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.

Nike co-founder and Chairman Philip Knight has pledged $400 million to Stanford University for a new scholarship program aimed at tackling major global challenges.

A western lowland gorilla at the Bristol Zoo Gardens successfully gave birth by a risky and rare emergency cesarean section.

The U.K. zoo released a video of the new baby, who is now 11 days old and weighs just over 2.2 pounds.

A warning: The beginning of the video shows a few seconds of the operation. You can skip to 0:20 for footage of the cute gorilla.

A sustained armed attack at a camp for displaced people in South Sudan killed at least 18, according to a U.N. spokesperson.

The violence at the camp in Malakal, which is managed by the U.N. Mission in South Sudan [UNMISS], erupted on Feb. 17.

The U.N. reported that soldiers in government uniforms were "entering the UNMISS camp and firing on civilians...[and] looting and burning...tents."

After sentencing a toddler to life in prison for murder, the Egyptian military now says that was a case of mistaken identity.

Camille Cosby, the wife of comedian Bill Cosby, has been deposed at a Springfield, Mass., hotel.

Seven women brought a defamation lawsuit against her husband, to whom she's been married for more than 50 years.

NPR's Arun Rath reports that Monday's deposition, which happened under tight security, comes after a legal fight:

"Bill Cosby's legal team filed a series of motions to prevent his wife, Camille, from being called to testify, but late Sunday the federal court in Springfield, Mass., rejected the last, emergency appeal.

Luxury Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli has opened a new store in Iran's capital, Tehran.

This makes it one of the first luxury brands to formally enter the Iranian market since Iran curbed its nuclear program enough to trigger sanctions relief last month. The lifting of sanctions was a major part of the Iranian nuclear deal.

A powerful cyclone with gusts of up to 200 mph that ripped through the island nation of Fiji over the weekend killed at least 21 people, according to the United Nations.

Whole villages were flattened and at least four people were missing as a result of what the U.N. is calling "one of the most severe [cyclones] ever to hit the South Pacific." About 8,100 people remain in evacuation shelters.

Mourners gathered Saturday to pay their respects to deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a funeral mass in Washington D.C.

The towering conservative jurist will be buried in a private ceremony following the service at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, NPR's Nina Totenberg reports to our Newscast unit.

"The shrine, a colorful and large church, is not far from where the justice served for some 30 years," Nina says.

Longtime Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had won another 5-year term with more than 60 percent of the votes, Uganda's electoral commission says, following an election that observers say fell short of democratic.

Museveni, a former guerilla leader, came to power 30 years ago when he toppled brutal dictator Idi Amin. This is the fourth election where Musevani has faced multiple candidates.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for a historic nationwide referendum on June 23 to decide whether the U.K. will remain in the European Union.

This comes a day after Cameron and EU leaders announced in Brussels that they have negotiated a new deal that changes the terms of Britain's membership.

After negotiating these new concessions, Cameron strongly advocated that the U.K. stick with Europe. He spoke in front of 10 Downing Street after presenting the EU reform deal to his Cabinet.

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