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.

Crashing servers, outmoded software and overloaded call centers are some of the obstacles standing between millions of unemployed workers and the financial lifeline the government has promised under the $2 trillion relief package approved late last month.

With every passing week the problem is exacerbated by new waves of jobless or laid-off workers whose paychecks have vanished since the coronavirus pandemic crippled the U.S. economy.

Updated at 8:55 p.m. ET

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife have both tested negative for COVID-19, his office announced on Saturday.

"Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President @Mike_Pence and Second Lady @KarenPence," Katie Miller, the vice president's press secretary, said in a tweet.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid point-of-care COVID-19 test, that can deliver results in less than an hour.

Cepheid, a Silicon Valley diagnostics company, made the announcement on Saturday, saying it has received emergency authorization from the government to use the test.

Starbucks says it is closing all U.S. company-operated cafes and is moving to drive-thru and delivery services in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The closures will start on Friday and last for at least two weeks, the company said in a statement.

There's hoarding and then there's HOARDING.

Stealing a truck that's hauling about 18,000 pounds of bathroom paper products during a global pandemic during which the commodity has become invaluable to the panicked public likely falls into the all-caps category.

On Wednesday, deputies from the Guilford County Sheriff's office in North Carolina said they came across the 18-wheel tractor trailer as it was traveling on Interstate 40 in Whitsett.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday afternoon ordered all Illinois residents to stay at home, as the deadly coronavirus has spread to a quarter of the state's counties and infected more than 500 people.

The stricter limits will go into effect on Saturday.

Prince Albert II of Monaco has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the first reigning monarch or head of state to publicly announce a diagnosis for the coronavirus-caused respiratory disease.

In a statement, officials from the city-state palace said despite the findings, the prince's health "is not worrying at all."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced on Wednesday agents will temporarily postpone most arrests due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead the agency will focus on only pursuing people who pose public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention on criminal grounds.

It is unclear how long the new strategy will be in place but officials explained in a statement the move is designed to "ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents."

Every U.S. state implemented restrictions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. Businesses reduced or ceased operations, people transitioned into working and learning remotely, and nonessential activities were paused. At least temporarily, much of the country was under strict orders to stay home.

The United States on Thursday evening launched a series of airstrikes in Iraq against an Iranian-backed militia group suspected of firing an earlier rocket attack that killed and wounded American and British troops.

"The United States conducted defensive precision strikes against Kata'ib Hizbollah facilities across Iraq," the Pentagon said in a statement.

Updated at 12:34 a.m. ET Thursday

President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from European countries to the United States, beginning on Friday at midnight, in a bid "to keep new cases" of coronavirus "from entering our shores."

The restrictions, he said late Wednesday, do not apply to travelers from the United Kingdom.

Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered the Trump administration another win on one of its signature immigration policies on Wednesday, allowing it to continue the controversial "Remain in Mexico" policy across the entire southern border.

The Italian government has announced extraordinary measures to contain the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday declared the entire country a "red zone," meaning people should stay home except for work and emergencies.

The move expands the emergency measures already in place in northern Italy, which is where most of the more than 9,000 confirmed cases are.

As of Monday, 463 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported through the country.

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

As COVID-19 spreads in the U.S., Maryland health officials are the latest to announce that a handful of Montgomery County residents have tested positive for the virus that causes it.

Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday said the state's Public Health Laboratory in Baltimore confirmed three cases of patients who tested positive for the coronavirus.

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.

After living in the U.S. for five years, cousins Walter T. and Gaspar T. were deported to their home country of El Salvador in 2019, where they were ripped from their beds one night and beaten by police, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

"They began beating us until we arrived at the police barracks," Gaspar said in interviews.

Gwen Ifill didn't want it to be a big deal.

The legendary journalist knew she'd served as a trailblazer for women and especially a beacon of what is professionally possible for women of color. But in an interview with The New York Times, she said she was eager for the days when it would not seem "like any breakthrough at all" for a black woman to be anchoring a national news program.

And yet, more than three years after her death, Ifill is still making breakthroughs. This time, on a stamp.

The sudden death of rapper Juice WRLD as he landed in Chicago last month, was caused by an accidental overdose of codeine and oxycodone, the Cook County Medical Examiner's office revealed Wednesday.

A 19-year-old man from Virginia appeared in court on Wednesday in connection with allegations that he made fake bomb and shooting threats to draw extreme law enforcement responses on unwitting people, as a member of a swatting ring linked to a neo-Nazi group.

John William Kirby Kelley, who went by "Carl" and "BotGod" online, was charged with conspiracy to make threats by the Department of Justice last week.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A law enforcement scandal that could impact thousands of criminal cases in Orange County, Calif., is pitting the region's top attorneys and sheriffs against one another.

The county's public defender's office on Wednesday suggested that top prosecutors covered for law enforcement, helping to keep widespread lapses in evidence booking out of public view. Now, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders is demanding to know who knew what and when.

Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET

President Trump told reporters at the White House that he was "sticking up for the armed forces" in his pardons of military personnel.

The commander in chief has repeatedly intervened on behalf of the Navy SEAL recently convicted of misconduct. And Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Trump did it again over the weekend, directly ordering him to allow Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher to retire as a SEAL.

Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher may be stripped of his status as a Navy SEAL, potentially setting up a confrontation between the Navy's top brass and the commander in chief.

On Wednesday, Gallagher and three of his supervising officers were notified that a review board will be convened to determine whether the men should be allowed to remain in the elite SEALs.

Lawrence Levee's evacuation call came at 4 a.m. The Getty fire was just a few miles away. He and all of his Mandeville Canyon neighbors needed to evacuate.

He grabbed what he could and threw it into his bright blue electric Chevy Bolt. His car battery was only charged halfway, but that left him with plenty of power to make a quick getaway and then some.

But after driving around the next day, running errands in an area he didn't know well, he was in a pickle. He couldn't find a charging station. And he had 25 miles left to his tank.

As cars become smarter and safer, some members of Congress want to require them to be built to prevent drunk driving.

Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced legislation last week that would make it mandatory for all new cars and trucks to come loaded with passive, virtually unnoticeable, alcohol detection systems by 2024.

An 18-year-old has been arrested and charged in the stabbing death this week in New York of Khaseen Morris, who died surrounded by a crowd of students taking cellphone video of the attack as he bled out on the ground.

Tyler Flach was charged with second-degree murder and was arraigned in court on Thursday, according to Nassau County police. He pleaded not guilty to killing Morris, a 16-year-old senior at Oceanside High School, during an after-school fight that broke out over a girl. Morris later died in a hospital.

The 21-year-old white man accused of gunning down 22 people and wounded dozens of others at a Texas Walmart was formally indicted on a capital murder charge Thursday.

A grand jury in El Paso County indicted Patrick Crusius in connection with the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3, according to a statement from the El Paso District Attorney's Office.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza said on Aug. 4 that he planned to seek the death penalty.

The suspect surrendered to law enforcement as he was driving away from the bloodbath, saying, "I'm the shooter."

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.

It may have appeared that Anthony Levandowski was out of the legal hot seat after Google's parent company, Alphabet, agreed to settled a corporate espionage lawsuit against Uber last year.

Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has banned two Democratic U.S. congresswomen from visiting the country and the Palestinian territories this weekend, according to a government official.

Israeli radio reported that in an interview, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the country would bar entry to "those who reject our right to exist in the world."

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