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!").

The American Civil Liberties Union says it has uncovered new evidence that federal border agents are violating the Constitution when they search travelers' electronic devices.

For the first time in more than 200 years, a Japanese emperor has abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne.

"Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so," Emperor Akihito said in a ceremony Tuesday evening at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, according to Japan Times.

When Netflix's 13 Reasons Why was released two years ago, depicting the life of a teenager who decided to take her own life, educators and psychologists warned the program could lead to copycat suicides. Now, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health shows that those concerns may have been warranted.

Spain's center-left Socialist party, led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, was victorious in Sunday's general election. The party took 29% of the vote, winning 123 seats in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies.

"We made it happen," Sánchez told supporters in Madrid, according to The Guardian. "We've sent out the message that we don't want to regress or reverse. We want a country that looks forward and advances."

Global military spending is continuing to increase, growing for the second year in a row and reaching the highest levels since reliable global figures became available in 1988. That's the finding of a new report out by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Total spending is up 76% from the post-Cold War low in 1998.

The United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India and France led the world in military spending, accounting for 60% of the total expenditure in 2018. And U.S. military spending is up for the first time in seven years, by 4.6%, reaching $649 billion.

Until the Trump administration changed its practice last year, the government had quietly separated thousands of children from parents trying to cross into the country at the southern border — in the process, sometimes losing track of where exactly those children went, and to whom they belong.

On Thursday a federal judge gave the administration six months to figure it out.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET

Hundreds of students and faculty at two universities in Los Angeles have been asked to stay home unless they can prove that they've been vaccinated against measles.

The LA campuses of the University of California and California State University imposed the quarantine after they became aware of people infected with measles who had potentially exposed hundreds. At UCLA, a student exposed at least 500 people earlier this month; at Cal State, someone with measles went to a library and encountered hundreds.

If North Korea is given security guarantees, Kim Jong Un would be willing to denuclearize, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Kim on Thursday. Their first face-to-face meeting took place on Russky Island in eastern Russia.

The federal government is expanding an investigation into malfunctioning air bags to include an additional 12.3 million vehicles with air bags that could fail to inflate in a crash.

The next time parking enforcement officers use chalk to mark your tires, they might be acting unconstitutionally.

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that "chalking" is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The case was brought by Alison Taylor, a Michigan woman whom the court describes as a "frequent recipient of parking tickets." The city of Saginaw, Mich., like countless other cities around the country, uses chalk to mark the tires of cars to enforce time limits on parking.

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.

Interstates were closed for hundreds of miles in the Midwest and Plains Thursday, as a "bomb cyclone" brought a major winter storm to states in those regions. Some towns that just days ago were experiencing sunshine and temperate weather are now under 1 or 2 feet of snow.

Most of Nebraska and South Dakota remained under a blizzard warning Thursday afternoon, as snow continued to cause dangerous conditions. Minnesota, Wisconsin and much of Michigan's Upper Peninsula face a winter storm warning. Eastern North Dakota is under a flood warning.

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.

When a panhandler approaches a car in the intersection — his hand out, his eyes wide — that physical interaction is protected by the First Amendment, a federal district judge ruled Monday when he threw out an Arkansas city's panhandling ban.

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.

In a move that appeared aimed at what some view as a growing trend of political correctness on college campuses, President Trump signed an executive order Thursday to bar federal research grants to institutions that don't "avoid creating environments that stifle competing perspectives."

With just over a week to go until the deadline for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, the son of President Trump says that everything would be on track had British Prime Minister Theresa May taken his father's advice on Brexit.

Homer Simpson probably won't become the newest member of the Avengers, but anything's possible now that Disney owns 21st Century Fox.

One year after the Walt Disney Co. announced the $71.3 billion merger, it's official. The deal, which closed Wednesday at 12:02 a.m. Eastern time, reshapes the media landscape and makes Disney an even greater entertainment behemoth. In bolstering its trove of characters and stories, the acquisition also puts Disney in a stronger position to take on Netflix and other streaming companies when it launches its own service, Disney+, later this year.

As the barren California desert sprang to life, they descended. With their selfie sticks, their smartphones and their gee-whiz-look-at-all-the-flowers smiles, they seemed blissfully unconcerned that they were causing something close to a panic at the highest levels of local government.

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.

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."

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."

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.

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.

Updated Friday at 6:52 p.m. ET

The father of an Alabama woman who traveled to Syria and became the bride of an Islamic State fighter is suing the Trump administration to allow her return, after the president said she would be barred from entering the United States.

Pages