Amy Held | WYPR

Amy Held

Amy Held is an editor on the newscast unit. She regularly reports breaking news on air and online.

Jokes aside about flying squirrels, nuts served on planes and bushy-tailed passengers, squirrels and planes do not actually mix. At least not on Tuesday at Orlando International Airport, where an unidentified passenger hadn't gotten the memo.

Waiting in a coffee shop, swimming, barbecuing — just a few recent examples of unremarkable activities that turned into headlines after the black people engaging in them had the police called on them.

Police in Germany arrested a suspect in connection with the rape and killing of Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova, whose brutal slaying on Saturday elicited international condemnation and accusations that the 30-year-old had been targeted for her investigative journalism.

A Romanian man was briefly detained on Tuesday in connection with Saturday's high-profile rape and killing of Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova, but after questioning, a Bulgarian official said the unidentified man would be released without charge.

Marinova's beaten and strangled body was found in the bushes by the banks of the Danube River in the northern Bulgarian city of Ruse, police said.

Life lately in the tiny northern Minnesota town of Gilbert has resembled a scene out of an Alfred Hitchcock film. Birds, lots of birds, have been "flying into windows, cars and acting confused," according to the city police department, which has been fielding reports from anxious residents.

Florence may have concluded its crawl over the Carolinas, but officials are warning residents not to let the fairer weather deceive them. For days, the storm dumped relentless rain — in some places about 3 feet — and as all that water continues to make its way downstream, rivers keep on rising.

The storm's death toll ticked up to 41 people on Thursday; 31 people in North Carolina alone, which entered its 13th day under a state of emergency.

It was a damp and dreary November nearly three years ago, when the London Metropolitan Police decided it was time to act. People kept calling with reports of grisly findings: mutilated cats, some with their heads and tails removed in and around the borough of Croydon.

New life was breathed into a perennial debate this week, when a former Sesame Street writer revealed that not only did he consider beloved characters Bert and Ernie to be a gay couple, but he used his own relationship as creative inspiration.

On Sunday, Queerty published an interview with Mark Saltzman, who worked on the show in the 1980s and 90s, asking him if he thought of Bert and Ernie as a gay couple.

With a couple of clicks, a quotidian moment can take on a viral life of its own — captured and shared, context lost, shaped by whatever viewers project onto the images.

That's what happened to Anthony Torres, 56.

On Thursday evening, Torres was caught on video shaving his face while sitting aboard a New Jersey Transit train headed out of New York City. Video also showed him with a beer.

Paris has upped the scatological stakes, releasing a quirky new viral video called "Pas Pipi Dans Paris" or "Don't Pee In Paris."

If city government getting all up in one's bathroom business already seems a bit out there, the video ups the weirdness factor by beaucoup. It features French YouTube humorist Swann Périssé and others singing, dancing and um, going, assisted by all sorts of toilet paraphernalia.

The vampire facial was only supposed to sound scary. Sure, it involves extracting the patient's own blood, isolating the platelet-rich plasma by spinning it in a centrifuge and then re-injecting it into the face. But the results are touted to be rejuvenated, smooth and supple skin, not an HIV or hepatitis scare, as clients of the VIP Spa in Albuquerque, N.M., are now facing.

As Pope Francis sat down at the Vatican Thursday with a delegation of U.S. bishops and cardinals to discuss how to gain ground in the sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Catholic Church, fresh scandals emerged on both sides of the Atlantic.

Astros relief pitcher Brad Peacock has come down with hand, foot and mouth disease, a team spokesman confirmed to NPR, in Major League Baseball's third known case of the contagious virus this season.

Peacock is home recuperating in Houston, the Houston Chronicle reports, after falling ill while he was with the team last weekend in Boston. He was feeling worse by Monday in Detroit, where the team's medical staff attended to him before sending him home.

A notorious, London-based Islamic preacher who was convicted of exhorting people to join the Islamic State and sentenced to serve five and a half years will soon walk out of prison early.

Anjem Choudary was convicted by a U.K. court in August 2016 and is set to be released on probation next month.

Updated at 9 a.m. ET, Friday

A Swedish labor court has ruled that a translation company must pay a Muslim woman 40,000 kronor, or around $4,500, in discrimination compensation, after her job interview was shut down upon her explaining she would not shake a male worker's hand for religious reasons.

A 45-year-old Iraqi national who was granted refugee status in the U.S. is accused of having fought for ISIS and al-Qaida and is now facing extradition to Iraq on a murder charge.

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Omar Ameen at his home in Sacramento on Wednesday. Ameen is charged in the 2014 death of an Iraqi police officer in his hometown, Rawah, just after it fell to the Islamic State.

After serving 14 months in a Turkish jail on terrorism charges that human rights groups say are baseless, Taner Kiliç stepped free on Wednesday into the embrace of his family.

Amnesty International posted a picture of its local honorary chair. Kilic is smiling, his arms wrapped around his wife and daughters, who are beaming as they grip him tightly.

A day after the sudden collapse of a section of highway bridge in Genoa, Italy, shock has given way to anger and blame as the number of people killed, which includes several children, climbs to 39.

The head of Italy's Civil Protection Department, Angelo Borrelli, confirmed the new death toll on Wednesday, also saying that at least 15 people were injured.

It took seconds for renowned cardiologist Mark Hausknecht, who counted a former president among his patients, to be gunned down as he cycled to work clad in his scrubs last month in Houston. But police believe 20 years of resentment harbored by the son of one of his former patients boiled over and led to the killing.

Houston police said they have evidence that Hausknecht was targeted by a 62-year-old man named Joseph James Pappas, who is still at large.

Updated at 1:20 p.m. ET

As Zimbabweans waited on tenterhooks to learn the winner of the country's presidential election, a deadly crackdown on opposition protesters in the capital spurred fears of a return to the days of authoritarian rule under Robert Mugabe.

Six people died after army troops opened fire on opposition protesters in Harare on Wednesday, according to police.

Like any tantruming toddler, the 20-foot-tall baby Trump blimp hovering above Friday's protests in London was difficult to ignore.

Now a plan to bring a replica of the yellow-haired, phone-toting, sneering and diapered balloon stateside has garnered so much support that organizers say they will use the funds to buy multiple blimps "so we can go coast-to-coast, border-to-border."

A small explosion and fire in the paint area of a production facility at a Pennsylvania Army depot injured four workers — three seriously — on Wednesday morning, according to the depot commander.

"We do not suspect any type of terrorist activity," Col. Stephen Ledbetter said at a news conference, adding that the investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing.

Their words helped ensure Larry Nassar will spend his life behind bars, and on Wednesday, the "sister survivors" of the disgraced sports doctor's abuse accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2018 ESPYS in Los Angeles.

Dressed in glittering gowns and with hands gripped, more than 140 women gathered onstage to share the prize awarded to athletes whose bravery "transcends sports," as the audience rose in a standing ovation.

Sarah Klein, a former gymnast who said she was among Nassar's earliest victims three decades ago, was the first to address the audience.

A high school social studies teacher who fired a gun inside his Georgia classroom in February, hitting a window and alarming students and staff just days after the Parkland, Fla., shooting massacre, was sentenced on Tuesday to two years in prison, followed by eight years probation, according to Conasauga Judicial Circuit District Attorney Bert Poston.

More than a year after a landslide shut it down, a section of Highway 1 running along a coastal stretch in California's Big Sur region reopened early Wednesday.

The California Department of Transportation announced that the roadway at Mud Creek was opening about two months ahead of schedule, thanks to favorable weather and worker productivity.

"It's a big deal to open the highway unrestricted," Colin Jones, a Caltrans spokesman told NPR.

It may be tiny, but Beryl is scrappy.

The Category 1 hurricane, the first of the 2018 Atlantic season, strengthened from a tropical depression to a hurricane within 24 hours, surprising specialists who dubbed it "Brazen Beryl."

James Alex Fields Jr., 21, pleaded not guilty Thursday to dozens of federal hate crimes in connection with last summer's car attack on people protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Updated at 6:50 a.m. ET Friday

A boat carrying more than 100 passengers, mostly Chinese tourists, overturned in rough waters off southern Thailand on Thursday, killing at least 27.

Cramped cabins, knocked knees, aggrieved elbows: all real problems for today's flyers. But the Federal Aviation Administration has said they aren't its problems — announcing Tuesday that it will not regulate airline seat size and legroom.

The decision came in the form of a letter responding to a lawsuit brought by the group Flyers Rights.

It's summertime in the Northern Hemisphere, and a couple of constants remain: Just as surely as it's going to be hot, people are going to want to talk about exactly how hot it is.

But the heat has been so notable in the past week or so that records are being stretched and scorched from Canada to Armenia, with roofs and roads going runny.

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