Ashley Westerman

Ashley Westerman is a producer who occasionally directs the show. Since joining the staff in June 2015, she has produced a variety of stories including a coal mine closing near her hometown, the 2016 Republican National Convention, and the Rohingya refugee crisis in southern Bangladesh. She is also an occasional reporter for Morning Edition, and NPR.org, where she has contributed reports on both domestic and international news.

Ashley was a summer intern in 2011 with Morning Edition and pitched a story on her very first day. She went on to work as a reporter and host for member station 89.3 WRKF in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she earned awards covering everything from healthcare to jambalaya.

Ashley is an East-West Center 2018 Jefferson Fellow and a two-time reporting fellow with the International Center for Journalists. Through ICFJ, she has covered labor issues in her home country of the Philippines for NPR and health care in Appalachia for Voice of America.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

On Thursday, Palau and Taiwan launched what is being touted as "Asia's first travel bubble," with an inaugural flight from Taipei landing at Palau International Airport just after 7:30 p.m. local time.

Palau has recorded zero cases of coronavirus infection, and Taiwan has kept the virus largely in check since the start of the pandemic.

Bethany Long Newman says she saw herself in the victims of last week's shooting outside of Atlanta, when a gunman rampaged through three spas and killed eight people. Of the eight victims, six were women of Asian descent.

"When I first heard about it, I was immediately scared," says Newman, 32, of Chicago. "You kind of put yourself in their shoes a bit and think: This would happen to me — or my daughter."

For the first time in over two decades, the Pacific island territory of New Caledonia has a government made up mostly of pro-independence politicians, a historic turnover that analysts say could edge it toward becoming independent from France.

As President Biden pushes to get U.S. schools fully open soon, an art exhibit aims to help people visualize what it means that they're closed.

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