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.

Free software pioneer and renowned computer scientist Richard Stallman resigned from his post at MIT following recent comments about one of Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking accusers. He also resigned as president of the Free Software Foundation.

Shane Gillis, the comedian who has been under fire over the past few days for using racist and homophobic slurs on his podcast, has been fired from Saturday Night Live.

Gillis was one of three cast members recently added to the show, which is set to begin its 45th season. But the comedian was canned on Monday before ever making an appearance on the show.

"After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL," a spokesperson said in a statement on behalf of producer Lorne Michaels.

As people continue to search for loved ones in the rubble across Bahamian islands, the government now says the number of missing is down to

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Actress Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Friday for paying thousands of dollars to have one of her daughter's SAT scores inflated. She is the first parent to be sentenced in the massive college cheating scandal that has rocked the U.S. higher education system.

In addition, U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani said Huffman must serve 12 months of supervised release, 250 hours of community service and pay a $30,000 fine.

The 21-year-old white man accused of gunning down 22 people and wounded dozens of others at a Texas Walmart was formally indicted on a capital murder charge Thursday.

A grand jury in El Paso County indicted Patrick Crusius in connection with the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3, according to a statement from the El Paso District Attorney's Office.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza said on Aug. 4 that he planned to seek the death penalty.

The suspect surrendered to law enforcement as he was driving away from the bloodbath, saying, "I'm the shooter."

The New Jersey couple tried and tried to have a baby.

When they were unable to conceive on their own, Kristina Koedderich and Drew Wasilewski opted for artificial insemination through IVF, or in vitro fertilization. In 2013, after spending nearly $500,000, the procedure helped them realize their parenting goals with the arrival of a baby girl.

The former University of Southern California gynecologist who was arrested in June and has been accused of sexually abusing patients, surrendered his medical license last week, the California Medical Board announced Monday.

NOAA's top scientist said Monday that he's investigating why the agency's leadership endorsed President Trump's false tweet that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian, after Birmingham-based meteorologists from the National Weather Service publicly pushed back on it.

India's attempt to become the first country to land a robotic mission at the Moon's south pole has failed, after engineers lost contact with the Vikram lander — part of the Chandrayaan-2 probe.

Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation lost signal from the lander as it hovered over the surface, moments away from what would have been a successful soft-landing.

A huge new marine heat wave has gripped the waters off the U.S. West Coast, threatening to ravage marine life and decimate commercial fishing over an expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

The new hot spot rivals "The Blob" — a gigantic patch of unusually warm water that appeared in nearly the exact same spot in 2014.

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Updated at 2:14 p.m. ET Tuesday

One day after a dive boat erupted in flames, killing at least 34 people, authorities are suspending their search efforts for survivors. At a news conference Tuesday, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the bodies of 20 victims — 11 female and 9 male — have been recovered from the wreckage, while divers are still trying to recover the remains of several other victims they have spotted in the waters near California's Channel Islands.

The widow of a veteran who died under suspicious circumstances at a West Virginia Veteran Affairs Hospital last year told NPR an autopsy report found the 81-year-old died of an unnecessary insulin injection. It is the second confirmed homicide in a string of deaths at the facility that are being investigated.

When Ryan Patrick Morris and Troy Allan Nelson appeared in court after violating the terms of their respective (and unrelated) probations last week, Montana's Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinksi added a unique list of punishments to their sentences — including an order to wear a sign saying "I am a liar" — for pretending that they had served in the military.

It may have appeared that Anthony Levandowski was out of the legal hot seat after Google's parent company, Alphabet, agreed to settled a corporate espionage lawsuit against Uber last year.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has prohibited nearly all parishioners from carrying lethal weapons on church property.

Prior to the shift in policy, having a weapon on church grounds was considered "inappropriate."

The change was revealed in an update to a handbook sent electronically to local church leaders over the weekend.

Newark's years-long water crisis could be resolved within the next 30 months under an ambitious new plan to replace thousands of contaminated pipes, as state, city and county officials announced Monday.

The captain of a controversial ship that saved migrants in the Mediterranean Sea has refused to accept a medal for her work.

Pia Klemp, who is German, gained attention for rescuing thousands of stranded migrants with her crew as part of the nongovernmental organization Sea Watch International. For her efforts, she reportedly faces up to 20 years in prison in Italy, where the hard-line anti-immigrant government accused her of assisting illegal immigration.

It turns out that in Maryland, reeking of marijuana is not sufficient probable cause for police to arrest and search a person.

In a unanimous ruling earlier this week, the state's Court of Appeals determined two police officers violated a man's Fourth Amendment rights by conducting an unreasonable warrantless search of his person, after police found him in a car that smelled like pot.

For years, American smokers have been spared the unpleasant images of gangrene infected feet, swollen tongues overtaken by cancerous tumors and blackened lungs that are often plastered onto packs of cigarettes sold around the world. But that momentary reprieve before lighting up may only last a few more years.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has banned two Democratic U.S. congresswomen from visiting the country and the Palestinian territories this weekend, according to a government official.

Israeli radio reported that in an interview, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the country would bar entry to "those who reject our right to exist in the world."

The gunman accused of the shooting massacre that left 22 people dead at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday was in his car — nearly a mile away from the horrific scene — when he surrendered to Texas Rangers, according to an arrest affidavit.

"Agents and police officers at the intersection then observed a male person — the defendant — exit out of the vehicle with his hands raised in the air and stated out loud to the agents, 'I'm the shooter,' " the document states.

Scientists are adding a new creature to a list of giant, prehistoric animals that were previously unknown: The Heracles inexpectus, a supersize parrot, estimated to have been as tall as a small human child, was discovered by Australian researchers in New Zealand, according to a study published in Biology Letters.

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez has been sworn in as governor of Puerto Rico, ending for now the latest dizzying developments in Puerto Rican politics.

Pedro Pierluisi, who was just sworn in as governor on Friday, was removed from office because the commonwealth's Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday that his swearing-in was unconstitutional.

It took about 30 seconds to bring down the gunman who killed nine people and injured 27 others in a crowded section of downtown Dayton, Ohio, early on Sunday morning — just hours after another scene of violence in the Texas city of El Paso.

Updated 4 p.m. ET

The shooter behind the grisly mass shooting that left 20 people dead and 26 wounded at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday morning has been identified by officials as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas.

State prosecutors in El Paso announced on Sunday that they will pursue the death penalty against Crusius.

Updated Sunday at 11 a.m. ET

Twenty people are dead and 26 wounded after a mass shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart on Saturday morning, according to state and local authorities.

Speaking at a news conference, Gov. Greg Abbott said that what should have been a leisurely day of shopping "turned into one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas."

"We pray that God will be with those who've been harmed in any way," he added.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

An administrative judge with the New York Police Department has recommended that Officer Daniel Pantaleo be fired for his role in the 2014 death of Eric Garner.

The judge found Pantaleo guilty of using a banned chokehold but did not find him guilty of intentionally restricting Garner's breathing. Garner's repeated cry of "I can't breathe" triggered national outrage and galvanized activists concerned about police use of force.

This week's news that descendants of the notorious Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger planned to exhume his body prompted widespread head-scratching.

Why, people wondered, after Dillinger's immediate family went to such great lengths to ensure the outlaw's body would never be disturbed — burying him under 3 feet of concrete — would his living relatives demand he be taken out of the ground?

The answer: They suspect it's not him in the grave.

In a move intended to de-escalate a standoff between scientists and native Hawaiians blocking the construction of a massive telescope on a mountaintop they believe to be sacred land, Gov. David Ige on Tuesday night rescinded an emergency proclamation that was issued to help remove demonstrators.

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