The extremists now committing a wave of attacks in Iraq's Anbar province are better trained, funded and equipped than the al-Qaida-linked groups American soldiers battled there, says Brett McGurk, one of the State Department's top officials for Iraq.
The militants, who have drawn strength amid the war in Syria over the border, have taken over parts of Anbar over the last three months.
This is Hungerford, a large female snowy owl. Last summer she was just a hatchling — a gray ball of fuzz in the middle of the Arctic tundra. In the fall, newly equipped with adult plumage, she flew thousands of miles south until she reached the coast of Maryland. And this winter, she became an important part of an unprecedented research project.
Three years after the massive tsunami that ravaged northeastern Japan, the government is building the biggest anti-tsunami barriers ever.
The vast network of supersized sea walls, mocked by some as "the Great Wall of Japan," is already underway and would stretch 230 miles and cost nearly $8 billion.
The wall is designed to protect places like the small port city of Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture. With its dramatic hills, white fishing boats and seafood market, Kesennuma has the pleasant nautical feel of Seattle.
Virtually any time a major event ripples across Washington, the Justice Department is positioned near the center of it.
From the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner that carried three Americans on board to the fate of voting rights for millions of people, the attorney general has an enormous portfolio. And the stress to match it.
But after an elevated heart rate sent him to the hospital last month, Eric Holder says he's on the mend.
One of the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing is the appearance of two men on the flight manifest who were apparently traveling with stolen passports.
On U.S.-bound flights there are safeguards aimed at preventing that from happening. Interpol, the international police organization, issued a statement criticizing Malaysia for allowing the passengers to board the flight.