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 on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday targeting Iranian-backed militia groups in the first known offensive military operation carried out by the Biden administration.

Updated at 9:04 p.m. ET

President Biden on Wednesday revoked a freeze that his predecessor had put on many types of visas due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the order did not advance U.S. interests and hurt industries and individuals alike.

"It harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here," Biden said in a proclamation revoking the measure.

Tiger Woods will not face reckless driving charges in the rollover accident in which the renowned golfer totaled an SUV he was driving down a dangerously steep road in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., on Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters on Wednesday that the department has ruled the single-vehicle crash an accident although a traffic investigation is ongoing.

A reckless driving charge is a misdemeanor crime "that has a lot of elements to it," Villanueva said during an online press conference.

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered emergency inspections of Boeing 777 aircraft with engines like the one that exploded on a United Airlines jet last weekend.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

New York Attorney General Letitia James says a grand jury voted that no charges will be filed against Rochester police officers in connection with the March 2020 death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who was in the midst of a mental health free fall during his encounter with the police.

Just a day after a bill banning most abortions in South Carolina was signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster, a federal court blocked the measure.

U.S. District Court Judge Mary Geiger Lewis granted a two-week temporary restraining order on Friday while the case, brought by Planned Parenthood, works its way through the legal system.

South Dakota's Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg was charged Thursday with three 2nd-class misdemeanors for his role in a car accident that killed a man who was walking down the side of a highway in September.

Without power to run water treatment plants, city and state officials across Texas are pleading with residents to conserve water and are issuing boil-water notices.

The warnings not to consume water out of the tap began in many places as early as Monday, but as of Wednesday night many municipalities had expanded those orders as the state grapples with the ongoing weather, energy and water crises that have placed unprecedented strain on the state's entire power grid.

Back-to-back record-breaking winter storms with temperatures sometimes dropping into the single digits have slammed into Oklahoma, causing rolling blackouts and water shortages, and making roads nearly impossible to navigate in some areas.

Throughout Cherokee Nation tribal lands in the northeastern part of the state where more than 141,000 Cherokee Nation citizens reside, the freezing temperatures have left some of the most vulnerable people facing dire conditions for much of the week.

President Biden's COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients told governors on Tuesday that the weekly vaccine supply going out to states is increasing by more than 20% to 13.5 million doses this week, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, announced.

Psaki also said the supply going directly to pharmacies will double to 2 million this week.

Before taking office, Biden promised to improve and streamline Trump's Operation Warp Speed and pledged to get 100 million vaccine doses into arms in the first 100 days of his administration.

What former President Donald Trump knew of the safety of his vice president, Mike Pence, when Trump disparaged Pence during the Capitol insurrection was a key question in Day 4 of Trump's Senate impeachment trial.

In the trial's question-and-answer session Friday, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, asked whether Trump knew that Pence was being evacuated from the Capitol as the former president composed a tweet condemning Pence for not having the "courage" to stop then-President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.

President Biden has finalized deals to buy 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of July, increasing the likelihood of delivering on his promise to have all Americans inoculated by mid-summer.

During an emotionally powerful presentation on Wednesday, House Impeachment Manager Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands, said the insurrectionist events of Jan. 6 mirrored her experience at the Capitol as a young staffer on 9/11.

Speaking in a slow and measured tone, Plaskett noted this year marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that includes a hijacked airplane that was headed towards Capitol had it not been for the heroic actions of some brave passengers who brought the plane down.

Three former Aurora, Colo., police officers have lost a bid to get their jobs back after being fired in connection to posed photos reenacting a chokehold near the site where Elijah McClain was pinned down by police.

The city's Civil Service Commission upheld the firings of Officers Erica Marrero, Kyle Dittrich and Jason Rosenblatt. A fourth officer resigned before the others were kicked out of the department.

While the U.S. Senate began its second impeachment trial of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, local lawmakers in the town of Palm Beach, Fla., also gathered to consider the former president's fate – specifically, whether to let him live full-time at his sprawling private club, Mar-a-Lago.

In a presentation at the council, John Marion, who represents Trump, argued that the former president meets the definition of a "bona fide" employee of the swanky club, and therefore can legally reside there.

Ethan Nordean, a self-described "Sergeant of Arms" in the extremist group the Proud Boys, will remain in custody for his alleged role in the U.S. Capitol riot until his trial hearing later this month.

A Seattle magistrate judge on Monday ruled that Nordean, who also goes by Rufio Panman, would be released on bond but then halted the decision, giving the Department of Justice time to appeal. Hours later, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., ordered Nordean's return to the capital pending the appeal.

Updated at 7:11 p.m. ET

The Senate voted 87-7 on Monday to confirm President Biden's pick, Denis McDonough, to serve as Veterans Affairs secretary, making him only the second non-veteran to lead the troubled department.

A maskless President Biden addressed the nation Wednesday night standing at the feet of Abraham Lincoln Memorial during a televised and star-studded celebration of the historic inauguration.

"We're good people," he reassured viewers, before picking up the theme of his earlier speech on the steps of the Capitol.

"Unity forces us to come together in common love that defines us as Americans," Biden said.

President Joe Biden has picked a slate of nearly two dozen acting officials to temporarily lead agencies as he waits for Congress to confirm his Cabinet.

According to a list of officials issued by the White House on Wednesday, most of the temporary leaders are career civil servants.

Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET Wednesday

The months-long investigation into allegations that Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina engaged in insider trading has been closed by the Justice Department and it will not pursue any charges, the GOP senator announced on Tuesday.

"Tonight, the Department of Justice informed me that it has concluded its review of my personal financial transactions conducted early last year. The case is now closed," Burr said in a statement.

Maine health officials discovered that a majority of Moderna vaccine shipments received across the state on Monday were not kept adequately cold during transport, meaning 4,400 doses may have to be thrown out.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, made the announcement during a "sad and somber" coronavirus briefing on Tuesday and said the problem extends to other states as well.

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has a new reason to raise a clenched fist in the air: After much controversy, his book The Tyranny of Big Tech will be published.

Washington-based Regnery Publishing, which aims to spread the message of "prominent and lasting voices in American conservatism," announced on Monday it will publish the title in May.

The Aurora, Colo., Police Department officers who held a woman and four Black girls ranging in age from 6 to 17 years old at gunpoint after wrongly suspecting they were in a stolen car, will not face any charges.

The decision puts an end to months of review by the District Attorney's Office of the 18th Judicial District, which called the incident "disturbing" but ultimately ruled the officers hadn't acted unlawfully during the traffic stop.

Boeing will pay more than $2.5 billion to settle criminal charges that it repeatedly concealed and lied about the 737 Max's engineering problems that led to two catastrophic crashes claiming hundreds of lives.

The company admitted to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as part of the deferred prosecution agreement announced on Thursday and will face no further charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Hours after hordes of pro-Trump extremists barged across what proved to be feeble and poorly guarded barricades, and at least one person was fatally shot, the general atmosphere on the streets outside the Capitol appears to be relatively quiet even as Congress is on its way to finishing what it started early Wednesday afternoon.

Police chief Robert Contee said three other fatalities — on adult female and two males — resulted from apparent "separate medical emergencies."

President Trump has signed an executive order banning business with several leading Chinese technology companies, claiming apps run by the companies have the ability to spy on Americans, including federal employees.

Trump's order seeks to prohibit transactions with eight companies including Alipay, owned by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma; the payment platform on the popular app WeChat; and a Chinese messaging service called QQ owned by the Chinese tech giant Tencent.

Other software apps included in the order are CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, VMate and WPS Office.

A team of fast-acting health care workers saved the day — and potentially hundreds of lives — on Monday after a freezer malfunction nearly destroyed 830 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Somewhere around 2 a.m. the compressor of the freezer holding vials of the medicine at the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley Medical Center in Mendocino County, Calif., failed, President Judson Howe told NPR.

That started a ticking clock on the shelf life of the vaccines, which can only be used for 12 hours once they're removed from refrigeration of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning health care workers that any changes to the authorized dosing schedules of COVID-19 vaccines currently being administered will significantly place public health at risk and undermine "the historic vaccination effort to protect the population" from the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

The Wisconsin pharmacist accused of intentionally sabotaging more than 500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine at Christmastime told police he did it because he believed the drug is somehow hazardous.

"He'd formed this belief they were unsafe," Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said of Steven Brandenburg on Monday during a virtual hearing, The Associated Press reported.

Florida is the third U.S. state to announce it has a case of the more contagious coronavirus strain that first emerged in the United Kingdom.

A man in his 20s, with no history of travel, tested positive for the mutated coronavirus. The state Department of Health said he is in Martin County.

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