U.S. intelligence officials tracking the situation in Syria have their eye on one group in particular: al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq.

The group has longstanding ties to Syria, and its early members weren't just Iraqis; many of them were Syrians. The former leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, not only established a network of fighters in Syria, but he also folded them into his northern Iraqi faction of al-Qaida.

Just when you thought you had the latest in camera technology, along comes something new and shiny and ... rectangular.

It's called the Lytro, and it uses something called "light field technology." In short: You shoot now and focus later.

NPR's resident photo expert, Keith Jenkins, explains: In a nutshell, he says, this camera captures not only the color and the intensity of light — which is what normal cameras do — but also the direction of that light — from every possible angle.

Still confused? We are, too.

At the Fort Polk military base in the pine forests of central Louisiana, the Army has created a miniature version of Afghanistan — with mock villages and American soldiers working alongside Afghan role-players.

This is the training ground for a new American approach in Afghanistan as the U.S. begins to look ahead to the goal of bringing home the U.S. forces by the end of 2014. The idea is that Afghan forces have to be good enough to defend their country against the Taliban, and to make that happen, the U.S. Army is creating small U.S. training teams at Fort Polk.

For India's Undocumented Citizens, An ID At Last

Feb 29, 2012

Some 75,000 babies are born every day in India. The total population is 1.2 billion and climbing. That's a lot of people to keep track of, and the Indian government has struggled to keep up.

Many Indians, especially the poor, don't have any ID, which makes it increasingly difficult for them to be full participants in a society that is rapidly modernizing. But a new project aims to fix that.

Los Angeles is easing its stance on truancy. For the past decade, a tough city ordinance slapped huge fines on students for even one instance of skipping school or being late, but the Los Angeles City Council is changing that law to focus on helping students get to class because it turns out those harsh fines were backfiring.

Two years ago, Nabil Romero, a young Angeleno with a thin black mustache, was running late to his first period at a public high school on LA's Westside.

Broadway history is littered with flop musicals — but if some shows are bombs, then Carrie, based on Stephen King's best-selling 1974 novel, was kind of a nuclear bomb.

The story of a teenager with telekinetic powers who wreaks bloody havoc on her small Maine town had already been successfully adapted as a film starring Sissy Spacek in 1976. But as a musical?

Frank Rich was theater critic for The New York Times when the show opened in April 1988. He called it a musical wreck that "expires with fireworks like the Hindenburg."

All counties except Sweetwater have reported results for a non-binding Wyoming straw poll to show favor for a Republican presidential nominee.

With more than 2,000 votes recorded at precincts around the state, Mitt Romney leads the pack with nearly 800 votes. He's followed by Rick Santorum with a little under 700.

In third place, Ron Paul has collected about 400 votes. And in last place, Newt Gingrich has about 150 votes.

It’s the first year Wyoming Republicans have conducted a straw poll, and all votes were collected during precinct caucuses over the last month.

 The Wyoming House has given initial approval to a bill that would raise salaries for Judges.   

House Appropriations Chair Rosie Berger says Judicial Salaries have not increased for many years, and there is a concern if they do not go up soon.

“Just in District court alone we have 22 judges and most probably within the next five years we will have eleven that will probably retire.  What was explained to us in committee is that as they recruit for these judges with these applications that the pool is not large because we are not able to compete with private sector.”

The state Senate is considering an attempt to simplify the way coal is valued across Wyoming.  

Members of the coal industry are concerned by rising taxes.  

Lander Republican Cale Case says it’s an interesting issue.

“We are standing back and looking at it,and saying gee is it fair to have a situation where the company’s costs are increasing and yet they are being taxed more per unit of production.”

A Senate committee has postponed action on a bill that would require the state to drug test people who receive welfare benefits. 

Representative David Miller wants to suspend benefits up to a month for anyone who tests positive. 

Committee Chair Charles Scott noted that Wyoming has very strong welfare regulations, and he said there is very little chance of drug problems with any recipients in the state.  But the committee still wants more time to discussthe measure. 

That frustrates Linda Burt of the Wyoming Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.