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.

New Zealand lawmakers approved a bill Thursday that commits the country to being carbon neutral by the year 2050. The measure, which passed 119 votes to 1, demonstrates the cross-party support that climate protection has in the Pacific island nation.

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."

The world's most profitable company will make its first public stock offering next month, in what could be the biggest IPO ever.

Saudi Aramco, the oil giant owned by the Saudi government, said on Sunday it will sell an unspecified number of shares, thought to be between 1% and 3% of the company. It did not specify a price range.

A forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein's family said he believes Epstein's autopsy suggests homicide rather than suicide. But New York City's chief medical examiner stands by her conclusion that Epstein died by hanging himself.

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

California officials report progress in their battle against wildfires, even as new dangers arise from powerful winds.

"Over the past week, more than 300 blazes have broken out in California," member station KQED reported, "but so far, there have been no fatalities linked to the Northern California fires."

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri is submitting his resignation, after nearly two weeks of anti-government protests brought hundreds of thousands of Lebanese to the streets.

In a televised address, Hariri said Tuesday that he has reached a "dead end" amid the widespread demonstrations that had paralyzed the country.

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.

Chilean President Sebastian Piñera announced a major reshuffle of his cabinet the day after a massive demonstration in the streets of the capital in the latest anti-government protests over economic inequality.

"We have all heard and understood the message of Chileans. I have asked all ministers to make their positions available. We're working to form a new team that represents change," Piñera tweeted on Saturday, in an effort to assuage the anger of protesters.

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.

Updated at 10:28 p.m. ET

Northern California is grappling with a new threat: the Kincade Fire. It has already burned through more than 16,000 acres in Sonoma County.

The blaze began Wednesday night.

To get to what many people in East Tennessee called the world's biggest treehouse, you'd drive down a country road. You'd pull onto a long driveway, and there it was, rising from the woods: a mansion of scrap lumber, entwined with trees.

It was the divine project of a man named Horace Burgess, who said he had been called to build a house in the woods in Crossville, Tenn.

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.

For days, people have gathered in the central squares of cities across Lebanon. They've chanted, they've sung, they've carried cheeky signs.

What do they want? Wholesale change in their political system. When do they want it? Now.

The government took notice, and announced a raft of changes: No new taxes. Halving government officials' salaries. Privatizing the telecom industry because cellphone plans in the county are so expensive. Fast-tracking licenses for new power plants, as there are daily electricity cuts in most Lebanese cities.

In only the second climate change trial in the U.S., Exxon Mobil goes to court Tuesday accused of defrauding shareholders and the public. New York's attorney general brought the suit, which alleges that the oil giant misrepresented how carbon regulation would affect the company's financial outlook.

The U.S. may now keep some troops in northeast Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday. It is the latest in a series of consequential pivots that the Trump administration has made in its Syria policy.

A protest by environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion sparked violence and disruption at a train station on Thursday. Before the sun had come up, some trains were at a standstill. Protesters had climbed atop the railcars; at least one grandfather had glued his hand to one.

In a bizarre moment Tuesday that seemed straight out of reality television, President Trump dropped a bombshell on a grieving British family — surprising them with the news that the woman who had killed their son in a car crash was in a nearby room and then urging the family to meet with her.

A thief walked into a San Francisco gallery on Sunday afternoon, plucked a rare Salvador Dalí from an easel in the front window, and strode out the door.

Rasjad Hopkins, associate director at Dennis Rae Fine Art Gallery, was working at the time. The door to the gallery was open, and Hopkins had his back turned.

"Snatch and run," Hopkins tells NPR.

It took just a few minutes to realize the etching was gone. For some reason, the work hadn't been locked with a tether as it normally was.

Simone Biles is the greatest gymnast of our time – or any time in history. She proved that Sunday at the World Championships, where she raked in her 24th and 25th world medals, both gold.

Biles, 22, took home five of the six golds to be won in Stuttgart, Germany, winning the top of the podium in team competition, all-around, and vault in addition to floor and beam. (On the uneven bars, she took fifth.)

Updated at 6:49 p.m. ET

All U.S. forces involved in the anti-ISIS fight will withdraw from northeast Syria in the coming days, according to two U.S. officials close to the conflict. Only a small garrison of U.S. troops will remain at al-Tanf near Syria's border with Iraq and Jordan.

The troops in border areas are endangered by Turkey's incursion against Kurdish-led forces. The move is a sudden change in policy by the Trump administration.

Updated at 9:27 p.m. ET

Federal judges in three states — New York, California and Washington — have issued temporary injunctions against the Trump administration's "public charge" rule, preventing it from taking effect on Oct. 15.

The controversial rule would make it more difficult for immigrants to get green cards if it looks as though they might need public assistance. Titled "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds," the rule sparked several legal challenges.

Updated at 7:48 p.m. ET

The United Nations Secretary-General warned this week that the organization is facing a "cash crisis" if member states do not pay the annual dues they owe: $1.3 billion in payments are outstanding.

For some 40 years, women have been largely banned from attending soccer matches at Iran's stadiums. But under pressure from FIFA, soccer's governing body, Iranian authorities are allowing a few thousand women to watch a game Thursday at Tehran's Azadi Stadium – in a section separate from men.

Women were permitted to buy about 3,500 tickets to watch a World Cup qualifier between the men's teams of Iran and Cambodia.

Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET

Two people were shot and killed in the eastern German city of Halle on Wednesday. Police and witnesses say shots were fired in multiple locations, including outside a synagogue and near a Jewish cemetery.

The attack came as Jews observed Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Germany's Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, said that based on current information authorities must assume it was an anti-Semitic attack.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Monday that will make HIV-prevention drugs available without a prescription. It allows pharmacists to dispense both PrEP, or preexposure prophylaxis, and PEP, post-exposure prophylaxis.

The wife of a U.S. diplomat is accused of using diplomatic immunity to flee the U.K. after she allegedly struck and killed a young man with her car in late August.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson criticized the use of diplomatic immunity in the case and said he would raise the matter with the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. on Monday.

French lawmakers have approved a tax on digital companies that will affect U.S. tech behemoths known in France as "Les GAFA" — Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

The U.S. government is already threatening to retaliate: On Wednesday, President Trump ordered a probe of the French tax. It's a sign that another trade war like the one between the U.S. and China could be stirring – except that it's with one of America's allies, and in this case, it's U.S. companies that are seen as the tax dodges.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta defended a 2008 plea agreement he oversaw as a U.S. attorney in Florida in which multimillionaire and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein got a light sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to state charges.

"Facts are important, and facts are being overlooked," Acosta told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET

A constitutional challenge to President Trump's continued ownership of his businesses has been ordered dismissed by a federal appeals court.

The case was brought by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland, arguing that Trump had violated the domestic and foreign emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution by accepting money from state and foreign governments via his Washington hotel and business empire.

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