After struggling for years to identify groups in Syria that it can confidently support, the Obama administration Friday abandoned its effort to build a rebel force inside Syria to combat the Islamic State. 

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
House Republicans, struggling to regroup and reunify their conference in the face of a leadership crisis, achieved no new clarity Friday about who might step forward to claim the speaker’s gavel as attention remained focused on Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, who has said repeatedly he does not want the job.David M. Herszenhorn
The Obama administration has ended the Pentagon’s $500 million program to train and equip Syrian rebels, administration officials said Friday, in an acknowledgment that the beleaguered program had failed to produce any kind of ground combat forces capable of taking on the Islamic State in Syria.Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt
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
Photos, video, and social media are bringing unprecedented transparency and awareness to a range of issues – from hazing to racism to police violence.Christian Science Monitor
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
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
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