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.


The Finale Of '12 Days Of Tax Deductions'

Dec 25, 2012
Originally published on December 25, 2012 9:42 am



Now each day we've been looking at those gifts - big and small - that the government gives us in the form of tax benefits and we have finally hit the final day in our series that we've called the Twelve Days of Tax Deductions.


GREENE: And so on this 12th day of tax deductions, we thought we would just dig into a grab bag of a lot of deductions you may or may not even know about.

Kevin McCormally follows this. He's tax editorial director of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine. And Kevin, thanks for dropping by.

KEVIN MCCORMALLY: I'm happy to be here.

GREENE: So I have to say this, as we've been researching the series that we've been doing, there are a few deductions that just caught my eyes, ones I didn't expect, and one is a tax deduction for gambling losses?

MCCORMALLY: Well, it's there, but it's sort of misleading.


MCCORMALLY: Because first of all, you only get to deduct your losses if you report your winnings...


MCCORMALLY: ...and only up to the level of your winnings. So if you win $5,000 and honestly report that $5,000, you can deduct $5,000, but only if you itemize deductions. Three quarters of the people don't itemize. They're still expected to report their winnings but they don't get to deduct their losses.

GREENE: OK. So if I go on a weekend in Vegas and lose a ton, it's not like I can kind of make the losses a little better by deducting it.

MCCORMALLY: Uncle Sam doesn't really want to subsidize that.

GREENE: Yeah. I guess I can understand that. Well, you have a list of deductions that are often overlooked - and I wanted to get to some of them - but what is for students who are paying student loans.

MCCORMALLY: Well, remember that back in 1986, the last big tax reform, they pretty much eliminated the deduction for personal interest except for home mortgages. But then after a while they decided, well, we really ought to help these kids out who have to borrow all this money, so we'll let them deduct interest on their student loans. But then they discovered that a lot of these kids can't get jobs and to go to their parents and ask their parents to pay that interest. Well, until a few years ago, if the parents paid the interest they could not deduct it, because one of the requirements in the law is you have to be legally obligated to repay that interest for it to be a deduction.

GREENE: And so parents are not legally obligated, it's the student who is legally obligated.

MCCORMALLY: Right. They usually don't cosign the loan so, it's the student. But finally, the IRS said let's play like we're in the real world and pretend that the parents give the money to the student, the student pays the interest, so the student gets the deduction. That's great, as long as the student is no longer a dependent on the parent's tax return. If he or she is still a dependent, nobody gets the deduction.

GREENE: Well, this raises an interesting question and I think could apply to a lot of these deductions. If I'm a student and my parents are paying off my loan and are eligible for this deduction, is there anything I have to do before December 31st to make sure that mom and dad can get this?

MCCORMALLY: Make sure they pay the debt, that's the key thing.

GREENE: Make sure they pay and then they can...

MCCORMALLY: Like most deductions, it has to be done by December 31st in order to get it on your 2012 return.

GREENE: Now one group of people who pay very close attention to possible deductions are those people who are self-employed. It seems like there are a lot of options.

MCCORMALLY: Well, they are and that's one reason that a lot of people become self-employed. One thing that's very interesting to me is the ones with medical health insurance. If you're an individual working for somebody else and have to pay for your own insurance, you can deduct it, but it's a medical expense deductible only to the extent that all your medical expenses exceed seven and a half percent of your income. Very, very few people reach that threshold. Thankfully, we don't have that necessary as medical problems.


MCCORMALLY: But if you're self-employed, you can deduct your health insurance costs on your 1040 form with no restriction at all, no threshold. And more importantly, an individual has to do it, they have to itemize in order to get this deduction. A business person does not, they get that deduction right on their 1040.

GREENE: A lot of things on a self-employed person's life. I mean even, I mean if they want to throw a party or something for New Year's Eve. If it's business related, they could deduct their champagne.

KENNETH TURAN. MOVIE CRITIC, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Absolutely. I know lots of my friends who are freelancers do just that. They have a party on New Year's Eve, they invite sources and they claim it as a tax deduction. You've got to be careful. It has to be reasonable and ordinary. There should be a business purpose that you can prove if the IRS questions it. But, sure, a lot of self-employed people are very generous at this time of year - gifts that you give to clients, up to $25 deductible at holiday time.

GREENE: And for a lot of people traveling this time of year, baggage fees. I mean, I hate them. A lot of people hate them.


GREENE: Is there any way to deduct those?

MCCORMALLY: You're self-employed and you're traveling on business, that's $50 a bag or whatever, you can add it to your travel expenses. You might not think it's reasonable or ordinary but the IRS does.

GREENE: Well, that's kind of the IRS.


GREENE: Thanks so much for joining us. I really appreciate. And have a great holiday.

MCCORMALLY: Thank you.

GREENE: That's Kevin Mccormally, he's editorial director of Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.