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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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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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.


Conn. Senator Introduces Ban On Assault Weapons

Dec 19, 2012
Originally published on December 20, 2012 5:44 am



One person who did have a lot to say about gun control is Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. He spent several days with grieving residents in Newtown. The Democrat then returned to Washington, and on the Senate floor yesterday, made an emotional plea for stricter gun control. We spoke to him just afterwards.

Senator, this has been a horrible time for the people of your state. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.

SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: I appreciate being with you. It has been a very tough time for the people of Newtown and the families who are still grieving, and the people of Connecticut.

GREENE: You returned and came onto the floor of the Senate, and it really sounds like it was a call to action in your speech. And I'm wondering what exactly you're calling for. What new piece of legislation would be your first priority?

BLUMENTHAL: My first item on the agenda is a ban on assault weapons. I do believe that there are steps we can take, like banning assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, providing treatment or outreach for the mentally ill and deranged - at least keeping firearms out of their hands - and stronger support for enforcement by local, state and federal law enforcement so that existing laws, as well as new measures, can be enforced.

But, of course, there's no cure-all, no single or simple solution. And I feel that the political ground is changing, that tectonically, political changes are making possible - maybe for the first time in recent history - some effective action to stem and stop gun violence.

GREENE: To take nothing away from this horrific tragedy, I mean, there was also an outpouring of grief after a tragedy like the Columbine shootings. And since then, an assault weapons ban in the country dropped away. Congress doesn't have one on the books anymore. So does that not show that the tragedies don't always lead to a moment when politicians come together and pass stricter gun control laws?

BLUMENTHAL: There have been other tragedies, not to take away from any of them - Columbine, Aurora, Oak Ridge - that involve loss of life equally tragic. But there has been a shift in the positions of some of the members of the Senate. Senator Manchin of West Virginia, Senator Warner of Virginia, Senator Reid, the majority leader, have all spoken out on this issue, calling attention to the need for action.

And my private conversations with many of my colleagues indicate that they are revisiting or rethinking their views and positions.

GREENE: So privately, you've had conversations with people who were skeptical of stricter gun control in the past, and you feel that they're making a turn.

BLUMENTHAL: Making a turn may be too strong of a view at this point, but they are certainly revisiting and reconsidering. You know, what kind of hunter uses a 30-round magazine? What kind of self-defense situation is best served by an assault weapon? These kinds of questions, I think, have moved people to reconsider their positions and whether they make a turn or simply welcome an initiative, I think the semantics are less important than the action that we can take.

GREENE: One thing you said on the floor of the Senate is that there will always be mentally deranged or hateful people who want to lash out violently at the world. And I just wonder, as you look at the different possible solutions to this, there are some who say that the priorities should be focusing on mental health, that there are millions of guns in the country already, and bringing back the assault weapons ban is just not the solution that's going to prevent another tragedy like this. How do you respond to those types of things?

BLUMENTHAL: I think people like Senator Rockefeller of West Virginia are right in calling for more resources, going to state and local mental health efforts, providers who intervene and give treatment, identify people who may be troubled and who should not be in possession of firearms. But there's no single solution, and we don't need to list them in order of importance. We can move forward with all of them.

GREENE: Thank you very much for the time, sir.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

GREENE: That's Senator Richard Blumenthal. He's a Democratic Senator from the state of Connecticut. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.