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.

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.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday, a day after the stinging defeat there of her Brexit deal with the European Union.

In the vote, 325 lawmakers said they had confidence in May's government, while 306 voted that they did not.

While May withstood the challenge to her leadership, it is yet another indication that Brexit has thrown British politics into chaos.

Updated at 6:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday

An attack on a luxury hotel in Nairobi killed 14 civilians Tuesday, including one American, before security forces subdued the gunmen.

Kenyan authorities declared that the violence had ended multiple times, only to be contradicted by bursts of gunfire that kept police busy for several more hours. Al-Shabab, the Islamic extremist group based in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack, carried out by at least four armed men.

A panel of judges at the International Criminal Court has dismissed charges of war crimes against former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, the first former head of state to stand trial at the ICC. Charges against his former youth minister, Charles Blé Goudé, also were dropped.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the parent company of California's largest utility, plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid what could be billions of dollars in liability costs over the massive wildfires that have torn through California in recent years.

Divers from the Indonesian navy have recovered the second "black box" from the Lion Air jet that fell into the Java Sea in October. The cockpit voice recorder could provide information on what caused the crash, which killed all 189 people on board.

The device, which is actually bright orange, was found buried 26 feet deep in mud through the use of a "ping locator," the Associated Press reports.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who had been missing since her parents were found fatally shot in October, has been found alive. And officials say she immediately helped law enforcement arrest her alleged captor.

Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, was taken into custody just minutes after Jayme was found at 4:43 p.m. local time Thursday.

Updated Jan. 10 at 3:50 p.m. ET

The U.S. government has been operating under a partial shutdown since Dec. 22. The shutdown, driven by a political battle over President Trump's demand that Congress approve funds for a wall along the border with Mexico, is touching the lives of Americans in myriad ways.

Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET

Chelsea Football Club will pay 64 million euros — nearly $73 million — to sign U.S. soccer star Christian Pulisic, bringing the 20-year-old winger to England's Premier League.

Ten days into the partial government shutdown, it's time to ask a dreaded question: What if this keeps going?

A new congressional session begins Thursday, at which time Democrats become the majority in the House. There's no indication that progress will be made before then on the political standoff over funding a border wall that President Trump is demanding.

What's running — and what isn't — during the shutdown

Many of the United States' national parks remain open to visitors during the partial government shutdown. But if you go, be prepared – you're probably on your own in there.

A notice on the website of Big Bend National Park in West Texas is representative:

"There has been a lapse in federal appropriations.

"During the government shutdown, Big Bend National Park will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as always.

A week after a white referee told a black high school wrestler that he needed to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a match, the referee has been suspended. But people in town — and on social media — are asking why other adults didn't do more to prevent what happened: A school official cut the student's hair as the crowd watched and the clock ticked down.

First came the eruption. Then, the quake.

An overnight earthquake, triggered by Mount Etna's eruption two days ago, caused injuries and damage in Eastern Sicily early Wednesday morning. The volcano has been spewing ash and lava has flowed down its slopes since it began erupting on Monday.

Ho ho ho, merry Christmas! What would you like this year, little girl? How about the president of the United States casting doubt on a story that American culture has worked tirelessly to make you believe, using a term you don't understand?

That's what happened on Christmas Eve.

Since its beginnings in the 1980s in France, parkour has been sporty – but not exactly Olympic sporty.

Parkour and its cousin freerunning involve scaling urban obstacles and using the city as a playground. Its adherents, called traceurs and traceuses, bound railings, climb walls, and leap across terrifying expanses.

But now parkour, emblematic of freedom and practiced risk-taking, is fighting for its autonomy — from the gymnastics establishment.

Last week, Canada repealed a number of so-called "zombie laws" that remained on the books after they were found to be unconstitutional, redundant, or just, well ... too old and weird.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

The U.S. plans to withdraw all of its troops from Syria, a senior Pentagon official tells NPR. About 2,000 U.S. troops are currently in the northeastern part of the country, near the Turkish border.

The decision to remove all troops from Syria was made by the White House late last week and sent to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, the official says.

The first cases related to the Parkland school shooting in February are beginning to work through the courts, testing a number of thorny legal issues.

In the last week, for example, judges in different courts ruled on questions about what duty school deputy Scot Peterson had to protect the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the attack there in February.

Are New Yorkers too demanding or are they simply people who speak up when they see a better way? Let's take a look at a story about some Christmas decorations, and you be the judge.

Updated Dec. 26, 2018 at 1:37 p.m. ET

If you didn't catch this year's Miss Universe competition — that's just fine.

But you missed a few happenings at the pageant in Bangkok, which crowned Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray, the winner Monday morning local time.

Miss Spain makes history

Kentucky's Supreme Court has struck down a pension law that spurred thousands of the state's teachers to protest last spring.

The court ruled that the way the pension bill was passed didn't give state lawmakers a "fair opportunity" to consider it. In a surprise maneuver, both chambers pushed the measure through in a matter of hours — before the public and even some lawmakers had had a chance to read it.

Twenty-four workers at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were taken to area hospitals after being exposed to bear repellent on Wednesday morning, when a robot punctured a can of the aerosol spray.

Updated at 5:58 p.m. ET

USA Gymnastics, the sport's national governing body, said today that it had voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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