KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Scott Neuman

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

He brings to NPR years of experience as a journalist at a variety of news organizations based all over the world. He came to NPR from The Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand, where he worked as an editor on the news agency's Asia Desk. Prior to that, Neuman worked in Hong Kong with The Wall Street Journal, where among other things he reported extensively from Pakistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He also spent time with the AP in New York, and in India as a bureau chief for United Press International.

A native Hoosier, Neuman's roots in public radio (and the Midwest) run deep. He started his career at member station WBNI in Fort Wayne, and worked later in Illinois for WNIU/WNIJ in DeKalb/Rockford and WILL in Champaign-Urbana.

Neuman is a graduate of Purdue University. He lives with his wife, Noi, on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has rejected the U.S. accusations, tweeting that the Trump administration "immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran [without] a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence."

In an earlier tweet, Zarif hinted at a conspiracy, noting that the tankers, one owned by a Japanese firm, occurred as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. "Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired," he wrote.

A top Hong Kong adviser says he is recommending a reevaluation of the government's fast-track approach to a controversial extradition bill that has sparked mass protests and the territory's worst violence in years.

Meanwhile, authorities in the city prepared for more demonstrations planned over the weekend.

In a radio call-in program on RTHK on Friday, Executive Council convener Bernard Chan, who advises Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, acknowledged that he had underestimated opposition to the measure, particularly from the business community.

The man accused of killing 51 people in mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques in March has pleaded not guilty to terrorism, murder and attempted murder.

Brenton Tarrant, who appeared via video link from a maximum security prison in Auckland, smirked but did not speak and showed little other emotion as his lawyer entered not guilty pleas on multiple counts.

Audible gasps could be heard in the courtroom as the not guilty pleas were entered.

Updated at 10:18 p.m. ET

The Pentagon's Central Command says U.S. aircraft saw a Revolutionary Guard patrol boat and other Iranian vessels "in the vicinity" of the motor tanker Altair, one of two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman Thursday.

Another crew, from the motor tanker Kokuka Courageous, abandoned their ship, according to the statement, after discovering "a probable limpet mine on their hull following an initial explosion." Central Command says the Iranian patrol boat later approached the craft and was recorded removing an unexploded mine.

The World Health Organization is considering whether to declare the current Ebola outbreak in central Africa a global health crisis after new cases spread to Uganda from neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the disease has already killed nearly 1,400 people.

Updated at 6:05 a.m. ET

Authorities in Hong Kong closed government offices in the city's Central district after violent clashes between police and protesters brought the bustling financial hub to a standstill.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to arrive in Iran on Wednesday to begin a historic trip to the Middle Eastern country where he is expected to try to mediate escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Abe's two-day visit is the first to Iran for a Japanese premier since Takeo Fukuda in 1978.

Speaking at Tokyo's Haneda Airport just before departing, Abe acknowledged "rising tensions" in the Middle East and said, "Japan wants to do as much as possible towards peace and stability in the region."

The Southern Baptist Convention has voted to make it easier to expel churches that mishandle claims of sexual abuse.

Delegates representing some 47,000 Southern Baptist churches gathered at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in Birmingham, Ala., approved an amendment allowing individual churches to be expelled from the Convention if they mishandle or cover up sexual abuse cases. Delegates also established a special committee to evaluate abuse claims against churches.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. ET

Riot police in Hong Kong fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons at protesters Wednesday, trying to break up demonstrations that blockaded the city's Legislative Council. The unrest forced lawmakers to delay debate on a controversial extradition bill that critics say would expose Hong Kong residents to China's judicial system.

There are few world leaders past or present we know less about than North Korea's reclusive, nuclear-armed bad boy, Kim Jong Un.

Even Stalin was arguably less opaque. While guarded and secretive, the brutal Soviet strongman was at least recognized as one of Lenin's henchmen before muscling his way to the top.

Photos of travelers and their vehicle plates snapped at a U.S. border control point have been hacked, according to the Customs and Border Protection agency.

Customs officials said in a statement on Monday that the hack involves fewer than 100,000 people photographed inside vehicles — as well as images of the vehicle license plates — that were taken as travelers left the U.S. through specific lanes at a single, unspecified land-border crossing. The images were captured by CBP over a six-week period.

Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of the North Korean leader who was killed in a nerve-agent attack allegedly ordered by the North Korean government, had been working with the CIA prior to his death, according to The Wall Street Journal and a new book by a Washington Post reporter.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the founder of Infowars, has agreed to pay a $15,000 legal settlement to the creator of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character appropriated by the "alt-right" that is now widely used in racist Internet memes.

Jones signed the settlement on Monday with Matt Furie, the California-based artist who created Pepe some 15 years ago. The lawsuit alleged that Jones used the character without permission as part of a promotional poster also featuring images of himself, President Trump and far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

Former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was shot in the back Sunday at an outdoor bar in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. He was reportedly in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

Ortiz, a native of the Dominican Republic, was at the bar in the capital at about 8:50 p.m. when a man on a motorcycle approached and shot him from behind, according to Dominican National Police Director Ney Aldrin Bautista Almonte.

Ortiz's father, Leo Ortiz, told local reporters that his son, 43, was "fine" after surgery and that the bullet did not hit any vital organs.

A construction crane in Dallas came crashing down Sunday on an apartment building, killing at least one person and injuring five others, local fire officials said.

The crane was slammed by sudden high winds as high as 70 mph, causing it to buckle and fall onto the five-story Elan City Lights building.

The body of a woman, who was not identified by officials, was found inside the building after the collapse, fire officials said.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping described Russian President Vladimir Putin as his "best friend" as the two met in Moscow on Wednesday at a time when U.S. relations with both countries are increasingly strained.

"In the past six years, we have met nearly 30 times. Russia is the country that I have visited the most times, and President Putin is my best friend and colleague," Xi said at a news conference during his three-day state visit to Russia.

"We will strengthen our mutual support on key issues," Xi said.

The Australian Federal Police on Wednesday raided the headquarters of the country's public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corp., in connection with a story the network broadcast in 2017 detailing misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

Updated at 2:15 a.m. ET Tuesday

Police in Sri Lanka have arrested 40 suspects since a wave of deadly suicide attacks Sunday killed more than 300 people and wounded hundreds more. President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday granted the military sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects.

In a New Year's address on Tuesday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he is eager to renew face-to-face negotiations with President Trump after a bilateral summit in June. But Kim suggested that he could ramp up nuclear weapons development if the U.S. does not end economic sanctions against Pyongyang.

In the speech broadcast on state television, Kim said he is ready to meet Trump at any time to forge an agreement "welcomed by the international community."

A former Chinese intelligence chief has received a sentence of life in prison on charges of accepting bribes and insider trading — becoming the latest official held to account as part of a massive crackdown on corruption under President Xi Jinping.

Indonesian authorities have increased the alert level around the Anak Krakatau volcano and rerouted flights after a series of eruptions that triggered a deadly tsunami over the weekend.

An exclusion zone around the volcano, located on an island in the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java, was extended to a 3-mile radius.

"All flights are rerouted due to Krakatau volcano ash on red alert," the government air traffic control agency AirNav said in a release quoted by Reuters.

The death toll from a tsunami that hit the Sunda Strait coastline of Indonesia over the weekend has risen to 429, according to authorities who issued new warnings on the grim anniversary of a 2004 earthquake and tsunami that killed a staggering 230,000 people across 14 countries.

NPR's Julie McCarthy reports that relief operations continue for thousands of victims, including many who have lost their homes.

With no deal in sight to keep the government funded, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will either not be returning to work after holiday vacations or will be back on the job but without pay.

President Trump reiterated Tuesday that he is in no mood to compromise over funding for a wall along the southern border, and Democrats who oppose the measure are showing no signs of budging either.

Updated at 9:23 a.m. ET

An anti-corruption court on Monday sentenced former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in prison in a case centered on his ownership of a steel mill. It is the latest blow against Sharif, a dogged survivor of Pakistan's brutal political system.

James Comey, the former head of the FBI who was fired by President Trump, says he will push back on a subpoena to appear in a closed-door session before the House Judiciary Committee unless he is allowed to testify publicly.

The committee, which has also issued a subpoena to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is looking into how the FBI handled the investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails.

North Korea says it will deport a U.S. citizen who entered the country illegally from neighboring China last month — a move seen as a conciliatory gesture aimed at maintaining ties with Washington.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency identified the American as Bruce Byron Lowrance and said that he had told his captors that he was controlled by the CIA.

The last two surviving leaders of Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s were found guilty Friday by an international tribunal on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The conviction of Nuon Chea, 92, the chief lieutenant of the regime's infamous leader, Pol Pot, and Khieu Samphan, 87, the former head of state, is the first official acknowledgement that at least some of the estimated 2 million people who died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979 were victims of an orchestrated genocide.

A 33-year-old Colorado man pleaded guilty to killing his wife and two young daughters on Tuesday in a deal with authorities that allows him to escape the death penalty.

In the high-profile case, Christopher Watts entered the plea in Weld County District Court on Tuesday, his voice shaking as he spoke the words "guilty" nine times in response to the various counts.

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

The U.S. has officially imposed what the Trump administration calls the "toughest ever" sanctions on Iran, meant to curb Tehran's nuclear and missile programs and contain its growing influence in the Middle East. The sanctions are essentially the same ones lifted by the nuclear deal reached during the Obama administration. However, the U.S. quickly exempted several of the world's largest economies, including China, Japan and India.

Updated at 8:20 a.m. ET

Just two days before facing Democrat Stacey Abrams in a closely watched race to be Georgia's next governor, the state's sitting Secretary of State Brian Kemp — who is also the Republican candidate — says his office has opened an investigation and also asked the FBI "to investigate potential cyber crimes committed by the Democratic Party of Georgia."

Pages