Matthew S. Schwartz

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Matt worked as a reporter for Washington, D.C., member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Matt worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Matt was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").

The Trump administration was within its rights to waive dozens of environmental laws to fast track some border construction projects in southern California, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Conrad Roy III was having second thoughts.

The 18-year-old had been planning to kill himself, to sit inside his truck while it filled with carbon monoxide, but he wasn't sure if he could go through with it. In a series of insistent text messages, his 17-year-old girlfriend convinced him to follow through.

"You can't think about it. You just have to do it," Michelle Carter wrote. And, after he got out of his truck, she texted him to "get back in."

More than 10,000 special education students will be "extremely impacted" by the Denver teacher strike, a new class action lawsuit alleges. The suit, brought on behalf of the students against the school district — on the first day of the strike — argues that without trained teachers and caregivers, the students will be put in jeopardy.

Denver schoolteachers are going on strike over how their base pay is calculated. The teachers union and the school district failed to reach an agreement after more than a year of negotiations.

It is the first teachers strike for the city in a quarter-century, and it affects about 71,000 students across 147 schools, Colorado Public Radio reports.

Republican Congressman Walter Jones, who represented North Carolina for 24 years, died Sunday after complications from a fall. He had just turned 76.

Death Row inmate Domineque Ray hoped that when he took his final breath, he could find comfort in the presence of his Muslim spiritual adviser. But the Alabama prison where Ray was awaiting execution wouldn't allow it. Prison officials would only allow their own Christian chaplain to offer the prisoner solace from inside the execution chamber. They said it would be a security risk to let someone into the room who wasn't an employee of the state's corrections department.

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET on Friday

The long-term care facility in Arizona where an incapacitated woman was raped and later gave birth will not close, despite a decision by Hacienda HealthCare's board of directors, which was announced Thursday.

Instead, the board agreed late Friday to accept voluntary regulation by the Arizona Department of Health Services, according to a spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey.

We've come a long way from the yellow smiley face.

The humble emoji, originally a set of basic symbols designed to add visual flair to text-based messages, has become a way for people to express their identity. And with the latest crop of tiny icons, smartphones around the world are about to become much more inclusive.

Pacific Gas & Electric could shut off power to more than 5 million customers when extreme weather conditions are ripe for wildfires to break out, the company said Wednesday. It's an expansion of the company's previous power shutoff program, which only let the company turn off power to about half a million customers.

Key West voted late Tuesday to ban the sale of sunscreens containing certain chemicals linked to coral reef bleaching. The ban is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Russia's defense minister on Tuesday ordered work to begin on new land-based intermediate range missiles, to be ready within two years. The move comes in response to the U.S. decision to pull out of a key nuclear arms treaty that symbolized the end of the Cold War.

A second nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is scheduled for the end of the month in Vietnam. President Trump made the announcement during Tuesday's State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

A trail jogger in Colorado successfully defended himself Monday against a mountain lion that attacked him from behind. The cat is dead, and the man is recovering in a local hospital.

The jogger, whose identity has not been released, was running alone in the foothills of the Horsetooth Mountain Park in northern Colorado when, he said, he heard something behind him on the trail. As he turned to investigate, the juvenile mountain lion lunged.

A fire gutted an apartment building in Paris early Tuesday, killing at least 10 people and injuring dozens. Investigators say they believe the fire was a result of arson. A suspect is in custody.

More than 200 firefighters battled the blaze over several hours, and neighboring buildings were evacuated, the Associated Press reports. Some in the apartment building climbed onto the roof to escape the flames; others tried to climb out the windows. Firefighters saved more than 50 people, officials told reporters.

President Trump's inaugural committee has received a subpoena from Justice Department investigators. The subpoena reportedly orders the committee to hand over a wide-ranging collection of documents related to how it was funded and by whom.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

An additional 3,750 troops will be sent to the Southern border to help install wire barriers and monitor crossings, officials said. The new deployment will bring the number of active-duty troops there to around 6,000.

In a tweet on Sunday, President Trump said that "STRONG Border Security" is necessary in the face of "Caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country."

The Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage, who has long been associated with Atlanta, has been arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The agency says he is actually a U.K. citizen who overstayed his visa and that he now faces deportation.

The Chicago Police Department is about to undergo extensive changes to its practices and policies, after a federal judge approved a plan Thursday that attempts to reform the way the police department interacts with the public.

The Internet once again finds itself in court today, as the Federal Communications Commission defends its decision to repeal net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration.

The deep freeze is putting gas and power grids to the test.

In the midst of some of the lowest temperatures in years, utility companies in parts of the Upper Midwest have asked customers to turn down their thermostats to ensure that there's enough natural gas to go around.

University of Maryland President Wallace Loh was supposed to retire in June, following the death of college football player Jordan McNair. But the university announced Wednesday that Loh would stay on an extra year because it's taking longer than expected to find a new president.

Oil prices are up more than 2 percent after the U.S. imposed sanctions on Venezuela's state-run oil company known as PDVSA.

Two-time Grammy winner James Ingram, whose signature timbre instantly evokes the classic R&B sound of the 1980s, has died. He was 66.

Ingram's passing was announced on Twitter by actress Debbie Allen. "I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir," she wrote. "He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity. I am blessed to have been so close."

Updated at 1:03 p.m. ET

Faced with billions of dollars in potential liabilities from two years of devastating Northern California wildfires as well as the specter of future catastrophic blazes, California's Pacific Gas and Electric, one of the nation's largest utilities, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday.

The state is investigating PG&E's culpability in November's Butte County fire that killed at least 86 people and incinerated some 14,000 homes and buildings in and around the town of Paradise, Calif.

A glitch in Apple's FaceTime app let users hear the other person — and in some cases, see video — even if the recipient never accepted the call. The bug was widely reported late Monday, and confirmed by several technology reporters. Until it can offer a permanent fix, Apple says it has simply disabled group FaceTime calls altogether.

As government safety workers get back to work after the partial government shutdown that lasted more than a month, the National Transportation Safety Board is developing plans to work through the backlog — and realizing that some evidence might no longer exist.

Most investigations were put on hold when workers were dismissed. But 22 investigations never even began. That includes 15 aviation accidents resulting in 21 fatalities; three marine accidents; two railroad accidents causing two fatalities; and two highway accidents, which killed seven people.

Forever Stamps have gotten a lot more expensive, relatively speaking.

The price of a first-class Forever Stamp went up by a nickel Sunday, from 50 cents to 55 cents. That 10 percent increase "is the biggest price increase by total cents in the history of the Postal Service," according to The Associated Press.

The Postal Service has been running a multibillion-dollar deficit for years, and the price increase is an attempt to contend with a United States that just doesn't send as many letters as it used to.

A prominent Chinese human rights lawyer has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for subverting state power.

Wang Quanzhang is known for defending political activists, victims of land seizures and the banned religious group Falun Gong. His wife and former business partners say Wang committed no crime. Human rights groups are condemning the sentence.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered preparations for a second summit with President Trump to discuss the prospect of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, state media said Thursday.

Updated at 7:28 p.m. ET

The Microsoft search engine, Bing, is back online in China after apparently being blocked on Wednesday, a company spokesperson told NPR.

"We can confirm that Bing was inaccessible in China, but service is now restored," the spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

The company declined to provide details about the cause of the disruption and return of the search engine.

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