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 11:44 a.m. ET

One week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism continued across the United States. Many cities imposed curfews, and President Trump again warned he would order active duty military forces to restore order if state and local governments, in his judgement, failed to do so.

Here are details of some protests around the country.

St. Louis

Updated 7:37 p.m. ET

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner released a new autopsy report Monday, ruling George Floyd's death was a homicide. The office said Floyd's heart and lungs stopped functioning "while being restrained" by law enforcement officers.

Floyd died due to "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restrain, and neck compression," according to the report.

California churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship can reopen, the California Department of Public Health announced on Monday. Additionally, in-store retailers are allowed to resume business throughout the state.

The changes are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom's latest round of modifications to the state's stay-at-home order that is intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, made an unannounced visit to Veterans Memorial Park in New Castle, Del., on Monday.

It's the first time Biden has left the area around his home in Wilmington since mid-March, when he began self-isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He and his wife, Jill Biden, both wearing black masks, placed a wreath before a memorial wall commemorating war veterans from Delaware and New Jersey.

Aimee Stephens, the transgender woman at the center of a major employment rights case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, died in Detroit on Tuesday at age 59.

Stephens was the first transgender person whose civil rights case was heard by the Supreme Court, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented her. Her case concerns the question of whether federal law prohibiting employment discrimination applies to transgender employees.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she will follow through on her threat to take legal action against two Native American tribes that have defied orders to remove highway checkpoints onto tribal land in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on their reservations.

There's a call Laura Jean Truman is dreading, and she's convinced it's just a matter of time before it comes.

Truman, who's a server at Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta, says the source of her angst is the fear that sometime in the next few weeks her boss is going to call and say it's time to go back to work, putting her in the position of having to make a choice between her safety and being able to pay the bills that continue to arrive despite the coronavirus.

"Right now, everyone who is not working at restaurants is able to be on unemployment," she told NPR.

As the COVID-19 pandemic besieged New York City, Dr. Lorna Breen was on the front lines, striving to slow the onslaught of critically ill patients that have made the city the center of the outbreak in the U.S.

Breen continued her work at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital as medical director of the emergency department even after she too contracted, then recovered from, the virus.

On Sunday, the woman many regard as a hero died of self-inflicted injuries, according to police. Her family later spoke publicly about Breen's death.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is undeterred by President Trump's criticism of his move to reopen some nonessential businesses. He insists he will forge ahead with plans to jump-start the economy as early as Friday.

The governor said on Wednesday night that he plans to restart "shuttered businesses for limited operations" ahead of the state's shelter-in-place order being lifted on April 30.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on Wednesday called for restaurants, hotels and casinos in the gambling mecca to reopen, saying competition would ultimately determine which were safest to visit and that only establishments with the most infections should be forced to close down.

Goodman, an independent, made the remarks on CNN, insisting that as mayor she bears no responsibility for figuring out how to safely maintain social distancing guidelines.

The United States and Mexico are extending restrictions on nonessential travel across their shared border for an additional 30 days to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The move comes on the heels of a similar announcement of an agreement with Canada over the weekend.

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.

Concern is mounting after a doctor at a Texas nursing home started giving the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to dozens of elderly patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and tracking the outcomes in what he's calling an "observational study."

Use of the drug to treat coronavirus infections has set up a heated debate between the Trump administration and leading health experts over its efficacy against COVID-19.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 731 more people died on Monday due to the coronavirus, marking the largest single-day increase in fatalities in the state since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The latest surge brings the total number of deaths in New York to 5,489 — nearly half of all deaths caused by the virus in the U.S. — and comes even as the three-day average of hospitalizations and intensive care admissions are dropping, Cuomo said.

Updated at 3:10 a.m. ET Tuesday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved into intensive care at St. Thomas' Hospital in London after days of persistent symptoms, including a fever and a cough, according to British media quoting the prime minister's office.

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.

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.

The U.S. military confirmed a sustained rocket attack on Wednesday on a base near Baghdad where American personnel are housed.

The attack killed two Americans, according to a U.S. military official, as well as one member of Britain's armed forces, multiple news outlets have reported.

Army Col. Myles Caggins, a military spokesman in Iraq, said a barrage of "more than 15 small rockets impacted Iraq's Camp Taji base hosting Coalition troops" at 7:35 p.m. local time.

He added that an investigation into the extent of the damage is ongoing.

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.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The city of Austin, Texas, has canceled South by Southwest, after a disaster was declared in response to the expanding coronavirus.

The annual event is a staple for the technology, music and film worlds; last year's edition drew more than 400,000 visitors to the city. The 2020 edition was slated to take place March 13 to 22.

In a statement Friday afternoon, SXSW said: "The city of Austin has canceled the March dates for SXSW and SXSW EDU. SXSW will faithfully follow the city's directions."

A few days before Christmas in 2000, Beverly Hills police received an unsigned note in the mail with the word "CADAVER" written in block letters on one side.

On the other was an address, the home of Susan Berman where police found the body of the 55-year-old friend, confidante and former employee of Robert Durst, the eccentric heir to a massive real estate fortune. Berman had been shot at point-blank range in the back of the head.

Updated at 11:35 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court in California on Friday briefly blocked the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" program, seemingly dealing a blow to the president's controversial policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their day in U.S. immigration court.

But within hours, a three-judge panel voted unanimously to suspend its own order, giving the government until the end of Monday to respond with written arguments and plaintiffs until the end of Tuesday.

Updated at 10:17 p.m. ET

Hours after the White House rejected the idea of appointing a coronavirus czar, President Trump on Wednesday put Vice President Pence in charge of the administration's response to the disease.

"We're doing really well, and Mike is going to be in charge," Trump said, noting that Pence's experience as governor of Indiana made him adept at working with state and local health authorities.

"This is not a czar," the president later added.

Los Angeles County courts may soon throw out nearly 66,000 marijuana-related convictions of residents dating back more than 50 years.

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey has asked a judge to dismiss and seal the records of 62,000 felony cannabis convictions for cases as early as 1961, as well as, 3,700 misdemeanor cannabis possession cases.

Lacey, who is caught in a tight race for the district attorney seat against two progressive candidates, called it a marker of the sweeping change that can occur when government partners with technology leaders.

A Utah bill that would reduce polygamy among consenting adults from a felony to an infraction — on par with a traffic ticket — was unanimously endorsed by a state Senate committee earlier this week, despite opposition from critics who argue the law could potentially protect abusers.

The move advances Senate Bill 102 to the full chamber for a vote.

"Vigorous enforcement of the law during the mid-twentieth century did not deter the practice of plural marriage," Sen. Deidre Henderson told NPR.

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.

After nearly a month on the run, Lesotho's first lady was reportedly charged on Tuesday with the murder of her husband's first wife.

Maesaiah Thabane, 42, stands accused of killing Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's wife, Lipolelo, days before the his second inauguration ceremony in June 2017.

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.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

Former billionaire and pharmaceutical executive John Kapoor has been sentenced to five years and six months in prison. His sentencing is the culmination of a months-long criminal trial in Boston's Moakley U.S. Courthouse that resulted in the first successful prosecution of pharmaceutical executives tied to the opioid epidemic.

Updated at 6:43 p.m. ET

Teams treated children and adults for minor injuries at four suburban Los Angeles elementary schools Tuesday after a Delta flight dumped jet fuel on the way to an emergency landing.

Pages