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.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

An airstrike on a migrant detention center in the Tajoura suburb of Libya's capital killed at least 44 people early Wednesday morning, according to the United Nations. More than 100 people were injured.

The strike hit a hangar within the Tajoura Detention Center, obliterating what had been a shelter that was housing roughly 120 people. The death toll has grown as local health authorities report casualties.

Updated at 9:55 a.m. ET

A federal judge in Seattle ruled Tuesday that asylum-seeking migrants detained for being in the U.S. illegally have the right to a bond hearing in immigration court rather than being held until their cases are complete.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman said it is unconstitutional to indefinitely detain migrants who fled to the U.S. seeking asylum protections.

Lee Iacocca, one of the best known auto executives, died Tuesday. He was 94.

Iacocca was a top executive at two of America's largest car companies — Ford and Chrysler. His career spanned decades and several generations. He was known for developing the Mustang and bringing the minivan to scores of American family garages, as well as orchestrating a remarkable turnaround at Chrysler.

His daughter Lia Iacocca Assad confirmed his death to NPR in a phone call.

Customs and Border Protection has launched an investigation into a secret Facebook group for current and former Border Patrol agents in which members posted derogatory remarks targeting migrants and lawmakers.

The White House condemned a deadly attack by the Taliban that rocked the Afghan capital Monday, leaving six people dead and more than a hundred others injured, as U.S. negotiators entered into another round of peace talks with senior members of the Islamic extremist group.

"This brazen attack demonstrates the Taliban's callous disregard for their fellow Afghans, who have repeatedly voiced the urgency of finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict," the Trump administration said in a statement Monday night.

A woman charged in the death of her fetus after she was shot in the abdomen during a fight may not be prosecuted after all.

District Attorney Lynneice O. Washington called the incident in Pleasant Grove, Ala., a tragedy and said her office is deliberating whether to move forward with prosecution.

Updated at 5:58 p.m. ET

After a brief showdown over competing emergency humanitarian aid measures to alleviate the crisis at the southern border, the House voted 305-102 on Thursday to pass the Senate's less restrictive version of the bill.

The Senate had approved the legislation Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Trump supports the bill.

Bill Wehrum is stepping down as the Environmental Protection Agency's chief air quality official at the end of the month, amid mounting scrutiny over possible ethics violations.

EPA Administrator Andrew Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday that Wehrum's departure as the head of the agency's Office of Air and Radiation is both voluntary and expected.

Uruguayan officials have launched a manhunt for an Italian organized crime boss known as the Cocaine King of Milan who escaped on Sunday from a detention center where he was awaiting extradition to Italy, the Uruguayan Ministry of Interior said in a statement.

Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

The acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection plans to step down in the coming weeks, according to two agency officials, amid a public furor over the treatment of migrant children in U.S. facilities.

John Sanders is expected to make his resignation effective July 5, according to the officials, who spoke to NPR on condition of anonymity because an official announcement had not been made to agency employees.

The popular knitting and crochet website Ravelry says its 8 million members are welcome to garter, seed or purl stitch their way through thousands of online patterns — but if they want to cast on with any pro-Trump views, they need to do it somewhere else.

The website's administrators announced Sunday that Ravelry is "banning support of Donald Trump and his administration" in any form, including "forum posts, projects, patterns, profiles" and anything else.

The war crimes trial of Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher took a dramatic turn Thursday when a lead prosecution witness — another SEAL who has been granted immunity to testify — confessed that he was the actual killer of a 17-year-old ISIS prisoner.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Corey Scott stunned prosecutors as he described a previously unheard version of events, saying he asphyxiated the teenage Islamic fighter as an act of mercy.

Among other charges related to his 2017 military service in Iraq, Gallagher is accused of killing the insurgent.

Former Interpol President Meng Hongwei has pleaded guilty to accepting more than $2 million in bribes and expressed regret for his crime, China's state-run newspaper People's Daily reported Thursday.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of China's Communist Party charged Hongwei with abusing his posts within the Communist Party between 2005 and 2017 to garner special benefits, promotions for his wife, and to collect bribes totaling more than 14 million yuan.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The leader of NXIVM, a group that espoused a philosophy of self-improvement but was accused of recruiting, grooming and even branding an inner circle of female sex slaves, was found guilty Wednesday by a federal jury in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Keith Raniere, who was known as "Vanguard," was convicted on all charges, including sex trafficking, forced labor conspiracy, human trafficking and multiple counts of racketeering — including sexual exploitation of a child.

On Tuesday, Spain's premier soccer league, La Liga, was hit with a 250,000-euro fine — about $280,000 — for using its mobile phone app to spy on millions of fans as part of a ploy to catch venues showing unlicensed broadcasts of professional matches.

A former dean at Michigan State University who oversaw Larry Nassar was found guilty of multiple criminal charges on Wednesday, including over his handling of sexual abuse allegations against the convicted sports doctor.

A jury convicted William Strampel, who was head of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, on two counts of willful neglect of duty and one count of felony misconduct in office over sexual comments he made to female students when they came to him for help with their careers. But the 71-year-old was cleared of felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Updated at 6: 24 p.m. ET

The U.S. Women's National Team won its first game of the World Cup with the largest margin of victory in FIFA history Tuesday in a wild soccer match against Thailand.

The record-setting night ended at 13-0. No World Cup team, men or women, had ever scored 13 goals before. Alex Morgan scored five. She now ties with Michelle Akers' previous 1991 World Cup record for goals scored in a single game.

She added that she is "speechless" over her own performance. "The ball just happened to bounce my way," she said.

Opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, just five days after agreeing to pay $225 million to settle the federal government's criminal and civil cases against the company for bribing doctors to prescribe its fentanyl-based painkiller.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

A former Minneapolis police officer was sentenced on Friday to 12 1/2 years in prison for fatally shooting a woman who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home.

Mohamed Noor, 33, was convicted of third-degree murder and manslaughter in April in the death of Justine Ruszczyk in July 2017, a month before she was to be married.

Thirty-five years ago in Moscow, working on what he says was "an ugly Russian" computer that was frankensteined together with spare parts, Alexey Pajitnov started a side project that has become the second-best-selling video game of all time: Tetris.

The Trump administration is canceling English classes, recreational activities including soccer, and legal aid for unaccompanied migrant children who are staying in federally contracted migrant shelters.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is charged with caring for minors who arrive at the Southern border without a parent or legal guardian, says the large influx of migrants in recent months is straining its already threadbare budget. ORR is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

New York lawmakers have voted to ban the declawing of cats, and the state will be the first in the country to prohibit the controversial practice if the governor signs the measure.

The bill sailed through both houses of the Legislature on Animal Advocacy Day, though it has been several years in the making with previous efforts falling short.

"Cat declawing is a horrific, yet often practiced surgery that leads to a lifetime of pain and discomfort for thousands of cats," Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan, who sponsored the bill, told NPR.

Eight co-champions are taking home the Scripps National Spelling Bee Cup after a record-breaking and exhausting night that ended in the 20th round, during which the pronouncer declared they had entered "uncharted territory" in the competition's more than nine decades.

Rishik Gandhasri, 13, was the first declared winner after correctly spelling the word "auslaut." The seventh-grader, who is the sixth champion from California, gleefully raised both hands in the air in victory and relief.

A young child was struck by a foul ball off the bat of Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. in a terrifying scene during the fourth inning of Wednesday's nationally televised game in Houston.

Almora kept his eyes on the ball as it whizzed past the third-base line, past the existing safety netting and into the stands at Minute Maid Park. He clasped his head in his hands and let out a cry as fans gasped. He then fell to his knees burying his face in his arms. Teammate Jason Heyward and manager Joe Maddon attempted to console him as he cried.

Myanmar military units instrumental in the brutal push to drive out hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya from the mainly Buddhist nation have unleashed a new round of war crimes and other human rights violations against ethnic groups in the state of Rakhine, according to Amnesty International.

At least 12 people were injured in a massive rain-wrapped tornado that touched down to the west of Kansas City, Kan., on Tuesday.

The large and dangerous twister hit just outside of Lawrence, ripped through Pleasant Grove, Bonner Springs and Linwood, in what has become a brutal stretch of severe weather across the central and southern plains that has left chaos and destruction in its wake.

Updated at 6:00 a.m. ET

At least two victims are dead, including an 11-year-old girl, and about 17 others were injured in a mass stabbing attack near Tokyo, Tuesday morning.

A man who was killed was in his 30s and an official with Japan's Foreign Ministry, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reported.

Updated at 12:41 p.m. ET

Several tornadoes touched down in highly populated areas of Dayton and other Ohio communities late Monday night, causing catastrophic damage. The storms devastated dozens of buildings and trees. One death has been reported, officials said Tuesday morning.

An incapacitated woman who gave birth after being a patient at an Arizona health care facility for more than two decades had been raped repeatedly and may have been impregnated before, her lawyers say.

In documents filed Wednesday, the 29-year-old woman's attorneys cite a medical exam in alleging that she suffered multiple sexual assaults. The exam found that the birth of a baby boy last December was "a non-nulliparous event," the documents say, meaning she may have been pregnant before.

Kenneth Feinberg has been called on to tackle the emotionally grueling job of figuring out the monetary value of victims' lives following a slew of tragedies. And now, a federal judge in California has appointed the prominent attorney to do it again.

This time, Feinberg will serve as mediator for court-mandated settlement talks between Bayer and people who say the company's glysophate-based weedkiller, Roundup, gave them cancer, The Associated Press reports.

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