Amy Held

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

The roar of the crowd, the boom of the sound system, the flash of fireworks — all part of the thrill for many fans who flock to NFL games, but for others, including those on the autism spectrum with sensory issues, the experience can be too much.

Now a growing number of teams are including "sensory inclusive spaces" within their arenas to accommodate them.

It's the Cubs, Bulls and Bears that usually get Chicagoans talking, but this week the animal that has residents snapping to attention is a real live alligator cruising through a lagoon in the city.

The alligator, estimated to be between 4 and 5 feet long, was spotted Tuesday in the unlikely locale of Humboldt Park on the city's West Side.

Surprised parkgoers called 911, and responding officers brought in animal control.

Facing a backlash, Home Depot sought to distance itself from billionaire co-founder Bernie Marcus after he pledged to back President Trump's bid for re-election in 2020.

Calls to boycott the retailer took off this week on social media as news spread that Marcus told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution late last month that he plans to support Trump's bid for another term.

Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET

Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the U.S., has announced his resignation days after leaked cables revealed his sharp criticism of the Trump administration and the U.S. president responded by saying he will "no longer deal with him."

Los Angeles County's Santa Anita Park is standing firm against calls to cancel the rest of its racing season after the deaths of two more horses over the weekend, bringing the number of horses that have died at the track since December to 29.

In a highly unusual move Saturday, the California Horse Racing Board asked the park to scuttle competition for the seven remaining race days to "provide the industry more time to fully implement announced safety initiatives and perhaps additional ones."

The Vatican department charged with overseeing Catholic education released an extensive document Monday decrying what it calls a "crisis" on whether gender can be an individual choice rather than being set by God or biology.

The document describes a culture-wide "disorientation" that serves to "cancel out" the natural difference between man and woman, as well as "destabilise the family as an institution."

Updated on Tuesday at 5:25 a.m. ET

Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the world's most famous churches, erupted in flames Monday in Paris, losing its spire but remaining otherwise largely intact after firefighters worked through the night to contain the fire.

Tattooing goes back millennia and spans cultures, as evidenced by mummified remains, yet many details of the body modification's origins have been shrouded in mystery. Now an ancient bone tattoo kit from the Pacific island nation of Tonga is providing researchers with more than an inkling into the rich history of Polynesian body art, a method so indelible, little has changed in some 3,000 years.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

In his latest salvo against unfair trade practices in a major Asian market, President Trump says he plans to end preferential trade treatment for India, which sought to downplay the significance of the move.

President Trump and Kim Jong Un provided upbeat optics at the launch of their second summit in Hanoi on Wednesday. With cameras flashing, the leaders strode before the international press corps at the luxurious Metropole Hotel, grasped hands and posed with American and North Korean flags as a backdrop.

The summit continues Thursday, when the two sides are expected to get into the nitty gritty of an agreement.

Thursday at the Vatican, Pope Francis stood before some 200 participants in an unprecedented summit on preventing clergy sex abuse and said Catholics are seeking not simply "condemnations" but "concrete, effective measures."

But a crisis that has crossed borders and generations, lacerating the church and shaking the pope's credibility, is standing in the way as he seeks to forge a path ahead.

In an age of information warfare, Russia is going back to basics in a bid to protect its secret information from prying eyes, by telling troops to step away from their smartphones and social media.

On Tuesday, Russia's lower house of parliament passed a bill banning military personnel from posting about themselves or colleagues online. The measure also restricts the general use of smartphones.

A tiger alarmed a woman who was sneaking into a seemingly abandoned Houston home to smoke marijuana on Monday. Now it has found a new home of its own.

The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, a sanctuary located about 200 miles north of Houston, announced it was welcoming the tiger, according to Lara Cottingham, spokeswoman for Houston's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, which oversees the city's animal shelter that had been caring for the animal.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says its agents seized a record amount of fentanyl Saturday from a produce truck attempting to enter the country from Mexico at Arizona's Port of Nogales crossing.

Updated at 12:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. Strategic Command is charged with controlling the nation's nuclear operations, but conceded it missed the mark with a New Year's Eve tweet comparing the famed ball drop to a B-2 bomber dropping weapons.

"TimesSquare tradition rings in the #NewYear by dropping the big ball...if ever needed, we are #ready to drop something much, much bigger," read the now-deleted tweet from Stratcom's official account.

This week, 1-month-old Joy was vaccinated against hepatitis and tuberculosis. Those are standard childhood vaccinations, but there was something definitely non-standard about the way they reached Joy. They arrived by drone.

Joy and her mom, Julie Nowai, live on Erromango, part of Vanuatu, an island nation made up of some 80 Pacific islands, lying west of Fiji. With very few airfields, paved roads or available refrigeration in Vanuatu, around one in five children do not receive vaccines, according to the government.

More than 2,500 tons of raw beef are being added to a recall in connection with a salmonella outbreak that federal officials say has sickened hundreds of people across 25 states.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 California man was arrested Thursday and charged with threatening violence against Boston Globe journalists in retaliation for the newspaper's coordination earlier this month of some 300 nationwide editorials denouncing President Trump's attacks on the media, according to federal prosecutors.

A salmonella outbreak stretching across four states sickening 17 people and resulting in one death has been linked to a popular brand of kosher chicken, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since last September, cases have been reported in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York — where the death occurred.

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.

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.

Pope Francis has added his voice to the growing chorus of those decrying the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy on illegal border crossings that has resulted in the separation of parents and children traveling together.

Disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein appeared in a New York City courtroom Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sex act, less than a week after a grand jury indicted him.

Weinstein, 66, had been expected to plead not guilty and remains free on bail.

Dozens of women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of persistent sexual misconduct.

Updated at 3:27 p.m. ET

Kate Spade, the designer who built a billion-dollar brand of luxury handbags and accessories, was found dead in her Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan on Tuesday. She was 55.

New York Police Department officials said that police received a call around 10:30 a.m. and that officers found Spade unconscious and unresponsive in the bedroom of her Park Avenue apartment. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"It was a suicide," NYPD spokeswoman Arlene Muniz told NPR, without providing further details.

An overcrowded fishing boat, crammed with around 180 people, sank off the coast of Tunisia over the weekend, according to United Nations agencies. More than a hundred people, including children, are feared dead.

If confirmed, it would be the single deadliest capsizing in the Mediterranean so far this year, according to The Associated Press.

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