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 Supreme Court ruled Thursday that about half of the land in Oklahoma is within a Native American reservation, a decision that will have major consequences for both past and future criminal and civil cases.

The court's decision hinged on the question of whether the Creek reservation continued to exist after Oklahoma became a state.

A mural with the words "Black Lives Matter" will soon emblazon Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, right in front of one specific landmark: Trump Tower.

On Thursday morning, work crews blocked off traffic between 56th and 57th streets. Groups of painters then used rollers to start filling in large yellow letters on the pavement.

Andres Guardado was killed on June 18 after multiple shots were fired by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy. An independent autopsy, performed at the request of his family, has found that the 18-year-old Guardado was shot five times in the back, and died as a result of these gunshot wounds.

Andres' parents, Cristobal and Elisa Guardado, said the autopsy confirms "what we have known all along, which is that Andres was unjustifiably killed by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy."

Updated at 6:49 p.m. ET

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in the impeachment trial of President Trump, will retire Wednesday after 21 years in the military.

Vindman is leaving the Army "after it has been made clear that his future within the institution he has dutifully served will forever be limited," his lawyer, David Pressman, said in a statement. Recently, controversy has grown over an abnormal stall in his promotion to the rank of full colonel.

Florida's education commissioner says that when schools open in the fall, they'll really open.

In the state where more than 7,300 new coronavirus cases were announced on Tuesday, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran declared that upon reopening in August, "all school boards and charter school governing boards must open brick and mortar schools at least five days per week for all students."

As the coronavirus has spread to communities across the U.S., among its effects has been physical upheaval. People have moved from one place to another, or welcomed new members into their households, because of either the virus or its economic impacts.

Updated at 2:40 p.m.

A federal judge has ruled that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline must be emptied for now while the Army Corps of Engineers produces an environmental review.

In a decision posted Monday, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said that it was clear shutting down the pipeline will cause disruption. But he said that "the seriousness of the Corps' deficiencies outweighs the negative effects of halting the oil flow" during the estimated 13 months it will take to complete the environmental impact statement.

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

Virginia's capital city began taking down its statue of Stonewall Jackson after Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the immediate removal of multiple Confederate statues in Richmond.

A crane and a cherry picker swiftly arrived on the city's Monument Avenue to remove the statue of the Confederate general. Crowds gathered to watch and cheer the crew's work, reported Mallory Noe-Payne of NPR member station WVTF.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday that demands an "immediate cessation of hostilities" in conflict zones around the world, due to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic. It is the first resolution related to the coronavirus that the council has passed.

The text calls for "all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days" to allow for delivery of humanitarian assistance and medical evacuations.

Updated at 9:24 p.m. ET

Wearing an orange jumpsuit and a clear face shield to protect against the coronavirus, former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. pleaded guilty on Monday to 13 counts of first-degree murder. The string of murders in the 1970s and '80s terrorized California, and the suspect who committed them became known as the Golden State Killer.

Updated at 11:31 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to the federal death penalty method, allowing the executions of four men scheduled in the coming weeks to go forward. They would be the first uses of the death penalty in federal cases since 2003.

The court's order was posted Monday. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor indicated that they would have considered the case.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has announced the state will "pause" any further reopening of its economy for now, a day after he said that Texas is facing a "massive outbreak" of the coronavirus.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

At a hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and other federal officials said that no one had told them — including President Trump — to slow down testing for the coronavirus. The statements came after Trump has repeatedly said that more testing would lead to more infections being revealed.

Updated at 2:44 p.m. ET

California has reached a new high in the number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19, surpassing the previous peak in late April.

As of Sunday, the latest publicly available data show that state had 3,702 hospitalized patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 1,199 were in intensive care. There were an additional 1,102 hospitalized patients with suspected COVID-19.

The second part of the order.
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Updated at 7:48 p.m. ET

Will students actually go back to school this fall? In Texas, state officials say yes.

Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath confirmed Thursday that the state's public schools will open for students to return, if they wish.

"It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers, and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall," the commissioner said in a statement. "But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely, if the parent so chooses."

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision Thursday that extends the life of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The ruling was a big surprise to many, including DACA recipients who worried they might soon face deportation.

"I couldn't believe it," Emma Chalott Barron, a DACA recipient who will be starting law school at the University of North Texas in the fall, told NPR member station KERA in Dallas.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to lift its 16-year moratorium on the renaming of campus buildings.

"Many people have realized it's important to move forward with some of these issues. And that's what we intend to do on this campus," said Board of Trustees Chair Richard Stevens, as NPR member station WUNC reports. "It's a moment of leadership. It's time to do it."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday the state's highest-ever number of new COVID-19 cases: 2,622.

He also reported a second record high: 2,518 people hospitalized with the virus in Texas, up from 2,326 a day earlier.

After 24 days with no new cases of the coronavirus, New Zealand now has two. Both are women in the same family and traveled from the U.K. via Australia.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of a pipeline company in a dispute about whether a new 600-mile natural gas pipeline could cross underneath the Appalachian Trail on federal land.

The 7-2 decision overturned one part of a lower court decision that had blocked construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which is being jointly developed by Duke Energy and Dominion Energy.

Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET

Amid the uproar over policing and racism in America, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, hung a large banner on Saturday that said, "Black Lives Matter" on the front of the mission. Two days later, it has taken the banner down.

Updated June 17 at 11:50 a.m. ET

Rebekah Jones was fired last month from her job at the Florida Department of Health, where she helped create a data portal about the state's COVID-19 cases. Now, she has created a dashboard of her own.

The Trump administration has released a draft of new regulations that would sharply restrict how asylum is granted to immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking protection. Critics say the proposed changes are so severe that they would effectively shut down the asylum system in this country.

Updated at 9:20 p.m. ET

The Los Angeles Police Department has reassigned seven officers to nonfield duties as it investigates dozens of complaints of excessive force during recent protests against police brutality.

The department said it has assigned 40 investigators to look into 56 complaint investigations into "allegations of misconduct, violations of Department policy, and excessive force" during the protests – of which 28 involve alleged use of force.

United Airlines will now require passengers to complete a "health self-assessment" as part of its check-in process. It's the latest effort by a U.S. airline to assure passengers that it's safe to fly as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Nearly four months after the MLS put its season on hold, pro soccer will return to the pitch with a leaguewide tournament at Disney World near Orlando, Fla., starting July 8.

The competition has an unsubtle moniker: The MLS is Back Tournament. And it isn't just a one-off — each game will count in the regular-season standings. The winner will also net a spot in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.

Earlier in this pandemic, the shortage of tests for the coronavirus was a major problem in fighting the spread of COVID-19. The shortage was such that many hospitals and clinics would test only someone who had traveled to a country with an outbreak, had a known exposure to a positive case or showed symptoms of the disease.

But access to tests has improved significantly, and in some places, people can now get tested without having to show any symptoms at all. So if you can get tested, should you?

I need to take a trip that would be either a few hours flying or multiple days driving. Which is safer?

As lockdown orders are relaxed to some capacity in countries around the world, travel is starting to see an uptick for the first time since mid-March. But when it comes to taking a longer trip, is it better to travel by car or by plane?

The bleak milestone the U.S. is about to hit — 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 — is far above the number of deaths seen from the pandemic in any other country.

So far, the impact of the coronavirus has been felt unevenly, striking certain cities and regions and particular segments of society much harder than others.

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