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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.

It appears that the Olympics are really going to happen, starting July 23 in Tokyo. But there are big challenges to staging the Games as the pandemic continues in a host city currently under a state of emergency and a country where a recent poll found 80% of residents don't want the Olympics to happen this summer.

Jeff Bezos has already selected a hobby for his post-CEO life: space travel.

Just two weeks after he steps down as CEO of Amazon, Bezos will climb aboard a rocket made by his space exploration company Blue Origin.

"If you see the earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It's one earth," Bezos said in a video posted to Instagram on Monday morning.

The wide lawn of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., has taken on a riot of rainbow hues in a geometric mural designed by artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer.

The installation, titled Equilateral Network, was designed to create spaces for social distancing with its triangular grid. Unpainted sections of lawn provide walking paths, and equilateral triangles lined in pink define spaces for people to sit, separated by six feet of distance.

A heroic rat named Magawa has been working for five years in Cambodia, sniffing out dozens of land mines. He is believed to have saved lives.

Now, the animal is about to embark on a well-deserved retirement.

"Although still in good health, he has reached a retirement age and is clearly starting to slow down," the nonprofit APOPO said Thursday. "It is time."

For many Americans, Dr. Anthony Fauci quickly became the face of trust and reason against the coronavirus pandemic. He was a reliable man of science while the Trump White House often played politics in its decision-making.

Updated June 4, 2021 at 6:27 PM ET

Amazon is building a wireless network – using your internet bandwidth.

It's called Amazon Sidewalk, and the company touts it as a way to help its devices work better, by extending the range of low-bandwidth devices to help them stay online.

It does that by pooling neighbors' bandwidth to help connectivity for devices that are out of range.

A cargo ship carrying chemicals and plastic pellets has been burning off the coast of Sri Lanka for nearly two weeks. Now, efforts to tow the ship to deeper waters have failed – and the boat's sinking looks increasingly likely.

The ship, the X-Press Pearl, was carrying 1,486 containers. Eighty-one of those were dangerous goods containers, including 25 tons of nitric acid. At least one container has leaked nitric acid.

Issues of equality and acceptance of transgender and nonbinary people — along with challenges to their rights have become a major topic in the headlines. These issues can involve words and ideas and identities that are new to some.

That's why we've put together a glossary of terms relating to gender identity. Our goal is to help people communicate accurately and respectfully with one another.

Updated June 1, 2021 at 12:29 PM ET

Many of the world's top athletes have rallied around tennis star Naomi Osaka and her decision to pull out of the French Open — decrying a culture that doesn't always give athletes the support they need in times of mental distress.

Washington, D.C., Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Amazon, accusing the online retail giant of unfairly inflating prices and stifling competition.

The lawsuit, filed in D.C. Superior Court on Tuesday, alleges violations of the city's Antitrust Act.

In a call with reporters, Racine said Amazon has been "illegally abusing and maintaining its monopoly power by controlling prices across the online retail market" for years.

Updated May 24, 2021 at 6:59 PM ET

The European Union is calling on all airlines based in the bloc to avoid flying over Belarusian airspace. The move is a major blow to the Belarusian regime, a day after Belarusian officials forced the diversion of an international commercial flight in order to apprehend 26-year-old opposition activist Roman Protasevich.

The decision was announced during a summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Monday evening.

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In 25 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, more than half of adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the latest CDC data.

After 11 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas, a cease-fire went into effect at 2 a.m. local time Friday. Gaza health officials say at least 240 people were killed there by waves of airstrikes from Israel. Twelve people died in Israel from more than 4,000 rockets fired by militants in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

Friday was the first day that foreign journalists were allowed to enter the Gaza Strip since the fighting began.

Amazon has closed a massive construction site for a new warehouse in Connecticut after a seventh noose was found there.

The latest noose was found hanging from a beam during a lunch break on Wednesday, Windsor Police Chief Donald Melanson said at a press conference. "We are working on it, we do have some leads in this latest incident," Melanson said.

Updated May 20, 2021 at 6:19 PM ET

Israeli and Hamas have accepted a cease-fire plan that was to take effect at 2 a.m. local time Friday after 11 days of fighting in Gaza.

The Israeli Cabinet voted to accept an Egyptian initiative for a cease-fire, according to a statement from the Cabinet. A Hamas spokesman said, "The Palestinian resistance will commit itself to this deal as long as the occupation is committed."

We're likely to see an above-average hurricane season in the Atlantic this year, according to the latest forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

South Carolina's Republican governor signed a bill into law last week that sounds like it's from a different century: Death row inmates must choose whether to be executed by the electric chair or a firing squad if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

Updated May 18, 2021 at 5:19 PM ET

District Attorney Andrew Womble has declined to file charges against Pasquotank County, N.C., sheriff's deputies in the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. last month in Elizabeth City. His decision followed an inquiry by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, which presented its findings to the prosecutor.

When the CDC announced on Thursday that fully vaccinated people can safely take off their masks in most settings, one group that did not necessarily breathe a sigh of relief was the parents of young children.

Some noted that the CDC's new guidance does not have any specific advice for vaccinated parents with unvaccinated kids in their households.

Updated May 13, 2021 at 5:49 PM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that fully vaccinated adults can safely resume activities indoors or outdoors without masks or distancing, in gatherings large or small. The announcement marks a major milestone in the effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the new guidance Thursday.

"You can do things you stopped doing because of the pandemic," Walensky said.

Updated May 12, 2021 at 7:20 PM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine be given to adolescents ages 12-15.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky issued a statement saying, "The CDC now recommends the vaccine be used among this population, and providers may begin vaccinating them right away."

A Minnesota judge has found aggravating factors in Derek Chauvin's murder of George Floyd — a finding that dramatically increases the likelihood of a longer sentence.

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty last month of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in May 2020.

The debate over race in America has reached the world of competitive debate itself, as the team from Morehouse College withdrew from a national tournament after members say they experienced mockery, bias and dismissal. Other teams followed Morehouse's departure from the tournament, leading to its cancellation and a forum about race in the debate community.

Updated April 29, 2021 at 5:15 PM ET

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is moving to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, based on the evidence of the addictiveness and harm of the products. Tobacco companies have long targeted African Americans with advertising for menthol cigarettes.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has asked the U.S. Department of Justice for a formal review of racial bias in the city's police force.

Ginther and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein spoke with Justice Department Acting Deputy Director Robert Chapman about the city's police on Monday.

Updated April 28, 2021 at 3:45 PM ET

A judge in North Carolina ordered law enforcement body camera footage of the death of Andrew Brown Jr. disclosed to his family, but not released to the public until completion of a state investigation into Brown's death.

Judge Jeffrey Foster ordered the videos disclosed to Brown's family within 10 days.

A Georgia sheriff has been indicted on federal civil rights charges, including charges that he approved a policy to use chair restraints.

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill faces four charges that he deprived detainees of the right to due process and freedom from use of unreasonable force by law enforcement, amounting to punishment. The offenses "caused physical pain and resulted in bodily injury" to the four detainees during incidents described in court documents.

Editor's note: Apple and Facebook are among NPR's financial supporters.

Starting Monday, iPhone and iPad users will have a simple but powerful new way to control how their data is used.

With Apple's latest software update, iOS 14.5, iPhone and iPad users will now encounter pop-ups in the apps they use, asking whether the user wants to allow the app "to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites." The user can then select whether or not to allow the app to track them and share their data.

Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic gold medalist with a reality-show family, announced Friday that she will run for governor of California. The state's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, is likely to face a recall election this year.

Jenner, a 71-year-old Republican, said she had filed paperwork to run for the office.

"Californians want better and need better from their politicians," she wrote on Twitter.

Updated April 23, 2021 at 7:16 PM ET

Use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is allowed again now that a panel of experts has voted to put it back in distribution despite rare blood clotting problems.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday after the panel voted that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19, and its benefits outweigh the known risks.

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