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.

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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.


Congress Barrels Toward Fiscal Cliff

Nov 11, 2012
Originally published on November 11, 2012 12:36 pm



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

Here's a term you're going to get really tired of in the next several weeks - if you haven't already: The fiscal cliff. It's a combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to hit at the start of the year. That is, if Congress and the president fail to find a way to avoid it.

NPR's Tamara Keith has this primer.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Both House Speaker John Boehner and the president made it clear, they don't want to go off the cliff.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: And I'm proposing that we avert the fiscal cliff, together in a manner that insures that 2013 is finally the year that our government comes to grips with the major problems that are facing us.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I want to be clear. I'm not wedded to every detail of my plan. I'm open to compromise. I'm open to new ideas. I'm committed to solving our fiscal challenges. But...

KEITH: But - and there's always a but. There's a fundamental disagreement between the two men and their parties about how to proceed.

OBAMA: I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced. I'm not going to ask students and seniors and middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over $250,000, aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes.

BOEHNER: Listen, the problem with raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans is that more than half of them are small business owners.

KEITH: The president argues the American people support his position, and the exit polls from Election Day back that up. Regardless, if a deal isn't reached there are real consequences. Taxes would go up on almost everyone if the Bush and Obama tax cuts are allowed to expire as scheduled in January, says Roberton Williams of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center.

ROBERTON WILLIAMS: It's a big tax increase on high income people, a big tax increase on low income people, and people in the middle will get squeezed, too.

KEITH: In fact, Williams says 90 percent of taxpayers would see their tax bills rise, with an average increase per household of $3,500 a year.

WILLIAMS: Married couples will see a lower standard deduction. People with children will see a much smaller child tax credit. The high income households will see much, much higher taxes rates on ordinary income, and higher tax rates on their capital gains, and very much higher tax rates on their dividend income.

KEITH: And on the spending side of the ledger, there's what's known as the sequester; more than $100 billion in automatic across the board spending cuts - a trillion over 10 years - also set to start in January. The cuts would be split between defense and non-defense spending with Medicare and Social Security largely protected.

Todd Harrison is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

TODD HARRISON: The law specifically says, it's a uniform percentage cut across all accounts.

KEITH: In defense, which is Harrison's specialty, it's a 10 percent cut. But he says the amount isn't as much of a problem as the method. Under sequestration, the Defense Department can't choose to eliminate a marginal program to preserve funding for something that's a higher priority.

HARRISON: If you could do it rationally like that you could make a lot better decisions, than just having this uniform across the board cut. But the law doesn't allow that.

KEITH: The same is true in non-defense spending. Under the sequester, education, air traffic control and National Parks are all treated and cut equally.

STAN COLLENDER: Look Ma, no hands theory of budgeting.

KEITH: Stan Collender is a budget guru and a senior partner at Quorvis Communications. He says if the country is allowed to fall off the fiscal cliff, the economy would be sent back into recession.

COLLENDER: This is not a way to run a railroad, let alone to run a country. That is to have a gun to your head or rather to put a gun to your own head.

KEITH: There are seven weeks and counting to figure it out.

Tamara Keith, NPR News, The Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.