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.

On a pitch-perfect autumn afternoon, a remote sheep farm in southern Greenland is quiet. The only movement is from a little girl playing outside her house with a fluffy border collie puppy.

The silence is abruptly broken when dozens of sheep come thundering across the hills overlooking the farm. Shooing them along is the girl's grandfather, Lars Nielsen, and her dad, 37-year-old Kunuk Nielsen.

On Nov. 28, 1979, Air New Zealand Flight 901 was on a sightseeing tour of Antarctica. The 11-hour first-class tour from Auckland included a champagne breakfast and premier views of the frozen beauty of Antarctica. Most of the passengers were New Zealanders, but there were also Australians, Americans, Canadians and Japanese on board.

Shortly before 1 p.m., the plane crashed into the side of Mount Erebus, a volcano, killing all 257 people on board. It was New Zealand's worst peacetime disaster.

Violent protests swept across parts of southern Iraq and Baghdad on Thursday in a growing display of public anger over Iran's interference in Iraqi affairs. This comes one day after demonstrators set fire to an Iranian consulate in the holy Shiite city of Najaf.

Across the country, more than two dozen protesters have been killed and 165 wounded since Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

The southern Greenland town of Narsaq is just a speck of place. About 1,200 people live in colorful A-frame houses along a fjord, and it's a good hour's boat ride from the nearest community. While it may be remote, Narsaq has strategic importance.

The craggy hills surrounding the town are estimated to hold about a quarter of the world's rare earth minerals. With names such as cerium and lanthanum, rare earths contain key ingredients used in many of today's technologies — from smartphones to MRI machines, as well as electric cars and military jets.

Suriya Paprajong remembers the day he first set eyes on Greenland. It was the middle of winter in 2001 and he had just gotten off a long plane ride from his homeland, Thailand, where the temperature was 104 degrees Farenheit. The temperature in Greenland was -43 degrees. Paprajong didn't have a coat.

"It's very hard when we come to ... Greenland," he recalls. "It's a lot of snow. The body, it's like a shock."

His first Arctic winter may have been a challenge, but 18 years on, Paprajong has built up a life in Greenland, including opening his own restaurant.

There are precisely 525 stairs from the icy waters of the Barents Sea to the top of the observation post in the far northeast corner of Norway, along the Russian border. It's a steep climb, but once you reach the apex, there's a good chance one of the young Norwegian conscripts manning the outpost will have a platter of waffles — topped with strawberry jam and sour cream, a Norwegian favorite — waiting.

Three weeks after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed a year ago at Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul, an international investment conference got underway in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

The Future Investment Initiative — dubbed "Davos in the Desert" — was set up to showcase business opportunities in the kingdom. A year earlier, it had been a glittering event and brought in some of the biggest names in international banking and investment. But not last year.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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From the moment he was named heir to the throne, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has focused on weaning the kingdom off what he calls "its dangerous addiction to oil." The royal says he wants to diversify the economy and create jobs. The irony is he's having to rely on oil in order to break the oil habit.

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