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.

"Well, it's not been a great week," British Prime Minister David Cameron said at his party's spring forum on Saturday, after the leaked Panama Papers revealed that his late father ran an offshore fund. "I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn, and I will learn them."

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters calling for Cameron's resignation rallied near his residence, 10 Downing Street.

Larry Miller in London tells NPR's Newscast unit how this escalated:

Princeton University's board of trustees has decided that it will not remove Woodrow Wilson's name from its School of Public and International Affairs and from a residential college, despite student protests over the former president's segregationist views.

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and several other plaintiffs have filed a federal lawsuit over a North Carolina law they say discriminates against the state's LGBT community.

The law, passed last week in a special session by the state's Legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, blocks "local governments from passing anti-discrimination rules to grant protections to gay and transgender people," as we reported.

The Nigerian army claims to have rescued more than 800 hostages from Boko Haram, the militant group that has held major swathes of territory in the country.

NPR's Gregory Warner tells our Newscast Unit that it "was not immediately clear whether the rescues included any of the 200 schoolgirls kidnapped nearly two years ago [who inspired] the #BringBackOurGirls movement." Here's more from Gregory:

"The Flint water crisis is a story of government failure, intransigence, unpreparedness, delay, inaction, and environmental injustice."

That's how an independent task force opened its final report on the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint.

It concluded that primary responsibility for the crisis in Flint, Mich., lies with a state environmental agency called the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality — though it said others are also to blame.

"Let me be blunt," Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in his opening statement to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. "This was a failure of government at all levels. Local, state and federal officials — we all failed the families of Flint."

The Obama administration is reversing a plan to allow oil drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, after an uproar from local communities over environmental concerns.

"We heard from many corners that now is not the time to offer oil and gas leasing off the Atlantic coast," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said.

Georgia Public Broadcasting's Emily Jones tells our Newscast unit that this is a reversal from a draft proposal issued in January 2015:

Myanmar has elected its first civilian president after decades of military rule.

U Htin Kyaw, a close ally of Nobel laureate and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, won the legislature's vote. Suu Kyi was barred from running herself by the country's constitution — drafted by the former military leaders — because she has two foreign sons.

Eighty million years ago, tyrannosaurs were the top predators in Asia and North America.

And scientists say a newly discovered dinosaur from Uzbekistan helps to explain their rise.

In a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers said they have found a specimen from a 20 million-year gap in fossil records — between the small-bodied "marginal hunters" and the "apex predators" the tyrannosaurid group would become. This group includes Tyrannosaurus rex, Albertosaurus and Tarbosaurus.

The Cleveland Clinic says it has removed a transplanted uterus — the first-ever in the U.S. — after the patient suffered from a "sudden complication."

The clinic conducted the landmark operation in late February. As we reported, the procedure is intended to "open up another possible path to parenthood besides surrogacy or adoption for U.S. women who do not have a uterus, or who have a uterus that does not function."

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