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.

Since British voters decided to leave the European Union in a referendum two weeks ago, more than 4 million people signed a petition calling for a do-over.

Now, the U.K. government has issued an official response to the petition, dashing the hopes of voters who want to see another referendum. "The Prime Minister and Government have been clear that this was a once in a generation vote and, as the Prime Minister has said, the decision must be respected," it reads.

After a deadly week in the U.S., President Obama told reporters that "that there's unity in recognizing this is not how we want our communities to operate." Two deadly police shooting of black men captured headlines, followed by an attack at a protest in Dallas that killed five policemen.

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."

Voters in California will decide this November whether to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the nation's most populous state.

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.

A new type of airport security screening lane is being tested in Atlanta, and "initial results show dramatic improvements," according to the head of the Transportation Security Administration.

Using Google Earth, satellite imagery and drones, researchers have discovered a monumental structure amid the world-famous ruins of Petra, Jordan.

It was apparently "hiding in plain sight" — a structure the size of an Olympic-size pool "just south of the city center, and archaeologists have missed this for 150, 200 years," researcher Sarah Parcak tells The Two-Way. The area sees huge crowds of visitors, with half a million tourists descending on Petra annually.

A small monkey brought Kenya's electrical infrastructure to its knees for more than three hours on Tuesday with a nationwide blackout.

After a 3-year-old boy slipped into the gorilla enclosure on a crowded Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo, a security team killed the gorilla to save the child.

A British museum has been searching for parts of the Lorenz cipher machine, used by the Nazis in World War II to send secret messages.

So when sharp-eyed museum volunteers happened upon what appeared to be a Lorenz teleprinter on eBay, it almost seemed too good to be true.

National Museum of Computing volunteer John Whetter went to Essex to investigate. There, he found "the keyboard being kept, in its original case, on the floor of a shed 'with rubbish all over it'," the BBC reports.

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