Camila Domonoske | KERA News

Camila Domonoske

Camila Flamiano Domonoske covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR's Business Desk.

She got her start at NPR with the Arts Desk, where she edited poetry reviews, wrote and produced stories about books and culture, edited four different series of book recommendation essays, and helped conceive and create NPR's first-ever Book Concierge.

With NPR's Digital News team, she edited, produced, and wrote news and feature coverage on everything from the war in Gaza to the world's coldest city. She also curated the NPR home page, ran NPR's social media accounts, and coordinated coverage between the web and the radio. For NPR's Code Switch team, she has written on language, poetry and race. For NPR's Two-Way Blog/News Desk, she covered breaking news on all topics.

As a breaking news reporter, Camila appeared live on-air for Member stations, NPR's national shows, and other radio and TV outlets. She's written for the web about police violence, deportations and immigration court, history and archaeology, global family planning funding, walrus haul-outs, the theology of hell, international approaches to climate change, the shifting symbolism of Pepe the Frog, the mechanics of pooping in space, and cats ... as well as a wide range of other topics.

She was a regular host of NPR's daily update on Facebook Live, "Newstime" and co-created NPR's live headline contest, "Head to Head," with Colin Dwyer.

Every now and again, she still slips some poetry into the news.

Camila graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina.

America is stocking up on food, thermometers — and hair dye.

The latest sales data from Nielsen shows how our lives have been affected by widespread social distancing and, in some areas, mandatory lockdowns, as the world tries to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Medical device manufacturers are asking the Trump administration to step in and centralize the distribution of ventilators, life-saving devices that are in desperately short supply because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Hospitals and medical workers across the country are issuing desperate pleas for donations of respirators, to protect the doctors and nurses who are exposed to the coronavirus as they fight to save lives. The country faces an alarming shortage of the protective equipment.

The medical community is sounding increasingly urgent alarms about shortages of masks, gloves and ventilators — essential supplies in the fight against the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, President Trump has issued contradictory statements about whether his administration is ordering private companies to ramp up production of those items.

As shutdowns and cancellations became more widespread last week, buyers continued stocking up on disinfectants and canned goods (and so much oat milk!). As anyone who went shopping can attest, there was also a run on toilet paper.

But according to Nielsen, Americans also increasingly bought snacks for stress-eating — like potato chips and chocolate. And they were filling the fridge with fresh produce and perishables like meat and eggs.

Some parts of the economy are grappling with pandemic-driven shortages. The oil industry has the opposite problem: so much extra oil that it's not clear where to put it all.

With millions of people not taking trips, commuting or flying, the world's appetite for oil has come crashing down, thanks to the coronavirus.

Updated at 3:32 p.m. ET

U.S. automakers are assessing whether they can convert their plants to manufacture critical medical equipment, like ventilators, that will be in short supply as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.

At a Safeway in Washington, D.C., this week, 19-year-old Tala Jordan was having trouble checking items off her shopping list.

Fresh meat: Nope. Milk: Nope. Eggs?

"I got liquid eggs instead," she said. "Had to compromise somehow."

Jordan was shopping for a family of four — her sister, mom and grandmother. And like families across America, they saw others making a rush to buy goods and figured they should stock up as well.

Updated at 8:51 p.m. ET

Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are suspending production at their North American plants at least through March 30, to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The United Auto Workers, the autoworkers union, had been pushing for a two-week shutdown because of worker safety concerns.

The coronavirus pandemic has already started to hit American pocketbooks, with nearly 1 in 5 households experiencing a layoff or a reduction in work hours, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

As people stay home, avoid crowds and cancel plans to avoid spreading the disease, it's rapidly causing a contraction in economic activity that is hurting a wide range of businesses.

Updated at 3:04 p.m. ET

We've seen pictures of people lining up at grocery stores, Costco and other retailers looking for essential supplies as the coronavirus crisis deepens. Sure, hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant and cleaners are among the most popular items sought out by panicked shoppers. But they're also buying a lot more oat milk and canned goods.

Gasoline prices are falling fast, driven by the coronavirus pandemic and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

That means savings for drivers, but benefits might be out-shadowed by the economic costs of both the viral outbreak and the collapse of crude prices.

Updated at 10:52 p.m. ET

Oil prices and stock indexes were in freefall Sunday after Saudi Arabia announced a stunning discount in oil prices — of $6 to $8 per barrel — to its customers in Asia, the United States and Europe.

Jet fuel-guzzling Delta Air Lines and fossil fuel-pumping BP are vowing to go carbon neutral.

Irresponsibility — by carmaker Tesla and by a Tesla driver — contributed to a deadly crash in California in 2018, federal investigators say.

The driver appears to have been playing a game on a smartphone immediately before his semi-autonomous 2017 Model X accelerated into a concrete barrier. Distracted by his phone, he did not intervene to steer his car back toward safety and was killed in the fiery wreck.

But Tesla should have anticipated that drivers would misuse its "autopilot" feature like this and should build in more safeguards to prevent deadly crashes.

In 2017, Susan Fowler published a blog post that shook Silicon Valley. Her matter-of-fact account of sexism, sexual harassment and "unrelenting chaos" on Uber's software teams prompted a reckoning that brought down CEO Travis Kalanick.

As electric cars grow in popularity and visibility, experts say a revolution is coming in a place most people overlook: corporate and municipal fleets.

The scooter company Lime is the latest firm to announce that it plans to completely remove gas- and diesel-powered vehicles from its fleet and power its new electric work vehicles with renewable energy.

Around the turn of the millennium, General Motors made a decision: Electric cars were out. Giant trucks were a hit.

So the company abandoned its pioneering electric vehicle — not just stopping production but pulling cars off the road and crushing them. And it went all-in on the gas-guzzling military-style behemoth called the Hummer.

For the vast majority of Americans, helicopters are hardly a routine form of transportation. But a high-profile helicopter disaster — like the crash in Calabasas, Calif., that killed Kobe Bryant and eight other people on Sunday — can draw widespread attention to helicopter safety.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has always had ambitious goals. Make electric cars cool, save the world, all while making money as a brand new car manufacturer.

And from the start some people have been confident that he would fail. So they shorted Tesla stock — placing a bet that the company's stock value would collapse.

So far, that has been a phenomenally bad bet.

In the first two weeks of 2020 alone, short sellers were down some $2.6 billion, according to Ihor Dusaniwsky, the head of predictive analytics at S3 Partners.

Microsoft has announced an ambitious plan to not just reduce its carbon emissions, but to actively remove carbon from the atmosphere — going "carbon negative" by 2030.

And by 2050, the tech giant pledges it will "remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975."

Maersk — the world's largest container shipping company — has an astonishing goal. By 2050, the company vows to send goods — everything from electronics to soybeans to sneakers — around the world with zero carbon emissions.

The environmental logic behind such a promise is straightforward: Shipping contributes substantially to global climate change.

But the business case is not as obvious.

Updated at 1:49 p.m. ET

Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, is preparing to enter the stock market by the end of 2019, through a merger with an existing company.

It would be the first spaceflight company to be publicly owned; Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX are both privately held.

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Henry Ford invented the affordable automobile.

And, together, the brilliant best friends also invented the great American road trip!

OK, yes, that's a stretch. But it's the kind of puffed-up exaggeration the two publicity hounds would have delighted in, as author Jeff Guinn makes clear in his new book The Vagabonds.

Lee Iacocca, one of the best known auto executives, died Tuesday. He was 94.

Iacocca was a top executive at two of America's largest car companies — Ford and Chrysler. His career spanned decades and several generations. He was known for developing the Mustang and bringing the minivan to scores of American family garages, as well as orchestrating a remarkable turnaround at Chrysler.

His daughter Lia Iacocca Assad confirmed his death to NPR in a phone call.

OPEC used to shift world oil markets with a single announcement. These days, the Saudi-led organization needs help from some key partners — most significantly Russia — to exert that kind of influence.

The expanded alliance, which also includes Kazakhstan, Mexico and other nations, is known as "OPEC+." And on Monday and Tuesday, OPEC+ made its unofficial expansion a little more official.

Member and non-member states have agreed on a "Charter of Cooperation" to formalize their relationship, pending approval from individual governments.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

OPEC and other allied major oil producers have agreed to extend crude oil production cuts for nine months, a move designed to keep oil prices from falling as U.S. production increases and concerns grow about global demand.

Crude oil prices rose after early reports of OPEC's decision. However, prices are not expected to rise dramatically, as countries that don't cooperate with OPEC — like the United States — have enough capacity to meet projected growth in demand.

Alex Schefer loves his Teslas — the Model S he and his wife use to tote their kids around, the Roadster that's part of their premium car-sharing club.

But he's been waiting not-so-patiently to have some other options for luxury electric vehicles.

"This car came out in 2012," he says, from behind the wheel of his Model S. "In 2015, Porsche said, 'Hey, we're gonna make this Mission E.' And that's great. I love Porsches, but now it's 2019 and I still can't buy one."

Many new cars sold today can take preemptive action to help prevent crashes — hitting the brakes before a collision, steering around obstacles or alerting drivers to hazards in their blind spots.

Those safety features — collectively known as advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS — reduce the risk of crashes. It might seem logical to assume that as a result, they'd reduce the cost of car insurance.

Updated at 9:13 p.m. ET

Seventeen of the world's largest automakers have asked the White House and the state of California to restart talks and come up with one set of greenhouse gas standards for cars.

The Trump administration has been pushing to roll back regulations, while California has been holding tight to its tougher rules for auto emissions. The carmakers, meanwhile, call for "common sense compromise."

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