Amy Held

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

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.

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.

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.

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