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 U.S. Department of Justice will not charge any of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a Black 12-year-old boy who was killed by police in Cleveland in 2014. The department has closed its investigation.

The Justice Department announced it found insufficient evidence to "support federal criminal charges against Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback."

Columbus, Ohio, Officer Adam Coy, who fatally shot Andre Hill, a Black man during an early morning nonemergency call last week, was fired Monday.

Police Chief Tom Quinlan, as well as the city's mayor and other leaders, have called for Coy's dismissal since the shooting on Dec. 22. Following a disciplinary hearing Monday, Public Safety Director Ned Pettus agreed.

Virginia and Maryland are sending thousands of extra COVID-19 vaccine doses out of their own supply to the District of Columbia as the city scrambles to inoculate health care workers amid the worsening pandemic.

Each state is sending 8,000 additional doses to the nation's capital. The move will more than triple the amount of the medicine that was allotted by the federal government.

The U.S. State Department is shutting down its consulate in Vladivostok, Russia, and suspending operations at one in Yekaterinburg, officials confirmed on Friday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo consulted with Ambassador John Sullivan before deciding to implement the changes which the department says will "optimize the work of the U.S. mission in Russia," a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The move is part of U.S. "ongoing efforts to ensure the safe and secure operation of the U.S. diplomatic mission in the Russian Federation," the official wrote.

Debunked claims about COVID-19 vaccinations will be swiftly removed from Twitter starting next week, the company announced on Wednesday.

And moving into 2021, officials said, the company may start placing labels or warnings on messages containing "unsubstantiated rumors, disputed claims, as well as incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines."

The Food and Drug Administration says that some of the vials of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine being distributed throughout the U.S. contain extra doses and the agency is encouraging hospitals and clinics to use the additional shots to speed up the nationwide immunization campaign.

The agency issued the guidance Wednesday after health care workers reported throwing out the excess vaccine, fearing it would be against the rules to use it.

The Minnesota Board of Pardons on Tuesday commuted the life sentence of Myon Burrell, a Black man who was sentenced to life in prison as a minor.

Burrell, who was 16 at the time of his arrest, was accused of fatally shooting an 11-year old girl, who was struck by a stray bullet while doing her homework inside her family's Minneapolis home.

Following the announcement of his imminent release, Burrell held back tears.

"Thank you. Thank you very much," he said reaching a hand out to the camera.

5, 6, 7, 8!

Health care workers in Boston are "feeling good as hell" over the arrival of the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine.

Masked employees in scrubs, medical gowns, office attire, and what's proving to be very popular camel-colored coat, performed a choreographed dance routine outside of the Boston Medical Center as inside, health care workers prepared to begin delivering injections to some of those most exposed to the virus — health care workers.

Tony-winning legend and dance icon Ann Reinking died on Saturday, family members confirmed to news outlets on Monday. She was 71.

"The world and our family have lost a vibrant, amazing talent and beautiful soul. Ann was the heart of our family and the life of the party," her family said in a statement, as reported by Variety.

It was close but in the end, the conservative-led Wisconsin Supreme Court on Monday rejected the Trump campaign's bid to throw out more than 220,000 ballots from two Democratic county strongholds. The move, which came just shortly before Electoral College voters were due to cast their ballots, ensured President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Conservative Justice Brian Hagedorn sided with the court's three liberal members in the 4-3 ruling, finding Trump's legal challenge to change Wisconsin's certified election results "unreasonable in the extreme" and was filed too late.

The St. Louis prosecutor spearheading the case against Mark McCloskey, one half of the husband-and-wife team accused of menacing Black Lives Matter protesters with weapons, has been removed from the case.

Circuit Judge Thomas Clark II on Thursday dismissed Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and her entire staff, saying campaign fundraising emails Gardner sent to constituents that alluded to Mark and Patricia McCloskey's case "raise the appearance of impropriety and jeopardize the defendant's right to a fair trial," The Associated Press reported.

A federal judge has found the Seattle Police Department in contempt for violating an order to stop the "indiscriminate" use of chemical irritants or projectiles against protesters except in cases where officers faced imminent danger.

The Monday ruling by Judge Richard Jones of the Western District of Washington in Seattle said the department had failed to prove that its use of pepper spray, pepper balls, blast balls and paint balls during four Black Lives Matter protests was warranted.

A federal judge has reversed the Trump administration's latest round of rules placing further limits on the Obama-era program that shields undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children from deportation.

Under the order filed Friday, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn instructed the Department of Homeland Security to begin accepting new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as soon as Monday.

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced most of the state will come under a stricter set of limitations as intensive care units reach near-capacity levels with the latest surge in coronavirus cases.

Regional stay-at-home orders will likely go into effect "in the next day or two" in places with less than 15% ICU availability, Newsom explained in a daily briefing with reporters.

The U.S. Soccer Federation has reached a proposed settlement with the Women's National Team in a legal battle over working conditions but a dispute over equal pay with that of their male counterparts continues.

The agreement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Tuesday, is a partial victory for the World Cup champion U.S. women's soccer team, who will see an improvement in hotel accommodations, venues, travel and staffing that will put them on equal footing with players on the Men's National Team.

A controversial coronavirus adviser to the president, Dr. Scott Atlas, resigned Monday, a White House official told NPR.

Atlas, who is not an infectious disease expert and whose brief stint was marred by blunders and controversy, was tapped by the Trump administration to serve as special adviser to the president in August. Since then, "the MRI guy" has repeatedly been at odds with the nation's leading health officials regarding his views on how to combat the spread of the virus, including members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Sudan's last democratically elected prime minister has died of COVID-19-related complications, his party announced early Thursday.

Sadiq al-Mahdi was 84.

He died in hospital in the United Arab Emirates, where he was receiving treatment after becoming infected with the coronavirus, the National Umma Party, which he led until his death, announced Thursday.

Looking ahead to his remaining administration appointments, President-elect Joe Biden says he is open to including Republicans as well as progressive former rivals Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

"We already have significant representation among progressives in our administration, but there's nothing really off the table," he said in an interview with NBC News' Lester Holt.

However, he said it would be "difficult" to take influential members of Congress out of their positions to build out his administration.

Former Jeopardy! champion, author and know-it-all kind of guy, Ken Jennings, will be the first guest host of the long-running trivia game show, officials said Monday.

The announcement, two weeks after much-loved host Alex Trebek died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, explained that "a series of interim guest hosts from the Jeopardy! family" will take over the show, which Trebek hosted from 1984 until earlier this year.

Updated at 10:03 p.m. ET

Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old gunman accused of killing protesters in Kenosha, Wis., in August, posted $2 million bail and was released from custody on Friday.

Tyson Foods Inc., which says it produces 20% of the beef, pork and chicken in the U.S., has suspended managers at an Iowa plant accused of participating in a betting pool on how many employees would become ill with COVID-19.

President and CEO Dean Banks also announced on Thursday the company has launched an investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder into the allegations.

Judy Shelton's nomination as a member of the Federal Reserve Board is stalled.

The Senate failed to advance President Trump's controversial pick to the powerful central bank on Tuesday after Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine joined the Senate's Democrats in blocking Shelton's appointment.

As California's "unprecedented" coronavirus surge worsens, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that he's pulling "the emergency brake" and implementing the state's most restrictive safety measures across most counties, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The shift into the "purple tier" for 41 of 58 counties comes as the number of daily new coronavirus cases doubled in the past 10 days in California, Newsom told reporters.

"We are sounding the alarm," the governor said, acknowledging the move will have a detrimental impact on businesses.

A history-making storm is gaining momentum over the middle of the Atlantic.

Monday, Subtropical Storm Theta became the 29th named storm of the year, surpassing the 28 storms of 2005 and making the 2020 hurricane season the busiest on record.

The system is not expected to make landfall in the U.S.

As of 10 p.m. ET , the National Weather Service reported Theta is moving east through the Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph with higher gusts.

A Wisconsin court commissioner on Monday set bail at $2 million for Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old accused of killing protesters in Kenosha, in his first court appearance in the state after being extradited from Illinois last week.

Rittenhouse is accused of fatally shooting two demonstrators and injuring a third during protests on Aug. 25 that followed the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot several times at close range by Kenosha police and is now paralyzed.

Updated Thursday at 10:55 a.m. ET

Some U.S. hospitals have been hit by coordinated ransomware attacks designed to infect systems for financial gain, federal agencies and a private-sector cybersecurity company warned on Wednesday.

A joint advisory by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI says there is "credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat" to U.S. hospitals and health care providers.

Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, has revealed himself to be "Anonymous," the author of a New York Times op-ed and book critical of the Trump presidency.

An abnormally early but powerful ice storm has crippled large swaths of Oklahoma, causing power outages for hundreds of thousands and toppling thousands of trees.

"We lost a branch but have propped up others to save them," wrote the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum on Facebook. "We will continue to monitor it 24/7 throughout this historic storm."

An heiress to the Seagram's liquor fortune has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for fraud and forced labor as a leading member of Nxivm, a cult-like self-help group accused of holding women captive and coercing them into having sex with the group's leader.

Clare Bronfman, 41, was a member of Nxivm — pronounced Nehk-see-um — for 15 years, eventually joining its executive board and bankrolling numerous lawsuits against critics of the secretive organization led by Keith Raniere.

After more than 100 days of protests in Portland, there is fatigue and increasing anxiety heading into opposing Labor Day demonstrations as officials urge protesters on opposing sides to stop the violence.

Among labor organizers and Black Lives Matter supporters, who began convening on the city's streets to protest police brutality and social injustice following the killing of George Floyd in May, there is a growing sense of dread over a possible confrontation with pro-Trump groups.

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