Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

Wamsley got her start at NPR as an intern for Weekend Edition Saturday in January 2007 and stayed on as a production assistant for NPR's flagship news programs, before joining the Washington Desk for the 2008 election.

She then left NPR, doing freelance writing and editing in Austin, Texas, and then working in various marketing roles for technology companies in Austin and Chicago.

In November 2015, Wamsley returned to NPR as an associate producer for the National Desk, where she covered stories including Hurricane Matthew in coastal Georgia. She became a Newsdesk reporter in March 2017, and has since covered subjects including climate change, possibilities for social networks beyond Facebook, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and joke theft.

In 2010, Wamsley was a Journalism and Women Symposium Fellow and participated in the German-American Fulbright Commission's Berlin Capital Program, and was a 2016 Voqal Foundation Fellow. She will spend two months reporting from Germany as a 2019 Arthur F. Burns Fellow, a program of the International Center for Journalists.

Wamsley earned a B.A. with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Wamsley holds a master's degree from Ohio University, where she was a Public Media Fellow and worked at NPR Member station WOUB. A native of Athens, Ohio, she now lives and bikes in Washington, DC.

Nadia is a four-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo. Last week, she started exhibiting one of the key symptoms of the novel coronavirus: a dry cough.

Since the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic, Americans have been told by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to wear masks unless they are sick, caring for a sick person who is unable to wear one or working in health care.

To stop the spread of the coronavirus, health officials have a favorite refrain: After being in a city or region where there have been a lot of COVID-19 cases, spend 14 days in quarantine even if you feel perfectly fine — don't leave your house. Coming from New York? 14-day quarantine. Arriving in Hawaii?

How do you keep yourself occupied during these long days inside the house? One British family had an idea: a lockdown-themed parody of the song "One Day More" from the musical Les Misérables.

The family from Kent worked on the lyrics together, based on their own frustrations: friends unseen, soccer matches canceled, beloved grandparents who can't figure out Skype.

A French official announced on Saturday a plan to assist domestic abuse victims during the coronavirus crisis. It includes paying for 20,000 hotel bookings, contributing 1 million euros (roughly $1.1 million) to organizations that fight domestic abuse and setting up assistance points at supermarkets and pharmacies across the country.

This is part of a series looking at pressing coronavirus questions of the week. We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Across the country, medical professionals are working to save the lives of people suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

In many places, a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) means that that nurses must reuse masks and do without certain protective measures.

More than 8,100 members of the U.S. National Guard have been mobilized across the U.S. to help communities deal with the coronavirus. In some states, they're moving supplies and people. In California, they're working at food banks; in Arizona, some members are restocking shelves.

On Monday, NPR's Ailsa Chang interviewed Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau. Here are two questions she posed to him, and his responses, which have been edited for length and clarity.

Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET

Federal health officials issued a blunt message Tuesday: Americans need to start preparing now for the possibility that more aggressive, disruptive measures might be needed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus in the U.S.

The strongly worded warning came in response to outbreaks of the virus outside China, including in Iran, Japan, South Korea and Italy, which officials say have raised the likelihood of outbreaks occurring stateside.

The extradition hearing for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange began Monday in London — the latest turn in the legal saga of perhaps the world's most famous secret-spiller.

A homicide that shocked Lesotho has become more shocking still: Police say Prime Minister Thomas Thabane will be charged in the killing of his estranged wife.

But rather than appear in court as he was supposed to Friday, the 80-year-old leader has gone to South Africa to seek medical treatment. "He's not fled the country," Thabane's son Potlako told Reuters. The prime minister's office says he will go to court when he returns.

Mississippians had been braced for historic floods after days of heavy downpours. When the Pearl River crested in Jackson on Monday, the water was 8 feet above flood stage — but that was lower than many had feared.

Ontario's newly-designed license plates just hit a speed bump. Call it plate-gate.

A little background: The Canadian province's new design was unveiled by the provincial government — led by center-right Ontario Premier Doug Ford — last year.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, a sign of the century-old organization's financial instability as it faces some 300 lawsuits from men who say they were sexually abused as Scouts.

The organization says it will use the Chapter 11 process to create a trust to provide compensation to victims. Scouting programs will continue throughout.

The U.S. Navy says it will name an aircraft carrier after Doris "Dorie" Miller, the African American mess attendant who heroically leapt into combat during the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It marks the first time that an aircraft carrier has been named for an African American, and the first time a sailor has been so honored for actions taken as an enlisted man.

Iran's cultural heritage is suddenly a topic of urgent global interest, after President Trump threatened to strike such sites if the country retaliates for the United States' killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week.

Updated at 7:49 p.m. ET

Iran will no longer honor its commitment to limit its enrichment of uranium, stepping away from a key component of the landmark nuclear deal it agreed to with six nations, including the United States, in 2015.

The announcement was reported Sunday in Iranian state media. It marks the latest in the country's retreat from the limitations agreed to in the agreement, known as the JCPOA.

In his annual Christmas Day address, Pope Francis offered a message of hope and a call for kindness to migrants around the world.

"May the Son of God, come down to earth from heaven, protect and sustain all those who, due to these and other injustices, are forced to emigrate in the hope of a secure life," the pontiff said from the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.

Updated Dec. 27 at 10 a.m. ET

About a week after Glenda and Raphi Savitz welcomed their daughter Samantha to the world, they learned that she was deaf.

"She was the first deaf person we had known, so obviously it was a surprise and a challenge," Glenda says. "We knew right away that we had to get involved in the deaf community, learn about the culture, and start getting fully immersed in American Sign Language."

What the new parents didn't know was that their neighbors in Newton, Mass., would decide they needed to start learning sign language, too.

Six-year-old Florence Widdicombe was writing notes on Christmas cards to her school friends in South London when she discovered that one card had already been written on.

"We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China," it said in English, written in all capital letters. "Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organization."

Caroll Spinney, the actor and puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street over five decades, died Sunday at age 85.

The Sesame Workshop said Spinney had died at home in Connecticut, and that he had long lived with dystonia, a disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions.

On the first full day of his tour of Japan, Pope Francis visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki and delivered a clear message: possessing or deploying atomic weapons is immoral.

"Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction, or the threat of total annihilation," Francis said in an address in Nagasaki. He spoke at the site where the United States exploded an atomic bomb in 1945, killing 74,000 people by the end of that year.

Updated at 7:12 p.m. ET

Richard V. Spencer has been terminated as secretary of the Navy after his handling of the case of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes came under rebuke by the defense secretary.

"Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper has asked for the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher," the Defense Department said in a statement on Sunday.

Updated at 12:22 ET

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making a late entry into the presidential race, a move that could upend the Democratic nominating contest this spring.

Bloomberg said in a statement Sunday that he is running to rebuild America and defeat President Trump, whom he says "represents an existential threat to our country and our values."

The world's most profitable company will make its first public stock offering next month, in what could be the biggest IPO ever.

Saudi Aramco, the oil giant owned by the Saudi government, said on Sunday it will sell an unspecified number of shares, thought to be between 1% and 3% of the company. It did not specify a price range.

Updated at 6:42 p.m. ET

John Conyers Jr., who represented Michigan in Congress for more than five decades, has died at the age of 90. His death was confirmed Sunday by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office in Detroit.

Conyers was the longest-serving African American lawmaker in congressional history, a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and a fierce champion for civil rights. But he would leave office at the age of 88 amid allegations of sexual harassment.

The Houston Astros have fired Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman following an uproar about comments he shouted at a group of female reporters on Saturday.

Updated at 7:48 p.m. ET

The United Nations Secretary-General warned this week that the organization is facing a "cash crisis" if member states do not pay the annual dues they owe: $1.3 billion in payments are outstanding.

For some 40 years, women have been largely banned from attending soccer matches at Iran's stadiums. But under pressure from FIFA, soccer's governing body, Iranian authorities are allowing a few thousand women to watch a game Thursday at Tehran's Azadi Stadium – in a section separate from men.

Women were permitted to buy about 3,500 tickets to watch a World Cup qualifier between the men's teams of Iran and Cambodia.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Monday that will make HIV-prevention drugs available without a prescription. It allows pharmacists to dispense both PrEP, or preexposure prophylaxis, and PEP, post-exposure prophylaxis.

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