says Connor McLeod, 13. Blind since birth, he couldn't tell how much money he'd been given. So he started a petition — and now the Reserve Bank of Australia says it will create bank notes with tactile features to help visually impaired people tell the difference between denominations.

McLeod explains to Australia's ABC network what prompted him to act:

Prosecutors in Geneva conducted a search of HSBC bank's Swiss headquarters Wednesday, looking for signs of what they termed "aggravated money laundering." The bank, recently accused of helping wealthy clients hide money from tax collectors, says it is cooperating.

Part of a criminal probe, the raid comes a week after leaked documents showed that HSBC's Swiss unit had helped international clients launder profits and shelter their holdings from their home countries.

Seeking to spare civilians from deadly fighting, Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special envoy for the Syria crisis, says that he's gotten President Bashar al-Assad's government to promise that it won't carry out airstrikes or shelling on Aleppo — if the rebel opposition also halts its attacks in the city.

Following heavy shelling in what had been a Ukraine-controlled city, the central government's force is retreating from Debaltseve, a key railroad and transportation hub. Ukraine says it has now withdrawn 80 percent of its armed forces from the city.

"I can say now that the Ukrainian armed forces and the National Guard completed an operation on the planned and organized withdrawal of some units from Debaltseve this morning," Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said, according to the Interfax news agency in Ukraine.

Pages