Jackie Northam

Jackie Northam is Foreign Affairs correspondent for NPR news. The veteran journalist has more than two decades of experience covering the world's hot spots and reporting on a broad tapestry of international and foreign policy issues.

Based in Washington, D.C., Northam is assigned to the leading stories of the day, traveling regularly overseas to report the news - from Afghanistan and Pakistan, to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Northam just completed a five year stint as NPR's National Security Correspondent, covering US defense and intelligence policies. She led the network's coverage of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, traveling regularly to the controversial base to report on conditions there, and on US efforts to prosecute detainees.

Northam spent more than a decade as a foreign correspondent. She reported from Beirut during the war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006, from Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and from Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. She lived in and reported extensively from Southeast Asia, Indochina, and Eastern Europe, where she charted the fall of communism.

While based in Nairobi, Kenya, Northam covered the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She managed to enter the country just days after the slaughter of ethnic Tutsis began by hitching a ride with a French priest who was helping Rwandans escape to neighboring Burundi.

A native of Canada, Northam's first overseas reporting post was London, where she spent seven years covering stories on Margaret Thatcher's Britain and efforts to create the European Union.

Northam has received multiple journalism awards during her career, including Associated Press awards, regional Edward R. Murrow awards, and was part of an NPR team journalists that won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

Lisa Hywood remembers the first time she ever set eyes on a pangolin. It was in 1994, and she had just founded the Tikki Hywood Trust, a wildlife conservation sanctuary in Zimbabwe. One morning, someone dropped off a strange-looking, injured creature that had been confiscated from an illegal trader.

"This animal arrived in a sack and smelling something horrendous," she recalls. "And I looked at this animal and I thought it's like no other mammal that I've ever encountered."

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The killing of Cecil, a Zimbabwean lion, by a dentist from Minnesota has turned an international spotlight on big game hunting. It's a thriving industry, with more than 1,000 organizations worldwide.

The U.S. State Department has taken Malaysia and Cuba off its list of worst human trafficking offenders — which many human rights advocates and U.S. lawmakers say has more to do with politics than facts on the ground.

The department's latest annual Trafficking in Persons Report also upgraded Uzbekistan and Angola, while Belize, Belarus and South Sudan were among 18 nations downgraded this year. Russia, Iran, Eritrea and Algeria are some of the countries that have been on the blacklist for years.

North Korea knows a little bit about drought and famine. In the 1990s, it's believed that up to 1 million North Koreans died in one of the worst famines of the 20th century.

So when Pyongyang issued a statement last month saying the country is facing its "worst drought in 100 years," it was taken seriously.

$100 billion: That's roughly how much the U.S. Treasury Department says Iran stands to recover once sanctions are lifted under the new nuclear deal. The money comes from Iranian oil sales and has been piling up in some international banks over the past few years. But there are questions about what Iran will do with this windfall.

It's rare that a world leader will cancel a planned state visit to the White House, but that's what happened two years ago when Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff found out that the U.S. had been spying on her and her top aides.

The Brazilian leader is now trying to let bygones be bygones, and is in Washington, D.C., to visit with President Obama.

Southeast Asia is becoming a booming market for U.S. defense companies. Countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand are spending billions to upgrade and expand their defense systems. At the heart of this shopping spree is anxiety over China.

But American defense companies have plenty of competition.

Southeast Asian countries have been steadily building up their defense systems over the past decade — some more than others. But the pace has picked up recently, says Anthony Nelson, with the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council.

Melting ice in the Arctic is creating opportunities for access to oil and gas, and shipping lanes. But the area is still mostly frozen and navigating the inhospitable region on top of the world still requires an icebreaker, the heavy duty ships that are able to crash through massive layers of ice.

The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for search-and-rescue missions, as well as protecting the environment and defending U.S. sovereignty. The U.S. is one of five countries with territorial claims to the land and waters of the Arctic (The others are Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark.).

Saudi Arabia is proposing a temporary truce in neighboring Yemen to help get humanitarian aid into the country, but the offer is contingent on whether Houthi rebels also agree to lay down their arms.

Saudi Arabia's newly-installed foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir, announced the proposal at a news conference Thursday with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in Riyadh for talks about war in Yemen.

The fighting in Yemen has expanded from the major cities and ports to a border region with Saudi Arabia. Shelling by Shiite Houthi rebels in the area of Najran in northwestern Yemen has forced Saudi Arabia to suspend school and halt flights into the local airports, according to news reports.

This latest flashpoint comes nearly six weeks into a Saudi-led air campaign to stop the Houthis and their allies, security forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, from taking control of Yemen.

Naval Forces from 10 NATO countries and Sweden have launched a massive anti-submarine exercise in the Norwegian Sea. The two-week exercise, dubbed Dynamic Mongoose, brings together thousands of NATO troops, and dozens of vessels, including submarines, that will practice hunting, attacking and avoiding detection, according to news reports.

Israeli leaders are urging calm after violence marred a night of protests in Tel Aviv by the country's Ethiopian community. Dozens of people were injured, including many police officers, and dozens were arrested, according to news reports.

NPR's Emily Harris reports that people protesting treatment of Ethiopian-Israelis chanted peacefully near Tel Aviv City Hall on Sunday. "Later, police and demonstrators fought — with stones and bottles, tear gas and flash grenades," she says.

When Marilyn Mosby was elected in January as state's attorney for the city of Baltimore, it's unlikely she had any inkling that just four months later she would be thrust into the national spotlight.

But as Mosby stood behind a bank of microphones Friday and announced criminal charges - including murder and manslaughter — against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, it looked as though she was born into the job.

Newly released documents from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration show that it initially declined to grant a medical certificate to Andreas Lubitz, the pilot who is believed to have intentionally crashed an airline into the French Alps last month.

The documents, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, provide an eerie glimpse into Lubitz's mental history and an effort to conceal that from U.S. medical examiners.

In a historic address to Congress, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid out his vision for a stronger alliance with the U.S. and expressed condolences for his country's behavior during World War II.

Abe received a standing ovation as he entered the House chamber and shook hands with several lawmakers. He is the first Japanese Prime Minister to address a joint meeting of Congress, and his speech caps several days of high-profile meetings and agreements that bolster Japan's standing as America's closest Asian ally. Abe called it an alliance of hope.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has issued a series of royal decrees bringing about a dramatic reshuffling in the line of succession and ushering in a younger generation to take up key ministerial positions.

This is the second major shake-up to the ranks of power in the kingdom since the 79-year-old Salman assumed the throne Jan. 23.

(There are roughly 15,000 princes and princesses in Saudi Arabia, but power is consolidated among a few. You can follow along with this helpful Wall Street Journal family tree.)

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET:

As the curfew declared by Baltimore's mayor goes into effect, a number of protesters — hundreds, according to The Associated Press — are refusing to leave the streets, and are facing off against gathered police officers.

Protesters threw objects at the police when they first advanced on the crowd, and police responded with smoke grenades and flash grenades at about 10:25 p.m.

To the southeast, National Guard troops could be seen stationed in the city's Inner Harbor entertainment district.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is in the U.S. this week for a tightly packed visit that will focus largely on the strong ties between the U.S. and its closest Asian ally.

There was a time not so long ago that the prime minister's office in Tokyo appeared to have a revolving door. Japan went through four prime ministers during President Obama's first three years in office.

Italian prosecutors say the ship carrying hundreds of migrants that sank over the weekend most likely crashed against a cargo ship that had come to its rescue.

Merchant ships are often called on to help rescue migrants on vessels attempting to cross the Mediterranean. So when a distress call went out late Saturday evening from the overloaded migrant vessel, commercial vessels in the region responded.

Iran is charging a Washington Post reporter with four crimes, including espionage, the newspaper said today. This is the first time the precise charges against Jason Rezaian, the Post's bureau chief in Tehran, have been made public since he was detained by the Iranian authorities nine months ago.

It has been a decade in the making, but when completed, it will be a free trade agreement to beat all others — representing 40 percent of the world's economy.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, agreement would bring together the economies of the U.S., Japan, Australia and nine other Pacific Rim nations, allowing the free trade of everything from agriculture to automobiles and textiles to pharmaceuticals.

President Obama said Friday that the deal is critical for the U.S. market.

A senior Ukrainian journalist known for his pro-Russia stance has been shot dead in Kiev, one day after a former pro-Russia lawmaker was found dead in the Ukrainian capital.

Oles Buzyna, 45, had recently resigned as editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Sevodnya. Ukraine's interior ministry said in a statement that he was killed Thursday afternoon by two masked gunmen shooting from a passing car, according to The Associated Press.

"The exhibition of profound grief was such as I have never seen equalled. Several overcome by their emotion, sat down upon the very ground and wept."

That was how Thomas Nelson, a U.S. minister to Chile, described the reaction of ordinary citizens in Spain to the news of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in Washington this week, trying to drum up financial and military support for his country. His first stop today was the White House, where he met with President Obama.

The administration promised $200 million in humanitarian assistance for Iraqis uprooted by violence. But the heart of the discussion was the joint fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

Four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards have been handed decades-long sentences, ending a case stemming from the deadly shootings of dozens of Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Three of the guards — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — were each handed down 30-year sentences for voluntary and attempted manslaughter. Nicholas Slatten was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder.

A handwritten notebook by Alan Turing, the British mathematician credited with breaking German codes during World War II, sold for more than $1 million at auction Monday in New York. It is the first time a manuscript by Turing, a pioneer in computer science, has come to public market, according to Bonhams.

Bonhams says it is currently unable to reveal the identity of the buyer.

They may not be the most attractive creatures in the world, and they scare the life out of many people, but you have to feel bad for the bat.

Millions of them are dying across the Northeast, the Midwest and parts of the South, from a disease called White Nose Syndrome, named for a white fungus that crusts their faces.

Seven species of bats are being decimated by White Nose Syndrome; the hardest-hit species is the northern long-eared bat. Last week, the federal government listed it as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Pakistan's high court has released on bail the alleged mastermind behind the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, India, that left more than 160 people dead. Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi walked out of a jail Friday in the Pakistani garrison town of Rawalpindi.

The move is likely to strain already frayed relations between India and Pakistan. India lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over Lakhvi's release, according to the Times of India.

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