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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.

Internationally acclaimed Italian author and philosopher Umberto Eco has died at age 84. His death was confirmed by his American publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Born in a small Italian town in 1932, Eco is perhaps best known for his 1980 mystery novel The Name of the Rose, which is set in a monastery in the 14th century. It was an unexpected international bestseller, launching his career as an author.

Albert Woodfox, who has been held in solitary confinement for more than 40 years, walked out of a Louisiana prison early this afternoon.

This comes after he pleaded no contest on Friday to manslaughter charges in the death of prison guard Brent Miller in 1972.

Woodfox was the last behind bars of three prisoners known as the Angola Three because of their long confinement in Louisiana's Angola prison.

A Texas judge has ordered that the case of 18-year-old Ethan Couch, who notoriously presented an "affluenza" defense in his drunken driving trial in 2013, be moved to an adult court.

Couch, who killed four people and seriously wounded two others while driving drunk when he was 16, will receive new probation terms. He could face up to 180 days in jail.

Here are more details from The Dallas Morning News:

Limacina helicina looks like most any other sea snail — until it beats what look like delicate wings and "flies" through the water.

A newly published study in the Journal of Experimental Biology says the tiny species of sea snail moves through water using the same kind of motion that an insect uses to fly.

Take a look at the "sea butterfly" in action:

Just shy of a week ago, the U.S. and Russia announced they would work toward a "nationwide cessation of hostilities" in Syria within a week.

But as consultations continue, it appears less likely that the world powers supporting the plan will make the self-declared deadline.

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