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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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.

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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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Do Unions Still Have Clout In Michigan?

Dec 12, 2012
Originally published on December 12, 2012 7:27 am



The contentious fight over labor rights has been unfolding throughout the Midwest in the last couple of years. Michigan is only the latest example.

NPR's national political correspondent Don Gonyea joins us now to explore the broader impact of all this. Good morning, Don.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: So how is what has happened in Michigan different from what we've seen over the past couple of years in Wisconsin and Ohio, where Republican governors also took on labor unions?

GONYEA: Listen, those were big. They were huge but they were really rooted in state budget matters. This, much more broadly, attacks the powers of unions in this state across the board. There were those huge protests in Wisconsin and Ohio, but those places only went after public sector employee unions. This deals with all unions though it does carve out exceptions for police and for firefighters.

In Michigan, nobody in a unionized workforce can be forced to join or pay dues as a condition of employment. It puts unions at risk of losing members, of losing income from dues, of losing clout. The ultimate impact isn't clear, especially in a place like Michigan that's still considered a labor stronghold, but it is a huge setback.

There is a big similarity between this and Wisconsin and Ohio. Big outside money from conservative groups - Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers - played a big role in the process.

MONTAGNE: Well, let's talk about the political aspects of it. What does it mean for Michigan, and more broadly, for the region?

GONYEA: I think there's a sense if it can happen in Michigan it can happen anyplace. That's certainly the message that right-to-work supporters will take - they'll be emboldened. And for unions facing declining membership, it is another big blow. In the meantime, Michigan will certainly become a battleground of court challenges, of recall attempts, possibly, and especially bitter politics for the foreseeable future.

Already the issue has attracted big players, there's that outside money we talked about. But just on Monday of this week, we had the president weigh in at a Detroit area stop. Here he is.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: These so-called right-to-work laws, they don't have to do with economics. They have everything to do with politics.


OBAMA: What they're really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.


GONYEA: Again, Michigan wasn't hotly contested in the presidential race this year. But the president and most Democrats in the state really rely on union help, union ground troops, in elections.

MONTAGNE: Well, where do the labor you use go after a defeat like this in a state that has been, as you say, such a stronghold?

GONYEA: Really, you cannot overstate what a setback this is for them - both in real terms and symbolically. When Indiana became the first big Midwestern state to go right-to-work this year, that was meaningful but that's a conservative state. It was no huge shock. No big surprise.

Michigan is a huge surprise because of its deep labor history, its huge manufacturing presence. Again, they'll have to really gear up for battle now; legally and legislatively and politicaly, because they know they've taken a big hit.

MONTAGNE: Well, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is up for reelection in two years, Don, it sounds like that campaign has already started.

GONYEA: It has. It's still 2012, but 2014 is under way. We don't know Governor Snyder's plans for reelection, but we know what the issue's going to be.

MONTAGNE: Don, thanks much.

GONYEA: Thank you.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Don Gonyea. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.