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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in one of the many routine, get-acquainted chats he'll have before entering the White House.

These talks rarely if ever make news, but Wednesday's conversation raised eyebrows because Trump lavished praise on Sharif and Pakistan despite years of tension between the two countries.

Here's part of the read-out of their conversation, as released by Pakistan's Press Information Department:

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., is a stately old building with turrets, arches and a clock tower soaring 300 feet into the air. Inside, the lobby is equally impressive with massive chandeliers, a grand staircase and a glass ceiling 10 floors up.

The 263-room hotel is without doubt luxurious. But it could also represent a massive conflict of interest for President-elect Donald Trump once he takes office.

After Donald Trump is sworn in as president on Jan. 20, he will follow a time-honored tradition and make his way from the U.S. Capitol down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Along the way, just a few blocks before he reaches the White House, he'll pass the Trump International Hotel. The 263-room luxury hotel is becoming the focus of a debate over conflict of interest between Trump and his business dealings.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It appears the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sweeping free trade deal that would link the U.S. with 11 Pacific Rim nations, is on its deathbed. The deal, which President Obama hoped would be part of his legacy, was slammed by President-elect Donald Trump during the election campaign, and Republicans made it clear they wouldn't consider it during the lame duck session.

One of China's wealthiest men has been on a buying spree in Hollywood, snapping up cinemas and movie production companies. Now Wang Jianlin, the chairman of the Beijing-based Dalian Wanda Group has acquired another piece of Americana: Dick Clark Productions.

Call it a win for the Walloons.

The Belgian government says it has broken a deadlock over a major trade agreement between the European Union and Canada, known as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. The deal had been held up in the final days by Wallonia, a tiny French-speaking enclave in the small country of Belgium.

The Walloons still aren't budging.

Thursday is supposed to be signing day in Brussels for a major free trade agreement between Canada and the European Union, an agreement seven years in the making, which involves 29 countries with a combined population of more than 500 million.

The media was lined up. Special pens were set aside. VIPs were making travel plans, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and many European leaders.

But the Walloons are still saying, "No deal."

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When foreign leaders loot their homelands, they sometimes like to stash their valuables in the U.S. Yachts, mansions and artwork have all been purchased in America with laundered money, according the the U.S. Justice Department.

It happens often enough that the department has set up a special unit dedicated to tracking down international kleptocrats.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The U.S. and the Philippines are long-standing allies, but you would never know it from the way President Rodrigo Duterte is talking these days.

Since his election in June, Duterte has been unleashing anti-American rhetoric, which has included demands that the U.S. withdraw special operations forces helping to fight Islamists in the southern Philippines. He has also threatened to cancel joint naval patrols and warns this will be the last year the two countries will hold joint military exercises, saying they haven't benefited the Philippines.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

There are still skeptics and lots of potential problems, but a tentative airplane deal between Boeing and Iran seems to be moving forward.

A provisional agreement has been signed for the sale or lease of more than 100 Boeing aircraft to Iran's national carrier over the next decade. The price tag is $20 billion.

If it goes through — and there are still unresolved questions — the deal could bring a windfall to Boeing, badly needed commercial jets to Iran Air, and encourage international companies still wary of doing business with the Islamic Republic.

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.

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