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.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

Sixteen-year-old activist Greta Thunberg has quickly risen to prominence with her clarion call for climate action and Time's naming her its 2019 Person of the Year this week.

Since her first school strike for action in August 2018, Thunberg has grown her protest into a global youth movement calling on the world leaders of today to take decisive action on climate change and prevent further global warming.

Islamist militants attacked an army camp in Western Niger on Tuesday, killing 71 soldiers, according to an army spokesman. It was the deadliest assault on the country's military in living memory, the spokesman told news outlets on Wednesday.

"The combat [was] of a rare violence, combining artillery shells and the use of kamikaze vehicles by the enemy," army spokesman Col. Boubacar Hassan said, according to Reuters. An additional 12 soldiers were injured in the fighting that stretched over three hours, he said.

Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that will make Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act apply to anti-Semitic acts. The order is generating concern that it will stifle free speech by those who oppose Israel's policy toward the Palestinians.

The executive order takes indirect aim at the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement that has generated intense controversy on college campuses.

Strikes and protests have clogged the streets of Paris and elsewhere in France since last Thursday. Now there's a turning point: the government has unveiled its plan to reform the French retirement system.

The plan calls for a shift from 42 distinct pension plans according to job and region into one universal scheme. The new system will be based on points, on the principle of giving each pensioner the same rights for each euro they pay into it. Those who have worked a full career (about 42 years) will receive a minimum of 1,000 euros a month, or $1,109.

A judge has handed Exxon Mobil a victory in only the second climate change lawsuit to reach trial in the United States. The decision was a blow for the New York Attorney General's Office, which brought the case.

Justice Barry Ostrager of the New York State Supreme Court said that the attorney general failed to prove that the oil giant broke the law.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy met for the first time on Monday in Paris, in peace talks meant to resolve the simmering war in eastern Ukraine.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in the Russian insurgency in the region since it began five years ago with Putin's annexation of Crimea.

Among Ukraine's goals are prisoner exchanges, a cease-fire along the front, and Ukrainian control of the eastern border. Russia would like an end to Western sanctions that have led to economic stagnation.

Caroll Spinney, the actor and puppeteer who portrayed Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street over five decades, died Sunday at age 85.

The Sesame Workshop said Spinney had died at home in Connecticut, and that he had long lived with dystonia, a disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions.

The FBI is investigating the shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday as an act of terror.

Rachel Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Jacksonville Field Office, said in a news briefing Sunday that investigators are working with "the presumption that this was an act of terrorism."

Doing so, she said, "allows us to take advantage of investigative techniques that can help us more quickly identify and then eliminate any additional threats to the rest of our community."

There is currently no evidence of such a threat, she added.

A fire broke out at a factory in India's capital New Delhi early on Sunday morning. At least 43 people have been reported dead.

Many of the victims were asleep in beds in the factory, resting between shifts, when the fire began.

Investigators say the blaze was sparked by an electrical short circuit. Most of the deaths were caused by people inhaling poisonous gases in the cramped factory, The Associated Press reports.

The Trump Administration has named its choice to lead the federal office on homelessness: Robert Marbut, a well-known consultant to cities trying to tackle the issue.

The novelist Milan Kundera left Czechoslovakia in 1975. He and his wife had gone to France for what was supposed to be a short stint at a university, and they did not go back. The communist government revoked Kundera's citizenship in 1979, and since then he has scarcely returned to his homeland, even after the fall of the Iron Curtain.

But after 40 years, the author is a Czech citizen once more.

The German military will suspend an officer of its elite special forces unit after an investigation linked him to right-wing extremism. Two other soldiers are facing punishment for allegedly performing a Nazi salute at a party at the officer's home.

The Russian government now has the right to classify individual journalists, bloggers and even social media users as "foreign agents" with a new law signed by President Vladmir Putin on Monday.

The United Nations climate change conference began with a bracing warning: We are running late, and that is going to make this harder.

"Millions throughout the world, especially young people, are calling on leaders from all sectors to do more, much more to address the climate emergency we face," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday.

"Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand? That fiddled while the planet burned?" he said.

In November 1983, 14-year-old DeWitt Duckett was shot in the neck in a Baltimore high school over his Georgetown Starter jacket.

Three 16-year-old boys were arrested on Thanksgiving Day 1983 and charged with the murder. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

The three, now in their 50s, were all released from prison on Monday — fully exonerated after spending 36 years incarcerated for a murder they didn't commit.

Two of the country's largest brokerage firms will become one, with Charles Schwab Corp.'s announcement that it is acquiring rival TD Ameritrade. Together, the firms will hold more than $5 trillion in client assets and 24 million brokerage accounts.

Updated at 7:12 p.m. ET

Richard V. Spencer has been terminated as secretary of the Navy after his handling of the case of a Navy SEAL accused of war crimes came under rebuke by the defense secretary.

"Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper has asked for the resignation of Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer after losing trust and confidence in him regarding his lack of candor over conversations with the White House involving the handling of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher," the Defense Department said in a statement on Sunday.

On the first full day of his tour of Japan, Pope Francis visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki and delivered a clear message: possessing or deploying atomic weapons is immoral.

"Peace and international stability are incompatible with attempts to build upon the fear of mutual destruction, or the threat of total annihilation," Francis said in an address in Nagasaki. He spoke at the site where the United States exploded an atomic bomb in 1945, killing 74,000 people by the end of that year.

A Utah woman has been charged with lewdness in her own home after her stepchildren walked into the room and saw her bare chest.

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah argued this week that the statute under which Tilli Buchanan, 27, was charged is unconstitutional, and they have asked a judge to drop the charges against her and change the state law.

Nine days after Evo Morales resigned the presidency, Bolivia remains in political and social turmoil.

At least six people were killed in violence Tuesday as the military escorted fuel tankers from a gasoline plant in the high plateau city of El Alto. Supporters of Morales had blockaded the plant for five days, causing fuel and food shortages in La Paz, the administrative capital.

Two days after a shooting that killed four men and wounded six at a backyard party in Fresno, Calif., police are seeking at least two gunmen — and the city's large Hmong community is looking for answers.

Police say the two men said nothing as they entered the yard where people were watching football and started firing shots from semiautomatic handguns. "Witnesses only indicated that they saw the muzzle flash from the weapons," said Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

Two western hostages held for more than three years by Taliban forces in Afghanistan were freed today in southeastern Zabul province in exchange for three Taliban commanders held by the Kabul government, an Afghan official tells NPR's Diaa Hadid. The official requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the news media.

A gunman walked into a backyard party in Fresno, Calif., where people had gathered to watch football on Sunday evening, and opened fire, killing four people and wounding six.

Fresno Police Deputy Chief Michael Reid said Sunday night it's "very likely" the party was targeted, "we just don't know why."

Passengers on board Qantas flight 7879 took off from London early Thursday morning and arrived in Sydney a bit after noon on Friday — 19 hours and 19 minutes in the air.

So how do you keep people on board from going crazy — or getting deep-vein thrombosis — while they're cooped up that long?

Impeachment investigators have released the testimony transcript of Tim Morrison, the former top European affairs official on President Trump's National Security Council.

In his Oct. 31 testimony, Morrison confirmed he was on the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukraine's president. He also said that Trump had indeed sought help from his Ukrainian counterpart, but he argued the conduct wasn't unlawful.

Back in May, three Indiana judges got into a fight. It was the crescendo of an incident brimming with colorful details: a gaggle of judges drinking the night before a judicial conference, a failed attempt to visit a strip club called the Red Garter, a brawl in the parking lot of an Indianapolis White Castle.

The altercation apparently started sometime after 3 a.m., when one of the judges, Sabrina Bell, raised a middle finger at two men yelling from a passing SUV, and ended after one of those men shot two of the judges.

Two and a half months after she arrived in New York Harbor, Greta Thunberg set sail back to Europe.

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.

Australia's soccer governing body says it has reached an agreement with its top-flight men's and women's teams that will give the teams an equal share of player-generated revenue and lift the salaries of its women's team.

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."

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