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 Trump administration has announced a series of measures intended to speed testing for the coronavirus disease COVID-19: a new federal coordinator to oversee testing, funding for two companies developing rapid tests and a hotline for labs to call to get help finding needed supplies.

The U.S. government has been sharply criticized for its slow response to the virus, particularly when it comes to testing. Only this week has testing become more widely available in the U.S., and kits remain in limited supply.

Countries around the world are mobilizing to try to halt the coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 100,000 people and killed more than 4,000 others. Here's a look at some of the measures that the nine countries with the most cases have implemented so far.

China

Updated at 4:54 p.m. ET

As cases of coronavirus disease continue to be identified in countries around the world, the effort to stem its spread has kept some 290 million students home from school.

According to the United Nations, as of Tuesday, 22 countries on three continents have closed schools because of the virus.

The rapid spread of the new coronavirus has health officials scrambling to educate the public on good hygiene and best practices. And the need to communicate those messages has resurrected a classic art form: the public service announcement, or PSA.

Because the coronavirus is a global concern, video PSAs are emerging from all corners of the globe, all at once.

Updated Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. ET

After a slow initial roll-out, test kits for the new coronavirus are now becoming more widely available in the United States. That means a big surge in testing is coming — one that will likely cause a significant increase in identified cases of the COVID-19 illness.

Here are some things to know about the tests.

What is the current availability of coronavirus testing?

Within the wood paneling of a hallway in the British House of Commons, there was a small brass keyhole.

Members of Parliament and staff walked past the tiny hole each day. The rare person who noticed the hole took it for an electrical cabinet.

Scotland is now a big step closer to becoming the first country in the world to make tampons and pads free to anyone who needs them.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill passed through the first of three stages in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday by a vote of 112-0, with one abstention.

Deep in the third quarter against Stanford, Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu picked up a defensive rebound.

It was a big one: With that play, Ionescu became the first NCAA basketball player, male or female, to reach the milestone of 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career.

Major League Baseball's opening day is a little more than a month off. But one of the boys of summer has been cross-training in the off season — by roping cattle. Professionally. Under an alias.

Madison Bumgarner, the left-handed pitching ace who was 2014 World Series MVP with the San Francisco Giants, has been entering — and sometimes winning — rodeo events under the name Mason Saunders.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy, a sign of the century-old organization's financial instability as it faces some 300 lawsuits from men who say they were sexually abused as Scouts.

The organization says it will use the Chapter 11 process to create a trust to provide compensation to victims. Scouting programs will continue throughout.

Updated 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper spoke Saturday about a newly reached deal between the U.S. and the Taliban to deescalate the longest-running war in American history.

The "reduction in violence" deal will take place over a seven-day period and ultimately will aim to bring the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan down to 8,600 from around 12,000 over the following months.

The 8,600 number will still include counterterrorism and training operations.

A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court decision blocking states' requirements that people must work in order to receive Medicaid.

Residents of Kentucky and Arkansas brought the action against Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, contending that Azar "acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner when he approved Medicaid demonstration requests for Kentucky and Arkansas."

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit agreed, writing in an opinion posted Friday that the secretary's authorization was indeed unlawful.

The images of the current outbreak of the new coronavirus have so far been very human: air travelers wearing masks, tourists stranded on cruise ships, medical workers wearing protective suits.

But new images of the virus show us what it looks like up close.

These images were made using scanning and transmission electron microscopes at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Mont. NIAID is part of the National Institutes of Health.

Democrats could avoid another tech meltdown like the one that afflicted the Iowa caucuses with a better strategy for building the tools they need, progressive technology specialists say.

The origins of the Iowa debacle are in a boom-and-bust cycle that places technology in competition with other priorities as time-crunched campaigns grapple with how best to spend as they hurtle toward an election.

T-Mobile is closer to taking over Sprint after a federal judge rejected arguments by several states that the merger would stifle competition and lead to higher prices for consumers.

The deal would combine the country's third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers. The new company, to be called T-Mobile, would still be the third-largest, after AT&T and Verizon.

U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero concluded that the proposed merger "is not reasonably likely to substantially lessen competition" in the wireless market.

People often ponder how the world might be different if more women were in political power. In Finland, where women lead the five parties in the coalition government, here's one change they're making: equal paid leave for both parents in a family.

AGU / YouTube

Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET on Jan. 31

People in northern climes have long gazed at the wonder that is the aurora borealis: the northern lights.

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.

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