When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.

Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

It can be hard to distinguish among the men wearing grey suits and regulation haircuts on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. But David Margolis always brought a splash of color.

It wasn't his lovably disheveled wardrobe, or his Elvis ring, but something else: the force of his flamboyant personality. Margolis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, didn't want to fit in with the crowd. He wanted to stand out.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.


As Battery Demand Falls, Can Energizer Keep Going?

Nov 28, 2012
Originally published on November 28, 2012 6:15 pm



And now, let's turn to today's business bottom line. As more people buy smartphones and other devices that run on rechargeable batteries - this will come as no surprise - sales of single-use, disposable batteries are dropping; and that is not without consequences. Energizer announced this month that the company will close three plants because of decreased demand. That is a 10 percent cut of its global workforce. Vermont Public Radio's Kirk Carapezza reports on one community that is feeling the pain.

KIRK CARAPEZZA, BYLINE: Anyone who's connected electronically has likely powered their flashlights, clocks and transistor radios with Energizer batteries; batteries made famous back in the 1980s and '90s in TV ads featuring the indefatigable pink Energizer bunny.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Still going. Long-lasting Energizer batteries keep going and going and...

CARAPEZZA: But Energizer announced recently that production at plants in Malaysia, Missouri and Vermont won't keep going. That's because disposable battery sales are way down. The market research firm Symphony IRI Group says sales are off by 21 percent, since 2009. Energizer itself estimates that shipments have dropped more than 10 percent in that same period, and that they'll continue to drop as more people use devices with rechargeable batteries.

Scott Cassel is CEO of the Product Sustainability Institute, in Boston. [POST-BROADCAST CORRECTION: The name of the company is the Product Stewardship Institute.] He says using fewer single-use batteries that contain hazardous waste, is a good sign for the planet.

SCOTT CASSEL: Because you don't need to mine the materials - the metals that go into those batteries - with all the implications, and the impacts, on the environment that mining causes.

CARAPEZZA: Reducing the number of batteries benefits the environment, but it's costing blue-collar jobs here in St. Albans, Vermont; a small town just south of the Canadian border. Even before Energizer said that its product line would end here, the company had already gone to a four-day workweek.

GEORGE BASSETTE: Companies are going to do what they need to do and, you know, we're just going to be the victims of it.


CARAPEZZA: George Bassette has just finished his overnight shift at the plant. He hops in his truck and goes to his second job, where he landscapes with his father.


CARAPEZZA: As he rakes scattered leaves, Bassette struggles with the idea of going from making $21 an hour, to part-time work, to unemployment. He says the situation has left him frustrated.

BASSETTE: I understand that the demand is dropping quite a bit and going rechargeable, and maybe we should have tried to get some rechargeable business here.

CARAPEZZA: But Energizer says it's too late for that, and too late for these jobs. The production line in St. Albans will end next September with a complete shutdown, leaving 165 workers jobless. While he admits it's difficult to lose any jobs in a tough economy, Scott Cassel - of the Product Stewardship Institute - says there's an opportunity to shift the nation's workforce toward green jobs.

CASSEL: If we can use more rechargeable batteries, and less of the single-use batteries, we're actually saving resources. This is the price of innovation. This is what we need to look forward - into the world of greater sustainability.

CARAPEZZA: Energizer says it will consolidate battery manufacturing at its other plants, including a much larger one in Singapore.

For NPR News, I'm Kirk Carapezza in Vermont. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.