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.

Saudi Arabia is such an influential player in the oil industry that any action it takes — or is rumored to take — can sway global markets. So it's not surprising there's a lot of speculation about whether its massive state oil company, Saudi Aramco, is trying to buy a refinery in Texas.

Dozens of massive container ships are stranded at sea, looking for a place to dock after one of the world's largest shipping companies went bankrupt. Lars Jensen, the CEO of Sea Intelligence Consulting, which focuses on container shipping, says the container ships are operated by the South Korean-owned Hanjin Shipping company.

"It is some 85 to 90 vessels, and they really are scattered all over the world," he says.

Just over a month ago, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague issued two important rulings. One soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claim of sovereignty in the South China Sea. The other focused on whether China had caused environmental damage as it constructed artificial islands in the region to help prop up its claim.

Justin Trudeau has had a number of careers: schoolteacher, snowboard instructor, and since last year, prime minister of Canada. Now he's an action hero. A new issue of Civil War II from Marvel Comics, being released Aug. 31, has Trudeau facing evil-doers in the halls of Canada's Parliament — and in the boxing ring.

The front cover shows Trudeau sitting in the corner of a boxing ring, elbows resting on the ropes. He's wearing boxing shorts, a tank top emblazoned with a large maple leaf and a smile that's a bit difficult to read.

The massive container ships that ply the high seas bring us pineapples and mangoes in winter, and computers and cheap t-shirts all year round. But the shipping industry is a volatile, cyclical and ferociously competitive business. There are good years and bad years.

And then there's this year.

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It's vacation season. Your suitcase is packed and you've got your tickets in hand. And if you're heading overseas, you may want to check to see if the State Department has issued a travel alert or warning for your destination. Hardly a week goes by that some warning isn't issued, about everything from natural disasters to terrorist threats. These warnings can have a sharp impact on travelers — and diplomatic relations.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The U.S. is imposing a new round of sanctions on North Korea — this time for human rights abuses. The sanctions target senior officials, including leader Kim Jong Un, and are part of an ongoing effort by the U.S. to isolate the government. This is the first time that Kim has been directly targeted with sanctions.

The Obama administration says human rights abuses in North Korea are among the worst in the world.

From the moment it became clear Britain would be leaving the European Union, the Obama administration has been effusive in emphasizing the bond between the two nations. Secretary of State John Kerry reiterated in London on Monday that the U.S. "could not ask for a better friend and ally" than the U.K.

The decision is made and now comes the long and complicated job of decoupling the U.K. from the European Union. On paper, there is a tangled legal process, but it has never been tested and leaves some issues unaddressed.

Boeing says it has signed an agreement with Iran Air for the purchase of commercial passenger airplanes, making it the first major U.S. company to do business in Iran since sanctions were lifted earlier this year.

Boeing stopped selling planes to Iran following the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

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Glenn Brunkow is a fifth-generation corn and soybean farmer. He and his dad run a small farm about 30 miles from Topeka, Kan.

President Obama's decision to lift the arms embargo against Vietnam was about much more than selling weapons. It was about sending a message to China.

Not only may Vietnam begin buying American ships and surveillance equipment, it could also begin hosting regular visits by U.S. military units, including U.S. Navy warships at Cam Ranh Bay. Such trips would put American sailors square into waters that China is claiming it controls, making clear the U.S. rejects those claims and reassuring China's nervous neighbors in the region — or so Washington hopes.

Chinese companies are on a major shopping spree in the U.S. They're set to break a record for investment deals this year, snapping up everything from entertainment companies to methanol plants.

Most of these investments are takeovers, though Chinese companies are also expanding their existing operations to the U.S.

They include Fuling Plastic, one of China's largest manufacturers of plastic cutlery, cups and straws. Its biggest customers are fast food chains in the U.S.

For decades, the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders has been known for going places many other aid groups won't. But several times over the past two years its facilities have been hit by airstrikes in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan. And now the group must adapt to a more threatening world.

Raed Saleh, a Syrian national, landed at Dulles International Airport outside Washington on Monday afternoon after an 11-hour journey from Turkey. In his passport was a visa for the U.S.

He was planning to attend a Tuesday evening banquet in the capital where he was being honored for his rescue work in Syria. But as Saleh tried to make his way through immigration, he says, he was pulled aside by security at the airport.

As Canada's new leader, Justin Trudeau should by rights be moving into the official prime minister's residence in Ottawa. It was a place where he spent much of his childhood, when his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, led the nation. But after years of neglect, the 34-room riverfront mansion is in such bad repair that Trudeau and his family have to live elsewhere.

In 2012, Justin Trudeau, then a young member of the Canadian Parliament, stepped into a boxing ring at a charity event in Ottawa. His opponent, a heavily tattooed and much beefier senator named Patrick Brazeau, was favored to win by 3-to-1 odds.

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Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Iran and Boeing go way back. Boeing was the largest supplier of civilian aircraft to Iran before the country's 1979 Islamic revolution. And despite the fraught relations between the U.S. and Iran since then, Iran has kept flying those planes for decades.

As part of the recent Iranian nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions, Boeing is once again permitted to sell planes to the Islamic Republic. And Iran desperately wants to start replacing its fleet of aging, worn-out commercial aircraft.

When Saudi Arabia executed 47 people last week, it marked an ominous start to surpassing the number of people it put to death last year. Human rights groups believe at least 150 people were executed in the kingdom in 2015. Most were beheaded, killed by firing squad or stoned to death.

Bringing Syrian refugees to the U.S. has become an especially contentious issue. In Canada, however, they're being welcomed with open arms.

Roughly 600 Syrians from refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon will arrive by plane in Canada this evening. They're the first of 25,000 Syrians the new Canadian government wants to resettle by the end of February.

As the world's oil producers gather in Vienna, they are all hurting from prices that crashed a year ago and are hovering at a little over $40 a barrel. One country, Saudi Arabia, could probably drive up prices if it wanted to cut its production.

But the Saudis appear willing to endure the pain rather than make a move that would help rivals like Iran and Russia.

The Canadian government has had to scale back ambitious plans to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year.

The pledge by Canada's new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, to bring in the refugees helped sweep him to power in last month's elections. But the Paris attacks and the daunting logistics of the plan forced Canada to extend that deadline.

The government unveiled its updated plans on Tuesday. Its says it hopes to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year and another 15,000 by the end of February.

Some Americans have taken to Twitter and threatened to move to Canada if the U.S. welcomes Syrian refugees. Perhaps they haven't been paying attention to news north of the border.

Justin Trudeau's campaign pledge to resettle refugees in Canada helped sweep him into the prime minister's office last month. His new government is adamant it will go through with an ambitious plan to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees before the end of the year — just six weeks away.

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Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If you've bought a bottle of nice wine recently, you'll know that the costs have gone up. And the price of really fine wines – the ones that cost at least several hundred dollars – have doubled, tripled and more over the past few years.

As prices rise, so, too, do the number of thefts.

Prima restaurant in Walnut Grove, Calif., has a celebrated wine list, with a number of Bordeauxs and Burgundies that can set you back several thousand dollars. Thieves have successfully targeted those wines several times now.

A tragic incident this week in Yemen is intensifying scrutiny of a Saudi-led military campaign there, as well as the U.S. role in backing that Saudi offensive.

The Saudis are fighting rebels called Houthis who ousted the government. And while all sides are accused of abuses, increasing blame is turning toward the Saudis and their allies.

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