Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

Wamsley got her start at NPR as an intern for Weekend Edition Saturday in January 2007 and stayed on as a production assistant for NPR's flagship news programs, before joining the Washington Desk for the 2008 election.

She then left NPR, doing freelance writing and editing in Austin, Texas, and then working in various marketing roles for technology companies in Austin and Chicago.

In November 2015, Wamsley returned to NPR as an associate producer for the National Desk, where she covered stories including Hurricane Matthew in coastal Georgia. She became a Newsdesk reporter in March 2017, and has since covered subjects including climate change, possibilities for social networks beyond Facebook, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and joke theft.

In 2010, Wamsley was a Journalism and Women Symposium Fellow and participated in the German-American Fulbright Commission's Berlin Capital Program, and was a 2016 Voqal Foundation Fellow. She will spend two months reporting from Germany as a 2019 Arthur F. Burns Fellow, a program of the International Center for Journalists.

Wamsley earned a B.A. with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Wamsley holds a master's degree from Ohio University, where she was a Public Media Fellow and worked at NPR Member station WOUB. A native of Athens, Ohio, she now lives and bikes in Washington, DC.

Updated 2:50 p.m. ET Wednesday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will no longer pay for some safety measures related to COVID-19 that it had previously covered.

Keith Turi, FEMA assistant administrator for recovery, announced the changes during a call Tuesday with state and tribal emergency managers, many of whom expressed concerns about the new policy.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

Fewer than eight months ago, the U.S. had yet to experience its first confirmed case of a deadly disease that was sweeping through China and threatening to go global. Today, more than 6 million Americans have been infected with the coronavirus and some 183,000 have died from it, according to a tally maintained by Johns Hopkins University.

Updated at 4:26 p.m. ET

Louisville, Ky., police have arrested dozens of protesters who staged a sit-in on an overpass.

Tuesday afternoon's protest marked the final day of an event known as "BreonnaCon," which called for justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman whom police shot and killed while executing a "no-knock" warrant in her home in March.

The sit-in took place near the city's Cardinal Stadium, NPR member station WFPL in Louisville reported.

After more than 100 days without any community spread of COVID-19, New Zealand moved to an elevated alert level Wednesday with news of four new cases and another four probable ones.

Updated at 4:51 p.m. ET Tuesday

New Zealand went 101 days without any community transmission of the coronavirus, and life in the country largely returned to normal – an experience far different from the havoc that the virus is causing elsewhere in the world.

The Trump administration announced new guidelines Thursday for states to reopen businesses and schools and relax social distancing measures, but public health experts say the plan skirts a major hurdle needed to safely get things moving: a shortage of tests for the coronavirus.

Across the country, medical professionals are working to save the lives of people suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

In many places, a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) means that that nurses must reuse masks and do without certain protective measures.

This is part of a series looking at pressing coronavirus questions of the week. We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

The global spread of COVID-19 cases continues, with cases around the world and increasingly strict measures to control its spread. Authorities in the U.S. and other countries have banned or discouraged large gatherings and are urging social distancing and frequent hand-washing.

Some people look at the weeks ahead and wonder how they will keep themselves from going stir crazy.

Across the U.S., new restrictions have limited in-person gatherings in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus infection, as concern grows from watching its effects on the hard-hit populations of China and Italy, where thousands have died.

A spring without baseball? Saturdays without soccer? March without Madness? Such is the uncharted world of sports in the age of coronavirus.

What had seemed unimaginable just days earlier is suddenly the new reality: Sports in America have shuttered.

This is part of a new series looking at pressing coronavirus questions of the week. We'd like to hear what you're curious about. Email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

The Trump administration has announced a series of measures intended to speed testing for the coronavirus disease COVID-19: a new federal coordinator to oversee testing, funding for two companies developing rapid tests and a hotline for labs to call to get help finding needed supplies.

The U.S. government has been sharply criticized for its slow response to the virus, particularly when it comes to testing. Only this week has testing become more widely available in the U.S., and kits remain in limited supply.

Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET

The NCAA has announced that it is canceling its Division I men's and women's college basketball tournaments. This year, there will be no March Madness.

"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities," the NCAA said in a statement Thursday.

Countries around the world are mobilizing to try to halt the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 100,000 people and killed more than 4,000 others. Here's a look at some of the measures that the nine countries with the most cases have implemented so far.

China

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, a sign of the century-old organization's financial instability as it faces some 300 lawsuits from men who say they were sexually abused as Scouts.

The organization says it will use the Chapter 11 process to create a trust to provide compensation to victims. Scouting programs will continue throughout.

The images of the current outbreak of the new coronavirus have so far been very human: air travelers wearing masks, tourists stranded on cruise ships, medical workers wearing protective suits.

But new images of the virus show us what it looks like up close.

These images were made using scanning and transmission electron microscopes at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont. NIAID is part of the National Institutes of Health.

People often ponder how the world might be different if more women were in political power. In Finland, where women lead the five parties in the coalition government, here's one change they're making: equal paid leave for both parents in a family.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex — also known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — have announced that they will step back from their duties as senior members of the British royal family.

The intrigue may be only beginning, amid reports that Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the royal family were not given advance notice of the move.

Two people were killed and five were injured in an avalanche at an Idaho ski resort on Tuesday.

Iran's cultural heritage is suddenly a topic of urgent global interest, after President Trump threatened to strike such sites if the country retaliates for the United States' killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week.

When LSU quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, he used his acceptance speech not only to thank his teammates, his family and his coach — but also to highlight the struggles of people in his small hometown in Ohio.

"Coming from Southeast Ohio, it's a very impoverished area," Burrow said, in an emotional address during which he frequently brushed away tears. "The poverty rate is almost two times the national average, and there's so many people there that don't have a lot.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

Sixteen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg has quickly risen to prominence with her clarion call for climate action and Time's naming her its 2019 Person of the Year this week.

Since her first school strike for action in August 2018, Thunberg has grown her protest into a global youth movement calling on the world leaders of today to take decisive action on climate change and prevent further global warming.

Caroll Spinney, the actor and puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street over five decades, died Sunday at age 85.

The Sesame Workshop said Spinney had died at home in Connecticut, and that he had long lived with dystonia, a disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In November 1983, 14-year-old DeWitt Duckett was shot in the neck in a Baltimore high school over his Georgetown Starter jacket.

Three 16-year-old boys were arrested on Thanksgiving Day 1983 and charged with the murder. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The three, now in their 50s, were all released from prison on Monday — fully exonerated after spending 36 years incarcerated for a murder they didn't commit.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

Two western hostages held for more than three years by Taliban forces in Afghanistan were freed today in southeastern Zabul province in exchange for three Taliban commanders held by the Kabul government, an Afghan official tells NPR's Diaa Hadid. The official requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the news media.

A gunman walked into a backyard party in Fresno, Calif., where people had gathered to watch football on Sunday evening, and opened fire, killing four people and wounding six.

Fresno Police Deputy Chief Michael Reid said Sunday night it's "very likely" the party was targeted, "we just don't know why."

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri is submitting his resignation, after nearly two weeks of anti-government protests brought hundreds of thousands of Lebanese to the streets.

In a televised address, Hariri said Tuesday that he has reached a "dead end" amid the widespread demonstrations that had paralyzed the country.

Two of Rudy Giuliani's associates appeared in federal court Wednesday in Manhattan, where they pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally funneling foreign donations to U.S. political candidates.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are both U.S. citizens born in the former Soviet Union: Parnas in Ukraine, and Fruman in Belarus.

In only the second climate change trial in the U.S., Exxon Mobil goes to court Tuesday accused of defrauding shareholders and the public. New York's attorney general brought the suit, which alleges that the oil giant misrepresented how carbon regulation would affect the company's financial outlook.

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