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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.

The Dallas Police Department has fired Officer Amber Guyger after she fatally shot a black man in his own home earlier this month.

Guyger told investigators that she shot 26-year-old Botham Jean on Sept. 6 after she mistakenly entered what she believed was her apartment in the same complex and saw someone she thought was a burglar. The incident has raised tensions in Texas, with demonstrators demanding that she be fired.

International charities are reeling after Panama revoked the registration for a search-and-rescue ship they say is the only one of its kind in the central Mediterranean used to save migrants in danger. They say it amounts to a death sentence for hundreds of people trying to reach safety.

This drug seizure is bananas.

Two sergeants from a Texas prison were picking up two donated pallets of bananas at the Ports of America in Freeport on Friday, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The bananas were being donated to the Wayne Scott Unit in Texas' Brazoria County. The department says they were already ripe — and according to USA Today, they were never claimed at the port.

When floodwaters from Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina's Lumberton area, some families were unable — or unwilling — to take their pets with them when they evacuated.

The flooding hit rapidly, the Asheville Citizen-Times reported, when temporary levees failed and sent water gushing into the surrounding area.

The World Anti-Doping Agency has reinstated Russia's state anti-doping regulator after a major doping scandal that reverberated across international sports. The move has been roundly condemned by anti-doping advocates.

The reinstatement of RUSADA, the Russian Anti-Doping Agency, is subject to conditions. Nine members of WADA's executive committee backed the decision. Two voted against it – the agency's vice president and Oceania. Europe abstained.

As Jet Airways Flight 9W697 took off from Mumbai on Thursday, something terrifying quickly became clear: The cabin was not properly pressurized.

Oxygen masks dropped from the cabin's ceiling. "Thirty out of 166 passengers experienced nose and ear bleeding [and] some also complained of headache," an official with India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation said, according to the Hindustan Times.

Consumers across Australia have reported finding needles stuck in their strawberries, as the government launches a federal investigation and growers install metal detectors to try to stop the contamination.

Several supermarket chains in Australia and New Zealand are also pulling strawberries off the shelves, according to Australian media.

Updated at 10:35 p.m. ET

Storm surges of 9 to 13 feet and rainfall up to 40 inches: Those are two of the most dire warnings about Hurricane Florence's effect on parts of North and South Carolina. Thousands have heeded evacuation orders; others are hoping to cope with the storm in their homes or at local shelters.

As scientists in the Netherlands tried to figure out how to build a super-agile flying robot, they took inspiration from one of nature's most acrobatic flyers: The humble fruit fly.

And by building this robot, they've gained new insights into how the fly carries out one of its flashiest maneuvers.

Human rights groups have repeatedly accused a Saudi-led coalition of causing disproportionate civilian deaths in the Yemen conflict because of airstrikes that have hit markets, weddings and even a bus carrying children from summer camp.

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