Jackie Northam

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U.S.-China relations are at their lowest in decades, and Canada's relations with China are also at a new low, in part because of a request by the U.S. NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

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Saad Aljabri knows a lot of secrets. The former senior intelligence official in Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry was a valued partner of the U.S. government, a man who had access to troves of sensitive information about terrorism suspects, informants and the vast Saudi royal family.

But Aljabri ran afoul of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and went into exile in 2017. The royal has been hunting for him ever since, he says.

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President Trump's battle with the coronavirus could take him out of action for several weeks, raising concerns that U.S. adversaries such as Iran or China may become emboldened by the perception of an American leadership vacuum.

On Nov. 4, the day after the election, the United States will officially exit the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The date is a coincidence. Still, the timing underscores a crucial victory for the Trump administration in its efforts to derail federal action on global warming, which the president dismisses as a hoax.

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In March 2015, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called a meeting of the kingdom's top military generals at the Saudi Defense Ministry. The rotund, 29-year-old prince had just been named the new defense minister by his father, King Salman, despite having no prior military training.

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In April 2018, Tianna Spears joined the State Department, looking forward to the promise of a fulfilling career. Then 26, she had spent three years learning Spanish in the Dominican Republic and Spain to help land a position in the Foreign Service.

"I was super-excited to start," she says. "I had dreams of being a diplomat and living in several places in Latin America."

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At least once a week, the Port of Los Angeles launches a drone over its expansive facility. It gives port officials a good vantage point to check on the 7,500 acres and 43 miles of waterway that make up the busiest container port in North America.

Earlier this month, the port's executive director, Gene Seroka, displayed photos from a recent drone flight showing stacks of cargo containers on the docks.

Consumer goods are arriving from China and elsewhere, but a lot is not getting to its destination.

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A flotilla of Saudi tankers loaded with crude oil has begun arriving on the U.S. Gulf Coast, worrying American shale producers who face uncertainty because of an oversupply of oil.

At least 18 very large crude carriers, each carrying 2 million barrels of oil, are headed to the U.S., according to Michelle Wiese Bockmann, markets editor and oil analyst for Lloyd's List, a shipping news service in London.

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A fleet of oil tankers from Saudi Arabia has begun arriving on the U.S. Gulf Coast. But this country already has plenty of crude oil. So why is there more coming in from Saudi Arabia? NPR's Jackie Northam explains.

The scale of oil market turbulence is on stark display along the California coast. About three dozen massive oil tankers are anchored from Los Angeles and Long Beach up to San Francisco Bay, turning into floating storage for crude oil that is in short demand because of the coronavirus.

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Scientists are still trying to determine the origin of the coronavirus, but the predominant theory is that it began in a food market in Wuhan, China.

So-called "wet markets" — usually a jumble of stalls carrying produce, seafood, some farmed meat — are found across China, as well as in many other parts of the world. The problem is that these wet markets sometimes also carry live animals — occasionally including illegal, sometimes exotic, wildlife — bought and slaughtered on the spot, increasing chances for the spread of disease.

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