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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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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.

Chinese tech giant Huawei says its revenue for the first half of 2019 soared 23% from a year ago, even though the U.S. put it on an export blacklist that will effectively ban U.S. companies from providing Huawei with critical components, such as computer chips.

"Given the situation, you might think things have been chaotic for us," Huawei Chairman Liang Hua said in a statement. "But that's far from the case."

Editor's note: This story contains graphic details of the actions leading up to Jamal Khashoggi's death.

A special U.N. investigator says Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi because there is "credible evidence" that he and other senior officials in the kingdom were responsible.

Last year, the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum in London, Ontario, installed a monument for the country's armed forces who have served in the Afghanistan war. It's a 25-ton, light armored vehicle, complete with a turret on top.

But these days, LAVs have taken on another sort of symbolism for Canada.

About a mile from the museum, workers with the Canadian division of U.S. defense company General Dynamics Corp. are building the eight-wheeled, amphibious vehicles for Saudi Arabia's National Guard.

When you cross over the Granville Street Bridge that winds into downtown Vancouver, you'd be forgiven for thinking you're in Hong Kong. The skyline has the same ribbon of gleaming apartment towers hugging the waterfront, and similar mountains in the distance.

There is also an unabashed display of wealth, readily apparent in the city's Kitsilano neighborhood. Within a few short blocks, you can find dealerships for some of the world's most expensive cars: Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin, among others.

On a drizzly day earlier this month, a gaggle of mostly Chinese protesters gathered outside a provincial Supreme Court in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. Inside the court, an extradition hearing was underway to decide whether to send Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, to be prosecuted in the United States.

In 2014, a 25-year-old Saudi woman, Loujain al-Hathloul, got behind the wheel of a car and drove from the United Arab Emirates into Saudi Arabia. She took a video in which she's shown wearing sunglasses, a headscarf and a huge smile.

For women, driving was banned in the ultra-conservative Saudi kingdom, and Hathloul's road trip landed her in jail for more than two months.

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The State Department on Thursday ordered employees to return to work next week, despite the partial government shutdown, saying it would figure out how to cover the next paycheck.

In a note posted on its website and emailed to staff, the department said it "is taking steps to make additional funds available to pay employee salaries."

If the shutdown continues beyond the next pay period, State Department officials say they will have to work with Congress to reprogram funds in order to cover salaries.

The international blowback to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is making things uncomfortable for Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at this year's Group of 20 summit, which began Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The Trump administration hopes the sweeping sanctions it has imposed on Iran's oil, shipping and banking industries will cripple its economy and force it to negotiate a new nuclear deal.

But analysts point out that while such economic penalties can be persuasive, there are also ways to circumvent them.

"There will always be both overt and covert activities to work around sanctions, to dodge sanctions or evade them," says Dan Wager, a global sanctions expert at the consulting firm LexisNexis Risk Solutions. "That's something that's gone on for a very long time."

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A year ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping stood before the 19th Communist Party Congress and laid out his ambitious plan for China to become a world leader by 2025 in advanced technologies such as robotics, biotechnology and artificial intelligence.

It was seen as a direct challenge to U.S. leadership in advanced technology. James Lewis, a specialist in China and technology at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says China recognizes that technological superiority helps give the United States an edge in national security and wants in on it.

Maersk, the world's largest container line, is about to test the frigid waters of the Arctic in a trial of shorter shipping lanes that could become viable as warmer temperatures open up the Northern Sea Route.

On or around Sept. 1, Denmark-based Maersk plans to send its first container ship through the Arctic to explore whether the once inhospitable route could become feasible in the future. Many analysts see the test as a turning point for both the shipping industry and the Arctic.

President Trump has railed against Canada for taking advantage of the U.S. when it comes to trade. A particular point of criticism is the dairy industry. Canada slaps steep tariffs on imports of milk, cheese and butter from the U.S., something Trump has called a "disgrace."

Don Woodbridge breaks open a cardboard box and pulls out a big jar of bread-and-butter pickles.

"If you ever find a better bread-and-butter on the market, I'd like to see where," he says.

He says his company, Lakeside Packing, uses a special blend of dill, garlic and mustard oils, and real sugar.

"American products, they use corn syrup and it's not as good," he declares.

In a large, brightly lit grocery store in Canada's capital Ottawa, Scott Chamberlain smoothly navigates his shopping cart through the produce section, looking for ingredients to make chili. He snaps up a bag of red peppers, clearly stamped "Product of Canada." But the only onions available are from the U.S. He reaches for Canadian-grown leeks instead.

Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's state oil company, is often described as the kingdom's crown jewel.

It produces more oil than any other company in the world, supplying the world with a steady supply of crude and providing the kingdom with revenues that make up more than 80 percent of the national budget.

On a balmy Thursday evening, dozens of young Saudis stream into the AlComedy Club in the western port city of Jeddah. It's the start of the weekend, and the crowd snacks on popcorn and ice cream before grabbing some of the sagging seats in the theater. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" blares from speakers hanging above a tiny stage.

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The last few months have seen enormous change for women in Saudi Arabia. They'll soon be allowed to drive and are being encouraged to enter the workforce.

An elite group of movie lovers in the Saudi capital Riyadh got a special treat on Wednesday — a screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Black Panther. The invitation-only event marked the lifting of a ban on cinemas that's lasted more than three decades. It also heralds a new era for Saudi filmmakers, who for years have faced harassment from Saudi authorities for pursuing a profession considered haram, or forbidden, in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

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