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.


Contract Ban, Civil Litigation Add To BP's Woes

Nov 29, 2012
Originally published on November 29, 2012 9:18 am



It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

The multinational oil firm BP is being taken to account for the massive 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Yesterday, the Obama administration banned BP from any new contacts with the federal government, citing, quote, "a lack of business integrity" related to the spill - that after BP admitted criminal wrongdoing in its recent settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.

But that's not the end of it for BP. Far more money could be at stake in an upcoming civil litigation stemming from what was the worst environmental disaster in American history. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: BP's tab is already staggering. So far, the firm has agreed to pay four-and-a-half billion dollars in its criminal deal with the federal government. A separate civil settlement with private oil spill victims is worth an estimated 7.8 billion. Still outstanding are civil lawsuits brought by Gulf states and the Justice Department, set to go to trial in February.

With each new settlement, BP is eliminating the cloud of uncertainty that has hung over the company since its well blew, killing 11 rig workers, gushing nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf, and fouling beaches and wetlands in a five-state region. At issue is how to put a price tag on that.

AARON VILES: We don't know, you know, how much it will cost to fix what BP has done to this ecosystem.

ELLIOTT: Aaron Viles with the Gulf Restoration Network in New Orleans says no one knows the long-term consequences for the Gulf.

VILES: The oil's not gone. The disaster isn't over, and the science isn't settled in terms of how much of an impact it's had.

ELLIOTT: If a judge determines there was gross negligence - which the government alleges - BP could be fined nearly $20 billion under the Clean Water Act. Additionally, BP is responsible under the Oil Pollution Act for restoring natural resources back to pre-spill condition, a process known as NRDA: the Natural Resource Damage Assessment.

Already, Gulf states are pushing the Justice Department to fashion a settlement that might benefit them the most. Viles says because its coast took on the most oil, Louisiana might fare the best under NRDA. But Congress passed the Restore Act, a law that returns 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines back to the region for state and local officials to spend as they see fit.

Some officials are worried the Justice Department will work around the Restore Act and shift settlement money to cover mostly natural resource damage, money that would be under the control of the federal government.

Mayor Robert Craft of Gulf Shores, Alabama says that would hamper the recovery in his tourism-based community.

MAYOR ROBERT CRAFT: Meaning that it is an environmental pot only, and that in our particular instance and in a lot of the areas here, we have economic damage that we're trying to recover from. That money doesn't allow us economic. The beauty of the Restore Act is it's broad. It has economic and environmental monies within it. And so the more money we can put into restore, the more problems we can solve.

ELLIOTT: But with only elected officials and no environmental representation on the panel that will determine where the Restore Act pot of money is spent, critics fear road and bridge-building will be given priority over ecological projects. That makes it tricky for negotiators, says University of Michigan law school professor David Uhlmann, a former chief of the Justice Department's environmental crime section.

DAVID UHLMANN: It's a challenge for the government. You know, how do you balance civil penalties that can be used for more than just restoration with natural resource damage claims that only can be used to benefit the environment and ecosystem that has been harmed?

ELLIOTT: Uhlmann says it's no surprise - with this much in potential penalties at stake - there's infighting over who controls the money. For people on the Gulf Coast still struggling to come back from the spill, resolution can't come soon enough. Mike Voisin is a seventh-generation oysterman in Houma, Louisiana.

MIKE VOISIN: I remember when we were waiting for the well to be capped, and they tried all these various methods to do it, and each time there was this kind of a disappointment. And then finally, when they capped it, it was like a relief. So as we move forward with each of these settlements, it's kind of that same relief. It's behind us. We can get back to some normalcy and our communities can settle down.

ELLIOTT: Although talks have been ongoing, BP, state attorneys general, and the Justice Department say they're prepared to fight the civil case at trial.

Debbie Elliott, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.