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.


Budget Deal Provides Tax Brakes For Green Energy

Jan 4, 2013
Originally published on January 4, 2013 12:27 pm

Whether you're a homeowner who bought an energy-saving refrigerator last year or a company hoping to build a wind farm, the tax package Congress just approved may give you a reason to cheer.

"It's got something in there, a Christmas gift if you will, for almost everyone — American homeowners, workers who commute via transit, and manufacturers of efficient equipment like clothes washers, dryers, refrigerators," says Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.

Homeowners can save up to $500 on taxes for 2012 or 2013 for installing more insulation or an energy-efficient furnace, for example.

The tax package is especially meaningful to clean-energy businesses that rely on tax benefits to stay profitable.

Jennifer Case, CEO of New Leaf Biofuel, and her colleagues had been betting on Congress coming through for them, so they are breathing a huge sigh of relief. The San Diego company turns used cooking oil into diesel.

"Everybody was thrilled, and now it's back to work today to sell the fuel that we now can afford to make," Case says.

Last year was a difficult year for New Leaf because Congress let a $1-a-gallon tax break for biodiesel expire. Even so, Case's company decided to triple the capacity of its plant. Case was hoping Congress would reinstate the benefit, and it did.

"I think coming to work every day is a gamble, but so far it's been a good gamble," she says.

Daniel Kunz runs U.S. Geothermal, a company that creates electricity from sources of superhot water that occur naturally underground. When it looked like Congress might not renew tax credits for renewable energy, his company shelved plans to expand one of its plants.

But then Congress not only extended the tax credit for renewable energy projects, it also changed the rules. Now, instead of needing to complete a project by the end of 2013 to be eligible, a company has to only start construction by the end of the year.

"In fact, this is going to help us make a decision, an economic decision, to go forward on a project that otherwise might not," Kunz says.

The tax benefits for green energy that Congress extended were originally created over the past decade. At the time, it seemed that energy sources, especially homegrown ones, were scarce. The country also seemed to be on the verge of setting limits on emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

"There was a sensible reason to want to subsidize a transformation," says energy analyst Kevin Book. It's harder to make a case for renewable energy now, given the booms in natural gas and oil, he says.

"All of these things are different now: Demand is declining, supply is increasing, the decarbonization mandate has weakened if not disappeared, and energy security isn't the risk that it used to be," he says.

Book predicts that the New Year's tax package may be the last big payday for green energy.

But Kunz, of U.S. Geothermal, says the United States should keep investing in renewable energy.

"It will never be the cure-all energy source, but it is a gift to our children when we build these things to have clean energy sources," he says.

These projects will produce less pollution, including greenhouse gases. They also can save money over the long haul because, unlike, say, a natural gas power plant, they don't need to keep buying fuel.

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