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 first time Tom Rice jumped out of a plane over the Normandy coast, German soldiers were firing into the sky and about to launch a deluge of bullets and gunfire into the sea. Seventy-five years later it was nothing but smooth sailing.

Rice, who is 97 years old and was a U.S. World War II paratrooper, was one of a group of about 200 parachutists commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, which began on June 6, 1944. The invasion of Europe marked a turning point in the war for the Allied forces.

New York lawmakers have voted to ban the declawing of cats, and the state will be the first in the country to prohibit the controversial practice if the governor signs the measure.

The bill sailed through both houses of the Legislature on Animal Advocacy Day, though it has been several years in the making with previous efforts falling short.

"Cat declawing is a horrific, yet often practiced surgery that leads to a lifetime of pain and discomfort for thousands of cats," Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan, who sponsored the bill, told NPR.

The Trump administration is ending a nearly 2-decade-old program that had become the most popular way for Americans to legally visit Cuba, banning all trips by cruise ships and other recreational vessels in the process.

The changes are intended to further squeeze the Cuban economy while keeping U.S. dollars "out of the hands" of the communist government. It goes into effect June 5.

Eight co-champions are taking home the Scripps National Spelling Bee Cup after a record-breaking and exhausting night that ended in the 20th round, during which the pronouncer declared they had entered "uncharted territory" in the competition's more than nine decades.

Rishik Gandhasri, 13, was the first declared winner after correctly spelling the word "auslaut." The seventh-grader, who is the sixth champion from California, gleefully raised both hands in the air in victory and relief.

At least 12 people were injured in a massive rain-wrapped tornado that touched down to the west of Kansas City, Kan., on Tuesday.

The large and dangerous twister hit just outside of Lawrence, ripped through Pleasant Grove, Bonner Springs and Linwood, in what has become a brutal stretch of severe weather across the central and southern plains that has left chaos and destruction in its wake.

Updated at 12:41 p.m. ET

Several tornadoes touched down in highly populated areas of Dayton and other Ohio communities late Monday night, causing catastrophic damage. The storms devastated dozens of buildings and trees. One death has been reported, officials said Tuesday morning.

Updated at 6:00 a.m. ET

At least two victims are dead, including an 11-year-old girl, and about 17 others were injured in a mass stabbing attack near Tokyo, Tuesday morning.

A man who was killed was in his 30s and an official with Japan's Foreign Ministry, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reported.

The U.S. Postal Service is experimenting with self-driving trucks to move mail across state lines.

The USPS has partnered with San Diego-based TuSimple on a two-week pilot program focusing solely on a 1,000-mile route between Dallas and Phoenix.

Dressbarn, the women's clothing chain founded in the 1960s as a place where women in need of career-wear "could find fashion at a value," is closing all its stores.

Ascena Retail Group announced the closure of about 650 stores late Monday, saying the "wind-down" would help the company focus on its more profitable brands.

Updated May 8 at 1:15 a.m. ET

Officials say one student is dead and eight students were injured in a shooting at a public charter school in Highlands Ranch, Colo., a suburb south of Denver.

In a tweet, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said the deceased was an 18-year-old student at the STEM School.

A federal judge has determined that the risk of suicide among state prisoners in Alabama "is so severe and imminent" that he ordered the state's Department of Corrections to immediately implement permanent mental health remedies to address "severe and systematic inadequacies."

The decision by Judge Myron Thompson on Saturday, comes after 15 prisoners killed themselves in the span of 15 months.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered "massive strikes" against militant groups in Gaza on Sunday in response to a barrage of rocket fire, stretching hostilities into a third day and leading to mounting casualties on both sides.

At a cabinet meeting on Sunday Netanyahu said he also instructed military leaders to boost tank artillery and infantry forces around the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas bears responsibility not only for its own attacks and actions but also those by Islamic Jihad, for which it pays a very high price," he said.

The U.S. Navy is set to drop all criminal charges against two officers following the fatal collision that killed seven sailors aboard the USS Fitzgerald as the destroyer was on a secret mission.

New York City on Tuesday ramped up the battle against the spread of a measles outbreak in a Brooklyn hot spot, declaring a public health emergency and calling for mandatory vaccinations.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the emergency covers four Brooklyn ZIP codes, including most of Williamsburg and Borough Park, which have seen more than 285 cases of the measles since October.

President Trump signed a proclamation Monday that recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, formalizing the Middle East policy shift he announced over Twitter last week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was with Trump at the White House as he signed the presidential proclamation. Prior to the signing, Netanyahu made remarks lavishing praise onto Trump that drew comparisons between the president and the Persian emperor Cyrus as heroic defenders of the Jewish people.

A Lithuanian man pleaded guilty last week to bilking Google and Facebook out of more than $100 million in an elaborate scheme involving a fake company, fake emails and fake invoices.

An Oklahoma sheriff and nearly all of her staff resigned this week, defying a district judge's reported orders to reopen a county jail that has been closed and evacuated over safety issues.

University of Southern California students allegedly embroiled in the college admissions scandal that has rocked universities across the country won't be allowed to register for classes while officials conduct an internal investigation.

A San Francisco federal jury unanimously agreed on Tuesday that Roundup caused a man's cancer — a potentially massive blow to the company that produces the glyphosate-based herbicide currently facing hundreds of similar lawsuits.

After five days of deliberation the jury concluded the weed killer was a "substantial factor" in causing non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Edwin Hardeman, a 70-year-old Sonoma County man.

Amid calls for Saudi Arabia to cooperate with a U.N.-led investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the head of the kingdom's Human Rights Commission said on Thursday the accused killers were being brought to justice and reiterated the government's opposition to suggestions for an international probe into the case.

Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban delivered his remarks to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva during a periodic review of the nation's human rights record.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday announced that all remaining U.S. diplomats have left Venezuela "for the time being," as relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate.

"Today, all U.S. diplomats remaining in Venezuela departed the country," he said in a statement, adding that it is "a difficult moment for them."

The Trump administration is seeking to close nearly two dozen U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services field offices around the world in a move it estimates would save millions per year. But critics argue the closures will further slow refugee processing, family reunification petitions and military citizenship applications.

Updated at 9:18 p.m. ET

Australian Cardinal George Pell, 77, a former leading Vatican official who last month was convicted of sexually abusing two boys, has been sentenced to six years in prison. He will be eligible for parole after three years and eight months.

During the sentencing hearing, Victoria state County Court Chief Judge Peter Kidd acknowledged the disgraced cleric may not live to serve the full sentence.

A woman whose arm was gashed after she jumped over a concrete barrier to take a selfie in front of a jaguar enclosure at an Arizona zoo has apologized for breaking the rules, park officials said on Monday.

Updated Friday at 8:35 a.m. ET

Facebook announced on Thursday it is taking steps to combat the spread of anti-vaccine information across the social media platform by reducing the distribution of misleading medical advice and relying on vetting from leading global health organizations that "have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes."

Attempting to get to work on foot, walk the dog or enjoy a simple after-dinner stroll is becoming an increasingly risky activity, according to new estimates by the Governors Highway Safety Association, which found the number of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. has reached a 28-year high.

A new report by the GHSA determined about 6,227 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2018 — a 4 percent increase over 2017 and the highest mortality rate since 1990.

It is not easy to be married to a person in the military. Their spouses in 2017 experienced high levels of stress, anxiety, depression and unemployment, according to a survey sponsored by the Department of Defense and released Thursday.

More than a year after the FBI began its investigation, the agency has completed an analysis of the man behind the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, concluding there was "no single or clear motivating factor" driving Stephen Paddock's killing rampage and subsequent suicide.

Health officials in Washington have declared a state of emergency and are urging immunization as they scramble to contain a measles outbreak in two counties, while the number of cases of the potentially deadly virus continues to climb in a region with lower-than-normal vaccination rates.

On Thursday, New York City's Law Department announced it had reached a $3.3 million settlement with Kalief Browder's family. The young man from the Bronx, who spent three years detained on Rikers Island without being tried or convicted, was accused of stealing a backpack.

Nearly two of Browder's three years in jail were spent in solitary confinement. He was released in 2013 after the charges were dropped. And in 2015, plagued by what he said was the mental anguish and trauma from his time in jail, he hanged himself in his mother's home.

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