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.

Picture a nude George Washington riding a white horse, wearing high heels and nothing but a coquettish pout on his lips. Now imagine a portrait of the scene hanging at the National Portrait Gallery in the nation's capital.

That's not much different from what is happening in Mexico's most prestigious museum, Palacio de Bellas Artes, which is displaying a controversial portrait of Emiliano Zapata, one of the country's most beloved revolutionary heroes.

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Lawrence Levee's evacuation call came at 4 a.m. The Getty fire was just a few miles away. He and all of his Mandeville Canyon neighbors needed to evacuate.

He grabbed what he could and threw it into his bright blue electric Chevy Bolt. His car battery was only charged halfway, but that left him with plenty of power to make a quick getaway and then some.

But after driving around the next day, running errands in an area he didn't know well, he was in a pickle. He couldn't find a charging station. And he had 25 miles left to his tank.

A podcast hosted by Groot would easily become repetitive – "I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot?" and all that – but Marvel is betting fans of Star-Lord, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Wolverine are eager to hear about their life or universe-saving-missions on a weekly basis.

The Walt Disney-owned company announced Tuesday it's joining forces with SiriusXM and Pandora to launch a series of superhero-based shows in 2020.

As cars become smarter and safer, some members of Congress want to require them to be built to prevent drunk driving.

Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced legislation last week that would make it mandatory for all new cars and trucks to come loaded with passive, virtually unnoticeable, alcohol detection systems by 2024.

Shane Gillis, the comedian who has been under fire over the past few days for using racist and homophobic slurs on his podcast, has been fired from Saturday Night Live.

Gillis was one of three cast members recently added to the show, which is set to begin its 45th season. But the comedian was canned on Monday before ever making an appearance on the show.

"After talking with Shane Gillis, we have decided that he will not be joining SNL," a spokesperson said in a statement on behalf of producer Lorne Michaels.

A huge new marine heat wave has gripped the waters off the U.S. West Coast, threatening to ravage marine life and decimate commercial fishing over an expanse of the Pacific Ocean.

The new hot spot rivals "The Blob" — a gigantic patch of unusually warm water that appeared in nearly the exact same spot in 2014.

Newark's years-long water crisis could be resolved within the next 30 months under an ambitious new plan to replace thousands of contaminated pipes, as state, city and county officials announced Monday.

Updated July 5 at 12:25 p.m. ET

There's a scene in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things where the skeptical police chief, Chief Jim Hopper, is at his desk chomping on an apple. He listens to a theory that a local teen may have been kidnapped by Russian spies. Fed up, he spits out the fruit, sticks a cigarette in his mouth and lights up.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Seven years after her death, Whitney Houston may be coming to a venue near you.

The pop icon's estate has partnered with BASE Hologram to produce "An Evening With Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour," the company revealed in a statement on Monday.

The announcement comes on the heels of a separate deal between the singer's estate and Primary Wave Publishing last week, which is also expected to produce a series of new projects, including a new album, a possible Broadway musical and Vegas-style spectacle.

An ongoing oil spill that has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico for more than 14 years is finally being contained, the U.S. Coast Guard announced on Thursday.

The Taylor Energy oil spill began after Hurricane Ivan triggered an underwater mudslide in 2004 that caused the company's oil platform to topple and sink.

The New Orleans-based company managed to cap some of the 25 broken pipes leading to the leak, but many were left unplugged.

After days of devastating flooding that has ravaged a swath of suburbs in northeast Australia, more than 1,000 people who had been forced to evacuate are returning home amid new warnings of strong winds and another potential deluge.

A Brazilian state court has ordered Vale SA to refrain from disposing of tailings at eight of its dams, in the wake of the environmental disaster last month, which spilled 3 billion gallons of mining waste, obliterated a town, killed more than 120 people and has likely buried another 200 people under several yards of contaminated mud.

The chemical haze of yellowish smog blanketing the sky across Bangkok is so toxic that officials announced more than 400 public schools throughout the Thai capital will be closed on Thursday and Friday.

Divers off the coast of Oahu's North Shore had the rare treat last week of swimming and frolicking with a great white shark, widely believed to be one of the largest in the world, and the thrilling, interspecies encounter was captured on video.

Ocean Ramsey, who independently studies sharks and leads cage-free shark diving tours off the Hawaiian island, was in the water with her team, monitoring a group of tiger sharks feeding on a decomposing sperm whale on Tuesday, when she suddenly spotted Deep Blue, as the 20-foot-long female shark is called.

They may not be new but they're always gross.

A giant obstruction made up of hardened fat, oil, wet wipes and other waste items – called a fatberg — has been found in the sewer of a seaside town in England.

While it's not the largest island of disgusting household waste to clog British sewage pipes, calling it a giant is not hyperbole.

Bob Einstein, the gravelly-voiced comedic actor who delighted viewers by playing inept stuntman Super Dave Osborne and, more recently, by vexing Larry David on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, died on Wednesday at age 76. He was recently diagnosed with cancer.

As hope for a last-minute resolution to the political standoff that has triggered the government shutdown all but evaporates, Smithsonian officials announced Thursday that all of its museums, as well as the National Zoo, will be shuttered on Jan. 2 unless a deal is reached.

"There's no getting around it," Linda St. Thomas, chief spokeswoman for the Smithsonian, told NPR.

Disgraced former CBS CEO Les Moonves, who's been accused of sexual harassment and assault, has been denied the controversial $120 million severance package contained in his contract, the network's board of directors announced on Monday.

Actress Eliza Dushku reached a confidential $9.5 million settlement with CBS last year after claiming she was written off one of the network's most successful shows following her complaints of sexual harassment by the program's leading man.

A storm that brought more than an inch of rain in an hour on Thursday afternoon has triggered flash flooding in places hit by the massive Camp Fire in Northern California, sending trees toppling and stranding motorists caught in high waters, according to officials.

Cal Fire spokesman Rick Carhart said the department had activated swift water rescue teams to save multiple people caught in flooded roads.

"We have responded to reports of a number of stranded vehicles in the roadways," Carhart said.

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.

A small, dark sign with white lettering offers a gentle suggestion in etiquette: "Please respect our neighbours' privacy." The five words offer a hint of the legal squabble that is pitting a handful of luxury apartment dwellers against one of London's most important — and free — art museums.

The placard is located on the 10th floor viewing deck of the Tate Modern's Blavatnik Building, which opened in 2016. The sign is intended to discourage museum visitors from gawking into the glass-enclosed living rooms of the wealthy residents only 200 feet away.

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.

Academy Award winner Kobe Bryant was dropped as a jury member from the Animation Is Film festival in Los Angeles this weekend after backlash stemming from past sexual assault allegations against him.

The former NBA-phenom won an Oscar earlier this year for his animated short-film Dear Basketball, but under pressure from a group calling itself Women and Allies, festival organizers announced on Wednesday that Bryant would no longer participate in the second annual event.

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