Matthew S. Schwartz

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz 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!").

For years he has played a high school history teacher who accidentally became president of Ukraine. On Sunday, Ukraine's voters made that fiction a reality.

With nearly all the ballots counted, the 41-year-old Volodymyr Zelenskiy took 73% of the vote, trouncing incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, who received less than 25%. Zelenskiy's victory is widely seen as a rebuke of the status quo, a response to perceived corruption within the political establishment, and a reflection of malaise over the lackluster economy and ongoing conflict with Russia in eastern Ukraine.

New Hampshire is poised to become the 21st state to abolish the death penalty.

The state Senate voted 17-6 Thursday to end capital punishment, adding its voice to the state House which voted for repeal last month by a vote of 279-88. The bill changes the penalty for capital murder to a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole.

On Facebook, people linger long after death.

A friend's photo might pop up on a timeline. A child's video might show up in Facebook "Memories," highlighting what happened on this date in years past. Sometimes these reminders bring a smile to the faces of friends and family left behind.

But Facebook's algorithms haven't always been tactful. Unless someone explicitly informs Facebook that a family member has died, Facebook has been known to remind friends to send birthday greetings, or invite a deceased loved one to an event.

A law making it harder for women in North Carolina to get an abortion after 20 weeks is unconstitutional, a federal judge has declared.

The law, which had been on the books since 1973, banned abortion after 20 weeks with only certain exceptions to protect the life of the mother. A 2015 amendment tightened those exceptions, criminalizing abortion unless the woman's life or a "major bodily function" were at immediate risk. Pro-abortion rights groups challenged the law, and on Monday U.S. District Judge William Osteen sided with them.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

That is not one small step for women.

History was supposed to be made Friday when, for the first time, two female astronauts were scheduled to do a spacewalk together outside the International Space Station. However, one of the astronauts was switched out this week because of a lack of "spacesuit availability."

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Four of five inmates who broke out of a North Carolina jail have been captured by authorities, but one of them remained at large Tuesday morning.

The "bomb cyclone" that swept through the Midwest this week has caused more than $1 billion of flood damage in Nebraska, the state's governor said Wednesday. At least three people have been killed in Nebraska and Iowa.

The enslaved man's name was Renty. His image adorns the cover of a Harvard publication that the university sells for $40.

Tamara Lanier says "Papa Renty" is the patriarch of her family. And in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, she says Harvard is using those photos without permission — and in so doing, profiting from photos taken by a racist professor determined to prove the inferiority of black people.

If you've ever been tempted to make a rude gesture at a police officer, you can rest assured that the Constitution protects your right to do so, a federal appeals court says.

49 Dead In 'Terrorist Attack' At 2 Mosques In Christchurch, New Zealand

Mar 15, 2019

Updated at 4:37 a.m. ET

Forty-nine people are dead and at least 20 are seriously injured in what New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says "can now only be described as a terrorist attack."

A woman in California who says Johnson & Johnson baby powder caused her to develop mesothelioma was awarded $29 million by a jury Wednesday. J&J says it will appeal the judgment.

Amid continuing unrest in Venezuela, the United States plans to remove all diplomatic personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Twitter late Monday.

"The U.S. will withdraw all remaining personnel from [the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela] this week," Pompeo tweeted. "This decision reflects the deteriorating situation in #Venezuela as well as the conclusion that the presence of U.S. diplomatic staff at the embassy has become a constraint on U.S. policy."

An Indonesian woman accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is free after Malaysian prosecutors dropped charges against her Monday.

Two women appeared to spread poison on Kim Jong Nam's face while he was walking through the Kuala Lumpur airport in early 2017. The women had been placed in custody after a judge in Malaysia said there is enough evidence of a "well-planned conspiracy" to move the case forward.

A federal court made it harder Thursday for the U.S. government to quickly deport asylum-seekers if they fail an initial screening at the border.

A law passed by Congress in 1996 sharply limited the ability of asylum-seekers to access U.S. courts if they want to challenge decisions of an asylum officer and immigration judge. Those limitations are unconstitutional, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said.

At first, you might not realize the flyer was put there by a white supremacy group.

The poster, in shades of black, white and teal, features Andrew Jackson on horseback. The accompanying text reads: "European roots, American greatness."

Canada violated the constitutional rights of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou when border officials detained and interrogated her for hours, lawyers for Meng are alleging in a lawsuit against the Canadian government.

Meng, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom firm Huawei, was arrested by Canadian officials in December at the request of the United States. The U.S. had sought Meng's arrest on charges of fraud, arguing Huawei had violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Updated at 11:55 a.m. ET

The U.S. State Department is offering a reward of $1 million for information leading to the location of Hamza bin Laden, the son of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday clarified the circumstances in which someone with a mental disability may be put to death.

The government can execute a prisoner even if he doesn't remember committing his crime, the court said. But it can't execute the prisoner if he doesn't understand why he has been "singled out" to die, the high court said in its 5-3 decision. If someone with dementia can't understand the reason for his execution, the court held, killing the prisoner is unconstitutional.

Updated at 2:52 p.m. ET

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left their summit meeting on Thursday in Hanoi, Vietnam, without agreeing on a denuclearization deal. A planned signing ceremony was canceled.

The biggest sticking point was sanctions against North Korea, Trump said at a news conference Thursday afternoon local time. Kim is "totally" willing to dismantle nuclear weapons in key areas, such as the Yongbyon nuclear facility, but the North Korean leader wants all sanctions removed first, Trump said. "We couldn't do that."

The next Chicago mayor will either be a self-described political outsider who has never run for office or a longtime city alderman and chair of the county's Democratic Party. Either way, for the first time, the city's top political official will be an African-American woman.

Requiring only men to register for the draft is unconstitutional, a federal judge has ruled.

The Military Selective Service Act states that men in the U.S. ages 18 through 25 must register in case the country needs a military draft. Women face no such requirement. On Friday, a federal judge in Texas ruled that a males-only draft violates the equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

Editor's note: This story contains content that may be upsetting to some readers.

Big brands are pulling their ads off YouTube over concerns that potential sexual predators are gathering in the comment sections of videos featuring children. In response, YouTube has deleted more than 400 channels and suspended comments on tens of millions of videos as it tries to purge the system of pedophiles.

Updated at 4:34 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is changing the number of American troops that will remain in Syria.

Approximately 400 troops will stay there, a senior administration official has told NPR. That's double the number announced Thursday night by White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

In the days after Superstorm Sandy soaked the East Coast, New York City Department of Transportation workers cataloged the damage to the agency's fleet of vehicles. That information was handed over to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which would give the city enough money to replace the damaged vehicles with new ones.

Only one problem: Many of those vehicles were damaged before Sandy hit. Some hadn't been operational in years and had been marked for salvage long before the storm.

A fire raced through the capital of Bangladesh on Wednesday night, killing at least 70 people and injuring dozens.

Fire officials say the blaze began in a partly residential four-story building in Dhaka as most people were sleeping.

George Mendonsa, the Navy sailor whose passionate kiss in Times Square symbolized a nation's exuberance over the end of World War II, has died. He was 95.

The photographer never got the name of the sailor, but Mendonsa claimed it was him, and many experts who analyzed his facial structure came to the same conclusion.

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.

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.

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.

Pages