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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.

A powerful cyclone with gusts of up to 200 mph that ripped through the island nation of Fiji over the weekend killed at least 21 people, according to the United Nations.

Whole villages were flattened and at least four people were missing as a result of what the U.N. is calling "one of the most severe [cyclones] ever to hit the South Pacific." About 8,100 people remain in evacuation shelters.

Mourners gathered Saturday to pay their respects to deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a funeral mass in Washington D.C.

The towering conservative jurist will be buried in a private ceremony following the service at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, NPR's Nina Totenberg reports to our Newscast unit.

"The shrine, a colorful and large church, is not far from where the justice served for some 30 years," Nina says.

Longtime Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had won another 5-year term with more than 60 percent of the votes, Uganda's electoral commission says, following an election that observers say fell short of democratic.

Museveni, a former guerilla leader, came to power 30 years ago when he toppled brutal dictator Idi Amin. This is the fourth election where Musevani has faced multiple candidates.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron is calling for a historic nationwide referendum on June 23 to decide whether the U.K. will remain in the European Union.

This comes a day after Cameron and EU leaders announced in Brussels that they have negotiated a new deal that changes the terms of Britain's membership.

After negotiating these new concessions, Cameron strongly advocated that the U.K. stick with Europe. He spoke in front of 10 Downing Street after presenting the EU reform deal to his Cabinet.

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.

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