Laurel Wamsley | New Hampshire Public Radio

Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

Wamsley got her start at NPR as an intern for Weekend Edition Saturday in January 2007 and stayed on as a production assistant for NPR's flagship news programs, before joining the Washington Desk for the 2008 election.

She then left NPR, doing freelance writing and editing in Austin, Texas, and then working in various marketing roles for technology companies in Austin and Chicago.

In November 2015, Wamsley returned to NPR as an associate producer for the National Desk, where she covered stories including Hurricane Matthew in coastal Georgia. She became a Newsdesk reporter in March 2017, and has since covered subjects including climate change, possibilities for social networks beyond Facebook, the sex lives of Neanderthals, and joke theft.

In 2010, Wamsley was a Journalism and Women Symposium Fellow and participated in the German-American Fulbright Commission's Berlin Capital Program, and was a 2016 Voqal Foundation Fellow. She will spend two months reporting from Germany as a 2019 Arthur F. Burns Fellow, a program of the International Center for Journalists.

Wamsley earned a B.A. with highest honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain Scholar. Wamsley holds a master's degree from Ohio University, where she was a Public Media Fellow and worked at NPR Member station WOUB. A native of Athens, Ohio, she now lives and bikes in Washington, DC.

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was a security failure, an intelligence failure — or both.

How could security forces in the nation's capital be so swiftly and completely overwhelmed by rioters who stated their plans openly on a range of social media sites? President Trump had even tweeted on Dec. 19: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

President-elect Joe Biden has nominated former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Biden also said he was elevating that role — USAID administrator — to be a member of the White House National Security Council.

Former President Barack Obama said that the violence that gripped the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was the unsurprising result of two months of instigation by President Trump and his enablers.

"History will rightly remember today's violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation," Obama said in a statement Wednesday evening. "But we'd be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise."

Updated at 8 p.m. ET

Former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton condemned the violence in the nation's capital on Wednesday — and the president who fueled it.

Bush, the only living former Republican president, said he was "appalled" by the actions of some political leaders since the election and called the "mayhem" at the U.S. Capitol "a sickening and heartbreaking sight."

Rep. Ilhan Omar said she is drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump. She blamed him for his supporters' attempt at an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

"Donald J. Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives & removed from office by the United States Senate," wrote Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota. "We can't allow him to remain in office, it's a matter of preserving our Republic and we need to fulfill our oath."

Privacy concerns have been raised after ministers in Singapore's government acknowledged that data collected by its widely used COVID-19 contact-tracing program may be turned over to police for criminal investigations.

Desmond Tan, minister of state for home affairs, told Parliament on Monday, "The Singapore Police Force is empowered ... to obtain any data, including TraceTogether data, for criminal investigations," Reuters reported.

That was in contrast with previous assurances by the government.

To a world upended by the coronavirus, Pope Francis offered a timeless message during a Christmas Eve Mass that was itself shaped by the ongoing pandemic.

The Mass was celebrated in a smaller rear section of St. Peter's Basilica, and only 100 or so people were present, Reuters reported. In normal times without a pandemic, the Mass is celebrated in the main part of the basilica before some 10,000 people.

All in attendance wore masks except for the pontiff and a small choir. Those in the pews sat at a distance from one another.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in California has surpassed 2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University, as the virus has spread with startling speed in the state.

It's the first state to pass that number. In the last day, according to Johns Hopkins, California saw 43,986 new cases and 319 deaths.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Walmart on Tuesday, alleging that the retail giant unlawfully dispensed controlled substances from pharmacies it operated nationwide.

The Vatican says that it's "morally acceptable" to receive a vaccination for COVID-19, even if the vaccine's research or production involved using cell lines derived from aborted fetuses, given the "grave danger" of the pandemic.

Stanford Medicine apologized on Friday for its vaccine distribution plan – a plan that came under fire for leaving out nearly all of its medical residents and fellows, many whom regularly treat COVID-19 patients.

The residents waged a protest on Friday morning, holding signs and demanding answers from Stanford's leadership about why just seven of more than 1,300 residents at Stanford were selected to receive the vaccine in the first round of 5,000 doses.

Tyson Foods has fired seven managers at an Iowa pork plant after investigating allegations they bet on how many workers there would get sick from the coronavirus.

The company, one of the country's largest meat suppliers, launched an independent investigation into the complaints last month, suspending without pay the managers allegedly involved. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder led the investigation.

"Warning lights — for our societies and the planet — are flashing red." That's according to a new report from the United Nations Development Programme.

The report notes that COVID-19 has thrived "in the cracks in societies, exploiting and exacerbating myriad inequalities in human development."

Britain has announced changes that will allow more gay and bixsexual men to donate blood – a major victory for campaigners who had sought changes to the rules they said treated all gay and bi men as posing an increased risk of infection.

Previously, the government's donor policy dictated that men who have sex with men had to abstain for three months in order to donate.

The Food and Drug Administration is likely soon to authorize distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. But the vaccine trials have so far excluded pregnant people.

In a recent roundtable with Joe Biden, nurse Mary Turner told the president-elect something he found surprising:

"Do you know that I have not been tested yet?" said Turner, who is president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. "And I have been on the front lines of the ICU since February."

"You're kidding me!" Biden replied.

She wasn't kidding.

Despite the repeated warnings of public health experts and officials, millions of people traveled for Thanksgiving.

Perhaps you're one of them.

Scotland has passed a bill that has made period products such as tampons and pads free to all who need them.

Denmark's agriculture minister has resigned amid backlash to the government's order to cull all of the country's mink population.

Mogens Jensen stepped down on Wednesday. He released a statement in which he said his ministry had made a mistake in ordering the destruction of all minks in Denmark. Jensen repeated his earlier apologies, offering particular regret to the country's mink farmers.

The United States has surpassed yet another devastating milestone in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: 250,000 Americans have now died from the disease. That's more than twice the number of U.S. service members killed in World War I.

Coronavirus case numbers are exploding across the country at the beginning of what is shaping up to be a difficult winter of illness in America.

Mink at two farms in northern Greece have been found to have the coronavirus, according to an official in the country's agriculture ministry.

The strain found in the minks is the same one found in humans, the official said, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini. The breeder at one of them also tested positive for the virus.

New research has found that nearly 1 person in 5 diagnosed with COVID-19 is diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder like anxiety, depression or insomnia within three months.

The analysis was conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, using electronic health records for 69.8 million patients in the U.S. — including more than 62,000 diagnosed with COVID-19.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has announced a new statewide mask mandate and additional measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus amid a steep spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.

Under the new mask requirement, all Utah residents must wear masks in public and when within 6 feet of anyone they don't live with.

In an address Sunday evening, Herbert said the measures were necessary to relieve the overwhelming burden on the state's hospitals and medical professionals.

As the last few thousand votes are counted in a handful of states that will determine the outcome of a momentous presidential race, the question rises again from some corners: Should we ditch the Electoral College?

Newspapers went to press for Wednesday's edition without knowing who would win the presidency – and indeed, that outcome is still unclear at this publishing.

So what does a newspaper editor do when there's no answer yet for the question on everyone's mind? You go with what you know so far.

At the Tampa Bay Times, the big news was that Trump had clinched Florida's electoral votes.

Slovakia undertook a massive effort over the weekend: to test nearly all adults in the country for the coronavirus.

Amid a steep spike in cases, more than 3.6 million Slovaks were tested for the virus, according to Prime Minister Igor Matovic – that's about two-thirds of the population.

Of those tested, 38,359 tested positive for the virus – 1.06%.

A Nevada judge has rejected a lawsuit by President Trump's reelection campaign and state Republican officials seeking to halt mail-in ballot counting in Clark County.

The county, home to Las Vegas, is by far the state's most populous. About 70% of Nevada's voters live in the county, which is "heavily Democratic," CNN reports.

Two recent "superspreader events" on Long Island, N.Y., show the impact of large gatherings during virus outbreaks — and threaten to undo the months-long efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus in the area.

Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone announced fines on Wednesday against a country club and a homeowner for hosting events in violation of social-gathering limits.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

More time at home during the pandemic has meant more time online for many of us. And as we spend more of our lives in the digital world, our personal information can be compromised, and our technology is tracking our movements. For NPR's Life Kit, reporter Laurel Wamsley talked to experts to find out the best ways to keep our personal data safe and got a list of things you can do today to protect yourself and your data.

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing for the eventual rollout of one or more COVID-19 vaccines — by identifying the concerns that some people have about taking such a vaccine.

At a meeting Thursday of experts advising the FDA on COVID-19 vaccines, the concerns of front-line workers and people of color were read aloud verbatim, highlighting the crucial project of communicating the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine in an environment of deep political distrust.

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