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.


Facebook, Apple Part Of Big Year For Business News

Dec 29, 2012
Originally published on December 29, 2012 5:38 pm



Any new member of Congress faces a steep climb to get up to speed on the economic challenges facing the U.S. over the next 12 months. Some of the loudest demands for congressional attention will no doubt come from America's CEOs and business leaders because while the recovery has been trudging along in the right direction, some of America's largest companies and corporations have not distinguished themselves over the last year.

Joe Nocera is an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times. He joins me to talk about some of the most notable ups and downs in big business in 2012. Hi, Joe.

JOE NOCERA: How are you, Linda?

WERTHEIMER: I'm fine and I hope you're well. I wonder if we could, you know, begin with the bad news. I mean, why not begin with the bad news? If you had to pick one man or woman who made the worst business decision in 2012, who would nominate?

NOCERA: Well, I think at the top of the list would be Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. Facebook was viewed as a wonderful, wonderful company that everybody wanted to own until the moment came when you actually could own it, which was May of this year. It was one of the most highly sought-after public offerings ever, and it was one of the most disastrous. Botched by the NASDAQ, the stock went straight down.

But what also happened was investors started to take a closer look to the one question that Facebook has the most trouble answering. How will you ultimately make money? And those question marks really caused that stock to fall hard.

WERTHEIMER: It wasn't a great year for Apple either, was it?

NOCERA: Well, it started out like gangbusters. You'll recall that Steve Jobs, the avatar of Apple died in 2011, so the new team was in place, Tim Cook was the new chief executive. And for the first half to two-thirds of the year, they seemed like they could do nothing wrong.

And then they came out with the new iPhone, and they kicked off Google maps, which everybody had loved and relied on and put in their own mapping program. And that's just kind of the way Apple is. Eventually they want to control everything. No big surprise there except that Apple Maps was a horror show, and people were very upset.

And it led to questions about whether, now that Steve Jobs and his perfectionist tendencies were not there anymore, whether Apple was still going be the same kind of company. And lo and behold, you saw some of the same things that happened with Facebook. A $700 stock at its peak is today more like a $500 stock. It's a very new experience for Apple watchers.

WERTHEIMER: Now, I know that you follow the high-frequency trading story, that's computerized trading programs, which buy and then sell positions in seconds or fractions of seconds. HFT has sometimes moved faster and in more complicated ways than even trained analysts can follow, right?

NOCERA: Well, yes. This was a big year for high-frequency trading, and I don't mean that in particularly a good way. There are two basic trends. The first is that we keep having these market glitches because the computer algorithms that tell these programs when to buy and sell sometimes go haywire. And we saw this most recently with Knight Capital a few months ago where the first 45 minutes they just went bazonkers. I guess that's a technical term.


NOCERA: Ultimately, Knight Capital had to sell itself to another company to survive. But there's another more important underlying question than whether the algorithms go haywire sometimes. And that is: do high-frequency traders have advantages over average investors that they shouldn't have? The SEC had spent much of this year worrying about these momentary glitches.

But towards the end of the year, it started to ask tougher questions about this more important question of whether high-frequency trading is unfair to the rest of us.

WERTHEIMER: So, we don't have too much time left for good news. Do you have any good news?

NOCERA: I do. I do. AIG has paid back every penny that the government spent to bail it out and they gave the government a $12 billion profit. And they did it in a very simple way. They shed assets that were not core, and they ran their insurance businesses well, and it's really, really worked out.

WERTHEIMER: Joe Nocera, op-ed columnist for the New York Times, it's always a pleasure to talk to you.

NOCERA: Thank you, Linda. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.