Vanessa Romo

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.

Before her stint on the News Desk, Romo spent the early months of the Trump Administration on the Washington Desk covering stories about culture and politics – the voting habits of the post-millennial generation, the rise of Maxine Waters as a septuagenarian pop culture icon and DACA quinceañeras as Trump protests.

In 2016, she was at the core of the team that launched and produced The New York Times' first political podcast, The Run-Up with Michael Barbaro. Prior to that, Romo was a Spencer Education Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism where she began working on a radio documentary about a pilot program in Los Angeles teaching black and Latino students to code switch.

Romo has also traveled extensively through the Member station world in California and Washington. As the education reporter at Southern California Public Radio, she covered the region's K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and won the Education Writers Association first place award as well as a Regional Edward R. Murrow for Hard News Reporting.

Before that, she covered business and labor for Member station KNKX, keeping an eye on global companies including Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft.

A Los Angeles native, she is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she received a degree in history. She also earned a master's degree in Journalism from NYU. She loves all things camaron-based.

Tensions at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Panama City erupted into chaos this week, with teams of security guards attacking each other and police carting off an employee in handcuffs, members of the luxury building's owners association tell NPR.

Amazon really wants to come over to your house. Or at least make it to the front door.

The Seattle-based tech giant announced Tuesday it's made another move into the home security and surveillance business, acquiring Ring, a smart-doorbell maker that streams audio and video to cellphones.

Neither company has released details about the deal but Reuters reported that it cost over $1 billion.

House and Senate Republican lawmakers in Florida unveiled a package of sweeping gun control proposals on Monday, which they hope to pass before a legislative recess in two weeks.

The measures are aimed at making schools safer for children but present a challenge to the National Rifle Association's grip on the state's Republican leaders, including the self-professed gun-toting governor, who presented his own plan Friday.

Michelle Obama fans can officially start the countdown clock.

Over social media Sunday, the former first lady announced her first memoir, Becoming, will be published on November 13. That gives her most dedicated admirers exactly 261 days to start printing "Obama 2020" T-shirts as some are professing to do before storming bookstores.

"Writing BECOMING has been a deeply personal experience," she tweeted to her followers. "I talk about my roots and how a girl from the South Side found her voice."

Two South Korean speedskaters who humiliated their teammate are facing a swift backlash from fans who are demanding the women be banned from the national team. The fans' petition has gathered more than 579,000 signatures over two days.

The painful drama played out on the ice on Monday during the pursuit team quarterfinals race when Noh Seon-Yeong was left behind by the two faster women on the team, leaving Noh to cross the finish line roughly four seconds later — a glacial delay in the sport.

Throughout his career as a preacher, the Rev. Billy Graham's message of faith drew massive crowds of believers to tents, arenas and stadiums. Next week, mourners will have a final opportunity to turn out for Graham.

His casket will lie in honor in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and Thursday, March 1.

In the seven days that have followed the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people, students from the Florida campus have moved from terror to grief to activism, inspiring a national youth-led protest against political inaction on gun reform.

On Wednesday, the Parkland students — still mourning and fueled by anger — made their way to the state capitol in Tallahassee to confront lawmakers to demand a ban on assault weapons.

A Thai court on Tuesday granted sole custody of 13 children to a reclusive Japanese businessman who fathered the babies through surrogates, putting an end to a bizarre and controversial legal battle involving the man police called a "baby-factory."

For a company that's all about the future of communication, Facebook is looking to the past to solve at least some of its problems.

After months of intense scrutiny over the role the company played in the 2016 presidential election, the social network giant announced it wants to use postcards to verify the identity of advertising buyers to prevent future foreign meddling.

While Ed Sheeran crooned about the shape of some unknown woman, French Olympic ice skater Gabriella Papadakis was struggling to keep her own shape under wraps.

Seconds into the routine, Papadakis said she felt the emerald collar of her costume become unhooked behind her neck. Apparently, the fabric of her bejeweled outfit pushed and pulled the opposite of the way a magnet do. [Hint: Ed Sheeran lyrics.] And despite her best efforts to keep the audience from discovering something brand new, her left breast was eventually exposed on live television.

A group of teenagers who say they are desperate for some action on gun control staged a silent "lie-in" outside the White House Monday, in the wake of the deadly Florida school shooting last week.

The story of the Jamaican women's Olympic bobsled team was already rife with cinematic drama and imbued with a fairy tale-like quality.

Just like their male counterparts of 30 years ago — who first made it to the Calgary Olympics in 1988 and on whom the movie Cool Runnings is based — Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian and Carrie Russell are hoping to become the first Jamaican women competitors in their winter games debut.

Austrian snowboarder Markus Schairer broke his neck during the men's cross quarterfinals at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Thursday.

Schairer fractured his fifth cervical vertebra during the fall, according to a statement from the Austrian Olympic Committee shortly after the accident.

President Trump expressed grief Thursday over the school shooting in Florida and sought to comfort victims and their families in his first public address since the mass killing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead and many others injured.

"To every parent, teacher and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you whatever you need, whatever we can do to ease your pain," he said.

Penguins can't swipe right, but they can grab a big red heart in their beak and waddle it over to deliver at their beloved's feet.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wants to start cutting checks for victims of Hurricane Harvey starting now.

At a meeting with business leaders in Rockport, Texas, Tuesday — one of the areas slammed hardest by the storm — the governor announced the state expects to receive more than $1 billion in hazard-mitigation funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency by next summer. Five hundred million of that is available immediately.

Isreali police are urging the attorney general to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption cases involving bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

The recommendation is the result of more than a year of investigations into allegations that Netanyahu improperly accepted expensive gifts including pink champagne and cigars from Israeli Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer in exchange for favors.

California has a giant rodent problem.

To clarify, it's not that California has a huge problem with run-of-the-mill rats, it's that the state has an emerging problem with jumbo-sized critters.

Nutria, otherwise called Myocastor coypus, were thought to have been eradicated from the state's wetlands and rivers as far back as 1965, but they have mysteriously reappeared in three counties over the past year, California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Peter Tira told NPR.

The Albuquerque Journal issued an apology Thursday for running a nationally syndicated cartoon that has been assailed as a racist attack on Latino immigrants by critics.

"In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions. This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes," Editor Karen Moses wrote in the paper.

Just days after a monthlong hiatus from making megabucks-generating videos, YouTube vlogger Logan Paul is in trouble again for creating more questionable content.

Seattle's mayor and city attorney announced plans to ask the courts to vacate all misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions that were prosecuted before it was legalized in Washington state in 2012 — a move that could affect the records of hundreds of people.

For years, pot convictions have had painful implications on the everyday lives of Washington's most vulnerable populations, Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a press conference Thursday.

"It could be a barrier to housing, to getting credit, to getting good jobs and an education," she said.

A federal judge concerned over the safety of jurors has ordered special protections for the panel of people who will eventually determine the fate of the notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, according to court documents obtained by NPR.

Updated at 2:45 a.m. ET Wednesday

A series of earthquakes is rocking Taiwan, leaving at least four people dead and more than 100 injured, according to The Associated Press, which cites Taiwan's premier, William Lai.

The shaking started late Tuesday night local time, toppling buildings, destroying one bridge and buckling paved streets along the island's eastern coast. The quakes continue to jolt the area near Hualien County through early Wednesday morning.

The latest AP tally reports 225 people injured and more than 140 unaccounted for.

Actor John Mahoney, best-known for his portrayal of the grouchy and sharp-witted father of the title character in the TV show Frasier, died Sunday. He was 77.

The Steppenwolf Theatre Company confirmed his death, saying in a statement, "John Mahoney passed away due to complications from cancer while in hospice care on Sunday."

For 11 years, from 1993 to 2004, Mahoney played the blue-collar, retired-cop foil to Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, his dandy and effete sons on the NBC hit show.

Researchers have found a link between today's eight-legged spiders and an ancient group of arachnids that also possessed tails, according to two studies published in the latest issue of Nature Ecology & Evolution.

Federal prosecutors have charged Douglas Haig, a man identified earlier this week as "a person of interest" in the Las Vegas mass shooting, with selling bullets he had modified to make them more potent — referred to as armor-piercing.

The 55-year-old aerospace engineer did not have a license to manufacture and sell the armor-piercing bullets he sold to Stephen Paddock in the weeks before the massacre that left 58 people dead. Paddock died at the scene from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Here's a reminder that while you are out in the world buying groceries, picking up dry cleaning or catching up on The Crown, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is on the red planet doing work.

A woman who was sexually assaulted by a Stanford University swimmer outside a campus fraternity party will no longer participate in the creation of a memorial marking the site of her attack.

University spokesman Ernest Miranda told The Associated Press Tuesday the decision was made after campus officials and the victim, who was attacked while unconscious by then-star swimmer Brock Turner, failed to agree on a quote to include on the plaque.

Updated 6:45 p.m. ET

Actor Mark Salling died Tuesday in what was reported to the coroner's office as a suicide by hanging. No official determination on whether it was suicide has been annouced. The 35-year-old former Glee star was weeks away from sentencing after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor.

Attorney Michael Proctor confirmed Salling's death.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos suspended ongoing peace talks with the National Liberation Army (ELN) on Monday, after the leftist rebel group killed several police officers in a series of bomb attacks over the weekend. It is the second time this month, negotiations between the government and the last remaining rebel group have been put on hold.

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