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.

In its first cyber policy paper, the Chinese government is emphasizing its control over Internet access in China, and argued that each nation should govern the Internet as it sees fit.

"Countries should respect each other's right to choose their own path of cyber development," read an English translation of the paper published by the state-run news agency Xinhua.

A committee of the European Parliament has voted to strip French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen of her immunity from prosecution, citing tweets she shared that contained graphic images of violence by the Islamic State.

Thousands of women who worked for the largest retail jewelry company in the U.S. allege that they suffered wage and promotion discrimination, and more than 200 of them describe an atmosphere in which female employees endured unwanted sexual advances from male superiors at the company.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

A former officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, Sabrina De Sousa, was released from custody Wednesday after Italy's president granted her partial clemency over a 2003 kidnapping that was part of the agency's extraordinary rendition program.

The acting head of Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, has been charged with bribery and embezzlement in connection with the corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of South Korea's president.

NPR's Elise Hu reported from Seoul that prosecutors announced the indictment after a three-month investigation:

"Samsung acting head Lee Jae-Yong got ensnared after documents showed Samsung funneled some $36 million to the president's close confidant. Prosecutors say the money was paid to win government support of a controversial 2015 company merger.

The Los Angeles Zoo has officially announced its newest addition: a baby bongo.

Eastern bongos are striped forest antelopes, with large ears and horns. They are found in the wild in East Africa and are critically endangered according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which maintains the so-called red list of species facing extinction.

Only 75 to 140 wild bongos are thought to still live in Kenya.

Officials in Los Angeles have asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents working in the city not to identify themselves as police.

In a letter addressed to the ICE deputy field office director who handles immigration enforcement, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Attorney Mike Feuer, and president of the city council Herb Wesson wrote:

Today, two table tennis pros met at the Qatar Open and ended up locked in a staggering 10-minute, 766-shot rally.

The International Table Tennis Federation, which runs the event, said in an Instagram video that it "has got to be the longest rally ever in modern table tennis history!"

Some students, principals, parents and attorneys have condemned the Trump administration's decision to remove some federal protections for transgender students.

Those protections had been issued by President Barack Obama, who cited the federal Title IX law, and instructed public schools last year to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has struck down a local law that protected people in the city of Fayetteville from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Arkansas is one of a handful of states where it is illegal for local governments to pass anti-discrimination laws that cover classes of people not already protected under state law.

The Trump administration is rescinding protections for transgender students in public schools.

The move by the Justice and Education departments reverses guidance the Obama administration publicized in May 2016, which said a federal law known as Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

Local law enforcement officers have arrested some people who chose not to evacuate federal land near part of the Dakota Access Pipeline north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Most protesters had left earlier. At dusk, police moved back, and said they would not enter the camp at that time.

The Dakota Access Pipeline's route takes it over four states and nearly 1,200 miles, from the Bakken oil fields in northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and down to a terminal in Illinois.

But one Missouri River crossing just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota has become the focal point of a fight over how the pipeline's route was analyzed and approved by the federal government.

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked an attempt by state health officials to remove Medicaid funds from Planned Parenthood, allowing the women's health provider to remain in the federal program at least until a lawsuit is settled.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he will appeal the decision, which he said "is disappointing and flies in the face of basic human decency," the Dallas Morning News reported.

Early Wednesday morning, a space capsule carrying 5,500 pounds of cargo approached the International Space Station.

Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos has resigned amid a social media backlash over comments he made that appeared to condone pedophilia.

In a news conference Tuesday, Yiannopoulos said his resignation was effective immediately and praised the website as "a significant factor in my success."

He also explained his views on sex with minors, insisting that he does not condone statutory rape.

The United Nations says people are dying of starvation in north-central South Sudan, and it has issued a formal famine declaration for part of the country.

In all, nearly 5 million South Sudanese people do not have enough food, according to the U.N.'s food security arm, and that number is expected to rise to 5.5 million by the agricultural lean times in midsummer.

Of those, at least 100,000 people are at immediate risk of starving to death.

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A federal appeals court says doctors in Florida must be allowed to discuss guns with their patients, striking down portions of a Florida law that restricts what physicians can say to patients about firearm ownership.

The economy in southwestern Pennsylvania has been hit twice, once by the collapse of big mining and steel employers, and again by the environmental destruction that accompanied those industries.

It's a part of the country that voted heavily for Donald Trump.

Ashley Funk grew up an hour outside Pittsburgh. The area feels kind of left behind with buildings named after mining companies and polluted ponds turned fluorescent, alarming colors.

The highest court in Washington state says a florist violated the state's anti-discrimination law when she refused to provide floral services to a gay couple.

Yahoo is warning some of its users that their accounts might have been breached by intruders using forged cookies, allowing them to access private information without knowing users' passwords.

Cookies are pieces of code stored by browsers to, among other things, keep track of whether a user is logged into a password-protected account. They're also used for innocuous functions, such as keeping track of online shopping cart contents.

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

A 23-year-old man who was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents in Seattle on Feb. 10 says his constitutional rights have been violated, and he is suing the U.S. government for his release.

Daniel Ramirez Medina, who is currently being held by immigration authorities in Tacoma, Wash., is registered with the U.S. government under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

After two days of round-the-clock work to control water flowing over the Oroville Dam in Northern California, people who live downstream of the structure are allowed to return to their homes, officials announced Tuesday.

Nearly 200,000 people were affected by evacuations after water scoured enormous holes in two of the dam's concrete spillways beginning Sunday, raising concerns that the tallest dam in the country could fail.

In California, construction crews are trying to lower the level of Lake Oroville and repair emergency spillways at the Oroville Dam, about 75 miles north of Sacramento, to prevent catastrophic flooding downstream.

A secondary spillway was opened Monday after the main spillway, which is supposed to safely release water when the lake level is too high, had developed a huge hole, as we reported.

Health insurance companies Aetna and Humana have called off their planned merger, citing a federal court ruling last month that blocked the deal.

"While we continue to believe that a combined company would create greater value for health care consumers through improved affordability and quality, the current environment makes it too challenging to continue pursuing the transaction," Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said in a statement.

One of the sons of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky faces child sexual abuse charges in Centre County, Pa.

NPR's Jeff Brady reported that the charges against 41-year-old Jeffrey Sandusky come more than four years after his father was convicted of child sexual abuse.

"Jeffrey Sandusky was charged with 14 counts that include child sexual abuse and child pornography. His adoptive father, former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, was convicted in 2012 of abusing 10 boys," Jeff reported.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl appeared before a military judge for a hearing on Monday at Fort Bragg, N.C. He is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy for leaving his base in Afghanistan in 2009.

The defense is arguing that Bergdahl cannot get a fair trial because Donald Trump has personally commented on the case, including referring to Bergdahl as a traitor and insinuating that he should be thrown out of a plane without a parachute.

Gov. John Kasich has put Ohio executions on hold until May, citing a legal challenge to the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol.

The governor's office released a statement saying it had postponed the execution dates for the next eight prisoners on death row, including the next prisoner to die, Ronald Phillips, who had his date moved from next Wednesday to May 10.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a unanimous ruling that upheld a lower federal court's decision to temporarily block a Jan. 27 executive order on immigration.

The order suspends new-refugee admissions for 120 days, bans Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocks travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia — for 90 days.

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