Merrit Kennedy

Merrit Kennedy is a reporter for NPR's Newsdesk. She covers a broad range of issues, from the latest developments out of the Middle East to science research news.

Kennedy joined NPR in Washington, DC, 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 ousting 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.

Noor Salman, the wife of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, has been arrested on federal charges.

Salman is charged with "Aiding and Abetting by providing material support to a terrorist and Obstruction of Justice," Orlando Police Chief John Mina said in a statement.

On June 12, 2016, 49 people died when Mateen opened fire at Pulse in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. He was killed in a firefight with police.

European leaders are expressing alarm after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said the EU is "basically a vehicle for Germany" and reiterated his view that NATO is "obsolete."

Speaking about the EU, Trump said "people want their own identity," and therefore "I believe others will leave." He has previously applauded the U.K.'s decision last year to depart from the 28-nation bloc and repeated that sentiment, saying that "I think Brexit is going to end up being a great thing."

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

The intelligence report on Russia's interference in the U.S. elections concludes that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an "influence campaign" that aimed to help President-elect Donald Trump.

Editor's note: An image below shows Ambassador Andrei Karlov on the ground after he was shot.

Russia's ambassador to Turkey has died after he was shot Monday evening at an art exhibition in the capital, Ankara, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in comments broadcast on Russian state television.

A $25 million settlement agreement has been reached in the civil fraud lawsuits against President-elect Donald Trump and Trump University, according to New York's state attorney general.

Police say 5 people were killed after a shooter opened fire inside a Macy's at a shopping mall in Burlington, Washington on Friday evening.

Authorities are searching for the suspected shooter, who they say left the scene at Cascade Mall before police arrived. He was last seen walking toward a nearby interstate highway. Skagit County's Department of Emergency Management cautioned people to stay indoors and "stay alert."

A day after an explosion in Manhattan injured 29 people, New York authorities said all injured people have all been released from hospitals. They say they do not have evidence the blast is linked to international terrorism.

The names of each of the nearly 3,000 victims of the Sept. 11 attacks were read at a ceremony at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza, at the World Trade Center site in New York City. This marks the 15th anniversary of the attacks.

Family members came forward to name and honor their relatives who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93. The event also commemorated the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

Updated 2 a.m. ET, Sept. 12

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday, according to a statement issued late Sunday afternoon by her physician, Lisa R. Bardack.

The Clinton campaign provided the statement after Clinton was examined at her home in Chappaqua, N.Y. On Sunday morning, Clinton abruptly left a Sept. 11 commemoration ceremony in New York City. Her campaign later said she had "felt overheated."

Dr. Bardack's statement reads:

Louisiana is entering recovery mode after devastating flooding killed 13 people and damaged at least 60,000 homes across 20 parishes.

But as Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards told CNN, that process is "going to take many months." He added that even though this flooding was "unprecedented and historic," many are "just now realizing how significant it was."

Rescue efforts are underway in Southeast Louisiana as the state is drenched and battered by what the governor has called an "unprecedented and historic flooding event." He has declared a state of emergency, and three people have been killed by the floods.

Night owls and stargazers, get ready for something spectacular on Thursday.

The annual Perseid meteor shower, already one of the most reliably impressive celestial events, promises to be especially good this year.

The Perseid shower happens every year in August "when Earth ventures through trails of debris left behind by an ancient comet," according to NASA.

A hot air balloon carrying at least 16 people crashed in central Texas after catching fire, and the Caldwell County Sheriff said "it does not appear there were any survivors."

Sheriff Daniel C. Law said in a statement that "investigators are determining the number and identities of victims at this time."

Three weeks after authorities identified 25-year-old Micah Johnson as the shooter who killed five policemen in Dallas, the military has released new details about his bizarre behavior while serving in Afghanistan.

According to a 2014 military investigation, Johnson stole underwear from an unnamed female service member and repeatedly sexually harassed her. In his sleeping bag, the military found grenade launcher ammunition and prescription medication belonging to a fellow soldier.

For decades, Japanese fishermen have told stories about the existence of a dark, rare beaked whale that they called karasu — the "raven."

But now, scientists say they have genetic proof to back up these tales. Long mistaken for its relative, the Baird's beaked whale, scientists say it represents an entirely new species.

The International Olympic Committee has announced that it will not impose a blanket ban on the entire Russian team from the upcoming Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro despite evidence of state-sponsored doping.

Instead, it has called on sports federations to carry out assessments on individual athletes to determine whether they can compete.

The decision is an attempt to balance "the desire and need for collective responsibility versus the right to individual justice of every individual athlete," IOC President Thomas Bach said in a teleconference with reporters on Sunday.

A rape survivor is suing Texas' Harris County after she was jailed for more than a month and subjected to beatings and "psychological torture."

According to court documents, she had suffered a mental breakdown while testifying against her rapist, and authorities checked her into the general population at Houston's Harris County Jail because they feared she would flee before finishing her testimony.

Donald Trump has officially introduced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate.

"I've found the leader who will help us deliver a safe society and a prosperous, really prosperous society for all Americans," Trump said at a campaign event in New York Saturday. "Indiana Governor Mike Pence was my first choice."

Trump spoke at length about his admiration for Pence's record in Indiana. "He's really got the skills of a highly talented executive," he said.

Updated 4:30 a.m. ET with new death toll

A bomb struck a busy street in Iraq's capital Baghdad, killing at least 142 people.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter says the military is lifting a ban on transgender service members.

"Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender," he told reporters today at the Pentagon.

The fundamental reason for the change, Carter said, is "that the Defense Department and the military need to avail ourselves of all talent possible in order to remain what we are now – the finest fighting force the world has ever known."

As investigators probe the background of Omar Mateen, whose attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando left 49 people dead, they say he bore few warning signs of radicalization.

A gunman opened fire on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday morning, killing at least 50 people in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history before being shot dead by police.

Egypt's president said he has deployed a submarine to the area where EgyptAir flight 804 crashed last Thursday, in an effort to locate the plane's flight voice and data recorders.

The men behind last month's deadly attacks in Brussels had intended to strike Paris instead — but shifted their target as Belgian authorities closed in on them, Belgian investigators say.

Teri Schultz tells NPR's Newscast unit that this information emerged after authorities arrested and interrogated key suspects.

Here's more from Teri:

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.

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