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.

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Coal May Pass Oil As World's No. 1 Energy Source By 2017, Study Says

Dec 18, 2012
Originally published on March 25, 2013 2:49 pm

Despite a slowdown in U.S. consumption, coal is poised to replace oil as the world's top energy source — possibly in the next five years, according to the International Energy Agency. The rise will be driven almost entirely by new energy demands in China and India, the IEA says.

"This report sees that trend continuing. In fact, the world will burn around 1.2 billion more tonnes of coal per year by 2017 compared to today – equivalent to the current coal consumption of Russia and the United States combined," says IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven.

Together, China and India will account for more than 90 percent of the rise in demand for coal over the next five years, according to the IEA.

The agency predicts that coal's growth trend will hold everywhere in the world except the United States, where it says the wide availability of cheap natural gas brought a decline in coal demand — a situation also summed up in a recent post by NPR's State Impact team, Why Coal Is on the Decline in Texas.

By 2017, the IEA also expects India to surpass the U.S. as the world's second-largest coal consumer. With that in mind, van der Hoeven says, electricity prices around the world "will depend increasingly on Chinese and Indian policy and investment decisions."

The agency's projections only change slightly if, as some predict, China will be forced to reduce its coal consumption and seek cleaner and more cost-effective ways of powering its growth. The IEA study found that even in a scenario in which China's predicted growth were halved, demand would still go up.

In China's role as the world's largest coal consumer, "net coal imports have increased by 39.5 percent so far this year, to 217 million tons," reports Coal Investing News, citing Chinese government data.

In the short term, not all of coal's growth is seen coming from large emerging markets. Europe's coal consumption is also rising.

As industry analyst Elliott Gue of Energy & Income Advisor wrote today, "In Europe, demand for coal has surged as a result of sky-high natural-gas prices in international markets and declining output from nuclear power as Germany phases out its fleet of reactors."

Faced with lower domestic demand, many U.S. coal producers have bolstered their exports to Europe and China. Despite that trend, the IEA predicts U.S. coal production will decrease over the next five years.

Even as U.S. utilities shut down older and inefficient coal-fired energy plants, large facilities are expected to be major producers for America's power grid for years to come, according to analyst Elliott Gue.

In her remarks presenting the IEA study, as well as in Huff Post's Green blog, van der Hoeven said natural gas remains the largest immediate threat to coal, which she called "the 21st century's dirty engine of growth."

Saying that "neither climate policy nor a macroeconomic slowdown stops the relentless increase of coal," van der Hoeven added, "but cheap natural gas can."

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