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.

Mesut Ozil is widely viewed as one of the most talented players on the German national soccer team. But he says his days of playing for Germany, the country he was born in, are over.

In a lengthy statement posted on his Twitter account, the midfielder said he is quitting due to racism that flared up most dramatically after he posed for a photo in May with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Each spring, barnacle geese migrate more than 1,800 miles from the Netherlands and northern Germany to their breeding grounds in parts of Russia above the Arctic Circle.

The journey north usually takes about a month, and the geese make multiple stops along the way to eat and fatten up before they lay their eggs, says Bart Nolet of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and the University of Amsterdam.

Japan and the European Union have signed a massive trade deal that creates an open-trade zone for more than 600 million people. The EU and Japan account for about one-third of GDP worldwide.

Nicaragua saw another weekend of deadly violence, as forces in support of President Daniel Ortega besieged student protesters in a church and attempted to assert control over several areas outside the capital.

President Trump has said he has "low expectations" ahead of a summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin, and added that he sees the European Union as a "foe" of the U.S.

He made the comments in an interview with CBS that aired on Face the Nation, during a visit to Europe that has tested relations with some of the U.S.'s most important allies.

Convicted murderer Scott Dozier has clearly and repeatedly stated that he wants to be executed.

The planned execution, using a three-drug cocktail, had been set for Wednesday evening at Ely State Prison in Nevada. Experts say it would be the first time the opioid fentanyl was used in a U.S. execution.

U.S. officials made threats to Ecuador in an attempt to water down a resolution in support of breastfeeding, according to a report in The New York Times.

As the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed walked off the plane in Eritrea on Sunday, he smiled and gave a big hug to Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki.

The simple, warm gesture shocked many observers, because it happened between the leaders of two Horn of Africa countries that have been locked in a conflict for nearly two decades that has killed tens of thousands of people.

It's a sign of a dramatic, rapid thaw in tensions.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says that the government will meet deadlines imposed by a federal judge to reunite migrant families that have been separated by the U.S. government.

At the same time, he criticized the deadlines as "artificial" and said that they could prevent the government "from completing our standard — or even a truncated — vetting process."

The Trump administration's separation policy has been met with widespread outcry, marches and legal action.

A London-based nurse has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for subjecting five young Nigerian woman to mystical, violent rituals and trafficking them to Germany, where they were forced to work as prostitutes.

According to prosecutors, the case marks the first time that the U.K.'s Modern Slavery Act has been used to prosecute a U.K. national for crimes committed elsewhere.

Josephine Iyamu, who is 51, has maintained that she is innocent.

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