Earnhardt forced to make hard decisions for JR Motorsports

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has tried for five years to push Josh Berry's career forward. He got him one Xfinity Series star this year driving for JR Motorsports, and was ecstatic when Berry turned it into a seventh-place finish last month at Richmond. So thrilled, he used his time before reporters after the race to plead Berry's case. "We all but begged in that media center after the race," Earnhardt said.

Cumberland County schools cracking down on tardy students

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Cumberland County Schools are cracking down on students who are chronically tardy. Multiple media outlets report that the district has assigned a Fayetteville police officer and a community liaison to make daily visits to the students' homes as part of a campaign called "Every Minute Counts.

Attorneys: City handling of police shooting a national model

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- North Charleston, South Carolina, did not erupt in violence -- as other cities in similar circumstances did -- after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black man. Attorneys for both the city and the family say that is because of the quick actions both sides took to preserve the peace and to come to an agreement.

French Train Hero Spencer Stone Stabbed in California

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- One of the three Americans who helped stop a terrorist attack on a train this August in France is expected to make a full recovery after being stabbed. Spencer Stone was reportedly attacked Wednesday night near a bar in Sacramento, Calif., suffering multiple stab wounds. Dr. J. Douglas Kirk, chief medical officer at UC Davis Medical Center said on Thursday Stone remains in serious condition but will make a full recovery.

El Faro Captain 'Calm' During Final Communication to Shore

(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) -- The captain of the El Faro, the cargo ship believed to have sunk during Hurricane Joaquin, was "calm" during the ship's final call to shore, the safety officer who received the call told the National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday. During that call, El Faro's crew reported the ship had lost propulsion and was taking on water -- but indicated that conditions seemed manageable, according to the ship's owner, Tote Maritime.

Manny Pacquiao Wants One More Fight Before Retiring

(DOHA, Qatar) -- Manny Pacquiao says he wants one more fight before he puts away his boxing gloves. Pacquiao confirmed the news to ESPN while he was visiting Doha, Qatar for the AIBA World Championships. He told ESPN he's retiring not because he's not passionate about boxing anymore, but he says he wants to help people from a different platform and has plans to run for senator.

SeaWorld San Diego Killer Whale Exhibit Expansion Gets Approval

(SAN DIEGO) -- SeaWorld San Diego has gotten approval to build larger tanks for killer whales. On Thursday, the California Coastal Commission voted to allow the major expansion for SeaWorld San Diego that will replace its existing 1.7 million-gallon tank with a 450,000-gallon pool and a 5.2-million gallon tank that would hold 11 killer whales, according to the Los Angeles Times . The commission said it would not allow captive breeding.

Review: “Pan” (PG)

(NEW YORK) -- I went to see a Joe Wright movie and a Baz Luhrmann film broke out.  Or at least something that wanted to be a Baz Luhrmann movie, very badly. With Pan , director Wright's attempting to tell an origin story -- that of Peter Pan. Since it's the world of Peter Pan, anything is possible and that's exactly how Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie wanted it.

Why Kevin McCarthy Dropped Out of the Race for House Speaker

(WASHINGTON) -- House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy made up his mind to pull out of the race to be House speaker Thursday morning after hearing from chamber conservatives that they would directly challenge him on the House floor, sources say. McCarthy's team determined he only had between 175 to 200 House Republicans who they could count on voting for him, well short of the 218 needed.