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.

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The Two-Way
8:13 am
Thu May 14, 2015

Harry Shearer, Voice Of Ned Flanders And Mr. Burns, Will Leave 'The Simpsons'

Actor and writer Harry Shearer says he's leaving the cast of The Simpsons, the show he has been a part of since it first aired in 1989.
Dave J Hogan Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 1:00 pm

After 26 seasons of giving life to nincompoops, do-gooders, and even God, actor Harry Shearer has announced he'll be leaving The Simpsons. A stalwart of the show, Shearer has voiced central characters such as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy and Principal Seymour Skinner.

In a tweet sent in the wee hours of Thursday, Shearer said he was leaving "because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

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The Two-Way
3:54 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

House Approves USA Freedom Act, Extending And Revising The Patriot Act

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 11:49 am

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve a measure that would, among other things, end the mass collection of Americans' phone data.

The USA Freedom Act extends many parts of the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which expires June 1. The measure's fate in the Senate is less likely.

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The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Senate Reaches Deal To Vote Thursday On 'Fast-Track' Trade Bill

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 3:19 pm

One day after Senate Democrats blocked the "fast-track" trade authority bill that has been championed by both President Obama and Republicans, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says an agreement has been reached to move forward.

The solution calls for separate votes on bills that Democrats had wanted to move as a single package on the floor, according to NPR's Ailsa Chang. Ailsa says the Senate will vote on a customs enforcement bill that includes Sen. Charles Schumer's safeguards aimed at reducing currency manipulation.

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Harriet Tubman Wins Unofficial Contest To Be On $20 Bill

With 118,328 votes, Harriet Tubman edged Eleanor Roosevelt in a campaign to put a female face on the $20 bill.
Womenon20s

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 11:22 am

The Women on 20s campaign, which seeks to put a female face on the $20 bill, has announced a winner: Harriet Tubman, the escaped slave whose ingenuity and courage led other captives to freedom.

Tubman narrowly edged Eleanor Roosevelt, finishing with 118,328 votes to Roosevelt's 111,227, according to Women on 20s. More than 600,000 votes were cast over 10 weeks, including more than 350,000 in the final round that began on April 5.

Early on, Roosevelt had led Tubman by nearly 15,000 votes, but the final round brought a reversal.

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The Two-Way
9:04 am
Wed May 13, 2015

Nepal Update: Quake's Death Toll Rises; U.S. Chopper Still Missing

A woman in Kathmandu walks past rubble following several massive earthquakes in Nepal. Officials say at least 76 people died in Tuesday's magnitude-7.3 quake.
Jonas Gratzer Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 9:54 am

Emergency officials in Nepal say at least 76 people have died in Tuesday's earthquake, which hit as the small country is still coping with a prior quake that killed more than 8,000. A U.S. Marine helicopter that had been aiding relief efforts remains missing.

On April 25, a magnitude-7.8 temblor devastated swaths of Nepal. The most recent quake was measured at 7.3, followed by a 6.3 quake half an hour later. Aftershocks continued to strike Wednesday, including at least two that hit shortly after noon, each around magnitude-5.

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The Two-Way
1:37 pm
Tue May 12, 2015

'Unsettling' Lucille Ball Sculpture Will Move To New Home In N.Y.

A bronze sculpture of Lucille Ball is displayed in her hometown of Celoron, N.Y. Since the sculpture was unveiled in 2009, it has been blasted by critics — and now there are plans to move it.
The Post-Journal AP

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 3:19 pm

Instead of being destroyed or altered, the notoriously scary statue of Lucille Ball that graces her hometown in New York will be moved to a new National Comedy Center that's being built nearby.

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The Two-Way
10:46 am
Tue May 12, 2015

2015 Rankings List Most 'Bicycle Friendly' U.S. States

A cyclist rides through a congested intersection in Portland, Oregon; the state is No. 6 on the League of American Bicyclists' new rankings of U.S. states.
Randy L. Rasmussen The Oregonian /Landov

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 12:53 pm

For the second-straight year, Washington and Minnesota took the top two spots on an annual list of states that are best for cyclists. But the League of American Bicyclists' rankings also show that no state scored higher than 67 points out of 100.

Last on the list was Alabama, which has occupied the No. 50 slot in four of the past eight rankings. The state earned a score of 12.3 points.

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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Blogger Is Hacked To Death In Bangladesh After Promoting Secular Thought

Secular activists protest the killing of Bangladeshi blogger Ananta Bijoy Das in Bangladesh on Tuesday.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 10:35 am

For the third time this year, a blogger has died after a brutal attack on a street in Bangladesh. The writer Ananta Bijoy Das was killed by men wielding machetes. He wrote for the same blog founded by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-American who died in a similar attack in February.

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The Two-Way
5:37 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

FBI: 51 Law Enforcement Officers 'Feloniously Killed' In 2014

After a sharp drop in 2013, the number of police and other law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty as a result of felonious incidents rose in 2014, from 27 to 51, according to preliminary statistics gathered by the FBI. The agency says another 44 officers died in accidents while on the job.

"From 1980–2014, an average of 64 law enforcement officers have been feloniously killed per year," the FBI says in a news release. "The 2013 total, 27, was the lowest during this 35-year period.

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The Two-Way
4:38 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

NFL Suspends Tom Brady For 4 Games Over 'Deflategate' Scandal

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2015 season, for "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL."
Larry W. Smith EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 7:51 am

Days after a lengthy report found it was "more probable than not" that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knew of rule-breaking, the NFL has issued its punishment: a four-game suspension for Brady and a $1 million fine for the Patriots.

Brady will sit out the first four games of the 2015 regular season without pay, the NFL says, citing "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the NFL."

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The Two-Way
3:39 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

U.S. Gives Conditional OK To Shell Oil For Drilling Off Alaska's Arctic Shore

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 4:59 pm

The Obama administration has given conditional approval to Shell Oil's plan to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean this summer. The company wants to resume drilling in the Chukchi Sea off northwestern Alaska; it broke off that effort in 2012 because of safety problems.

Monday's news is a new sign that Shell could soon recoup some of the several billion dollars it has spent on federal leases and other preparations in recent years.

From Alaska's Aleutian Islands, KUCB's Annie Ropeik reports:

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The Two-Way
2:47 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

George Zimmerman Injured After Gun Is Reportedly Fired At His Car

George Zimmerman, seen here in a Seminole County Sheriff's Office photo in January, was reportedly shot at while in his car Monday.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 2:52 pm

A roadway shooting in Central Florida occurred Monday that involved George Zimmerman, police confirm. Zimmerman reportedly suffered minor injuries from shattered glass after a bullet was fired into his car's passenger window. Early reports indicated that Zimmerman had been shot; we're not seeing evidence of that.

Update at 4:10 p.m. ET: Police Say Both Parties Reported Shooting

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The Two-Way
1:12 pm
Mon May 11, 2015

Jury: Starbucks' Free Coffee Not At Fault In Police Officer's Burn Claims

A police officer blamed Starbucks after his hot coffee spilled, saying it resulted in burns and other medical problems. A jury in Raleigh, N.C., does not agree.
Joe Skipper Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 2:30 pm

A North Carolina jury has rejected a $750,000 civil lawsuit filed by Lt. Matthew Kohr of the Raleigh Police Department, who said a Starbucks store had given him a large cup of hot coffee with an unsecured lid.

Last week, Kohr's attorney said the free cup of coffee spilled onto the officer's lap because it didn't have a properly attached lid or an insulating cardboard sleeve. Evidence submitted in court included photos showing red burn marks.

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The Two-Way
3:23 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

At 13 Billion Light-Years Away, Galaxy Is Farthest To Be Measured From Earth

An image of the galaxy EGS-zs8-1, which set a new distance record after researchers determined it was more than 13 billion light-years away.
NASA, ESA, P. Oesch, and I. Momcheva, and the 3D-HST and HUDF09/XDF teams

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 3:57 pm

A new glimpse of what the universe looked like in its youth has been captured, thanks to researchers who determined that light from the galaxy known as EGS-zs8-1 has spent more than 13 billion years traveling to reach us here on Earth.

The blue galaxy, which was named for its coloration after its initial discovery by the Hubble telescope, was studied by a team of astronomers based at Yale University and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

We're In The Age Of Noah And Emma: Most Popular Baby Names Of 2014

The top names for newborns in the U.S. last year were Noah and Emma, followed by Liam and Olivia. Third on the list were Mason and Sophia.
Sally Anscombe Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 3:17 pm

Sophia's time as the most popular name for little girls born in the U.S. is reportedly over; it was replaced by Emma in the government's 2014 data that were released Friday. Repeating as the top boy's name is Noah, followed by Liam.

That's the news from the Social Security Administration, which says, "There are a few new names in the top 10 this year — James (a former No. 1 from the '40s and '50s) on the blue side and Charlotte on the pink side, her first time ever in the top 10."

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The Two-Way
11:31 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Spanish Customs Officials Foil Attempt To Smuggle Boy In Suitcase

Spain's Civil Guard released this image of a boy, 8, who was the subject of a smuggling attempt.
Guardia Civil

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 1:42 pm

An 8-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast was found curled up in a suitcase Thursday, foiling an attempt to smuggle him into Spanish territory. His father and a woman who carried the case were later arrested.

From Agence France-Presse:

" 'When they put the suitcase through the scanner, the operator noticed something strange, which seemed to be a person inside the case,' he told AFP.

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The Two-Way
1:43 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

NFL Report: 'More Probable Than Not' That Patriots Workers Tampered With Footballs

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots was named MVP of the Patriots' Super Bowl win over the Seattle Seahawks. A new NFL report suggests he was aware of cheating by team personnel who tampered with game balls.
Jamie Squire Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 2:39 pm

Two members of the New England Patriots' staff probably violated the NFL's playing rules by tampering with game balls, according to a lengthy review of the scandal that's come to be known as "Deflategate."

The report names two Patriots workers who had access to footballs before a pivotal game; it also states, "it is more probable than not that Tom Brady was at least generally aware of the inappropriate activities."

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The Two-Way
10:17 am
Wed May 6, 2015

Vatican Affirms Plan To Make Missionary Junipero Serra A Saint

Pope Francis will canonize Junipero Serra this fall. This weekend, the pope met with rector of the Pontifical North American College James F. Checchio (left), Cardinal Marc Ouellet (right) and Joseph Edward Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Andrew Medichini AP

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 10:26 am

Pope Francis will canonize Spanish missionary Junipero Serra during his visit to the U.S. later this year, the Vatican says, affirming a plan that has drawn criticism over Serra's role in the California mission system of the 18th century.

After announcing his decision in January, Francis didn't wait for the traditional approval of a second miracle before moving ahead with canonizing Serra, whom the pope has praised for his zeal.

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The Two-Way
11:54 am
Mon May 4, 2015

May The Fourth Be With You: 'Star Wars' Fans Celebrate A Faraway Galaxy

In Budapest, Hungary, a man takes a photo with people dressed as their favorite Star Wars stormtroopers.
Attila Volgyi Xinhua /Landov

Yoda, Chewbacca and a phalanx of stormtroopers are telling people all over the Internet "May the fourth be with you" today, as fans of the Star Wars franchise celebrate all things that emanate from a galaxy far, far away.

As you would expect from a quasi-holiday that's drawn from a pun, May 4 brings a flood of cute ideas to social media. It's also a good excuse to dress up as an Ewok. NASA is taking the whole enterprise to a new level, with a flurry of tweets that show how "science fiction is now science fact!"

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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Mon May 4, 2015

McDonald's CEO Promises 'Modern, Progressive Burger Company'

Under a new global structure, McDonald's is grouping markets in Germany where a new McDonald's Flagship Restaurant opened in March, with other high-performing countries such as Australia and Canada.
Hannelore Foerster Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 1:15 pm

Looking for new growth and promising better restaurant experiences for customers, McDonald's President and CEO Steve Easterbrook is changing how the chain manages global markets and plans to boost the number of franchised restaurants.

"The reality is, our recent performance has been poor," Easterbrook said in a video released Monday. "The numbers don't lie. Which is why, as we celebrate 60 years of McDonald's, I will not shy away from resetting this business."

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Unveils Home Battery; Is $3,000 Cheap Enough?

A photo released by Tesla shows its new Powerwall lithium-ion battery pack mounted on the wall (left) of a garage behind one of the company's electric cars.
Tesla Energy

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 10:33 am

In an ambitious bid to move beyond the electric car market, Tesla has announced that it will start selling large batteries to let homeowners store electricity. The Powerwall home battery starts at $3,000.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveiled the new batteries Thursday night, in a move that had been both highly anticipated and the subject of much speculation. With a sleek surface and a depth of only about 7 inches, the Powerwall can be mounted on a garage wall or another surface, indoors or outside. It's roughly 4 feet high and 3 feet wide.

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The Two-Way
6:41 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Charges Against 6 Officers In Freddie Gray's Death Range From Murder To Assault

Marilyn Mosby, state's attorney for Baltimore City, announced criminal charges against all six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal injury while in police custody.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 7:35 am

The death of Freddie Gray was a homicide, and six Baltimore police officers now face criminal charges that include second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, Baltimore chief prosecutor Marilyn J. Mosby says.

Mosby announced the charges Friday morning, citing her office's "thorough and independent" investigation and the medical examiner's report on Gray's death. She said warrants were issued Friday for the officers' arrest.

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The Two-Way
9:41 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Kill The Messenger: NASA Orbiter Crashes Into Mercury

This image of a "red spot" on Mercury, which is thought to be the result of a volcanic explosion, was sent to Earth by the Messenger probe in 2011.
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 3:36 pm

After 4,104 orbits of Mercury and billions of miles of space travel, NASA's Messenger orbiter ended its mission with a quiet bang on Thursday. Messenger crashed into the planet it has been orbiting for four years.

NASA says the orbiter began the process of lithobraking at 3:26 p.m. ET — meaning that Messenger essentially scraped to a stop after hitting the planet's surface traveling at thousands of miles an hour. The Oxford English Dictionary reminds us that litho is the combining form for the Greek word for "stone."

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The Two-Way
6:05 am
Thu April 30, 2015

10 Men Sent To Prison Over Shooting Of Pakistani Girl Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai, who was 15 when she was shot, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.
Hakon Mosvold Larsen EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 6:25 pm

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court has sent 10 men to prison for 25-year terms for their roles in the near-fatal attack on activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012. The girl who has since come to be known only by her first name later won global renown for her work promoting education for girls.

From Islamabad, NPR's Philip Reeves reports:

"The 10 were convicted by an anti-terrorism court in a closed hearing in Swat in north-west Pakistan. That's where Malala Yousafzai, then aged 15, was shot and seriously wounded as she returned from school.

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The Two-Way
5:42 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Rescue Brings A Bit Of Good News To Nepal's Capital After Earthquake

Members of Nepal's Armed Police Force carry an officer as they cheer the successful rescue of a teenager who had been trapped by Saturday's earthquake in Kathmandu.
Navesh Chitrakar Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 8:52 am

There hasn't been much to cheer about in Nepal this week as it copes with a devastating earthquake — but cheers and applause broke out in Kathmandu Thursday after a teenager was pulled alive from a collapsed building.

For five days, the teenager was covered in the rubble of a seven-story building hit by Saturday's powerful quake. Rescue workers who got him out included an American disaster response team that arrived in Nepal this week.

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The Two-Way
9:35 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Calvin Peete, Pro Golf's 'Mr. Accuracy,' Dies At Age 71

Calvin Peete, seen here in 1995, has died at age 71. A 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, Peete was 23 years old before he began to play golf.
J.D. Cuban Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 12:13 pm

Calvin Peete, who won 12 PGA events during a long career as a professional golfer, has died at age 71. Peete was famous for his ability to hit long and accurate drives, and for many years, he was the most successful black golfer in the world.

Peete died Wednesday morning in Atlanta. His death was confirmed to NPR by the PGA Tour.

During his 25-year career, Peete won more than $3 million in tournament purses. He didn't take up the game of golf until he was 23, and he succeeded despite not being able to extend his left elbow fully — the result of a childhood accident.

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The Two-Way
9:15 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Bud Light Pulls Label With Message That Sparked Backlash

Anheuser-Busch has apologized for a message on bottles of Bud Light that said it is "the perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." The labels are no longer being produced.
GhosX9 Reddit

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 3:10 pm

The label promised that Bud Light was "the perfect beer for removing 'no' from your vocabulary for the night." But that's exactly the word that occurred to many people who say the message recalls alcohol's troublesome connection to sexual assaults.

Anheuser-Busch says the slogan is one of many messages it has printed on beer labels as part of its "UpForWhatever" ad campaign. But it acknowledges that it "missed the mark" with this one, saying that it has stopped making the label.

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The Two-Way
6:38 am
Wed April 29, 2015

In Nepal, A Flood Of People Leave Capital To Return Home

A young girl sits on her luggage as she waits in a long line with her family, hoping to board buses provided by the government to return to their homes outside Kathmandu.
Diego Azubel EPA /LANDOV

Several days after a devastating earthquake hit Nepal, officials are using helicopters to ferry aid to remote areas — and thousands of people are leaving Kathmandu, where many had sought refuge. Rescue crews are still working to help survivors of the 7.8-magnitude quake.

Reporting from the district of Gorkha, the epicenter of Saturday's tremor, NPR's Julie McCarthy says, "When we arrived last night, you could feel the ground shaking constantly. It felt like Jello, and it lasted through the evening."

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The Two-Way
5:32 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Baltimore Update: A Forceful Mom And A Fan-Free Baseball Game

A woman in Baltimore holds a sign Tuesday night telling protesters to go home; a curfew and community intervention are being credited with helping ease tensions in the city.
John Taggart EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 12:15 pm

The streets of Baltimore were quieter Tuesday night, a day after vandalism and rioting forced officials to implement a curfew. Today, the Orioles plan to play an MLB game without an audience, and a woman who yanked her son away from potential trouble is making headlines.

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The Two-Way
12:07 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Supreme Court Hears Challenge To 4 States' Same-Sex-Marriage Ban

Demonstrators for and against same-sex marriage rallied in front of the Supreme Court on Tuesday morning.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 2:06 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments Tuesday about whether states have the power to ban same-sex marriage. A dozen couples are challenging the bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee.

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