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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses a gathering at Burlington County College Thursday, May 28, 2015, in Pemberton, N.J. Christie is backing away from the use of Common Core school standards, saying the system isn't working for students in New Jersey.  (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Chris Christie backing away from Common Core in New Jersey

- Associated Press

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday that he is ordering his state to back away from the Common Core school standards that he once championed but that are hugely unpopular among conservative voters across the country.

The crowded field of Republicans planning presidential bids for 2016 continues to grow as former New York Gov. George Pataki announced his plans Thursday at a town hall in Exeter, New Hampshire to jump into the race. (Associated Press)

Barbs could get ugly in crowded 2016 Republican field

- The Washington Times

Expect stinging attacks to be the norm as analysts say the 20 or so Republicans planning presidential bids are going to resort to them as they try to carve out space within the crowded field, and try to win attention from primary voters by trying to knock front-running candidates off the top of the hill.

President Obama speaks after receiving a briefing at the National Hurricane Center in Miami on Thursday to draw attention to preparedness in advance of the annual storm season that formally begins June 1. Mr. Obama linked hurricanes to climate change. (Associated Press)

Obama defends plan, links hurricanes to climate change

- The Washington Times

President Obama on Thursday linked hurricanes and other extreme weather events to climate change — the latest move by this White House to keep the issue at the forefront of domestic politics while also pursuing a landmark international agreement to save the planet.

House GOP demands criminal investigation into Lois Lerner

- The Washington Times

Insisting Lois G. Lerner is still a target, congressional Republicans sent a letter to new Attorney General Loretta Lynch Thursday asking her to follow through on their official request last year for a criminal investigation into Ms. Lerner’s behavior at the IRS.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)  Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 15, 2015, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to examine IRS challenges in implementing the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

IRS bilked for billions in bogus refunds: audit

- The Washington Times

The IRS has gotten better at detecting fraud but still paid out $2.1 billion in potentially bogus refunds in 2012, according to a new audit Thursday that found the agency paid refunds on nearly 600 tax returns filed to the same address in Kilkenny, Ireland.

Libertarians prepare for political war

- The Washington Times

Now underway at a splashy hotel in the glittering city of Las Vegas: The Libertarian Political Expo — LPEX — a fierce four-day event meant to ramp up the libertarian skill set in a complicated political marketplace.

President Barack Obama, with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate, participate in a briefing at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Thursday, May 28, 2015, to draw attention to preparedness in advance of the annual storm season that formally begins June 1. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama: Teach climate change in schools

- The Washington Times

Saying that children “instinctively” understand the importance of the environment, President Obama said Thursday that climate change should be taught in schools and “weaved” into science and social studies classes.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) ** FILE **

Federal judge resists White House bid to toss John Boehner’s Obamacare lawsuit

- The Washington Times

A federal judge struggled Thursday with the administration’s claim the House GOP is pushing an “abstract” lawsuit against Obamacare that should be tossed, signaling she’ll take a hard look at Speaker John A. Boehner’s controversial bid to highlight the separation of powers between Congress and the presidency — and the judiciary’s right to referee their disputes.

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Police: Man fatally shot after pointing gun at deputies

Associated Press

Authorities say a man was fatally shot by Lancaster County sheriff's deputies after they say he pointed a gun at officers responding to a dispute between him and his estranged wife at a store.

FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2007, file photo, former House Speaker Dennis, Hastert, R-Ill., announces that he will not seek re-election for a 12th term in Yorkville, Ill. Federal prosecutors have indicted Thursday, May 28, 2015, the former U.S. House Speaker on bank-related charges. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey, File)

Hastert indictment offers few clues about alleged misconduct

- Associated Press

A newly unveiled indictment against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert accuses the Illinois Republican of agreeing to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep a person from the town where he was a longtime high school teacher silent about "prior misconduct." But it offers few hints about a central question: What was the alleged wrongdoing?

FILE - In this March, 5, 2008 file photo, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert is overcome with emotion while visiting the Illinois House of Representatives floor at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Federal prosecutors indicted Hastert, 73, Thursday, May 28, 2015, on bank-related charges. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

Indictment says ex-US House Speaker Hastert paid hush money

- Associated Press

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep a person from the town where he was a longtime high school teacher silent about "prior misconduct" by the Illinois Republican who once was second in line to the U.S. presidency, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down Thursday.

Highlights from around the Capitol

Associated Press

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a pre-K boost on Thursday that delivers one promise and appears close to making good on another over gun rights before Texas lawmakers go home next week.

Texas lawmakers reach agreement on open carry bill

- Associated Press

Texas lawmakers on Thursday negotiated a final version of a bill allowing licensed open carry of handguns, easing concerns of police and priming it for a vote that would send it to Gov. Greg Abbott.