Jackie Northam

Jackie Northam is NPR's International Affairs Correspondent. She is a veteran journalist who has spent three decades reporting on conflict, politics, and life across the globe - from the mountains of Afghanistan and the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, to the gritty prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the pristine beauty of the Arctic.

Northam spent more than a dozen years as an international correspondent living in London, Budapest, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, and Nairobi. She charted the collapse of communism, covered the first Gulf War from Saudi Arabia, counter-terrorism efforts in Pakistan, and reported from Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Her work has taken her to conflict zones around the world. Northam covered the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, arriving in the country just four days after Hutu extremists began slaughtering ethnic Tutsis. In Afghanistan, she accompanied Green Berets on a precarious mission to take a Taliban base. In Cambodia, she reported from Khmer Rouge strongholds.

Throughout her career, Northam has put a human face on her reporting, whether it be the courage of villagers walking miles to cast their vote in an Afghan election despite death threats from militants, or the face of a rescue worker as he desperately listens for any sound of life beneath the rubble of a collapsed elementary school in Haiti.

Northam joined NPR in 2000 as National Security Correspondent, covering US defense and intelligence policies. She led the network's coverage of the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal and the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Her present beat focuses on the complex relationship between international business and geopolitics, including how the lifting of nuclear sanctions has opened Iran for business, the impact of China's efforts to buy up businesses and real estate around the world, and whether President Trump's overseas business interests are affecting US policy.

Northam has received multiple journalism awards during her career, including Associated Press awards and regional Edward R. Murrow awards, and was part of an NPR team of journalists who won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for "The DNA Files," a series about the science of genetics.

A native of Canada, Northam spends her time off crewing in the summer, on the ski hills in the winter, and on long walks year-round with her beloved beagle, Tara.

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, issued an apology Sunday for comments that he said "annoyed" the country's supreme leader. Recordings surfaced late last month of Zarif, long the public face of Iranian diplomacy, saying the Revolutionary Guards had far more influence in foreign and nuclear affairs than he did.

North Korea warned on Sunday that the United States will face a grave situation if it continues to pursue its "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang's nuclear program. The statement, attributed to Kwon Jong Gun, head of the Foreign Ministry's department of U.S. affairs, comes as the Biden administration is set to unveil a new strategy to deal with the isolated Asian nation.

It would be tempting to hope the recent stranding of the 1,300-foot, 220,000-ton Ever Given container ship in the Suez Canal was a one-off — just a case of a very big ship getting stuck in a narrow waterway.

But more than 100 ships of similar size are plying the world's waterways, and even bigger ones are being built in Asia, creating logistical challenges and concerns about more mishaps in the future.

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Updated March 29, 2021 at 11:09 AM ET

Before the grounding of the massive Ever Given container ship in the Suez Canal, some 50 vessels a day, or about 10% of global trade, sailed through the waterway each day — everything from consumer electronics to food, chemicals, ore and petroleum.

One of President Biden's campaign promises — reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — is at a standstill. Iran has been ramping up its nuclear program and demanding that Biden lift economic sanctions imposed to deprive the regime of cash.

The nuclear deal between world powers and Iran was based on lifting the crippling international sanctions — like blocking billions in dollars of Iranian oil sales — in return for Iran limiting its nuclear program.

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Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Saudi Arabia's long-serving oil minister who was instrumental in catapulting the kingdom into the energy powerhouse it is today, has died in London. He was 90 years old.

Yamani held enormous sway on the global stage during his nearly 25 years as oil minister, starting in 1962, and rose to fame for engineering the 1973 oil embargo.

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An investigation is underway to determine what caused a small Nigerian air force passenger jet to crash Sunday, killing all seven people on board.

The Beechcraft King Air B350i aircraft crashed while attempting to return to the airport in the capital city Abuja after reporting engine failure, according to a tweet by Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, an air force spokesman. The twin turboprop plane was en route to the central Nigerian city of Minna, roughly 60 miles northwest of Abuja.

The British government has announced that every adult in the U.K. will be offered a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July, one month earlier than initially planned. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the accelerated target will allow vulnerable people to be protected "sooner," which should help relax the lifting of lockdown restrictions across the country.

Senior ministers met to discuss the plan Sunday. Johnson will unveil the plan to ease restrictions to the House of Commons on Monday.

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On a chilly January morning, the Rev. Mary Davisson climbs up the stern ramp of the Tonsberg, an enormous ship bobbing in the murky waters at the Port of Baltimore. Davisson, the executive director and port chaplain of the Baltimore International Seafarers' Center, has spent much of her nearly two-decade career helping foreign crew members arriving in port, whether it is giving them a lift into town to buy personal items or just enjoying a coffee with them.

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Saad Aljabri knows a lot of secrets. The former senior intelligence official in Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry was a valued partner of the U.S. government, a man who had access to troves of sensitive information about terrorism suspects, informants and the vast Saudi royal family.

But Aljabri ran afoul of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and went into exile in 2017. The royal has been hunting for him ever since, he says.

On Nov. 4, the day after the election, the United States will officially exit the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The date is a coincidence. Still, the timing underscores a crucial victory for the Trump administration in its efforts to derail federal action on global warming, which the president dismisses as a hoax.

In April 2018, Tianna Spears joined the State Department, looking forward to the promise of a fulfilling career. Then 26, she had spent three years learning Spanish in the Dominican Republic and Spain to help land a position in the Foreign Service.

"I was super-excited to start," she says. "I had dreams of being a diplomat and living in several places in Latin America."

At least once a week, the Port of Los Angeles launches a drone over its expansive facility. It gives port officials a good vantage point to check on the 7,500 acres and 43 miles of waterway that make up the busiest container port in North America.

Earlier this month, the port's executive director, Gene Seroka, displayed photos from a recent drone flight showing stacks of cargo containers on the docks.

Consumer goods are arriving from China and elsewhere, but a lot is not getting to its destination.

A flotilla of Saudi tankers loaded with crude oil has begun arriving on the U.S. Gulf Coast, worrying American shale producers who face uncertainty because of an oversupply of oil.

At least 18 very large crude carriers, each carrying 2 million barrels of oil, are headed to the U.S., according to Michelle Wiese Bockmann, markets editor and oil analyst for Lloyd's List, a shipping news service in London.

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A fleet of oil tankers from Saudi Arabia has begun arriving on the U.S. Gulf Coast. But this country already has plenty of crude oil. So why is there more coming in from Saudi Arabia? NPR's Jackie Northam explains.

The scale of oil market turbulence is on stark display along the California coast. About three dozen massive oil tankers are anchored from Los Angeles and Long Beach up to San Francisco Bay, turning into floating storage for crude oil that is in short demand because of the coronavirus.

Scientists are still trying to determine the origin of the coronavirus, but the predominant theory is that it began in a food market in Wuhan, China.

So-called "wet markets" — usually a jumble of stalls carrying produce, seafood, some farmed meat — are found across China, as well as in many other parts of the world. The problem is that these wet markets sometimes also carry live animals — occasionally including illegal, sometimes exotic, wildlife — bought and slaughtered on the spot, increasing chances for the spread of disease.

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Iran is dealing with one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus in the world, with a death toll surpassing 2,200 people. But getting help into the country is hindered both by a truculent Iranian leadership and strong U.S. sanctions.

The State Department says it is temporarily suspending routine visa services at all U.S. embassies and consulates because of the coronavirus.

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