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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

As the U.S. begins withdrawing ground troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, it is increasingly depending on unmanned aerial vehicles to track and kill suspected terrorists and other enemies. That has pushed production of the weaponized drones to new levels.

But remotely controlled aircraft, especially the type used for surveillance, are becoming ubiquitous throughout the world, says Peter Singer, author of Wired for War.

One of the calculations in President Obama's decision Wednesday on U.S. troops in Afghanistan is the growing concern about the cost of military operations — not only in that country, but in other areas as well.

Funding for NATO is coming under the microscope amid growing complaints about the U.S. paying a disproportionate share to the alliance.

The relationship between the United States and Pakistan has long been one of grudging interdependency. The U.S. needs Pakistan to help in the fight against Islamist militants and to serve as a supply transit route for military operations in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs the U.S. for financial aid, and access to international lenders and the global economy. But neither side much likes nor trusts the other.

Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh, is recovering in a Saudi hospital, following surgery for wounds he suffered in a rocket attack on his palace Friday. Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for 33 years, left with several senior government officials who were also wounded in the attack.

Saleh's departure set off celebrations in Yemen as protesters have tried for the past four months to oust him from power. But there are concerns his absence could create a power vacuum in a country where al-Qaida has a strong base.

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