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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.

Citing the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus, a federal judge has ordered that all children currently held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for more than 20 days must be released by July 17.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee of California issued the scathing order Friday afternoon, saying the Trump administration had failed to provide even the most basic health protections for children and their families amid the pandemic.

She described the ICE-operated facilities as being "on fire," adding that "there is no more time for half measures."

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime, according to the FBI.

A day-long investigation by 15 special agents into the discovery of a noose in Wallace's garage at the Talledega Superspeedway revealed that the rope had been in the stall since at least October.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday the NFL admits that "we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."

The statement, made in a video over Twitter, comes a day after nearly 20 players called on the NFL to take a stronger stance amid a nationwide protest of police brutality against black people.

Updated at 2 a.m. ET Wednesday

Protesters — raw, sad and angry over the killing of George Floyd and the disproportionately high number of black people who face injustice, violence and death — filled the streets again on Tuesday.

Mostly peaceful throughout the day, the demonstrators faced police officers, National Guard troops and other forces.

Updated at 1:42 p.m. ET Saturday

Angry protests nationwide on Friday followed the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. Clashes erupted between activists and law enforcement in many locations, and at least two people were dead by Saturday morning.

Outrage, frustration and grief are driving hundreds of protesters into the streets of Minneapolis, Los Angeles and St. Paul, Minn., after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose arresting officer was recorded kneeling on his neck for minutes on end.

Over the past few days demonstrations in Minnesota have evolved from peaceful cries for justice into violence and destruction.

As the COVID-19 pandemic besieged New York City, Dr. Lorna Breen was on the front lines, striving to slow the onslaught of critically ill patients that have made the city the center of the outbreak in the U.S.

Breen continued her work at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital as medical director of the emergency department even after she too contracted, then recovered from, the virus.

On Sunday, the woman many regard as a hero died of self-inflicted injuries, according to police. Her family later spoke publicly about Breen's death.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is undeterred by President Trump's criticism of his move to reopen some nonessential businesses. He insists he will forge ahead with plans to jump-start the economy as early as Friday.

The governor said on Wednesday night that he plans to restart "shuttered businesses for limited operations" ahead of the state's shelter-in-place order being lifted on April 30.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The city of Austin, Texas, has canceled South by Southwest, after a disaster was declared in response to the expanding coronavirus.

The annual event is a staple for the technology, music and film worlds; last year's edition drew more than 400,000 visitors to the city. The 2020 edition was slated to take place March 13 to 22.

In a statement Friday afternoon, SXSW said: "The city of Austin has canceled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the city's directions."

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

On the heels of a meeting with President Trump and pharmaceutical company leaders, Vice President Pence offered words of calm to the American public about the spread of coronavirus: "The risk remains low," he repeated numerous times during a news conference with reporters on Monday afternoon.

Pence, who on Friday was appointed by the president to lead the Coronavirus Task Force, delivered the remarks from the White House press briefing room, where he was surrounded by many of the nation's top health officials.

Updated at 10:17 p.m. ET

Hours after the White House rejected the idea of appointing a coronavirus czar, President Trump on Wednesday put Vice President Pence in charge of the administration's response to the disease.

"We're doing really well, and Mike is going to be in charge," Trump said, noting that Pence's experience as governor of Indiana made him adept at working with state and local health authorities.

"This is not a czar," the president later added.

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.

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.

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."

Radio shock jock Don Imus died Friday at the age of 79.

The broadcaster, who typically wore a cowboy hat, was a pioneer of the radio genre that prizes irreverence and caustic wit and had pushed back against political correctness.

Imus embraced those traits and was sometimes accused of tipping into sexist and racially insensitive territory.

He died at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in College Station, Texas; he had been hospitalized since Christmas Eve, his publicist said in a statement.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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.

Don't see the graphic above? Click here.

On Friday, President Trump confirmed reports that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to conduct nationwide sweeps to arrest thousands of undocumented immigrant families that the government says have missed a court appearance or have been issued court-ordered removals from the country.

When Disney announced that Halle Bailey, a teen actress and one-half of the singing group Chloe x Halle, had landed the role of Ariel in the forthcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, some people on social media went bonkers.

But not over the fact that it's 2019 and the Danish fairy tale tells the story of a young female creature who loves singing and wearing a seashell bikini top and eagerly gives up her voice in exchange for a romance with a good-looking guy. Nor are critics outraged by the kind of message that narrative conveys to young children.

Updated 8:54pm E.T.

As New Zealand grapples with the aftermath of the attack on two Muslim congregations in Christchurch, the mass shootings on the other side of the world have struck fear through Muslim American communities and renewed calls for action against the rise of bigotry in the U.S.

After nearly a year of scrutiny, the embattled Florida sheriff whose deputies were the first to respond to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland was suspended on Friday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Broward Sheriff Scott Israel has been replaced by former Coral Springs Police Sgt. Gregory Tony, who has an extensive background in active shooter training.

As hope for a last-minute resolution to the political standoff that has triggered the government shutdown all but evaporates, Smithsonian officials announced Thursday that all of its museums, as well as the National Zoo, will be shuttered on Jan. 2 unless a deal is reached.

"There's no getting around it," Linda St. Thomas, chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian, told NPR.

Updated at 7:07 p.m. ET

James Alex Fields Jr., who rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year was found guilty on Friday of killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Nearly two months after a rocket malfunction forced NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos to abort the launch of a Soyuz mission, a new crew blasted off on Monday for the International Space Station and arrived safe and sound.

Despite falling short on quarterly earnings expectations, Canadian-based Canopy Growth, the world's highest valued marijuana stock, skyrocketed on Wednesday after the maker of Corona beer invested $5 billion Canadian, which is nearly $4 billion U.S.

The giant injection of cash from Constellation Brands is the largest strategic investment in the cannabis market to date, and comes at a time when alcohol companies are making large ventures into the industry.

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