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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.

On Thursday, New York City's Law Department announced it had reached a $3.3 million settlement with Kalief Browder's family. The young man from the Bronx, who spent three years detained on Rikers Island without being tried or convicted, was accused of stealing a backpack.

Nearly two of Browder's three years in jail were spent in solitary confinement. He was released in 2013 after the charges were dropped. And in 2015, plagued by what he said was the mental anguish and trauma from his time in jail, he hanged himself in his mother's home.

Mexico's homicide rate continued to skyrocket last year, making 2018 the deadliest on record for the country with an average of 91 deaths a day.

After nearly a year of scrutiny, the embattled Florida sheriff whose deputies were the first to respond to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland was suspended on Friday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Broward Sheriff Scott Israel has been replaced by former Coral Springs Police Sgt. Gregory Tony, who has an extensive background in active shooter training.

A former Uber driver charged with killing six people during an hours-long shooting rampage in Michigan nearly three years ago, pleaded guilty to all charges on Monday, defying his attorney.

Updated at 1 a.m. Dec. 26

The setting was perfect. The fire was beautifully ablaze, the trees enormously enormous, as the first couple sat beside dainty telephone tables ready to delight young callers in search of Santa.

But what happened next could be considered less than perfect — especially for a young girl named Collman or her family, who might have had some explaining to do after the brief phone call.

Updated at 7:07 p.m. ET

James Alex Fields Jr., who rammed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year was found guilty on Friday of killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others.

A for-profit college chain mired in financial troubles announced on Wednesday it is shutting down dozens of campuses across the country by the end of the month. The abrupt decision comes a day after the company lost its accreditation and funding, leaving frantic students scrambling in the final days of the year to enroll in new schools.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Nearly two months after a rocket malfunction forced NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos to abort the launch of a Soyuz mission, a new crew blasted off on Monday for the International Space Station and arrived safe and sound.

Updated at 7 a.m. ET

Spain's right-wing anti-Muslim party claimed a dozen seats in one of the country's regional parliaments in elections Sunday — outpacing expectations in what is being described as a major blow to the new socialist prime minister.

The surprising gains for the Vox Party mark the latest in a wave of right-wing sentiment that has swept across Europe in recent months.

Paul Sherwen, one of the best-known pro-cycling commentators who is widely credited with introducing the English-speaking world to the sport, died on Sunday at his home in Uganda. He was 62.

Londoners riding the tube have only a few more months to feast their eyes on cheesy, greasy burger ads and other high-calorie treats on promotional posters.

As of February, the city will ban junk food advertising across all of London's public transportation network, the mayor's office announced on Friday. It is part of the city's larger plan to stem rising childhood obesity rates.

It might be too late for readers who are already stuffing their faces with turkey. But for those who are still tidying up the house in anticipation of Thanksgiving dinner guests, take note: Don't throw out old lottery tickets without checking the numbers first.

As of Thursday morning, President Trump was still ruminating on a rare upbraiding from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, continuing attacks against the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and calling it "a complete & total disaster."

"It is out of control, has a horrible reputation," Trump wrote on Twitter.

A federal grand jury on Thursday handed up an indictment for criminal negligence and misconduct against the captain and operator of the duck boat that sank on Table Rock Lake in Missouri, killing 17 people over the summer.

The former director of Peru's National Police was among 14 people arrested early Tuesday morning in a series of raids that rounded up alleged members of a baby-trafficking ring.

Authorities have not suggested the role Gen. Raúl Becerra played in the criminal organization but the group is suspected of targeting poor pregnant women and convincing them to sell their newborn infants, the national police said in a statement.

The man accused of sending more than a dozen pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump will be held without bail, a judge ruled on Tuesday.

Cesar Sayoc made his first court appearance in Manhattan, after being transferred from Florida to New York's federal Metropolitan Correctional Center on Monday. The charges against Sayoc were filed in the Southern District of New York.

The 56-year-old appeared in court wearing a blue T-shirt with his gray hair pulled back in a tight pony tail. He did not wear handcuffs or shackles.

The Regional Commissioner of Tanzania's largest city announced the creation of an anti-gay surveillance squad that is expected to begin a roundup as early as Monday.

In an interview with Dizzim TV on Monday, Paul Makonda ordered residents throughout Dar es Salaam to report gay people to a phone hotline in advance of the widespread sweeps.

"Report them to me," Makonda urged, as translated from Swahili by NPR, adding that "from next Monday we start arresting them."

The man accused of killing 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh was indicted on 44 federal counts, including hate crimes, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

A remote northwestern Hawaiian island has nearly vanished after Hurricane Walaka barreled through the Pacific last month, eliminating — at least for now — a critical habitat for endangered species.

Only two minuscule slivers of East Island have resurfaced since the Category 5 storm struck the region and washed away the 11-acre strip of sand and gravel that is part of the French Frigate Shoals.

Travis County emergency management officials told Austin residents on Tuesday they'll need to boil their tap water for the next several days, and urged residents to cut water consumption as the city faces a potential shortage.

In a meeting with county commissioners, Chief Emergency Management Coordinator Eric Carter said Austin Water could take 10 to 14 days to stabilize all three treatment plants and restore production to last week's preflood levels.

The European Union's highest court on Friday ordered Poland to reverse a law leading to the removal of nearly a third of the nation's Supreme Court judges, and to reinstate those who were dismissed.

Halloween is exactly two weeks away but Spotify launched a campaign to scare people back in June. Unfortunately, for the music-streaming company, their efforts were too frightening.

On Wednesday, a British advertising watchdog group ruled that a minute-long Spotify advertisement featuring Camila Cabello's "Havana" and a creepy, self-animated harlequin-type doll, is way too spooky for kids.

Updated at 9:32 p.m. ET

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is suing Tesla CEO Elon Musk, alleging securities fraud a month after he announced that he planned to take the publicly traded electric-car company private.

"Musk's false and misleading public statements and omissions caused significant confusion and disruption in the market for Tesla's stock and resulting harm to investors," the lawsuit says.

Dunkin' Donuts, purveyor of, well, donuts and other confections typically ingested in far too much haste, is dropping Donuts from its name starting in January. The company says it's making the move to become better friends with its customers.

Even as he was making plans to rent a Taipei apartment last week, it appears that Cody Wilson had already severed all ties with the controversial 3D gun printing company he founded in 2012.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Walmart Inc. on Friday, alleging the company has unlawfully discriminated against pregnant workers for years at one of its warehouse locations in Wisconsin.

The complaint, filed in federal court on behalf of Alyssa Gilliam, claims Walmart failed to accommodate workers' pregnancy-related medical restrictions, even though job modifications were provided to non-pregnant employees with physical disabilities. It also says the company denied pregnant workers' requests for unpaid leave.

The founder of the 3D gun printing company embroiled in a legal battle with the U.S. government over making the DIY instructions publicly accessible online has been accused of sexually assaulting a minor in Texas.

Cody Wilson was charged with the second-degree felony on Wednesday, according to the Austin Police Department.

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET on Friday

Federal authorities have opened an investigation into a series of explosions that set off fires in several small towns in Massachusetts on Thursday night, killing one person and injuring several others.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Friday that it is sending a team to investigate "what certainly appears to be multiple explosions involving a natural gas pipeline."

A federal judge denied bail on Wednesday to all five members of an extended family accused of operating a training camp for a violent attack on public institutions out of their isolated New Mexico compound.

During the arraignment hearing, Magistrate Judge Kirtan Khalsa told the defendants there was "clear and convincing evidence that you are a danger to the community," The Associated Press reported.

Don't think of it as a reversal.

Think of it as the first act of a movie in which the lead — an incredibly attractive, symmetrically faced character — is up against seemingly insurmountable odds. Except in this version, that handsome-yet-relatable hero is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The challenge it faces is trying to make the sluggish annual Oscar ceremony a bit more lively. Only, it's meeting a lot of resistance.

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