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.


Financial Markets Watching Fiscal Cliff Talks Closely

Dec 31, 2012
Originally published on December 31, 2012 7:55 pm



The Dow Industrials gained 166 points today. That's about 1.3 percent. Before today, the stock market had been steadily drifting lower, losing ground for five straight days. Joining us now to talk about the market is NPR's Jim Zarroli. And, Jim, of course, we don't know how today's talks in Washington will ultimately turn out, but it does appear that before the markets close today news of a deal was moving the markets. True?

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Yeah. Stock prices were kind of up and down throughout much of the day. And then in the afternoon, it became apparent that, you know, some kind of deal was in the works, and you saw prices go up quite a bit. You know, I have to say that, you know, given how serious this issue potentially is to the economy, the movements weren't enormous, and that's really been the case for weeks. I mean, you've seen movement in the markets but, you know, this is something that could push the U.S. economy into a recession. So it's really surprising that prices haven't fallen more.

SIEGEL: Why do you think that is? Why haven't investors more been worried about what's happening in Washington until now?

ZARROLI: I think it's possible a lot of investors just have seen this as kind of political theater. I mean they thought that in the long run that Congress and the White House would come to some kind of agreement. And, you know, this hasn't been a really volatile year in general. There's been this kind of disconnect between Wall Street and Washington. You didn't see big swings, for instance, you know, after the election. You didn't see it after the Supreme Court ruling on health care. You know, whatever movements there have been have been pretty gradual.

SIEGEL: How would you say 2012 turned out to be as a year in the financial markets?

ZARROLI: It was a good year, especially for some parts of the market. I mean, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 7.3 percent. The broader stock market did even better. Bond market was pretty strong. What makes this really remarkable is, you know, where - when you consider where we were a year ago, at the start of 2012 everybody was worried that China was going to slow down dramatically. People were worried about the euro collapsing. None of that happened. And the financial markets actually ended up doing pretty well.

SIEGEL: Does this mean that we're seeing investors coming back into the market?

ZARROLI: Well, some of them. I mean, you know, the stock market did well. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was up more than 13 percent. But a lot of that is being driven by the big investors, the hedge funds, the mutual funds. You know, they had to invest their money. They figured the stock market was a good place to invest, and they were right. A lot of small investors, though, they're still staying away. You know, they were very badly burned over the past decade, so they stopped putting their money into the markets, into stocks and, you know, we don't see any signs that they're coming back.

SIEGEL: Well, what was the best place to put your money if you are an investor? Was it the stock market?

ZARROLI: Well, surprisingly, you know, some of the best places to put your money were some of the places that you might have considered the riskiest a year ago. For instance, you know, corporate junk bonds did very well. They were up, I think I saw about 15 percent according to one measure. Housing market has really turned around, so some of the housing sector stocks have done well. Here's a real surprise: Some of the stock markets in Europe, in countries like, you know, Portugal and Ireland and Greece did well.

Now, that's mainly because they were doing so badly. I mean, they had been beaten down so much. At one point, I think the valuation of the entire Greek stock market was lower than that of Costco, which is sort of ridiculous when you think about it. So, you know, I think the Greek stock market had nowhere to go but up, and in the end, it went up.

SIEGEL: Well, thanks for those reflections on the year in the market just ending. Jim Zarroli, thanks.

ZARROLI: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.