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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.

After more than a year of telling Americans to cover their faces and keep their distance whenever they're in public, the Centers for of Disease Control and Prevention is now advising that masks aren't necessary in most indoor spaces, as long as someone is fully vaccinated.

"Now is the moment" to relax the guidance for vaccinated Americans, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Thursday.

She credited a drop in infections, effective vaccines and availability of the shots to nearly everyone who wants one.

Traffic on and below a major bridge over the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn., could be halted for several days or longer, causing significant disruptions to motorists and shipping, officials said Wednesday.

Financially strapped American families are now eligible for an emergency discount on their internet service under a COVID-19 relief program that went into effect on Wednesday.

The Colonial Pipeline hack that shut down the major gasoline and jet fuel pipeline to large swaths of the South and the East Coast is leading to temporary shortages.

After weeks of legal maneuvers, Andrew Brown Jr.'s family finally had the opportunity on Tuesday to see more of the last moments of the 42-year-old's life before he was shot and killed by sheriff's deputies in Elizabeth City, N.C., last month.

Brazil, one of the worst-hit countries in the world by the pandemic, is directing more than $1 billion toward the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the country's far-right president announced Monday, Reuters reported.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who has criticized lockdown measures and has told Brazilians to "stop whining" about the deadly virus, said about $1.05 billion will be spent on the inoculation effort.

NBC has said "no, thanks" to the Golden Globes next year, telling the Hollywood Foreign Press Association it needs to get its act together on lack of diversity and other problems recently uncovered.

The network is the latest company to distance itself from the press group which has been accused of self-dealing, corruption and conflicts of interest.

There's a giant Chinese rocket booster hurtling toward the planet, and no one seems to know exactly when or where it's going to land.

The U.S. Space Command said it is tracking the whereabouts of the Chinese Long March 5B, a 23-ton piece of space debris, but that the exact entry point into Earth's atmosphere cannot be pinpointed until hours before its reentry, which is expected sometime around Saturday.

Editor's note: This story contains graphic descriptions of physical violence.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted Puerto Rican boxer Félix Verdejo in the alleged carjacking, kidnapping and killing of his pregnant lover, a case that has rocked the island amid a scourge of violence against women.

Residents living on the West Coast don't know when the next earthquake will hit. But a new expansion of the U.S. earthquake early warning system gives 50 million people in California, Oregon — and now Washington — seconds to quickly get to safety whenever the next one hits.

Updated May 4, 2021 at 10:01 PM ET

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin who was convicted last month of murdering George Floyd filed court documents for a new trial on Tuesday.

His attorney, Eric Nelson, petitioned the court, alleging that Chauvin's constitutional rights were violated when Judge Peter Cahill refused to change the venue of the trial, and that the pretrial publicity deprived the officer of a fair trial.

Updated May 3, 2021 at 6:53 PM ET

Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, announced on Monday that they are splitting after 27 years of marriage.

"After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage," the couple wrote in a joint statement posted on Twitter.

The California State University and University of California systems announced on Thursday that all 33 campuses will require students and staff returning for in-person instruction this fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

More than 1,700 protesters were arrested in Russia on Wednesday as tens of thousands of Alexei Navalny supporters marched in demonstrations across the country.

OVD-info, the Russian human rights monitoring project, has been tracking the apprehensions, which started before the protests demanding that the Kremlin release the jailed opposition leader even began.

Philonise Floyd, who sat in the courtroom for much of the trial, said Tuesday he finally feels some relief, now that former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

"I feel relieved today that I finally have the opportunity for hopefully getting some sleep," he told a crowd of cheering supporters.

Minutes after the three guilty verdicts against former officer Derek Chauvin were read aloud in court Tuesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison thanked the public, saying he was grateful to have been given the space to pursue justice "wherever it led."

He said the guilty verdicts against Chauvin for killing George Floyd last May were the culmination of "long, hard, painstaking work." But he said Tuesday's outcome, after three weeks of testimony, should not be called justice.

Updated April 20, 2021 at 5:44 PM ET

George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, was in the courtroom Tuesday afternoon when Judge Peter Cahill read the three guilty verdicts against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The U.S. State Department on Monday announced plans to expand travel advisories, urging U.S. citizens to stay home as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose "unprecedented risks" around the globe.

The updated travel guidelines are intended to curb visits "to approximately 80% of countries worldwide" that are experiencing dramatic spikes in cases, the department said in a statement. New guidance is expected be released later this week.

Updated April 20, 2021 at 4:22 AM ET

Walter Mondale, a former vice president and U.S. senator, died on Monday in Minneapolis, a family spokesperson told NPR. The Minnesota Democrat was 93 years old.

Updated April 19, 2021 at 5:40 PM ET

The prosecution and defense, in closing arguments, accused each other of misleading the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell had the last word, telling jurors, "the largest departure from the truth" was that "Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big."

Updated April 15, 2021 at 8:30 PM ET

Chicago has released video footage showing the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, more than two weeks after the 13-year-old was killed during a foot chase in the Little Village neighborhood.

A graphic and disturbing video captures what police have described as an alleyway confrontation between Toledo and an officer identified as Eric Stillman in the early morning of March 29.

Updated April 13, 2021 at 7:09 PM ET

A use-of-force witness gave a new point of view to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial on charges of murder and manslaughter. The defense witness said Tuesday that Chauvin and three other officers' actions were justified during the arrest that ended in George Floyd's death and that they used an appropriate amount of force.

Updated April 9, 2021 at 5:32 PM ET

A volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent has experienced an "explosive eruption," according to officials there, hours after increased activity at the mountain triggered a mandatory evacuation of nearby residents.

Senior Special Agent James Reyerson of Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is testifying in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in last May's death of George Floyd.

The BCA routinely investigates police use-of-force incidents in Minnesota. Chauvin is facing charges of second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter. Video footage from the scene showed Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd's neck area for more than nine minutes.

The San Francisco Board of Education will ultimately keep the names of dozens of public schools in a case of high-stakes second thoughts.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state legislature has gone a "step way too far," after the House and Senate on Tuesday voted to override his veto on a bill banning gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors in the state.

Inspector Katie Blackwell, who commands the Minneapolis Police Department's 5th Precinct and used to run the department's police training, methodically told the court on Monday that former officer Derek Chauvin went against authorized training when he used his knee on George Floyd's neck to pin him to the ground.

After describing the training that Chauvin, whom she said she has known for 20 years, has received throughout his career, Blackwell said his technique — kneeling on Floyd's neck while the Black man lay on his stomach — was not a maneuver the training operation taught.

Arkansas' governor on Monday vetoed a bill that would have made the state the first to ban gender-affirming medical care, including surgery, for transgender minors, even with parental consent.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, called the Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act, or SAFE Act, "a vast government overreach."

This summer's Major League Baseball Draft and the All-Star Game won't be held in Atlanta, MLB officials announced Friday.

The withdrawal of the two events from the city in July is in response to Georgia's recently enacted voting restrictions, which critics, including President Biden, have denounced as "Jim Crow in the 21st century" because they say the legislation will disproportionately affect communities of color.

On the fourth day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial in the death George Floyd, jurors heard from multiple first responders who treated the Black man as he lay motionless last Memorial Day.

Hennepin County paramedic Seth Bravinder said Floyd's heart "flat-lined" in the ambulance and his team never detected a pulse in the 46-year-old man who died in police custody.

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