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.


Fiscal Cliff Cuts Could Hit Health Care Providers

Dec 13, 2012
Originally published on December 13, 2012 8:01 pm



Well, even if Americans largely agree on addressing the deficit with a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts, the consensus falls apart when you get specific about those spending cuts. And that may be why politicians have been wary of discussing cuts in too much detail. We're going to try to remedy that now with NPR's Scott Horsley. Hi, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Robert.

SIEGEL: Congressional Republicans have said they want to hear specific proposals about spending cuts from the White House. How is the Obama administration responding?

HORSLEY: Well, the White House insists that President Obama is fully prepared to cut spending if the congressional Republicans will budge on the tax rates for the highest earners in America. If you go back to the fall of last year when the deficit cutting super committee was meeting, the president put out a fairly detailed proposal that called for spending cuts and White House spokesman Jay Carney says most of those proposals are still on the table.

JAY CARNEY: The president, unlike any other party to these negotiations, has put forward detailed spending cuts, as well as detailed revenue proposals.

HORSLEY: All together, that plan calls for about $600 billion worth of spending cuts over the next decade. About half of that would come from health care programs and about half from other parts of the federal budget.

SIEGEL: Okay. What kind of cuts is the president actually talking about?

HORSLEY: Well, it runs the gamut, Robert. About $30 billion in cuts to agricultural subsidies, cuts to federal retirement benefits, a $4 billion cut to flood insurance. Medicare, of course, is the big enchilada, although most of the cuts the White House is proposing here don't affect the benefits that Medicare beneficiaries receive, but would instead affect the payments to health care providers.

For example, reduced payments to teaching hospitals. One big cut would be demanding bigger discounts on prescription drugs. That alone would total about $135 billion over a decade. And also, the White House wants to strengthen the so-called IPAD, that's the expert panel that's been set up to make recommendations to try to curb healthcare inflation in the Medicare program.

Now, one thing the White House is not touching is Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. Remember, under the new health care law, states have the option of expanding their Medicaid programs to cover more of the poor and the White House doesn't want to do anything that would discourage states from exercising that option.

SIEGEL: Well, Republicans say they want to see bigger cuts in spending proposed by the Democrats or at least agreed to. What are they proposing?

HORSLEY: Yeah, they're calling for about twice the level of cuts that the Democrats have called for - $1.2 trillion, of which they'd like about half to come from the government's health care programs. Now, they haven't provided a lot of details, or really any details, of what those cuts might be. However, in the past, congressional Republicans have talked about things like raising the eligibility age for Medicare up to 67.

Now right away, but over a period of time. That alone would save about $148 billion from the Medicare budget, although it's possible the government would have to pay some of that out again in subsidies to private health insurance because those folks between 65 and 67 would now perhaps be in the government health care exchanges. Republicans have also talked about cutting subsidies for private insurance under the new health care law and doing things like paying out Medicaid to states in block grants, which would grow more slowly.

SIEGEL: Now, one of the most complicated, but I gather one of the more important ideas in all of this is revising how we measure inflation. What does that mean?

HORSLEY: Right. There's something you might have heard talked about, the chain CPI, which is it's a technical adjustment to the way inflation is measured. And so inflation would grow more slowly. This would, over time, save the government money because, for example, Social Security cost of living adjustments would grow more slowly. It would also bring in more revenue because things like tax brackets would ratchet up more slowly.

And over a decade, you're talking real money, something on the order of 250 to $300 billion. This is not without some controversy, but it's probably one of the easier changes to make.

SIEGEL: So when we look at the proposals that are out there, the Republicans and the Democrats are pretty far apart on spending cuts.

HORSLEY: Well, in dollars and cents, it's about $600 billion, obviously in terms of priorities the gap is perhaps even bigger.

SIEGEL: Okay. NPR's Scott Horsley, thanks.

HORSLEY: My pleasure, Robert. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.