Rebecca Hersher | KUOW News and Information

Rebecca Hersher

Rebecca Hersher is a reporter on NPR's Science Desk, where she reports on outbreaks, natural disasters, and environmental and health research. Since coming to NPR in 2011, she has covered the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, embedded with the Afghan army after the American combat mission ended, and reported on floods and hurricanes in the U.S. She's also reported on research about puppies. Before her work on the Science Desk, she was a producer for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered in Los Angeles.

Hersher was part of the NPR team that won a Peabody award for coverage of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and produced a story from Liberia that won an Edward R. Murrow award for use of sound. She was a finalist for the 2017 Daniel Schorr prize; a 2017 Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting fellow, reporting on sanitation in Haiti; and a 2015 NPR Above the Fray fellow, investigating the causes of the suicide epidemic in Greenland.

Prior to working at NPR, Hersher reported on biomedical research and pharmaceutical news for Nature Medicine.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

U.S. officials say Iran test-fired a ballistic missile on Sunday, the first known test since President Trump took office — which could provide an early assessment of how the new administration will interpret and enforce the terms of the international deal to curb Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities.

For years, the satellites of America's Global Positioning System have been carrying sensors that measure the weather in space.

The information has been kept by the military, which manages the satellites, because solar storms and other space weather can damage satellites.

Today, as the result of an executive order signed last October, the government released 16 years of that space weather data to the public for the first time.

The leader of the Philippine National Police said Monday that the agency's anti-drug units would be shut down and the deadly crackdown on people who use and sell drugs would be suspended.

Instead, the crackdown will temporarily shift to inside the police force itself.

"We will cleanse our ranks ... then maybe after that, we can resume our war on drugs," police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said, according to the BBC.

Leaders of several American companies have announced plans to hire, house or otherwise support people affected by President Trump's sweeping freeze on people seeking asylum in the U.S. or traveling from seven largely Muslim countries.

NPR's Carrie Johnson breaks down the president's executive order on immigration here.

President Trump spoke by phone to President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico for an hour on Friday, according to statements by both leaders.

Peña Nieto was scheduled to visit the White House on Jan. 31. But on Wednesday Trump signed an order to move forward with a wall along the Mexican border and insisted that Mexico would eventually pay the bill.

On Thursday, Peña Nieto canceled his planned visit to the U.S. without giving a reason.

President Trump met with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, his first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since he took office a week ago.

With the United Kingdom preparing to leave the European Union, May is looking for a trade deal with the U.S.

The government of Chile says wildfires that have killed at least 10 people are the worst blazes in the country's history.

Several firefighters are among the dead.

"We have never seen anything on this scale, never in the history of Chile," President Michelle Bachelet said earlier this week, after her administration declared a state of emergency. "The truth is that the forces are doing everything humanly possible and will continue until they can contain and control the fires."

Esteban Santiago Ruiz, the 26-year-old man arrested shortly after the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Jan. 6, has been indicted on 22 counts by a federal grand jury.

Santiago allegedly killed five people in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2 after retrieving a weapon from a checked bag and loading it in the bathroom.

Mary Louise Amzibel, Michael John Oehme, Olga M . Woltering, Shirley Wells Timmons and Terry Michael Andres all died, according to the indictment.

A federal judge in Ohio has rejected the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol on the grounds that one of the drugs, the sedative midazolam, is not sufficiently humane in its effects.

The drug has been used during multiple botched executions in Arizona, Ohio, Oklahoma and Alabama, as The Two-Way has reported.

An underground pipeline that runs through multiple Midwestern states has leaked an estimated 138,000 gallons of diesel fuel, according to the company that owns it, Magellan Midstream Partners.

Clay Masters of Iowa Public Radio reported diesel leaking from a 12-inch underground pipe was initially spotted in a farm field in north-central Worth County, Iowa, on Wednesday morning. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Iowa Department of Natural Resources joined representatives of Magellan and other local officials at the site, Masters reported.

On Tuesday night, President Trump threatened to intervene in Chicago's law enforcement, citing the number of shootings and murders there in 2016 and 2017.

It wasn't clear what type of intervention the president was referring to in a tweet he sent out Tuesday evening saying he "will send in the Feds!" if Chicago "doesn't fix the horrible 'carnage' going on."

The Trump administration is pushing forward with plans for two major oil pipelines in the U.S., projects that sparked nationwide demonstrations and legal fights under President Barack Obama.

In 1755, the board of governors of a new college was sworn into office in Manhattan. King's College, as it was called, was not far from the municipal slave market at Wall and Pearl streets in New York City.

The man presiding over the ceremony was Daniel Horsmanden, a colonial supreme court justice who had previously presided over the trial of alleged slave conspirators. One of the men he swore in as a governor of the new college was Henry Beekman, whose merchant family owned and traded slaves.

Updated at 8:40 a.m. ET on Jan. 24

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released crisp, color images of Earth from its newest orbiting weather satellite.

A federal judge has ruled against the proposed acquisition of the health insurance company Humana by its larger rival, Aetna.

The decision is a victory for former President Obama's Justice Department, which sued Aetna last year to block the $34 billion merger, NPR's Yuki Noguchi reported.

The suit alleged that the merger would hurt competition in the health care market, leading to higher prices for consumers and fewer services for Medicare patients.

Seventy-five people have been arrested across Europe for allegedly trafficking stolen art and archaeological relics, according to Spanish police who led the investigation.

Interpol and the U.N.'s culture agency, UNESCO, helped in the investigation, as did the European policing agency Europol and the World Customs Organization, according to a statement by UNESCO.

Multiple destructive storm systems damaged property and killed at least 19 people over the weekend, and continued to batter much of the U.S. with rain, snow and wind today.

All 19 reported deaths were in the South, where apparent tornadoes ripped through towns over the weekend, damaging and destroying buildings in multiple states.

"Trailers are just flat, just laid on top of people," Debbie Van Brackel, a volunteer EMT in Adel, Ga., told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. "You need a bulldozer to pull it off. Trailers are upside down."

The global money service company Western Union has admitted it helped people commit wire fraud, among other criminal violations, and agreed to pay $586 million.

The settlement is the result of an investigation that found Western Union was "willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program," the Justice Department said in a statement.

Later today, six people will enter a dome on a volcano in Hawaii that will be their home for the next eight months, as they simulate a future mission to Mars.

It is the fifth such experiment run by the University of Hawaii and funded by NASA. The latest mission on Mauna Loa, which ended in August 2016, lasted a full year. It is known as the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation, or HI-SEAS.

Noor Salman, the wife of the man who killed 49 people last June at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., has pleaded not guilty to two federal charges.

Salman was arrested earlier this week and charged with providing material support to a terrorist and obstruction of justice for allegedly knowing about Omar Mateen's plan to slaughter people at the nightclub.

It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Mateen was killed by police.

Sotheby's says a 16th century Italian painting sold by the auction house for $842,500 in 2012 is actually a modern fake, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Tuesday.

A partial repeal of Obamacare could leave 18 million people who have insurance today with no coverage one year later, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The report estimates that 32 million people would lose their insurance over 10 years.

The number of people 60 and older with student loan debt has quadrupled in the past decade, and older Americans now represent the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. student loan market, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

As of 2015, more than 2.8 million Americans over 60 had outstanding student loan debt — up from some 700,000 in 2005.

Britain's prime minister said Tuesday that the United Kingdom will walk away from the European Union's single market and unified court system, making a sharp break with its largest trading partner.

In a speech delivered about six months after voters passed a referendum requiring Britain to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May laid out a plan for what that split would look like, emphasizing limits on migration into the country.

The Japanese air bag manufacturer Takata has reached a $1 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over a deadly defect in its air bags that led to a massive recall.

At least 16 deaths, 11 of them in the U.S., have been linked to the defect.

The Justice Department says an investigation has found Chicago police are systematically violating the civil rights of people in the city through excessive use of force, poor oversight and inadequate training of officers.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the investigation's findings on Friday, saying the DOJ had concluded there was ample evidence the Chicago Police Department "engages in a pattern or practice of the use of excessive force," in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

A storm system that dumped precipitation on multiple states in the West appears to be easing, but rivers have yet to crest and many communities are still digging out from record snowfall.

There's a new jungle Jedi out there.

Scientists who discovered a new primate, which lives in eastern Myanmar and southwestern China, are such big Star Wars fans, they named the ape after Luke Skywalker.

They also chose the name, skywalker hoolock gibbon, because the Chinese characters mean "Heaven's movement," according to the BBC. The new species is also known as the Gaoligong hoolock gibbon, named for Mt. Gaoligong on the border between China and Myanmar.

A federal judge in South Carolina formally sentenced Dylann Roof to death on Wednesday, one day after a jury recommended that he be executed for murdering nine people in a Charleston church.

Under federal sentencing laws, the death penalty can be imposed only if all 12 jurors agree on it, and the judge cannot overrule the jury's decision.

Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET

A jury has sentenced to death the man who murdered nine people in a Charleston church basement in 2015.

The twelve jurors deliberated for about three hours before sentencing Dylann Roof, 22, to die. To impose the death penalty, they had to reach a unanimous decision.

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