Laurel Wamsley

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's Newsdesk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She will be 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.

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET

In Lee County, Ala., teams are searching for seven or eight people still missing in the wake of an extremely powerful tornado that swept through the area on Sunday afternoon.

The death toll from the storm stands at 23, with victims ranging in age from 6 to 93. They have all been identified and their families informed, according to the coroner. One family, connected by marriage and living in two homes along the same road, lost seven members.

Canada says it will allow the extradition hearing against Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer at Chinese tech giant Huawei, to move forward.

The U.S. has sought the extradition of Meng since she was detained in Canada in December.

With just a little more than three months to go until the Women's World Cup in France, the U.S. squad is looking for proof it has all the right ingredients to affirm its ranking as number one in the world. But as the team left the pitch Wednesday night after a 2-2 tie with Japan, they acknowledged there's still some tinkering to do – and that if they're to defend their World Cup title, they can't afford to make many mistakes.

The movie The Wandering Earth has already grossed more than $600 million globally since it was released in theaters Feb. 5. If you haven't seen the sci-fi disaster epic yet, that might be because it was made in China.

Apple will reportedly have a different kind of product launch later this year: a credit card, jointly operated by Goldman Sachs.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the card will be integrated with the iPhone and offer features to track spending and points. The card would represent a move into new, highly competitive terrain for both companies.

Talks between U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators continue this week in Washington, after discussions last week in Beijing did not yield a deal. Higher level meetings are slated to begin Thursday and continue through the end of the week.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He to continue the negotations.

On Tuesday, President Trump called the talks "very complex."

"I think the talks are going very well," he told reporters.

Updated on Feb. 20 at 11:10 a.m. ET

For many years, three buckets full of uranium ore sat in a museum building at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Tours often visited the museum collection building, with children on tours sitting next to the buckets for a half-hour.

A new report from British lawmakers on how social media is used to spread disinformation finds that Facebook and other big tech companies are failing their users and dodging accountability.

"The guiding principle of the 'move fast and break things' culture often seems to be that it is better to apologise than ask permission," said Damian Collins, chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that drafted the report. "We need a radical shift in the balance of power between the platforms and the people. The age of inadequate self regulation must come to an end."

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says the executive who was in charge of Apple's insider trading policy himself committed insider trading in 2015 and 2016 — in one case, selling off about $10 million in Apple stock in advance of a quarterly earnings announcement.

Mya Thompson is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Late last month, the 25-year-old was on track to graduate in May, but she still owed the school $2,500 in tuition and fees – not a huge sum, but she likely wouldn't get her diploma unless she could come up with the money.

Sandusky, Ohio, is a small city on the shores of Lake Erie. It's best known among Midwesterners as the home of Cedar Point, an amusement park famed for its abundance of roller coasters.

But last week city leaders took steps that could make Sandusky known as a leader of democracy, too: They declared Election Day a paid holiday – by swapping out Columbus Day.

Updated on Feb. 13 at 10:45 a.m.

Trucks full of food and medicine have arrived at the Venezuelan border, setting up a showdown between President Nicolás Maduro and U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

The aid convoy arrived at the Colombian border city of Cúcuta, The Associated Press reports, but Maduro and the military have blocked the Tienditas bridge so that the trucks cannot enter Venezuela.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Jill Abramson, former New York Times executive editor, finds herself embroiled in controversy over charges of inaccuracies and plagiarism in her new book Merchants of Truth, out this week.

The book was skewered by Vice correspondent Michael Moynihan in a series of tweets Wednesday that showed passages where Abramson's language strongly echoed that of articles penned by others.

The polar vortex that has gripped the Plains and Midwest will finally lift back into Canada, the National Weather Service says, promising a warmup that will bring a whiplash shift in temperatures. By Saturday, the agency says, the central Plains area will see temperatures in the low 60s — nearly 20-25 degrees above normal.

A U.S. court has found the Syrian government liable in the 2012 death of American journalist Marie Colvin, ordering it to pay $300 million in punitive damages.

Colvin was reporting from in the western Syrian city of Homs when the makeshift media center where she was working came under artillery attack. French photographer Rémi Ochlik, 28, also was killed and other journalists and activists were wounded.

Updated Jan. 31 at 9:48 a.m. ET

How cold is it in the Upper Midwest today? It's so cold that if you toss boiling hot water in the air, it may turn to ice crystals. (Be careful out there and always check which way the wind is blowing, folks. People tend to scald themselves doing this.)

Updated at 6:02 p.m. ET

Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of the TV show Empire, reportedly was brutally attacked early Tuesday in what Chicago police are investigating as a possible hate crime. The 36-year-old actor took himself to the hospital directly after what police called a "possible racially-charged assault and battery"; authorities say he is in good condition.

The Justice Department unsealed two separate indictments of Chinese telecom device maker Huawei on Monday. But only one of them reads like the script of a slapstick caper movie.

That would be the one that describes the U.S. government's case alleging that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile, the wireless service company.

Updated at 6:32 p.m. ET

The State Department is ordering "non-emergency U.S. government employees to depart Venezuela," according to a security alert issued Thursday evening. The U.S. Embassy in Caracas will remain open.

The alert also advised caution if U.S. citizens are in or traveling to Venezuela.

The image of a Chinese schoolyard full of students doing calisthenics isn't new.

But these moves definitely are.

Dressed in a sleek black-on-black ensemble, school principal Zhang Pengfei leads his students in a synchronized routine that would turn heads in any dance club. In matching tracksuits, the kids at Xi Guan Primary School in Shanxi province shuffle their feet, pump their arms, and do the Charleston and the Running Man.

Do yourself a favor and watch both videos here immediately.

It's a meeting of two truly American pastimes: football and lawsuits.

First, the football.

Late in regulation in Sunday's NFC championship game, the New Orleans Saints were tied 20-20 with the Los Angeles Rams in pursuit of the Super Bowl.

And in Atlanta, where the Super Bowl takes place Feb. 3, Saints fan Matt Bowers bought a smattering of billboards to convey his hurt feelings.

"NFL Bleaux It!" proclaims one. "Saints Were Robbed," cries another.

Have a penchant for Louisiana-style outrage? Get in touch with Bowers.

Before Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow and accused of spying, he was given a thumb drive that he thought held photos of Russian churches but actually contained "state secrets," his lawyer said Tuesday. And Whelan didn't even look at the drive, according to the lawyer, because he was taken into custody immediately.

Whelan, 48, was detained Dec. 28 and is being held in Moscow's Lefortovo prison. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of espionage.

Updated Jan. 19 at 1:05 p.m. ET

The office of special counsel Robert Mueller made a rare statement on Friday night to dispute the report by BuzzFeed News that President Trump had instructed his former lawyer to lie to Congress.

The Justice Department announcement appeared not quite 24 hours after the explosive story from Thursday night. Although it didn't go into detail, the response suggested the story didn't correctly reflect the special counsel's dealings with Trump's ex-fixer.

The Islamic State has jumped back into the headlines by claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed four Americans and more than a dozen civilians at a restaurant in northern Syria.

Two-year-old Julen Rosello was with family members on a rural property in southern Spain on Sunday when he is thought to have fallen down a hole more than 300 feet deep.

"I heard my son crying, and 30 seconds later I couldn't hear him anymore," the boy's father, José, told Spanish media. However, Julen has not been heard from since.

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