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.


Ex-Ambassador Crocker Supports Hagel's Nomination

Jan 11, 2013
Originally published on January 11, 2013 8:35 am



Let's hear another perspective on President Obama's choice for Defense secretary. Chuck Hagel faces sharp questions at the least on his way to Senate confirmation. Earlier this week on this program, the analyst Danielle Pletka argued that the former Republican senator has omnidirectionally offended everyone, with his views on Israel, talking to Iran, the war in Iraq, and much more.

Our next guest is a veteran diplomat who supports Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of Defense. Ryan Crocker served under Presidents Obama, Bush and others, as ambassador to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

Mr. Crocker, welcome back to the program.

RYAN CROCKER: Thanks, Steve. Great to be here.

INSKEEP: Why support Chuck Hagel, Ambassador?

CROCKER: You know, I've known Senator Hagel since he entered the Senate. I first met him when I was preparing to go out to Syria as ambassador in the spring of 1998. And while there are a lot of high-quality senators on that committee, I was particularly impressed by his thoughtfulness, his knowledge and his understanding that America needed to be engaged in a complex, very difficult world.

INSKEEP: Well, how do you think it is that Chuck Hagel has been accused of alienating so many people with various remarks over the years?

CROCKER: Well, he is a wonderfully nice person but he is also a very strong person. He is not afraid to, you know, express a view without engaging whether or not it's popular.

INSKEEP: One of the reasons that Senator Hagel, former Senator Hagel, is controversial is that he became a vocal critic of the war in Iraq, which is a country where you served as ambassador at one time, of course. Was he right about his criticism?

CROCKER: He initially supported the war. When things started turning south, he became a critic of it. Well, the truth is, I had more own reservations about the war before it was launched, but once it was, I was all in, literally - I was in Iraq starting April 2003, I had my first stint. Where I think he wrong, quite frankly, was his opposition to the surge.

INSKEEP: This is the increase in troops at the end of the Bush administration that was seen as reducing the violence ultimately, or helping to reduce the violence.

CROCKER: Correct. I think that surge was crucial in turning the tide and at least giving Iraq a chance at long-term security and stability. So I'm not a lobbyist for Chuck Hagel. I think he was wrong on this one. But it's easy to get things not quite right. I've done it myself.

INSKEEP: Is there a major issue facing the U.S. right now, such as Iran, such as a the Middle East conflict or other issues where you have looked at Chuck Hagel's statements and thought, well, on that one he's right.

CROCKER: Broadly speaking, he is right virtually all of the time. Take Iran. He has been criticized for saying we should negotiate with the Iranians. Well, I'm someone who did negotiate with Iranians on two occasions - over Afghanistan and over Iraq. And negotiation doesn't mean concession. As I've tried to point out before, negotiations for which are carefully prepared allow you some insight into your adversary. And I believe that to be Senator Hagel's view. You know, let's talk if they'll talk. Let's see what we learn. Maybe it will lead somewhere, but even if it doesn't, then it tells you where they're at and what your other options are. And I remember a piece in the Washington Post last year in which he made clear that use of force has to stay on the table. I don't think it's anybody's preferred option - it's certainly not mine - but you got to hold it there. And you know, a failed negotiation may make clear what your real options are.

INSKEEP: One other thing, Ambassador Crocker - what does the nomination of Chuck Hagel say about the foreign policy that President Obama may wish to pursue in his second term?

CROCKER: That's a complex question and it's probably broader than I'm really able to address. But what I would say off the top of my head is that he is signaling, I think, with his nominations of both Senator Hagel and Senator Kerry that he is going to be internationally engaged. These are two great internationalists. And that he is intending to work with others to the fullest extent possible. Because neither Hagel or Kerry or unilateralists. They've always believed in working with others.

INSKEEP: Ryan Crocker is a former U.S. ambassador to everywhere, really - Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, couple of others places. Ambassador, thank you very much.

CROCKER: Thank you, Steve. It's a pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.