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.

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3:36pm

Tue June 9, 2015
Parallels

Anxious About China, Asian Nations Buy More U.S. Military Hardware

Originally published on Tue June 9, 2015 6:57 pm

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, right, and Vietnam's Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh review the guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Defense Ministry in Hanoi, Vietnam, on June 1. The U.S., Russia, France, the U.K. and other countries are all jockeying to sell military equipment to Southeast Asian countries.
Hoang Dinh Nam Reuters/Landov

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.

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4:12pm

Mon June 1, 2015
Parallels

As The Arctic Opens Up, The U.S. Is Down To A Single Icebreaker

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 10:46 pm

The Polar Star completes ice drills in the Arctic in July 2013. Built in the 1970s and only meant to last 30 years, the vessel is the U.S. Coast Guard's only heavy icebreaker.
U.S. Coast Guard Reuters/Landov

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.).

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12:07pm

Thu May 7, 2015
The Two-Way

Saudi Arabia Proposes A 5-Day Truce In Yemen

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir held a joint news conference Thursday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Andrew Harnik AP

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.

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1:21pm

Tue May 5, 2015
The Two-Way

New Fighting Along Yemen Border Closes Schools And Airports

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 4:05 pm

An airport official walks past a military aircraft destroyed by Saudi-led airstrikes, at the Sanaa International airport in Yemen on Tuesday. Destroyed runways prevent aid from being delivered.
Hani Mohammed AP

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.

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5:34pm

Mon May 4, 2015
The Two-Way

NATO Forces Launch Largest Anti-Submarine Exercises Ever Off Norway Coast

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 6:38 pm

Helicopter belonging to the Netherlands participates in NATO's Dynamic Mongoose anti-submarine exercise in the North Sea, off the coast of Norway, on May 4, 2015.
MARIT HOMMEDAL AFP/Getty Images

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.

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1:29pm

Mon May 4, 2015
The Two-Way

Israel Braces For More Protests By Minority Ethiopian Community

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 4:46 pm

Israeli police officers detain an Ethiopian-Israeli during a demonstration Sunday in Tel Aviv.
Tsafrir Abayov AP

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.

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6:06pm

Fri May 1, 2015
The Two-Way

PROFILE: Young Prosecutor In Gray Case Shows No Tolerance For Police Misconduct

Originally published on Sat May 2, 2015 12:12 am

Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announces that criminal charges will be filed against Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore on Friday. Gray died in police custody after being arrested on April 12.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

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.

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4:32pm

Thu April 30, 2015
The Two-Way

Documents Show FAA Questioned Mental Fitness of Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz

September 13, 2015 photo of Andreas Lubitz, who is believed to have deliberately crashed Germanwings flight 9525 into a mountain in southern France on March 24, 2015, killing all 150 people on board.
Getty Images Getty Images

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.

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3:08pm

Wed April 29, 2015
The Two-Way

Japan's Prime Minister Makes Historic Address To Congress

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is greeted by members before speaking to a joint meeting of Congress, the first Japanese prime minister to do so.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

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.

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1:05pm

Wed April 29, 2015
The Two-Way

Game Of Thrones: Saudi King Shakes Up Line Of Succession

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 11:34 am

Saudi King Salman (center) appears alongside then-Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz (third from left) and then-deputy Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef (left) in January. Muqrin has since been pushed aside to make way for Mohammed.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

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.)

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12:35pm

Tue April 28, 2015
The Two-Way

As Curfew Goes Into Effect, Baltimore Police Clear Defiant Crowds

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 7:05 am

A man on a bicycle greets Maryland state troopers on Tuesday in the aftermath of rioting in Baltimore.
Matt Rourke AP

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.

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4:22pm

Mon April 27, 2015
Politics

U.S., Japan Announce Updated Defense Guidelines

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 8:14 pm

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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4:35am

Mon April 27, 2015
The Two-Way

For Japan's Prime Minister, U.S. Visit A Chance To Elevate Image

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 5:42 pm

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter earlier this month in Tokyo. Abe's visit to the U.S. this week features an agreement for the Japanese military to have a more active role.
Franck Robichon AP

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.

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3:50am

Wed April 22, 2015
Parallels

Merchant Ships Called On To Aid Migrants In Mediterranean Feel The Strain

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 2:22 pm

The King Jacob, a Portuguese-flagged cargo vessel, was the first ship to arrive near the migrant boat that sank off the Libyan coast over the weekend. The boat had been carrying more than 800 people.
Alessandro Fucarini AP

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.

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1:59pm

Mon April 20, 2015
The Two-Way

Iran Charges 'Washington Post' Reporter With Espionage

Jason Rezaian, an Iranian-American correspondent for the Washington Post, faces four serious charges, including espionage, according to his lawyer. He's shown in 2013.
Vahid Salemi AP

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.

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3:19pm

Fri April 17, 2015
The Two-Way

Why A Blockbuster Of A Trade Deal With Asia Matters

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 5:51 pm

Freighters wait to unload cargo at the Tanjung Pagar container port in Singapore.
Roslan Rahman AFP/Getty Images

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.

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11:32am

Thu April 16, 2015
The Two-Way

Pro-Russia Journalist Shot Dead In Ukraine

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 12:34 pm

Oles Buzyna, a Ukrainian journalist seen here in 2012 who was known for his pro-Russia views, was gunned down in broad daylight in Kiev on Thursday.
Sergei Vaganov AP

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.

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3:10pm

Wed April 15, 2015
The Two-Way

Documents Show Global Outpouring Of Grief Over Lincoln's Assassination

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 4:24 pm

An engraving of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington on April 14, 1865. Lincoln died the next day.
De Agostini Picture Library De Agostini/Getty Images

"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.

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6:28pm

Tue April 14, 2015
The Two-Way

Iraqi Leader Visits Washington Looking For Help In Fight Against Islamic State

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and President Obama meet at the White House on Tuesday. The prime minister is visiting to discuss the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

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.

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5:15pm

Mon April 13, 2015
The Two-Way

Blackwater Security Guards Handed Lengthy Sentences For Iraqi Killings

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 8:53 pm

Former Blackwater security guards were sentenced Monday for the shooting of dozens of Iraqi civilians in Nisour Square in Baghdad, Iraq. The square is seen here on Sept. 20, 2007, four days after the incident.
Khalid Mohammed AP

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.

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2:44pm

Mon April 13, 2015
The Two-Way

Alan Turing Notebook Sells For More Than $1 Million At Auction

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 3:36 pm

A page from the notebook of World War II code-breaking genius Alan Turing is displayed along with his portrait. The 56-page manuscript sold Monday for more than $1 million.
Kin Cheung AP

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.

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6:09pm

Sat April 11, 2015
The Two-Way

Federal Government Protects Bat, Angers Industry

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 9:04 pm

An undated file photo provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources of a northern long-eared bat. A fungal disease has devastated the species, now listed as threatened.
AP

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.

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4:06pm

Fri April 10, 2015
The Two-Way

Alleged Mastermind Of 2008 Mumbai Attack Out On Bail

Originally published on Fri April 10, 2015 5:25 pm

Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, accused of plotting the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, raises a fist outside a court in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Jan. 1. Lakhvi was released on bail Friday.
B.K. Bangash AP

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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11:57am

Wed April 8, 2015
The Two-Way

Royal Dutch Shell's $70 Billion Deal For BG Would Create Gas Giant

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 2:00 pm

A flag bearing the logo of Royal Dutch Shell flies outside the head office in The Hague, Netherlands. The energy company said Wednesday that it has agreed to buy gas producer BG Group for $70 billion.
Peter Dejong AP

Petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell says it has agreed to buy the BG Group for about $70 billion in cash and shares — in what would be one of the biggest energy mergers in at least a decade.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports that the deal for British BG Group would "put Shell on track to become the world's largest publicly traded oil and gas company within a few years, bypassing ExxonMobil."

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4:57pm

Tue April 7, 2015
The Two-Way

Is It Time To Resurrect The Brontosaurus?

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 4:46 pm

A life-size replica of a Brontosaurus towers above park goers on Christmas day in 2006 in Manila, Philippines.
Pat Roque AP

The Brontosaurus may be back.

Not that it ever really went away, at least not in the minds of generations of people who grew up watching Fred Flintstone devour one of his beloved Brontosaurus burgers.

But if you're a scientist, you have to stick to the rules, and in 1903, the name Brontosaurus was struck from the record. That was when paleontologist Elmer Riggs deemed that the Brontosaurus was really just a different dinosaur, Apatosaurus.

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2:12pm

Tue April 7, 2015
The Two-Way

Power Outages Hit Parts Of Washington, D.C., Including The White House

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 3:19 pm

Visitors to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum wait for it to reopen after widespread power outages caused many of the buildings along the National Mall in Washington to shut down temporarily on Tuesday.
Andrew Harnik AP

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

Large portions of Washington, D.C., were hit by power outages Tuesday, momentarily plunging the White House and other buildings into darkness.

The Pepco utility company says the culprit was a transmission line in southern Maryland that caused "a dip in voltage" shortly before 1 p.m. ET. The power company says there was never a loss of permanent supply of electricity, but the situation caused some customers to move to their backup systems, which is what caused the dip in voltage.

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1:49pm

Mon April 6, 2015
The Two-Way

StuckInYemen.com Website Offers To Help Americans Trapped In Yemen

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 3:05 pm

Smoke and flames reportedly from Shiite Houthi rebels camps rise over part of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on Monday. Fierce fighting has left people trapped, including U.S. citizens.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 2:40 p.m. ET.

Several Arab-American groups have launched a website to help U.S. citizens trapped by the fighting in Yemen.

StuckInYemen.com was created after the advocacy groups began hearing from mostly Yemeni-American citizens who reportedly were being told by the U.S. State Department that there are currently no evacuation plans for Yemen. The website addresses Yemeni-Americans, in particular, but is open to all U.S. citizens.

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6:25pm

Sat April 4, 2015
The Two-Way

Framework Nuclear Deal Could Be Good News For Iran's Oil Sector

Iranian oil workers gather at an oil refinery south of the capital Tehran, Dec. 22, 2014. Iran's oil exports have been crippled by sanctions.
Vahid Salemi AP

The framework nuclear deal reached with Iran this week could have an enormous impact on the global oil market. Sanctions, which have crippled the country's oil exports, could be lifted if a final nuclear agreement is signed at the end of June between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers.

Cliff Kupchan, a senior Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group, says oil exports brought in about 40 percent of the government's revenues. He says since sanctions were tightened in 2012, Iran's oil exports have fallen by almost a half.

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1:26pm

Thu April 2, 2015
The Two-Way

U.N. Report: 25,000 Foreign Fighters Joining Islamist Militant Groups

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 5:11 pm

A volunteer fighter with a Shiite militant group known as Jihad Brigades aims his weapon during clashes with Islamic State group militants last month outside Tikrit, Iraq.
AP

A new United Nations report says that more than 25,000 fighters have left their homes bound for Iraq, Syria and other countries to join terrorist networks such as the self-proclaimed Islamic State and the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front.

The report says the fighters hail from more than 100 countries worldwide, according to The Associated Press.

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3:11pm

Wed April 1, 2015
The Two-Way

Iraq Claims Victory Over Militants In Strategic City Of Tikrit

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 4:43 pm

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (left) tours Tikrit after it was retaken by security forces Wednesday, a key step in driving the militants out of their biggest strongholds.
AP

The Iraqi government says its security forces have retaken Tikrit from militants with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Recapturing the strategic city after a monthlong battle is considered a major setback for the jihadist group, also known as ISIS.

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