NEWS ANALYSIS: Rep. Kevin McCarthy left his party flummoxed about where to turn next for a leader when he removed himself from the running Thursday for House speaker.

Carolyn Lochhead
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers saw the first whale about a week ago off the small island of Niihau near Kauai. A second whale was seen days later near Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility.Associated Press
When Shell announced it would end its entire program in the offshore U.S. Arctic, the hyperbole and finger-pointing began in earnest. But the record shows that much of the blame-placing and credit-taking is based on misunderstandings and myths.Yereth Rosen
Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt
Death-penalty states are finding it harder to carry out executions as they struggle to obtain and properly use limited supplies of ever-changing combinations of suitable drugs.Manny Fernandez
Paul Prudhomme, the Louisiana chef who made jambalaya, crawfish pie and gumbo part of the national vocabulary through his French Quarter restaurant, cookbooks and seasonings, died Thursday in New Orleans. He was 75.Elaine Woo
Russian President Vladimir Putin scored seven goals in a hockey game held on his 63rd birthday as his star-studded team, which included NHL legends Vyacheslav Fetisov and Pavel Bure, won the match 15-10.Associated Press
Alaska’s congressional delegation and visitors from the state were getting ready Tuesday for the visit of Pope Francis as he embarks on a tour of the Eastern Seaboard, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City. Erica Martinson
Belarusian journalist Svetlana Alexievich is the 2015 Nobel Prize winner in literature. She was commended by the Swedish Academy for "her polyphonic writing, a monument to suffering and courage in our time."
FIFA’s vice president, Michel Platini, and its secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, who was already on leave, were also “provisionally banned.”SAM BORDEN