The Brief

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Chris Christie to Pull New Jersey Out of Common Core

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will announce Thursday he is pulling his state out of the Common Core education standards, bowing to pressure from teachers and parents, as well as conservative fears about government overreach

FIFA President Sepp Blatter makes a speech during the opening ceremony of the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland on May 28, 2015.

FIFA President Says Graft Cases 'Shame' Soccer

Embattled FIFA President Sepp Blatter defied calls for his resignation Thursday to declare he intends to help restore trust in world soccer and prevent FIFA's reputation from being "dragged through the mud" after a pair of corruption investigations

Urban Cowboy

Urban Cowboy Remake Is in Development at Fox

Fox is developing a remake of Urban Cowboy, the 1980 movie that starred John Travolta as a young cowboy looking for love in a Houston bar. The network has commissioned a script from Craig Brewer, who would also direct the pilot if it advances

Death Penalty Nebraska

Which State Will Be Next to Abolish the Death Penalty?

Nebraska became the first Republican-leaning state in four decades to abolish the death penalty on Wednesday, the latest signal that momentum is on the side of those who oppose capital punishment. Several more states will likely outlaw the practice soon

Fireworks

California Drought Leads City to Cancel Fireworks

The city of Cupertino in central California announced this week that its annual fireworks display had been canceled because the field where it's held requires 100,000 gallons of water, which is too much in the midst of a severe drought

Rescue personnel search the floodwaters along Brays Bayou in southwest Houston, Texas

Flash Flood Warning for Texas

The National Weather Service issued a new flash flood warning for Texas on Thursday, as the state reels from extreme flooding that has killed at least 17 people. Even "short periods of rain" could produce new floods in the already saturated state, the warning said

full house lori loughlin john stamos

Lori Loughlin Will Join Fuller House

Aunt Becky is back, as Lori Loughlin says she will be part of the upcoming Full House spin-off Fuller House, premiering next year on Netflix. Loughlin, 50, is eager to reunite with her former cast mates and longtime friends

teenager skateboard

U.S. Teens Are Smoking and Drinking Less

The latest statistics on teenagers paint a rosy portrait of American teens: they're drinking, smoking and bullying less than they used to, and fewer are getting pregnant. Here's a snapshot based on several recent reports

AUSTRALOPITHECUS DEYIREMEDA

New Species of Ancient Human Found in Africa

Researchers found approximately 3.5 million-year-old jaw bones and teeth in the Afar region of Ethiopia, which they believe belongs to a new hominin species that had small teeth. The species has been named Australopithecus deyiremeda

arkansas lake

Dangerous Levels of E. Coli Found in Arkansas Lakes

Unsafe amounts of E. coli have been found in some Arkansas lakes, leading the state Department of Health to close swimming areas at 11 beaches. Certain strains of E. coli can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting