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.

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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.


Deal To Avert 'Fiscal Cliff' Appears Likely

Dec 31, 2012
Originally published on June 4, 2013 10:01 am

Update at 9:45 p.m. Deal Reached

Vice President Joe Biden was meeting late Monday with Senate Democrats to brief them on a proposed deal to stop sharp tax increases and spending cuts. A source told NPR the deal with congressional Democratic and Republican leaders includes a mix of both.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have signed off on the agreement, which calls for a two-month deferral of the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester. The source says the cuts will be paid for half with revenue and half with more targeted spending cuts.

The Senate may vote on the deal Monday night, but there will be no vote in the House until Tuesday at the earliest.

Our original post:

Congress will not succeed in avoiding the "fiscal cliff" before New Year's Day, as the Senate isn't likely to vote on a potential deal until after midnight, and the House of Representatives has adjourned until Tuesday.

The failure comes after lawmakers and the White House spent weeks and months trying to work out a budget deal to avert tax hikes and budget cuts that will kick in automatically in 2013.

The House adjourned just before 6:30 p.m. ET; the chamber's next session will begin Tuesday at noon. A Senate vote on a deal could still come Monday night or early Tuesday. After meeting with other Republicans, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he thinks "it's highly likely that some time this evening there'll be a vote on the Senate side," writes Ed O'Keefe of The Washington Post.

Corker said he and his fellow senators may vote on a deal after midnight.

"I think they're attempting to get the legislative language in order and vote on it tonight," he said, "you know, 1, 2, 3, 4 in the morning, whatever."

Any deal that is worked out would likely include terms that make it apply retroactively to the time between midnight tonight and the bill's enactment, NPR's Washington Editor Ron Elving tells us.

There are multiple news reports that the key provisions in the emerging deal include increases in income tax rates for families earning more than $450,000 a year and individuals who make more than $400,000. Other Americans' income tax rates would remain unchanged.

House members would want time to read any bill the Senate might offer, reports Reuters, citing "a Republican leadership aide." The aide also says a delay would have only a limited effect on the U.S. economy, as financial markets are closed Tuesday for the New Year's Day holiday.

As NPR's Washington Desk reminds us, legislators on Capitol Hill are also facing another deadline, and this one is beyond their control: At 11:59 p.m. ET Thursday, the 112th Congress will begin its final minute. Any budget crisis that lingers after midnight and into Friday would be the problem of the next Congress.

News that the New Year's Eve deadline might pass without Congress approving a deal follows comments by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier Monday that "we are very, very close" to reaching a deal.

President Obama said this afternoon that an agreement to prevent most Americans' taxes from rising at midnight is "within sight," but not yet done. An hour or so later, McConnell — the key Republican in talks about the so-called fiscal cliff — agreed.

As we've been reporting, there have been signs today of progress in the talks — which are now being led by Vice President Biden and McConnell. The so-called fiscal cliff is the midnight arrival of automatic tax increases, automatic spending cuts and the end of some unemployment benefits (all deadlines put in place by lawmakers back in 2011 during previous deficit-reduction and debt-ceiling negotiations).

Update at 7 p.m. ET. Senate May Vote Late Tonight

A deal may not come up for a vote in the Senate until after midnight, says Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Update at 6:35 p.m. ET. House Adjourns Until Tuesday

The House adjourned for the day just before 6:30 p.m. ET; its next scheduled session begins at noon Tuesday.

Update at 5:15 p.m. ET. House In Limbo As Deadline Looms

Just after 5 p.m. ET, House Speaker John Boehner tweeted that Republican House Majority Whip Eric Cantor "has advised Members to stay near Capitol in case of further votes," leaving open the possibility that a vote may still come tonight. We've updated this post to reflect that news.

Update at 4:15 p.m. ET. No Vote In 2012?

The House will not hold a vote to avoid the "fiscal cliff" on Monday, Dec. 31 — the day before the first of the automatic budget cuts and higher taxes are due to take effect, according to reports.

Update at 2:55 p.m. ET. McConnell Says "We Are Very, Very Close":

Echoing many of the president's comments, McConnell just said on the Senate floor that "we are very, very close" on taxes. "Let's pass the tax relief portion now," he added, and "take what's been agreed to and keep moving."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports that according to "people familiar the negotiations," the key components of the emerging deal on taxes are the extension of Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning less than $400,000 a year and couples earning more than $450,000. Income above those levels would be taxed at a 39.6 percent rate.

Update at 1:55 p.m. ET. Can Accomplish Most Important Goal:

Toward the end of his comments, the president says the primary goal of the talks now is to "stop taxes going up for middle class families starting tomorrow." That is, he says, "a modest goal we can accomplish."

And he jokes that "if there's even one second left before you have to do what you're supposed to do," members of Congress "will use that last second."

Update at 1:52 p.m. ET. Another Hint About Solving This In Steps:

The president talks about the automatic spending cuts set to kick in at midnight and speaks in the future tense: "Any agreement we have to deal with automatic spending cuts ... those also have to be balanced. ... Revenues have to be part of the equation in turning off the 'sequester.' "

Update at 1:48 p.m. ET. Solution "In Stages":

Hinting that there won't be a deal that covers every aspect of the fiscal cliff, the president says "it may be we can do it in stages."

Update at 1:46 p.m. ET. Agreement Is "Within Sight," But Not Done:

"I do need to talk about the progress that's being made in Congress today," Obama says. An agreement is "within sight ... but it's not done."

Update at 1:42 p.m. ET. Starting Shortly:

A group of people — likely to be described by the White House as Americans who would benefit from a deal to avoid going over the "cliff," have gathered behind the podium from which the president will speak.

Update at 1:25 p.m. ET. Expect To Hear "Outlines" Of A Deal?

On the NPR broadcast, correspondent John Ydstie just said it's now believed the president will announce the outlines of a deal. As correspondent Julie Rovner added, the plan will still need to be voted on in both the House and Senate and that might not happen until after midnight. But John noted that Congress could let provisions go into effect retroactively. That is, the federal government might technically go over the "fiscal cliff," but be pulled back up later by legislation.

Here's one of our earlier updates:

11:30 a.m. ET. Outlines Of A Deal On Taxes?

The Wall Street Journal says:

"On taxes, one of the thorniest issues on the table, the two sides appeared to be converging. President Barack Obama has called for raising individual income-tax rates on family income above $250,000. In the latest round of Senate talks, Republicans proposed a $550,000 threshold, which Democrats moved to $450,000, according to Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.)."

While Politico reports that:

"McConnell and Biden, who served in the Senate together for 23 years, are closing in on an agreement that would hike tax rates for families who earn more than $450,000, and individuals who make more than $400,000, according to sources familiar with talks. That would mark significant concessions for both men, particularly for McConnell. President Barack Obama campaigned on raising taxes for families who make more than $250,000, but McConnell has long been dead-set against any tax increases, warning they would jeopardize the economy."

As the Journal adds, though:

"Before noon on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said on the Senate floor that discussions continue, but he also warned 'we really are running out of time,' adding that 'There are a number of issues on which the two sides are still apart.' "

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