Vanessa Romo | Connecticut Public Radio
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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.

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.

The U.S. Postal Service is experimenting with self-driving trucks to move mail across state lines.

The USPS has partnered with San Diego-based TuSimple on a two-week pilot program focusing solely on a 1,000-mile route between Dallas and Phoenix.

Dressbarn, the women's clothing chain founded in the 1960s as a place where women in need of career-wear "could find fashion at a value," is closing all its stores.

Ascena Retail Group announced the closure of about 650 stores late Monday, saying the "wind-down" would help the company focus on its more profitable brands.

A Guatemalan toddler died in a hospital Tuesday night, just over a month after he and his mother crossed the southwest border and were apprehended, according to the Guatemalan consul in Del Rio, Texas.

The family entered the U.S. from the border city of Juárez, Mexico, in early April. They were apprehended on April 3 on the north bank of the Rio Grande in central El Paso, Texas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Guatemalan Consul Tekandi Paniagua told NPR that the 2½-year-old boy "had a high fever [and] difficulty breathing."

Bazillions of adult Game of Thrones fans may currently be preoccupied with dragons, and the mother of dragons and that giant dragon-killing-dart machine — but one girl in New Zealand is trying to get serious about the real-life study of dragons.

So much so that the 11-year-old recently tried to tempt Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern into launching a dragon research program, with a little bit of telekinesis studies on the side.

It's so she can grow up to be a dragon trainer. And she included some seed money with her request: a $5 New Zealand note.

Fundraising efforts to spare kids from from lunchtime humiliation in a Rhode Island school district have resulted in tens of thousands of dollars in donations over a couple of days, including nearly $50,000 by New York-based yogurt-maker Chobani.

A new round of powerful storms is causing more flooding in multiple states, with parts of the Deep South likely on the receiving end of some of the most severe weather through the end of the week that will impact about 40 million Americans.

The Pakistani Christian woman who spent years on death row after being convicted of blasphemy has left the country where she has been living in hiding as one of the nation's most reviled figures.

Asia Bibi's lawyer, Saif-ul Malook, told NPR the practicing Catholic and her husband arrived in Canada on Tuesday, where they have reunited with their children.

"I am happy that she has been allowed to leave the country," Malook said.

Updated May 8 at 1:15 a.m. ET

Officials say one student is dead and eight students were injured in a shooting at a public charter school in Highlands Ranch, Colo., a suburb south of Denver.

In a tweet, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said the deceased was an 18-year-old student at the STEM School.

Updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed controversial legislation Tuesday that bans abortions in the state as soon as heartbeat activity is detectable, which typically occurs about six weeks into a pregnancy — before many women know they're pregnant.

At the signing ceremony, Kemp said he is grateful to those "throughout Georgia who refused to be silent on this issue, who rejected the status quo, who believe, as I do that every baby has a right to life."

A federal judge has determined that the risk of suicide among state prisoners in Alabama "is so severe and imminent" that he ordered the state's Department of Corrections to immediately implement permanent mental health remedies to address "severe and systematic inadequacies."

The decision by Judge Myron Thompson on Saturday, comes after 15 prisoners killed themselves in the span of 15 months.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the Trump administration is preparing to pull the trigger on a broad range of options to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and demanded that interfering countries end their involvement in the beleaguered nation's affairs.

In a string of television appearances, Pompeo suggested the fall of Maduro's government is imminent and that the support for opposition leader Juan Guaidó remains strong despite his failed attempt last week to lead a large-scale defection against the socialist leader.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered "massive strikes" against militant groups in Gaza on Sunday in response to a barrage of rocket fire, stretching hostilities into a third day and leading to mounting casualties on both sides.

At a cabinet meeting on Sunday Netanyahu said he also instructed military leaders to boost tank artillery and infantry forces around the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas bears responsibility not only for its own attacks and actions but also those by Islamic Jihad, for which it pays a very high price," he said.

Venezuela's top court issued an arrest warrant Thursday for Leopoldo López, a prominent opposition figure who appeared at a key rally Tuesday next to Juan Guaidó, leader of the movement against President Nicolás Maduro.

After Guaidó appeal to the military to revolt, López, who had escaped house arrest after two years, sought refuge along with his family at the Spanish embassy in Caracas.

Guaidó is regrouping amid signs that his U.S.-backed campaign to oust Maduro is losing momentum.

After more than three decades, University of North Carolina women's basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell has resigned from leading the celebrated program. Her resignation followed an external review that found she made "racially insensitive" remarks, exercised "undue influence" on athletes to play while injured and lacked a connection with her players.

The Department of Justice issued an order on Tuesday that could keep thousands of asylum-seekers detained while they wait for their cases to be heard in immigration court — a wait that often lasts months or years.

The ruling by Attorney General William Barr is the latest step by the Trump administration designed to discourage asylum-seekers from coming to the U.S. hoping for refuge.

Thieves in Northern Ireland have taken the idea of a smash and grab to a whole new level in a recent spate of brazen robberies.

With the help of a stolen excavator and a van with an ATM-size hole cut out of its roof, teams of thieves are clawing entire cash boxes out of local businesses and disappearing into the night.

A day after a historic election, Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot laid out what she sees as some of the city's most pernicious problems: entrenched segregation, gun violence and economic inequality.

Lightfoot, the first black woman chosen to hold the position, emphasized the "fractured relationship" between the Chicago Police Department and the public as a critically important safety issue.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Sunday instituted a plan to ration electricity as the troubled government scrambles to repair the country's electrical system amid worsening economic and political conditions.

Maduro pleaded with the public to remain calm and resist violence as what he called "specialists, scientists and hackers" work to put an end to power and water outages.

Updated 3:30 p.m. ET

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday responded to allegations that he acted inappropriately when he kissed the back of a former Nevada Democratic assemblywoman's head at a campaign event in 2014, saying his behavior has been affectionate but never unseemly.

Pope Francis issued a new decree making it mandatory for Vatican City officials or its diplomats around the globe to immediately report allegations of sexual abuse to authorities or face possible jail time.

Saudi Arabian authorities have released three female activists who were jailed last year after campaigning to lift the driving ban and dismantle restrictive guardianship laws, several human rights organizations and news outlets report.

Conditions of the women's release remain unknown and initial reports indicate it is temporary as their trials continue to move through the criminal court. According to Hala al Dosari, a Saudi author and activist, the families were told not to share information about the release.

Historic artifacts, including a copy of the proclamation of France's approval of the Louisiana Purchase and a yearbook from Fidel Castro's high school, were rescued Tuesday night from a four-alarm fire that damaged the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in St. Louis.

About 80 firefighters rushed in and out of the museum, housed in what was once the Third Church of Christ, Scientist, hauling out armloads of one-of-a-kind documents, manuscripts, statues and intricately carved wooden ship models, even as they battled 8-foot-high flames.

President Trump signed a proclamation Monday that recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, formalizing the Middle East policy shift he announced over Twitter last week.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was with Trump at the White House as he signed the presidential proclamation. Prior to the signing, Netanyahu made remarks lavishing praise onto Trump that drew comparisons between the president and the Persian emperor Cyrus as heroic defenders of the Jewish people.

An Oklahoma sheriff and nearly all of her staff resigned this week, defying a district judge's reported orders to reopen a county jail that has been closed and evacuated over safety issues.

University of Southern California students allegedly embroiled in the college admissions scandal that has rocked universities across the country won't be allowed to register for classes while officials conduct an internal investigation.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday announced that all remaining U.S. diplomats have left Venezuela "for the time being," as relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate.

"Today, all U.S. diplomats remaining in Venezuela departed the country," he said in a statement, adding that it is "a difficult moment for them."

Amid calls for Saudi Arabia to cooperate with a U.N.-led investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the head of the kingdom's Human Rights Commission said on Thursday the accused killers were being brought to justice and reiterated the government's opposition to suggestions for an international probe into the case.

Bandar bin Mohammed Al-Aiban delivered his remarks to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva during a periodic review of the nation's human rights record.

A woman whose arm was gashed after she jumped over a concrete barrier to take a selfie in front of a jaguar enclosure at an Arizona zoo has apologized for breaking the rules, park officials said on Monday.

Updated Friday at 8:35 a.m. ET

Facebook announced on Thursday it is taking steps to combat the spread of anti-vaccine information across the social media platform by reducing the distribution of misleading medical advice and relying on vetting from leading global health organizations that "have publicly identified verifiable vaccine hoaxes."

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