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!"

Updated at 11:28 a.m. ET

Airbnb says it is canceling reservations made in the Washington, D.C., metro area during inauguration week, citing various officials' requests that people not travel to the area during this time.

The service will also block new bookings in the area during that period. Airbnb says it will refund guests whose reservations were canceled and reimburse hosts for the money they would have earned from the canceled reservations.

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.

The mob violence that descended on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was the culmination of weeks of incendiary rhetoric and increasingly feverish planning – much of which took place openly on websites popular with far-right conspiracy theorists.

Jared Holt spends a lot of time on those websites. He's a visiting research fellow with the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, where he has been focused on extremist online activity.

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."

Germany has taken a step toward requiring what has not happened voluntarily: putting women on the management boards of the country's largest companies.

On Wednesday, Germany's cabinet approved a draft law that would require stock exchange-listed companies with executive boards of more than three members to have at least one woman and one man on those boards.

The leader of the right-wing group Proud Boys was released from police custody on Tuesday and ordered by a judge to leave Washington, D.C. — and stay away.

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, 36, was arrested Monday shortly after his arrival in the District, where Trump supporters are gathering to rally during Congress' official certification of the Electoral College ballots on Wednesday.

Tarrio was charged with destruction of property and possession of high-capacity firearm magazines.

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.

The series of events that shook the city of Kenosha, Wis., in August continue to reverberate as victims and their families seek justice.

Within the next two weeks, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely is expected to decide whether to criminally charge Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey in the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake. Sheskey, who is white, shot Blake, who is Black, seven times in the back as Blake walked away from officers. Blake is now paralyzed.

Pittsburgh police are searching for a white truck in connection with an incendiary device thrown from a vehicle on Sunday night. A second explosion was reported in the city a short time later.

The first event took place just after 9 p.m. on Penn Avenue in the city's Lawrenceville area. The device was thrown from a moving vehicle and landed under a parked car, as NPR member station WESA reported.

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.

Among the pardons made by President Trump this week, the pardon of four former guards for Blackwater has been regarded by some as particularly galling.

Russian lawmakers have approved a range of new measures that could further stifle dissent and allow tighter restrictions on online content — including blocking websites like YouTube and Twitter.

One bill would allow for the blocking of foreign websites that it says "discriminate" against Russian media. A second law would allow it to levy large fines against companies that don't take down content banned in the country.

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.

Three skiers died in two avalanches that struck Colorado mountains in recent days, in snow that avalanche experts warn is the most unstable it has been in years.

On Friday, a skier was buried by an avalanche on the northeast end of the Anthracite Range, west of Crested Butte. Two other skiers located the buried skier with a transceiver and pulled him out, but he did not survive.

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.

The first word that hackers had carried out a highly sophisticated intrusion into U.S. computer networks came on Dec. 8, when the cybersecurity firm FireEye announced it had been breached and some of its most valuable tools had been stolen.

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.

It started with a large vehicle that got stuck in the deepening snow. That minor incident grew into a monster snow-covered traffic jam as more than 1,000 cars became stranded on a highway that runs between Tokyo and the city of Niigata along the Sea of Japan coast.

The snarl began Wednesday night, local news sources reported.

A Texas corporate executive has been sentenced by a federal jury to 20 years in prison for running a scheme in which people with long-term illnesses were falsely told they would die soon, and then enrolled them in hospice programs.

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.

MacKenzie Scott, the author and philanthropist, says she has given away more than $4 billion in the last four months.

"This pandemic has been a wrecking ball in the lives of Americans already struggling," Scott wrote in a post on Medium announcing the donations. "Economic losses and health outcomes alike have been worse for women, for people of color, and for people living in poverty. Meanwhile, it has substantially increased the wealth of billionaires."

The city of Paris has been fined 90,000 euros for an unusual infraction: It appointed too many women to senior positions in the government.

In 2018, 11 women and five men became senior officials. That meant 69% of the appointments were women — in violation of a rule that dictated at least 40% of government positions should go to people of each gender.

"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."

Black Lives Matters signs and banners on two historic Black churches were destroyed Saturday night during pro-Trump rallies in Washington, D.C.

A video shows people who appeared to be affiliated with the Proud Boys, which is designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, destroying a Black Lives Matter sign in front of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church.

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.

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