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.



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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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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.

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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Wed April 1, 2015
The Two-Way

U.S. Creates First Sanctions Program Against Cybercriminals

Dollar bills are reflected in a computer hard drive.
Thomas Trutschel Photothek via Getty Images

The U.S. wants to slap sanctions on cybercriminals. President Obama issued an executive order Wednesday creating the nation's first sanctions program to combat "malicious" cyberattacks and cyberspying.

President Obama said cyberthreats pose one of "the most serious economic and national security challenge" to the U.S., and that the executive order offers a "targeted tool" for countering that threat.

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Tue March 31, 2015
The Two-Way

Dozens Of Countries Join China-Backed Bank Opposed By Washington

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 6:24 pm

Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei (left) speaks during the signing ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank last year in Beijing.
Getty Images

Dozens of countries have slid under Tuesday's deadline to join a China-backed infrastructure development bank that is opposed by Washington.

U.S. allies such as South Korea and Australia were among the more than 40 nations that signed up at the last moment as founding members of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.

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Tue March 31, 2015
The Two-Way

Staff At Britain's Windsor Castle May Strike Over Low Wages

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 5:36 pm

Windsor Castle, home to the British monarchy for hundreds of years, was built by William the Conqueror in the 1070s, according to the monarchy's official website.
W. Buss De Agostini/Getty Images

Staff at Windsor Castle, one of Britain's most popular tourists sites, begin voting Tuesday on whether to go on strike over low wages. It is the first time Queen Elizabeth is facing such an action by members of the royal household.

The union representing 120 employees at Windsor Castle — everything from wardens to ticket office personnel — will ask members to decide whether to take action.

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Tue March 31, 2015
The Two-Way

Major Power Outage Darkens Dozens Of Cities In Turkey

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 3:10 pm

Parts of the subway system were shut down in the city of Bursa when a major power outage hit cities and provinces across Turkey on Tuesday.
Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

A massive power outage hit dozens of Turkish cities and provinces Tuesday, bringing public transportation services to a halt and disrupting businesses that have no backup power.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said officials are investigating all possible causes, including a terrorist attack, for the electricity shutoff across Turkey, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

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Mon March 30, 2015
The Two-Way

Airstrikes In Yemen Intensify, Hit Refugee Camp

Pakistani activists march in support of the Saudi government at a protest in Quetta on March 30, 2015. Pakistan is the latest country to join a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Saudi-led airstrikes intensified against Houthi rebels in Yemen. International aid agencies say one strike hit a camp for displaced people and refugees in the north of the country, killing at least 29 people and wounding many others.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says the strike hit the Al Mazraq refugee camp in an area controlled by the Houthis. The aid agency says at least 34 people were taken to a nearby hospital, and an additional 29 people were dead on arrival.

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Mon March 30, 2015
The Two-Way

Oops: World Leaders' Personal Data Mistakenly Released

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 1:28 pm

French President Francois Hollande (from left), President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia, in November 2014.
Glenn Hunt AP

With a single keystroke, the personal information of President Obama and 30 other world leaders was mistakenly released by an official with Australia's immigration office.

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Fri March 27, 2015
The Two-Way

Yemen's Turmoil Sparks Big Swings In The Global Oil Market

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 4:18 pm

Yemenis walk past near oil tankers that were burnt during clashes between Shiite Houthi rebels and their opponents in the capital, Sanaa, in September. Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes this week to counter the Houthis' offensive.
Mohammed Huwais AFP/Getty Images

The current upheaval in Yemen is a sharp reminder of the fragility of the global oil market. Airstrikes by Saudi Arabia against Houthi rebels in Yemen has stoked fears of a disruption to the supply market.

Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil producer, share a long border. While Yemen is only a small producer of crude oil, it controls the Bab el-Mandeb Strait at the southern entrance to the Red Sea.

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Fri March 27, 2015
The Two-Way

Saudi Arabia Pounds Rebel Targets In Yemen On 2nd Day Of Air Campaign

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 7:03 pm

A Houthi Shiite fighter stands guard Thursday as people search for survivors under the rubble of houses destroyed by Saudi airstrikes near Sanaa Airport in Yemen.
Hani Mohammed AP

Saudi Arabia unleashed another round of airstrikes today on its southern neighbor, Yemen. The warplanes targeted Houthi rebel targets, including air bases, in a bid to neutralize the militants' air defenses.

Explosions rocked the capital, Sanaa, and anti-aircraft guns could be heard returning fire, according to The Associated Press.

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Wed March 25, 2015
The Two-Way

U.S. Confirms It Is Supporting Saudi Military Operations In Yemen

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 7:00 am

People seek shelter amid gunfire at an army base in Yemen's southern port city of Aden on Wednesday.
Reuters /Landov

Update at 2 a.m. ET Thursday: U.S. Confirms It Is Supporting Saudi Military Operations

In a statement late Wednesday night, National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said:

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Tue March 24, 2015
The Two-Way

Russia Loses Bid To Deny Benefits To Spouses Of Gay U.N. Staff

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 6:04 pm

Flag of the United Nations
Steve Allen Getty Images

The United Nations has approved a plan to give family benefits to the spouses of same-sex employees if they are legally married.

Russia had led an effort to derail the plan, which was announced by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in July. But the U.N. General Assembly budget committee voted 80-43 against Russia's proposal.

There were 37 abstentions, and 33 countries did not vote. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria and China were among the countries that supported Russia.

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Tue March 24, 2015
The Two-Way

U.S. Providing Reconnaissance Flights Over Booby-Trapped Tikrit

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 2:01 pm

A volunteer fighter with a Shiite militant group known as Jihad Brigades fires his weapon during clashes with Islamic State militants outside Tikrit, Iraq, on Saturday.

The U.S. is providing surveillance flights over the besieged Iraqi city of Tikrit, where militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State remain holed up, protected by a defensive network of explosives and snipers.

NPR's Alice Fordman reports that a senior military official from the U.S.-led coalition against the militants, also known as ISIS, says the U.S. has been conducting reconnaissance missions over Tikrit since Saturday.

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Fri March 20, 2015
The Two-Way

Nation's Oldest Female Veteran Dies At 108

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 4:46 pm

President Obama and Vice President Biden visit with Lucy Coffey in the Vice President's Office of the White House on July 25, 2014.
Pete Souza The White House

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Lucy Coffey, the nation's oldest female military veteran, has died at the age of 108. She died Thursday in her sleep at her home in San Antonio, Texas. Her friend, Queta Marquez, a veterans' service officer, says Coffey had been sick for about a week and had a chronic cough, according to CBS.

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Thu March 19, 2015
The Two-Way

Prices For Chanel Handbags To Rise In Europe, Lower In Asia

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 8:49 am

A sales assistant arranges handbags inside a Chanel boutique at a shopping mall in central Guangzhou, China, in February 2014.
Alex Lee Reuters/Landov

A Chanel handbag is classic, designed to withstand upheavals in fashion and taste. But not price. The Paris-based fashion house has announced that the prices will go up in Europe, and down in Asia.

The move will affect the 11.12, the 2.55, and the Boy Bag models.

At the moment, there's a significant difference in cost between the two regions. Hana Ben-Shabat, a retail and consumer goods specialist at A.T. Kearney, tells NPR that a bag that costs $3,500 in Europe can run up to $6,000 in China.

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Wed March 18, 2015
The Two-Way

Britain Unveils A New 1-Pound Coin

The new 1-pound coin is expected to be released by 2017.
The Royal Mint

The Royal Mint in the U.K. has unveiled a new 1-pound coin that it says will be the world's most counterfeit-proof coin.

The 12-sided coin, which is set to be released by 2017, will still feature a likeness of Queen Elizabeth II on one side. But the "tails side" will have a new design representing the four symbols of the U.K.: an English rose, a leek for Wales, a Scottish thistle and shamrock for Northern Ireland. They emerge from a single stem within a crown.

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Wed March 18, 2015
The Two-Way

Protesters, Police Clash At Opening Of European Central Bank Headquarters

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 6:15 pm

A protester holds a stone as police use water cannons on crowds near the new headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.
Michael Probst AP

Anti-capitalist demonstrators and police battled Wednesday outside the European Central Bank's new headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. Police cars were set on fire and nearby streets were blockaded with burning tires while a ceremony got underway inside to inaugurate the $1 billion-plus building.

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Wed March 18, 2015
The Two-Way

Gunmen Storm Tunisian Museum In Deadly Attack

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 1:41 pm

Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' famed National Bardo Museum on Wednesday.
Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Tunisia's prime minister says at least 21 people were killed Wednesday after gunmen stormed the National Bardo Museum in the capital city, Tunis. Seventeen foreign tourists from Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain were among the dead, according to Prime Minister Habib Essid.

Two gunmen also were killed, Essid said, along with a Tunisian citizen and a police officer. Initial reports had put the death toll at eight.

At least 22 foreigners and two Tunisians were injured in the most serious attack in Tunisia in years.

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Tue March 17, 2015
The Two-Way

European Allies Defy U.S. In Joining China-Led Development Bank

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 5:33 pm

Chinese President Xi Jinping, center, and Asian leaders approved an agreement on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing in Oct., 2014. European countries are beginning to sign up too.
Takaki Yajima AP

Four key European allies have broken ranks with the U.S. to join a major new development bank created by China. Germany, France, and Italy today agreed to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Last week, the U.K., one of America's staunchest allies, became the first Western nation to join the new bank.

The Obama administration opposes the AIIB, due to open later this year, and has pressured allies such as South Korea, Japan and Australia not to join the new bank. The administration says there's no need for another international lending institution.

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Tue March 17, 2015
The Two-Way

U.S. Returns Dozens Of Looted Artifacts To Iraq

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 3:31 pm

Some of the artifacts that were handed over to Iraq during a ceremony Monday in Washington, D.C.
Jackie Northam NPR

The U.S. returned dozens of artifacts to the Iraqi government Monday. The cultural treasures, some dating back more than 4,000 years, were looted from Iraq and smuggled into the United States.

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Wed March 4, 2015
The Two-Way

U.K. Government Selling Its Share Of Eurostar

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 7:22 pm

Eurostar unveiled its e320 fleet in November 2014 at St. Pancras Station in London.
Tristan Fewings Getty Images

The British government says it is selling its stake in Eurostar, the high-speed rail service linking London to Paris and Brussels. The government is selling its full 40 percent stake in the company to a group of international investors for $1.1 billion.

The move is part of an effort by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to sell a number of national assets to bring in $20 billion by 2020.

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Wed March 4, 2015
The Two-Way

Putin Speaks About The Killing Of Kremlin Critic Boris Nemtsov

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 2:20 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) attends an Interior Ministry meeting Wednesday in Moscow. He condemned the death of Boris Nemtsov, saying it was a "disgrace" to Russia.
Alexei Druzhinin AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has for the first time spoken publicly about the killing of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, calling his death a shameful tragedy. Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister who became a major opposition figure, was shot four times in the back Friday as he was walking near the Kremlin.

"The most serious attention should be paid to high-profile crimes, including the ones with a political subtext," Putin said in a televised address to the Interior Ministry. He said the country should be devoid of the shame and tragedies it has recently seen and endured.

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Tue March 3, 2015
The Two-Way

Indian State Bans The Slaughter, Sale And Consumption Of Beef

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 7:13 pm

A streetside vendor stands on the pavement next to her cow as it rains in Mumbai, India.
Danish Siddiqui Reuters /Landov

Eating a steak dinner in Mumbai nowadays could land you in prison for up to five years and cost you more than $150 in fines.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee approved a bill Tuesday that strictly bans the slaughter of cows, along with the sale, consumption or even possession of beef in the state of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located. The bill will also include a ban on the slaughter of bulls and bullocks, but not water buffaloes.

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Mon March 2, 2015
The Two-Way

Riddle Of Mysterious Tunnel Solved, Toronto Police Say

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 4:02 pm

A 33-foot-long tunnel found in Toronto, Ontario, is pictured in this handout photo provided by Toronto Police.
Reuters /Landov

Police in Toronto say they have solved the riddle of a mysterious tunnel discovered near a venue for the upcoming Pan American and Parapan American Games.


Police say two men told investigators that they built the tunnel for "personal reasons." Police verified their account, deemed there was no criminal intent or concerns about security, and closed the case.

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