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 Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, a former president of the University of Notre Dame who tangled with the Nixon administration, died late Thursday. He was 97.

For those who knew him, Hesburgh was simply Father Ted. But make no mistake, he was a highly influential priest who moved among presidents and popes. During his 35 years as president of Notre Dome, he reinforced the importance of a college education and urged that it be affordable and accessible to all.

Police in Toronto are asking for the public's help to solve the riddle of a mysterious tunnel discovered more than a month ago. Investigations have so far been unable to determine who built the tunnel or its purpose, but its discovery has fueled security concerns ahead of the Pan American and Parapan American Games in Canada this summer.

Tourists may soon have a new attraction to look at when they visit the nation's capital. The U.S. Secret Service says it will begin flying drones over Washington, D.C., in the near future.

The decision comes just weeks after a small unmanned — and unarmed — drone landed on White House property. In late January, as we've reported, a government employee lost control of the "quad copter," crashing it in the early morning hours.

British police say three teenage girls believed to have run away to join Islamist extremists have now crossed into Syria. The girls, ages 15 and 16, left their London homes Feb. 17 and boarded flights for Istanbul. Police think they then crossed the border into Syria hoping to join up with militants from the so-called Islamic State.

Rescue crews worked through the night to free 19 manatees that had gotten stuck in a storm drain in Satellite Beach, Fla. It's believed the massive, lumbering mammals, in search of warm water after a recent cold snap, swam into a large drainage pipe near Cape Canaveral but were unable to turn around to get out.

The U.S. Justice Department is asking a federal judge to put on hold his ruling that temporarily blocks President Obama's executive action that would protect more than 4 million people in this country illegally from the threat of deportation.

In its motion to stay, the Justice Department said U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen "lacked authority to issue the preliminary injunction."

Justice Department officials also filed an appeal of Hanen's decision and asked that the executive action move forward while the appeals process is underway.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has introduced a raft of tough new measures aimed at countering what he called the rising threat of terrorism.

Abbott announced the national security crackdown one day after the release of a review of Australia's counterterrrorism operations and a report on a deadly attack in a Sydney cafe in December that left three people dead.

The Arctic cold snap that has gripped much of the U.S. lately may be causing hardship for many, but it's also creating some spectacular ice formations at Niagara Falls. The spectacle is drawing huge crowds on both the Canadian and American side of the border.

The air temperature is so cold that the water and mist coming off the falls is frozen in place. Some of the formations look like massive boulders, others look like long shards of white glass.

There's some relief on the way for parents who worry what their young children may be watching on the internet. YouTube is set to release a new app that will offer more age-appropriate viewing for kids. An official with YouTube says the app - YouTube Kids - is due to be released by Google on Monday. It will initially be available only on Android devices.

The global shipping industry is a ferociously competitive business, and the trans-Pacific route — from Asia to the West Coast seaports of the U.S. — is considered one of the most lucrative routes. Normally, cargo ships carrying everything from fruits and vegetables to cars and electronics can count on getting into a berth at one of the 29 West Coast seaports in a reasonable time.

British fighter jets scrambled from their base on Wednesday after two Russian long-range bombers skirted the coast of Cornwall, in the southwest of England. The incident comes one day after British Foreign Secretary Michael Fallon warned about Russia's intentions in Europe.

Some 500,000 Wal-Mart employees will soon be getting a pay raise. Starting in April, the company's full- and part-time U.S. employees will earn at least $9 an hour, at least $1.75 above today's federal minimum wage.

The pay boost will also apply to employees of Sam's Club, which is owned by Wal-Mart.

The retailer says wages will jump to at least $10 one year from now.

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Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

If you open an atlas, you'd see pretty quick that Australia is nowhere near Europe. That doesn't seem to matter to the organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest, who have decided that Australia can compete this year. The decision to allow Australia into the 2015 competition for the first time was announced on a Eurovision website, followed by the line: "Yes, you read that right!"

It's not unusual for world leaders to present their host with a gift when they visit a foreign country. But an assault weapon? Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi a Kalashnikov AK-47 shortly after arriving in Cairo Monday evening for talks. The weapon, a longtime favorite of rebel groups across the world, was nestled in a gun case.

The U.S. embassy in Yemen is suspending operations because of the deteriorating security situation. The country has been gripped by turmoil since President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi and his cabinet resigned in January. Shiite Houthi rebels have since seized control of the capital, Sanaa, placed Hadi and his ministers under arrest and announced plans to form another another government.

President Obama is defending his decision not to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during Netanyahu's upcoming visit to Washington. The prime minister was invited by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to address a joint meeting of Congress on March 3.

The White House was not told of the invitation until shortly before it was made public. Obama said meeting with Netanyahu while he's in Washington would break protocol. Netanyahu is due to make his address just two weeks before Israel's general election.

It took just one newspaper article to change James Robertson's life.

Last Sunday, the Detroit Free Press ran a front page story about the 56-year-old factory worker. It said every weekday for a decade, Robertson has left his house and walked more than 20 miles to and from his job in suburban Detroit. Robertson's car had broken down years before and so he made a long and lonely commute on foot in every kind of weather.

It is considered legitimate for a girl to be married at the age of 9, most "pure" girls will be married by 16 or 17, and there is no greater responsibility for a woman than being a wife to her husband.

Those are just some of the statements laid out in a manifesto published by female fighters of the so-called Islamic State.

Vietnamese authorities have buried thousands of cats, many of them apparently still alive, that were destined for restaurant tables. The Associated Press says the felines were culled because they posed an environmental and health risk.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

Target says it will pull the supplements identified by the New York attorney general from its stores and website. The company says, with its vendor, it will investigate and will cooperate with the attorney general.

Walmart says it will pull the items from its shelves in New York, and that "based on testing performed by our suppliers we have not found any issues with the relevant products."

Original post:

There's a term traders use when the price of a commodity like oil has fallen because of oversupply but seems guaranteed to rise again.

It's a market that's "in contango," says Brenda Shaffer, an energy specialist at Georgetown University. "It almost sounds like a sort of great oil dance or something."

And Shaffer says that some oil speculators see an oil market that is in contango in a major way.

If you want a sobering look at the scale of wildlife trafficking, just visit the National Wildlife Property Repository on the outskirts of Denver. In the middle of a national refuge is a cavernous warehouse stuffed with the remains of 1.5 million animals, whole and in parts.

They range from taxidermied polar bears to tiny sea horses turned into key chains. An area devoted to elephants is framed by a pair of enormous tusks.

It's been a rough ride for the Russian economy and it keeps getting worse. Low oil prices helped push the ruble to another record low on Friday. This spate of bad economic news is probably just accelerating an existing trend: Russia's purchase of gold at an astounding rate.

Russia's central bank bought more than 130 tons of gold this year. Last year, it bought about 75 tons. Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at the brokerage firm, RJ O'Brien, says Russia has shifted even more assets into gold because it has had a particularly bad year.

Imagine you're sitting back one evening, planning your holiday shopping list, knowing that every day you wait to get to the shops, the value of your money will be losing ground.

That's what's happening in places like Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria and other nations that rely heavily on oil exports.

Oil was more than $100 a barrel at the start of the summer. Now it's around $70 a barrel, and many forecasts say it could go lower still.

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