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.

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.

G. Gordon Liddy, the Republican adviser who was convicted for his role in the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon, died on Tuesday.

The 90-year-old died at his daughter's house in Virginia, his son Thomas P. Liddy told The Associated Press. He did not give a cause of death.

Liddy was convicted in 1973 and sentenced to 20 years in jail for conspiracy, burglary and illegally wiretapping the Democratic Party's headquarters at the Watergate office complex. He served as Nixon's general counsel on his reelection committee at the time.

An underage witness in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, told jurors on Tuesday that George Floyd "looked kind of purple" and "was really limp" by the time ambulance arrived on the scene.

The 17-year-old girl identified as Kaylynn, who was off camera, spoke slowly, sometimes on the verge of tears, as she described the events leading up to Floyd's death on May 25, 2020.

Prosecutors began calling witnesses to the stand on Monday afternoon in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

The prosecution started with Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry, who dispatched police to Cup Foods after getting a call about a man with a counterfeit bill.

Scurry testified that despite several years of experience handling emergency calls, she became concerned when her monitors showed the responding officers, including Chauvin, kneeling on top of Floyd, pinning him to the ground.

Updated March 26, 2021 at 4:07 AM ET

Deadly tornadoes that ripped through Alabama throughout Thursday remain a significant threat to other Southern states as the sun rises on Friday.

At least five deaths and multiple injuries have been reported in Calhoun County, Ala., after a tornado hit the region, county coroner Pat Brown told NPR Thursday.

Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Brian Hastings estimated Thursday night that hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged in his state.

The number of asylum-seeking migrants, including unaccompanied minors, crossing the southwest border into the U.S. is soaring, leaving the Biden administration scrambling to find appropriate care and housing for thousands of children.

Updated on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday targeting Iranian-backed militia groups in the first known offensive military operation carried out by the Biden administration.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

New York Attorney General Letitia James says a grand jury voted that no charges will be filed against Rochester police officers in connection with the March 2020 death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who was in the midst of a mental health free fall during his encounter with the police.

Back-to-back record-breaking winter storms with temperatures sometimes dropping into the single digits have slammed into Oklahoma, causing rolling blackouts and water shortages, and making roads nearly impossible to navigate in some areas.

Throughout Cherokee Nation tribal lands in the northeastern part of the state where more than 141,000 Cherokee Nation citizens reside, the freezing temperatures have left some of the most vulnerable people facing dire conditions for much of the week.

Without power to run water treatment plants, city and state officials across Texas are pleading with residents to conserve water and are issuing boil-water notices.

The warnings not to consume water out of the tap began in many places as early as Monday, but as of Wednesday night many municipalities had expanded those orders as the state grapples with the ongoing weather, energy and water crises that have placed unprecedented strain on the state's entire power grid.

President Biden's COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients told governors on Tuesday that the weekly vaccine supply going out to states is increasing by more than 20% to 13.5 million doses this week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, announced.

Psaki also said the supply going directly to pharmacies will double to 2 million this week.

Before taking office, Biden promised to improve and streamline Trump's Operation Warp Speed and pledged to get 100 million vaccine doses into arms in the first 100 days of his administration.

What former President Donald Trump knew of the safety of his vice president, Mike Pence, when Trump disparaged Pence during the Capitol insurrection was a key question in Day 4 of Trump's Senate impeachment trial.

In the trial's question-and-answer session Friday, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, asked whether Trump knew that Pence was being evacuated from the Capitol as the former president composed a tweet condemning Pence for not having the "courage" to stop then-President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.

President Biden has finalized deals to buy 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of July, increasing the likelihood of delivering on his promise to have all Americans inoculated by mid-summer.

While the U.S. Senate began its second impeachment trial of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, local lawmakers in the town of Palm Beach, Fla., also gathered to consider the former president's fate – specifically, whether to let him live full-time at his sprawling private club, Mar-a-Lago.

In a presentation at the council, John Marion, who represents Trump, argued that the former president meets the definition of a "bona fide" employee of the swanky club, and therefore can legally reside there.

Updated at 7:11 p.m. ET

The Senate voted 87-7 on Monday to confirm President Biden's pick, Denis McDonough, to serve as Veterans Affairs secretary, making him only the second non-veteran to lead the troubled department.

Ethan Nordean, a self-described "Sergeant of Arms" in the extremist group the Proud Boys, will remain in custody for his alleged role in the U.S. Capitol riot until his trial hearing later this month.

A Seattle magistrate judge on Monday ruled that Nordean, who also goes by Rufio Panman, would be released on bond but then halted the decision, giving the Department of Justice time to appeal. Hours later, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., ordered Nordean's return to the capital pending the appeal.

President Joe Biden has picked a slate of nearly two dozen acting officials to temporarily lead agencies as he waits for Congress to confirm his Cabinet.

According to a list of officials issued by the White House on Wednesday, most of the temporary leaders are career civil servants.

Maine health officials discovered that a majority of Moderna vaccine shipments received across the state on Monday were not kept adequately cold during transport, meaning 4,400 doses may have to be thrown out.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, made the announcement during a "sad and somber" coronavirus briefing on Tuesday and said the problem extends to other states as well.

Boeing will pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it repeatedly concealed and lied about the 737 Max's engineering problems that led to two catastrophic crashes claiming hundreds of lives.

The company admitted to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of the deferred prosecution agreement announced on Thursday and will face no further charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Hours after hordes of pro-Trump extremists barged across what proved to be feeble and poorly guarded barricades, and at least one person was fatally shot, the general atmosphere on the streets outside the Capitol appears to be relatively quiet even as Congress is on its way to finishing what it started early Wednesday afternoon.

Police chief Robert Contee said three other fatalities — on adult female and two males — resulted from apparent "separate medical emergencies."

President Trump has signed an executive order banning business with several leading Chinese technology companies, claiming apps run by the companies have the ability to spy on Americans, including federal employees.

Trump's order seeks to prohibit transactions with eight companies including Alipay, owned by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma; the payment platform on the popular app WeChat; and a Chinese messaging service called QQ owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent.

Other software apps included in the order are CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, VMate and WPS Office.

A team of fast-acting health care workers saved the day — and potentially hundreds of lives — on Monday after a freezer malfunction nearly destroyed 830 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Somewhere around 2 a.m. the compressor of the freezer holding vials of the medicine at the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Mendocino County, Calif., failed, President Judson Howe told NPR.

That started a ticking clock on the shelf life of the vaccines, which can only be used for 12 hours once they're removed from refrigeration of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning health care workers that any changes to the authorized dosing schedules of COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered will significantly place public health at risk and undermine "the historic vaccination effort to protect the population" from the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

The Wisconsin pharmacist accused of intentionally sabotaging more than 500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine at Christmastime told police he did it because he believed the drug is somehow hazardous.

"He'd formed this belief they were unsafe," Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said of Steven Brandenburg on Monday during a virtual hearing, The Associated Press reported.

Updated at 2:05 a.m. ET

A Milwaukee pharmacist was arrested Thursday and accused of "tampering with and causing the destruction" of more than 550 doses of the Moderna vaccine against the coronavirus last week, Grafton, Wis., police confirmed.

In a statement, Grafton Police Department officials said the pharmacist — now fired from the Advocate Aurora Health hospital system — was arrested on recommended charges of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, adulterating a prescription drug and criminal damage to property.

The Massachusetts state Senate joined the state House of Representatives Tuesday in passing legislation that enshrines abortion rights in state law and expands access to 16-year-olds. The move by the two chambers overrides Gov. Charlie Baker's veto of the measure last week.

The ROE Act, as it's called, will allow abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases with a fatal fetal anomaly and in instances when a physician deems it necessary "to preserve the patient's physical or mental health."

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