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.

"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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Low oil prices are forcing Venezuela to cut a generous subsidy program to Cuba and a dozen other Caribbean nations.

Venezuela is Latin America's largest oil producer, and its economy depends heavily on oil exports. It's been been hit hard by the tumbling oil prices.

"Venezuela is in desperate straits. The oil sector has been deteriorating, and now with the slumping oil prices, they needed cash desperately," says Michael Shifter, the president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington, D.C.-based group that studies the region.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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