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.


Drought Puts The Squeeze On Already Struggling Fish Farms

Jan 3, 2013
Originally published on January 3, 2013 6:10 pm

This year's drought delivered a pricey punch to US aquaculture, the business of raising fish like bass and catfish for food. Worldwide, aquaculture has grown into a $119 billion industry, but the lack of water and high temperatures in 2012 hurt many U.S. fish farmers who were already struggling to compete on a global scale.

At Osage Catfisheries, about one mile off the highway in rural, central Missouri, there are dozens of rectangular ponds with rounded corners. Some of them are empty, some have water, but not one is completely full.

Co-owner Steve Kahrs dons a pair of shorts on an unusually warm December day and surveys his ponds. Today, the water is fairly still with a few ripples from the warm breeze. He stands in front of one pond filled with catfish about eight to 12 inches long and points to the dirty rings circling up a white PVC pipe for about a foot before it becomes white again.

"They're out of the water a ways," he says. "Our average depth is still about five feet. But we're a good 10 or 12 inches down of where we'd keep it."

Down the highway a few miles, Kahrs' office can be found in a small house next to two tiny ponds where his father first started raising fish about 60 years ago. Scattered about the property are sinks and large tubs filled with catfish, bluegill and paddlefish. Kahrs says this year, the drought proved to be tough on the family business — one that sorely depends on water.

"We did fall short on our production numbers that we wanted," he says.

The dry conditions and high temperatures forced many fish farmers here to dig deep to keep their fish healthy and fed. For Kahrs, that meant paying for more energy to pump clean, cool water out of his wells and into the ponds around the clock.

"We probably chewed through about 30 percent more of our power than we did the year before, and the year before was not that good," he says.

It wasn't just the water levels. The soaring temperatures in the summer turned up the burner on the ponds. When that happens, oxygen levels in the water drop and a fish's metabolism slows down. To counteract this, Kahrs says he was pumping water nearly every day from April through September.

Farmers also saw the price of fish feed shoot up because it contains soybean and corn, which underperformed this year because of the drought.

John Hargreaves, a former aquaculture professor at Mississippi State University who now consults for global aquaculture development projects, says acreage of catfish ponds have dropped considerably since the early 2000s. The rising production costs of fish farming, erratic weather and a less expensive type of catfish from Asia have all hurt the catfish industry in the US.

"Production is down, and one of the big drivers for that was the increase in imports of pangasius catfish from Vietnam, China and so forth," he says. "Those imports have substituted for domestic catfish."

Between 2010 and 2011, 20 percent of domestic catfish farms shut down. And as we reported before, seafood imports are also hurting the domestic shrimp market.

So what can fish farmers do to survive the stiff competition and spells of inhospitable weather? Some researchers have been looking into modifying the pond system to make it more energy efficient. Others are experimenting with new feed recipes requiring less expensive ingredients. But, Hargreaves says, even that might be not enough to save this domestic industry.

"There's no silver bullet or game changer. That's for certain," he says.

In the meantime, Kahrs plans to repurpose at least 20 acres of catfish ponds to raise other species, like paddlefish and bass. He hopes they'll be more lucrative. But most of all he's hoping for a solid snowpack this winter and lots of rain in the spring.

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