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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5:04am

Wed May 9, 2012
Middle East

Annan Gives Bleak Assessment Of Syrian Ceasefire

Special envoy Kofi Annan says unacceptable levels of violence and abuse are continuing in Syria. He said military activities have declined somewhat but the level of violence is still too high. Annan warned about the devastating repercussions if the fragile peace plan failed.

3:30am

Mon April 30, 2012
Asia

Trade, Security On Agenda For Obama, Japan's Noda

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 10:09 am

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks during a reception at the Japanese Embassy in Washington on Sunday. Noda meets with President Obama at the White House on Monday.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda are meeting at the White House on Monday — the first such meeting between U.S. and Japanese leaders in three years.

Political turmoil in Japan has led to a constant turnover in leadership: There have been six prime ministers in as many years.

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5:55am

Sat April 14, 2012
Asia

World Smolders As Smoke Clears Over N. Korea

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 9:32 pm

South Koreans watch a TV showing a graphic of North Korea's rocket launch at a train station in Seoul on Friday.
Jung Yeon-Je AFP/Getty Images

North Korea's decision to launch a rocket early Friday drew swift and widespread condemnation by the international community. The White House suspended a shipment of 240,000 tons of food aid to North Korea, and the U.N. Security Council, which quickly met, called the launch deplorable and said it violated two council resolutions.

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4:00am

Wed April 11, 2012
Economy

Competition Heats Up To Head World Bank

The World Bank is expected to announce its new president in the next several days. For the past six decades, the bank has been led by an American. President Obama has already nominated Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim for the job. But for the first time in its more than 60-year history, there is serious international competition for the job.

7:53pm

Thu April 5, 2012
Middle East

Muslim Brotherhood Attempts To Charm U.S. Skeptics

Originally published on Fri April 6, 2012 12:01 am

Khairat el-Shater, a leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, leaves the election committee headquarters in Cairo on Thursday after registering for the presidential election next month. A delegation from the Brotherhood is currently visiting Washington to talk about the group's plans for Egypt's future.
Mohammed Hossam AFP/Getty Images

The political ascent of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has created some unease in Washington, and in an attempt to counter that, the group dispatched a delegation to the U.S. capital this week for meetings that range from administration officials to think tanks and universities.

The Brotherhood has rapidly evolved into a powerful political force since former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in February of last year.

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1:55pm

Thu March 15, 2012
Afghanistan

U.S., Pakistan At Impasse Over Afghan Supply Routes

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 5:59 pm

Oil tankers sit at a NATO supply terminal in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi on Feb. 9. In November, Pakistan's government shut down the main routes for bringing supplies to U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Masroor Xinhua/Landov

Nearly four months after Pakistan closed the main supply lines for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the shutdown is creating hardship for Pakistani truckers and is forcing the U.S. to turn to costly and less-efficient alternatives.

The Pakistani move came after an errant U.S. airstrike left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead along the Afghan frontier back in November.

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3:00pm

Wed March 7, 2012
Middle East

Pakistan's Supreme Court Takes On Controversy

Pakistan's Supreme Court — led by a firebrand chief justice — is increasingly asserting itself into the country's myriad social and political issues. Over the past few months, it has taken on issues as diverse as flogging, and land encroachment. But now it's wading into much deeper waters. It recently filed contempt charges against Pakistan's prime minister, and has taken the power military and intelligence agency to task over illegal detentions. Some are applauding the high court's actions, others fear the justices are going too far and may destabilize the country further.

7:26pm

Wed February 1, 2012
Europe

The Mood Shifts For Russia's Putin In His Hometown

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 7:53 am

With the Russian presidential election set for next month, the heavily favored candidate, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, visited the election center last week as it prepared for the polls.
Yana Lapikova AFP/Getty Images

Even in the dead of winter, the Russian city of St. Petersburg, with its church spires, palaces and waterways, is one of the world's truly beautiful cities. It was here that the Russian revolution began, and it's here where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev cut their teeth politically.

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11:50am

Wed February 1, 2012
Europe

Russian Communists Court Discontented Youth

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 6:54 pm

Communist Party activists in Moscow campaign on Dec. 2 for the party's candidates in parliamentary elections. The Russian Communist Party is hoping to capitalize on a wave of dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his ruling United Russia party.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

A snazzy new Communist Party poster shows two young, tech-savvy and attractive Russians. Both are smiling and dressed in red: The woman holds a red iPhone; the man holds a red laptop, his T-shirt emblazoned with a hammer and sickle.

The slogan: "For the victory of the majority."

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12:01am

Mon January 23, 2012
World

Unrest Shakes Up Politics In Russia

Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 9:25 am

Tens of thousands of people filled an avenue in Moscow on Christmas Eve to protest the alleged rigging of the Dec. 4 parliamentary polls in a challenge to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin's authority.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

On a recent cold, gray day in Moscow, several dozen reporters and photographers milled about restlessly on the main floor of the Central Election Commission of Russia.

The person they were waiting to see was supposed to be there at 10 a.m. Nearly six hours later, Mikhail Prokhorov, appeared at the front door and smiled for the cameras.

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3:15pm

Fri January 13, 2012
Europe

Russian Activists Turn To Social Media

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 8:55 pm

Relying on social media, Russian activists are attempting to organize more mass rallies against the Russian government. Here, protesters staged a huge rally in Moscow on Dec. 24, 2011, alleging vote rigging in parliamentary polls.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Russia's largest anti-government demonstrations since the Soviet breakup of 1991 are being organized and driven by a force that didn't exist two decades ago — social media.

In recent years, protests have been relatively rare, and Russians who got their news from state-run television essentially saw one narrative — one that relentlessly extolled the virtues of the country's leaders, particularly Vladimir Putin.

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3:00pm

Tue January 3, 2012
Afghanistan

Taliban Says It will Set Up Office In Qatar

The Taliban announces it will soon open a political office in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. The move could set the stage for negotiations on an end to the Afghan war. But the State Department reiterated that the process will only succeed if the Taliban renounces violence, severs ties with al-Qaida and abides by the Afghan constitution.

4:26pm

Mon December 12, 2011
Iraq

Obama, Maliki Pledge Cooperation After U.S. Pullout

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shakes hands with President Obama in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday. The two leaders met as the U.S. prepares to withdraw the last of its combat troops from Iraq.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met at the White House on Monday and pledged to maintain strong ties after the U.S. withdraws the last of its troops, but nagging concerns remain about Iraq's security and neighboring Iran.

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4:52pm

Mon December 5, 2011
Afghanistan

Afghan President Pleads For Long-Term Aid

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 7:22 pm

Afghan President Hamid Karzai calls Monday on the international community to keep up its support for Afghanistan. More than 100 countries attended the conference in Bonn, Germany.
Oliver Berg AFP/Getty Images

A decade ago, shortly after the Taliban had been driven out of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, the international community gathered in Bonn, Germany, to talk about rebuilding Afghanistan.

On Monday, more than 100 countries again gathered in Bonn, this time to see how they could maintain support for Afghanistan after the U.S. and NATO wind down their combat operations in three years.

Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, said he was grateful for all the help his country has received, and he appealed to the international community to keep it up.

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4:00am

Mon December 5, 2011
Afghanistan

Diplomats Meet In Germany On Afghanistan's Future

A big international conference is being held in Bonn, Germany, on Monday to help draw up a roadmap for Afghanistan after combat operations there cease at the end of 2014. But Pakistan — a critical player in the Afghanistan conundrum — has said it's boycotting the conference after NATO troops killed 24 Pakistani soldiers during an attack in late November.

3:45pm

Tue November 29, 2011
Middle East

Report Says Syrian Forces Have Killed 256 Children

Syrian has come under increasing international pressure in recent days. On Monday, Syrians protested in the capital Damascus against the Arab League's decision to impose sanctions. Syria has also come under sharp criticism from an independent commission that accused the security forces of systematically carrying out abuses against anti-government demonstrators.
Yin Bogu Xinhua /Landov

An independent commission has released a blistering human rights report that says Syria's security forces have carried out widespread abuses against protesters, including murder and torture.

The commission, appointed by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, based its report on interviews with more than 220 witnesses or victims of abuse by Syrian security forces. The panel says it collected a solid body of evidence and identified patterns of human rights violations.

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12:01am

Wed November 23, 2011
Asia

Memo Costs Pakistan's Envoy His Job

Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. has resigned amid a brewing scandal involving his country's civilian leadership and its powerful military.

Hussain Haqqani, a well-regarded ambassador for more than three years, is alleged to have been involved in writing a memo that asked the U.S. to prevent a military coup in Pakistan, something he denies. This latest crisis will do little to calm an already-turbulent relationship between Pakistan and the U.S.

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6:10am

Sun November 20, 2011
World

New U.S. Strategy On Afghanistan Hinges On Pakistan

Pakistani protesters shout slogans during a protest in Multan on Oct. 14 against U.S. drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas. Officials said U.S. drone strikes on Oct. 13 killed 10 militants, including a senior commander in the Haqqani network. Drone attacks are one way the U.S. hopes to squeeze the Haqqani militants.
AFP/Getty Images

As the drawdown of American combat troops in Afghanistan nears, the U.S. is facing an increasingly dangerous opponent. The Pakistan-based Haqqani network, allied with the Taliban, is believed to be behind a recent string of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, and it's forcing the U.S. to rethink an earlier strategy for stabilizing the country.

But the strategy hinges on help and cooperation from Pakistan — which is never a sure thing.

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12:01am

Thu November 17, 2011
Asia

Asia In Focus As U.S Expands Australia Defense Ties

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 12:40 pm

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Obama hold a joint news conference in Australia on Wednesday. The U.S. is sending some 250 U.S. Marines to the country next year, a number that will later grow to 2,500.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

President Obama traveled early Thursday to the Australian city of Darwin, a base for past U.S.-Australian military cooperation. Now it will be one of several military bases from which the U.S. operates as it seeks to reassert itself in Asia.

Some 250 U.S. Marines will arrive in northern Australia next year, a number that will later expand to about 2,500. U.S. jets and warships will also train with the Australians.

Abraham Denmark, a China specialist at the Center for Naval Analyses, sees the new focus on Asia as a natural evolution of U.S. interests.

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4:00am

Mon October 24, 2011
U.S.

Clinton Recounts 'Comprehensive' Talks In Pakistan

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has just returned to the U.S. after a weeklong trip through Central Asia. Most of her stops were associated with two issues: the war in Afghanistan, and frayed relations with Pakistan. Clinton described her talks with U.S. and Pakistani military leaders as very comprehensive.

8:00am

Sun October 23, 2011
World

Central Asia Warms To Clinton As Afghan Drawdown Looms

Originally published on Sun October 23, 2011 4:30 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, host: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton winds up a week long overseas tour today, one that's focused on the war in Afghanistan and tensions with Pakistan. Her last couple of stops were in Central Asia, which is playing an increasingly important role as the U.S. begins its drawdown in Afghanistan. NPR's Jackie Northam has been traveling with the secretary. She has this report from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the last stop on Clinton's tour.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

Secretary HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you.

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4:22pm

Thu October 20, 2011
Remembrances

Gadhafi: An Iron-Fisted, Often-Brutal Leader

Gadhafi ruled Libya for more than four decades with an iron fist. Gadhafi was a complex, often brutal leader with a grand vision of himself — one he displayed up until the final moments of his leadership.

10:32am

Thu October 20, 2011
Africa

Moammar Gadhafi Ruled Libya With An Iron Fist

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 12:19 pm

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, shown in a 2008 file photo, ruled Libya for 42 years. Libya's new leaders say he was killed Thursday in his hometown of Sirte.

Sergei Grits AP

Moammar Gadhafi ruled Libya with an iron fist for more than four decades. He was an unpredictable, often brutal leader with a grand vision of himself. In the end, he squandered his country's wealth and lost the support of his people.

During his 42 years of rule, Gadhafi reinvented his image many times — from revolutionary to Arab nationalist, freedom fighter and self-styled leader of Africa.

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8:23am

Sat October 1, 2011
World

Conditional Aid For Pakistan: Change Not Guaranteed

Pakistani security personnel stand alert on a street in Quetta in September. Proposed appropriations bills in both the U.S. House and Senate make economic and military assistance to Pakistan conditional.
Banaras Khan AFP/Getty Images

Pakistan is a leading recipient of U.S. economic aid, receiving billions of dollars every year in both civilian and military support. However, the recent rocky patch between the two countries is pushing many members of Congress to reevaluate the assistance package.

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4:30am

Mon September 26, 2011
World

Fragile U.S.-Pakistan Relations On Downward Spiral

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta looks on at left as Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen testifies Thursday in Washington.
Harry Hamburg AP

The fragile and troubled relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan is on a deep, downward spiral. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that Pakistan's intelligence agency had a role in several high-profile attacks in Afghanistan, including the attack earlier this month on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

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12:01am

Fri September 23, 2011
Europe

Europe's Debt Crisis Casts Cloud Over U.S. Economy

U.S Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (left) speaks to French Finance Minister Francois Baroin (right) during talks in Marseille earlier this month. The U.S. is increasingly concerned that the European debt crisis will have an impact on the U.S. economy.
Lionel Cironneau AP

With all the worry over the ailing U.S. economy, Europe's debt crisis may have seemed a long way off.

But not anymore. The faint tinkle of alarm bells a few months ago are now clanging loudly. What began as a crisis in smaller countries, like Greece, Portugal and Ireland, is now creating serious issues in much larger economies like Italy, France and Germany.

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1:32pm

Wed September 14, 2011
Afghanistan

As Wars Drag On, U.S. Interest Wanes

Darryl St. George, a Navy corpsman, walks along a mud compound wall in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan. Next month will mark 10 years for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
David Gilkey NPR

When U.S. forces launched the war in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, they were riding a wave of anger and a call for justice by a broad swath of the American public.

Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, says the initial support for the Afghan invasion was around 90 percent, and the war was closely followed by a large number of people. But since then, the public has been slowly disengaging, he says.

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12:01am

Mon August 15, 2011
World

Arctic Warming Unlocking A Fabled Waterway

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:33 am

The Louis S. St Laurent icebreaker slices its way through the ice of the Northwest Passage.
Jackie Northam NPR

It appears as just a speck on the horizon, a slightly darker shape against a vista of Arctic ice. Soon enough, the ship's bridge makes the announcement: "Polar bear, starboard."

Crew and passengers onboard the CCGS Louis S. St.-Laurent, Canada's largest icebreaker, head to the open deck, binoculars and cameras ready, and watch as the bear lumbers from one ice floe to another, quickly dipping into the inky blue water and effortlessly pulling himself back up again.

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4:00am

Thu August 4, 2011
Middle East

Condemnation But No Resolution From U.N. On Syria

The U.N. Security Council has again failed to reach agreement on a resolution condemning the Syrian government for its violent crackdown on protesters there. Instead, the council president issued a much milder statement. The U.S. and the international community have a few options to increase the pressure on Bashar Assad's government.

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