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.

The Trump administration disbanded a controversial wildlife advisory board that was criticized for promoting the benefits of international big game hunting. Now, the government is calling on courts to kill a years-long lawsuit it spawned.

"The Council will not meet or conduct any business again, it can no longer be renewed, and there [is] no plan to establish another committee with a similar mission or scope in the future," the Department of the Interior explained in a court filing Friday.

After living in the U.S. for five years, cousins Walter T. and Gaspar T. were deported to their home country of El Salvador in 2019, where they were ripped from their beds one night and beaten by police, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

"They began beating us until we arrived at the police barracks," Gaspar said in interviews.

After nearly a month on the run, Lesotho's first lady was reportedly charged on Tuesday with the murder of her husband's first wife.

Maesaiah Thabane, 42, stands accused of killing Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's wife, Lipolelo, days before the his second inauguration ceremony in June 2017.

It was the middle of a sunny day on Jan. 14, and hundreds of students and staff were on the playground of an elementary school in Los Angeles when a school employee called 911 to report a bizarre emergency on his campus.

"It was actually raining airline fuel onto my campus," the school employee said.

The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who accused the Trump administration of a "smear" campaign against her, has retired from the foreign service, NPR has learned.

The career diplomat was abruptly forced out of her post in Ukraine amid accusations of disloyalty in a scheme allegedly involving President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and two of Giuliani's associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who were arrested and charged with campaign finance violations in October.

Gwen Ifill didn't want it to be a big deal.

The legendary journalist knew she'd served as a trailblazer for women and especially a beacon of what is professionally possible for women of color. But in an interview with The New York Times, she said she was eager for the days when it would not seem "like any breakthrough at all" for a black woman to be anchoring a national news program.

And yet, more than three years after her death, Ifill is still making breakthroughs. This time, on a stamp.

In the voyage to the final frontier there is a wave of ridicule being directed toward President Trump who unveiled the U.S. Space Force logo on Friday afternoon.

"After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!" Trump tweeted.

Actress Annabella Sciorra took the stand Thursday in the criminal sex crimes trial of movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

She is the first of six women expected to testify that they were raped or sexually assaulted by Weinstein.

Weinstein is charged with five counts of rape and assault against two women in New York City. Weinstein maintains all of the sexual contact was consensual.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

Former billionaire and pharmaceutical executive John Kapoor has been sentenced to five years and six months in prison. His sentencing is the culmination of a months-long criminal trial in Boston's Moakley U.S. Courthouse that resulted in the first successful prosecution of pharmaceutical executives tied to the opioid epidemic.

The sudden death of rapper Juice WRLD as he landed in Chicago last month, was caused by an accidental overdose of codeine and oxycodone, the Cook County Medical Examiner's office revealed Wednesday.

New Jersey became the first state in the country to enact a law that guarantees severance pay for mass layoffs, according to the bill's sponsors this week.

The legislation, signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday, ensures that businesses with 100 or more full-time employees pay their workers one week of severance pay for every year of service whenever widespread downsizing or plant closures affecting 50 or more employees is on the horizon. The law also requires employers to give workers at least 90 days notice when such changes are imminent. That's up from 60 days.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for water crisis victims to sue state and local government officials in Flint, Mich.

For years, Flint city officials and state regulators have argued that they are protected by "qualified immunity" from being sued for their role in the water contamination crisis. But lower courts have ruled to the contrary.

Angry residents took to the streets of Puerto Rico on Monday.

Fury over the government's mishandling of disaster aid following a spate of devastating earthquakes earlier this month, coupled with the recent discovery of unused supplies — some dating back to Hurricane Maria — is driving frustrated demonstrators to the gates of the governor's mansion.

The Pentagon is updating the way it vets foreign military students in the wake of the deadly shooting at the Pensacola, Fla., Naval Air Station by a Saudi military officer last month, officials announced.

Weeks after a powerful earthquake and dozens of aftershocks rocked Puerto Rico, citizens whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the quakes will be granted access to some financial relief, officials announced on Thursday.

President Trump "declared that a major disaster exists" in the southern regions of Puerto Rico and "ordered Federal assistance to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts," the White House said in a statement.

A 19-year-old man from Virginia appeared in court on Wednesday in connection with allegations that he made fake bomb and shooting threats to draw extreme law enforcement responses on unwitting people, as a member of a swatting ring linked to a neo-Nazi group.

John William Kirby Kelley, who went by "Carl" and "BotGod" online, was charged with conspiracy to make threats by the Department of Justice last week.

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora is the latest casualty of the baseball cheating scheme that has rocked the sports world this week.

Cora, who was bench coach for the 2017 World Series-winning Houston Astros and went on to become manager for the Red Sox, and lead that team to victory in 2018, announced on Friday he is parting ways with Boston.

Updated at 6:43 p.m. ET

Teams treated children and adults for minor injuries at four suburban Los Angeles elementary schools Tuesday after a Delta flight dumped jet fuel on the way to an emergency landing.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Friday that his state will not accept new refugees this year, making Texas the first state to reject resettlements under a new rule from President Trump.

Trump signed an executive order in September, saying that states and municipalities must give written consent before refugees can be resettled.

Mexico's Popocatépetl volcano burst to life on Thursday in a spectacular gush of lava and clouds of ash that hurled incandescent rock about 20,000 feet into the sky.

The dramatic explosion of the active stratovolcano, a little over 40 miles southeast of Mexico City, was captured on video by Mexico's National Center for Disaster Prevention, CENAPRED.

Updated at 9:58 p.m. ET

The latest documents Boeing has released related to the design and certification of the 737 Max paint a dark picture of employee reactions to problems that came up during the development of the now-grounded airliners.

The documents include emails and internal communications. In one message, employees mock the Federal Aviation Administration and brag about getting regulators to approve the jets without requiring much additional pilot training.

Surveillance video taken outside of the Manhattan jail cell of accused child-sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein during his first suicide attempt was permanently deleted, prosecutors said on Thursday.

The admission, revealed in a court filing, provides another embarrassing glimpse into the failures by staff at the Metropolitan Correctional Center to adhere to protocol or keep accurate records on the troubled federal detention facility.

The request for the video was made by Epstein's former cellmate, Nicholas Tartaglione, who is awaiting trial on four drug-related killings.

More Americans are ordering more rounds, and that's leading to more funerals, according to a new study on alcohol-related deaths.

Looking at data from the National Center for Health Statistics, researchers estimate deaths from alcohol-related problems have more than doubled over the past nearly 20 years.

Death certificates spanning 2017 indicate nearly 73,000 people died in the U.S because of liver disease and other alcohol-related illnesses. That is up from just under 36,000 deaths in 1999.

The U.S. Army wants Americans to know they have not been selected for a military draft despite a rash of texts that falsely tell people they're heading to fight a war against Iran.

The warning comes amid escalating tensions with Iran. Last week, the U.S. launched a drone strike that killed the top Iranian military leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and in retaliation, Tehran launched more than a dozen missiles at two military bases in Iraq on Tuesday.

Updated at 10:03 p.m. ET

Iran has launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces, targeting at least two military bases in Iraq, the U.S. Defense Department announced late Tuesday.

The strikes on military and coalition personnel at the Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar province and in Irbil — at the center of Iraq's Kurdistan region — began at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET, according to a statement.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif defended the strike, saying it was an act of "self-defense."

Updated at 7:27 p.m. ET

Harvey Weinstein was charged with four felony counts of sexual assault in Los Angeles County on Monday, the same day jury selection began in the Hollywood mogul's New York trial.

Updated at 10:50 p.m. ET

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is calling up 3,000 reservists for operations related to the massive bushfires in eastern Australia that have forced mass evacuations and killed at least 11 people since Monday.

Record heat has contributed to the ferocity of blazes. Flames now threaten the outskirts of the country's largest city, Sydney.

As international law enforcement authorities try to figure out how former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn escaped from Japan to Lebanon while the millionaire was out on bail, some pieces of the puzzle are falling into place.

Surveillance video taken outside of Ghosn's Tokyo home shows the former chairman leaving the house around noon, shortly before fleeing, NHK reported on Friday.

As the new year rolls across the globe — first in independent Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati, the first countries to ring in the new year, and ending, in a poetic circle-of-life-kind of way, in American Samoa — in the U.S., people are getting ready to usher in 2020 by looking up and watching a giant object fall from the sky.

The most famous, of course, is the dazzling lighted New Year's Eve ball that slides down a pole in New York's Times Square.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday he has approved recommendations to fire all of the correctional officer cadets who participated in an apparent Nazi salute during a class photo.

"As I said from the beginning, I condemn the photo of Basic Training Class 18 in the strongest possible terms," Justice said in a statement.

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