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.

BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager, says that it will now make climate change central to its investment considerations. And not just for environmental reasons — but because it believes that climate change is reshaping the world's financial system.

That was the message in BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink's annual letter to CEOs published on Tuesday.

The New York Public Library has been loaning books for a long time — the institution turns 125 this year.

To celebrate, the library dug into its records and calculated a list of the 10 books that have been checked out the most in its history.

The most-wanted book? The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

The Caldecott Medal-winning tale of a young boy's encounter with snow has been checked out 485,583 times from the NYPL since it was published in 1962.

Two people were killed and five were injured in an avalanche at an Idaho ski resort on Tuesday.

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex — also known as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle — have announced that they will step back from their duties as senior members of the British royal family.

The intrigue may be only beginning, amid reports that Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the royal family were not given advance notice of the move.

Iran's cultural heritage is suddenly a topic of urgent global interest, after President Trump threatened to strike such sites if the country retaliates for the United States' killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week.

Updated at 7:49 p.m. ET

Iran will no longer honor its commitment to limit its enrichment of uranium, stepping away from a key component of the landmark nuclear deal it agreed to with six nations, including the United States, in 2015.

The announcement was reported Sunday in Iranian state media. It marks the latest in the country's retreat from the limitations agreed to in the agreement, known as the JCPOA.

Billionaire presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has acknowledged that one of his vendors hired a subcontractor that used prison workers to make phone calls for his 2020 campaign.

That prison labor was being used by the Bloomberg campaign was reported Thursday morning by The Intercept. The campaign says it was unaware that inmate workers were making phone calls on its behalf until informed by The Intercept's reporter, and says it immediately cut ties to the vendor.

Six-year-old Florence Widdicombe was writing notes on Christmas cards to her school friends in South London when she discovered that one card had already been written on.

"We are foreign prisoners in Shanghai Qingpu prison China," it said in English, written in all capital letters. "Forced to work against our will. Please help us and notify human rights organization."

When LSU quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, he used his acceptance speech not only to thank his teammates, his family and his coach — but also to highlight the struggles of people in his small hometown in Ohio.

"Coming from Southeast Ohio, it's a very impoverished area," Burrow said, in an emotional address during which he frequently brushed away tears. "The poverty rate is almost two times the national average, and there's so many people there that don't have a lot.

Updated at 4:04 p.m. ET

Mississippi man Curtis Flowers was tried for the same crime six times: the murder of four people at a furniture store in 1996. He was convicted four times — but each was overturned. Two others ended in mistrials.

Earlier this year, the conviction in the sixth trial was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which found that prosecutors had shown an unconstitutional pattern of excluding black jurors from Flowers' trials.

The global climate talks in Madrid ended on Sunday – two days after its scheduled closing, and with little to show for the marathon session.

The Madrid-based summit, known as COP25, or generically as the U.N. Climate Change Summit, was intended as a time to hammer out the rules and commitments that would get the world's nations on track to meet the targets of the 2015 Paris climate accord. Instead, the talks showed deep divisions, as small countries highly vulnerable to rising seas and powerful storms were at odds with wealthy, high-emitting countries like the United States.

Updated at 11:55 p.m. ET

Facing a barrage of criticism for pulling ads featuring a lesbian couple from its airwaves, the Hallmark Channel has reversed course, and says it will now work to "reinstate the commercials."

The ad for the wedding planning site Zola shows a couple at the altar, wishing they had used the service before their big day.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

Sixteen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg has quickly risen to prominence with her clarion call for climate action and Time's naming her its 2019 Person of the Year this week.

Since her first school strike for action in August 2018, Thunberg has grown her protest into a global youth movement calling on the world leaders of today to take decisive action on climate change and prevent further global warming.

Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act apply to anti-Semitic acts. The order is generating concern that it will stifle free speech by those who oppose Israel's policy toward the Palestinians.

The executive order takes indirect aim at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that has generated intense controversy on college campuses.

A judge has handed Exxon Mobil a victory in only the second climate change lawsuit to reach trial in the United States. The decision was a blow for the New York Attorney General's Office, which brought the case.

Justice Barry Ostrager of the New York State Supreme Court said that the attorney general failed to prove that the oil giant broke the law.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met for the first time on Monday in Paris, in peace talks meant to resolve the simmering war in eastern Ukraine.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the Russian insurgency in the region since it began five years ago with Putin's annexation of Crimea.

Among Ukraine's goals are prisoner exchanges, a cease-fire along the front, and Ukrainian control of the eastern border. Russia would like an end to Western sanctions that have led to economic stagnation.

The FBI is investigating the shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday as an act of terror.

Rachel Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Jacksonville Field Office, said in a news briefing Sunday that investigators are working with "the presumption that this was an act of terrorism."

Doing so, she said, "allows us to take advantage of investigative techniques that can help us more quickly identify and then eliminate any additional threats to the rest of our community."

There is currently no evidence of such a threat, she added.

Caroll Spinney, the actor and puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street over five decades, died Sunday at age 85.

The Sesame Workshop said Spinney had died at home in Connecticut, and that he had long lived with dystonia, a disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions.

The Russian government now has the right to classify individual journalists, bloggers and even social media users as "foreign agents" with a new law signed by President Vladmir Putin on Monday.

The United Nations climate change conference began with a bracing warning: We are running late, and that is going to make this harder.

"Millions throughout the world, especially young people, are calling on leaders from all sectors to do more, much more to address the climate emergency we face," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday.

"Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand? That fiddled while the planet burned?" he said.

On the first full day of his tour of Japan, Pope Francis visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki and delivered a clear message: possessing or deploying atomic weapons is immoral.

"Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction, or the threat of total annihilation," Francis said in an address in Nagasaki. He spoke at the site where the United States exploded an atomic bomb in 1945, killing 74,000 people by the end of that year.

Updated at 12:22 ET

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making a late entry into the presidential race, a move that could upend the Democratic nominating contest this spring.

Bloomberg said in a statement Sunday that he is running to rebuild America and defeat President Trump, whom he says "represents an existential threat to our country and our values."

Passengers on board Qantas flight 7879 took off from London early Thursday morning and arrived in Sydney a bit after noon on Friday — 19 hours and 19 minutes in the air.

So how do you keep people on board from going crazy — or getting deep-vein thrombosis — while they're cooped up that long?

Two and a half months after she arrived in New York Harbor, Greta Thunberg set sail back to Europe.

Updated at 8:46 p.m. ET

Evo Morales has announced that he is leaving for Mexico, which offered him asylum after he resigned as president of Bolivia.

A number of urgent questions face the nation and its neighbors: Who's in charge? How would a successor be chosen? And should the sudden upheaval be regarded as a military coup or a democratic uprising?

When British television host Kay Burley suddenly found herself without the guest she had planned to interview — Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly — she didn't let it stop her.

Instead, she directed her barrage of questions at the empty chair where Cleverly wasn't.

"Where is he? He's probably 15 feet away from where I'm standing," Burley said on Sky News' The Kay Burley Show. "I've been in to see him during the break. He said he wasn't due to come and talk to us today, although they had said that they would talk to us."

Updated at 6:42 p.m. ET

John Conyers Jr., who represented Michigan in Congress for more than five decades, has died at the age of 90. His death was confirmed Sunday by the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office in Detroit.

Conyers was the longest-serving African American lawmaker in congressional history, a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and a fierce champion for civil rights. But he would leave office at the age of 88 amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

California's governor declared a statewide emergency on Sunday to free up state aid as extreme winds continued to fan wildfires, prompting mandatory evacuations of nearly 200,000 residents.

The raging fires have engulfed thousands of acres in both Northern and Southern California. And as firefighters race to control the blazes, those who have not been forced to evacuate are dealing with other effects from the flames — including rolling blackouts and poor air quality.

The Houston Astros have fired Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman following an uproar about comments he shouted at a group of female reporters on Saturday.

Two of Rudy Giuliani's associates appeared in federal court Wednesday in Manhattan, where they pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally funneling foreign donations to U.S. political candidates.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are both U.S. citizens born in the former Soviet Union: Parnas in Ukraine, and Fruman in Belarus.

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