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 Deal Includes Breaks For Tuna Canneries, Rum Makers

Jan 2, 2013
Originally published on January 2, 2013 7:51 pm



The American Taxpayer Relief Act is 157 pages long. It's not all about avoiding impending tax hikes. Some of it has to do with tax benefits for ceiling fans and tuna canneries. NPR's Ari Shapiro is here to explain.

And Ari, in spending bills, little weird provisions like this might be called pork-barrel spending or projects. Are we looking at a kind of earmark?

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Not exactly. Congress has banned earmarks. It's helpful to quickly look back at why. For years, individual appropriations were the ways that laws got passed. Somebody might object to a bill, but say my district really needs a bridge. The bridge would get on the bill, you'd get enough votes to make a law, but the practice got out of hand. Earmarks exploded, in some cases involving conflicts of interests, campaign contributors, bribes.

I spoke with Scott Lilly, who spent decades on the House Appropriations Committee's Democratic staff. He's now at the Center for American Progress. He told me the low point in this story came in a 2005 highway bill.

SCOTT LILLY: That bill had $23 billion worth of earmarks in it. There were more than a dozen earmarks per member of House and Senate combined. I think there were six-and-half-thousand earmarks in that one bill.

SHAPIRO: So there was a huge backlash and Congress no longer allows that kind of pork. But this fiscal cliff bill still has tax provisions helping everything from race tracks to electric vehicles.

CORNISH: So if it's not pork, what is it?

SHAPIRO: Well, a lot of it's what's called extenders. Over the years, a series of tax cuts - mostly for businesses, but some for individuals - have been added to the tax code on a temporary basis, in theory. But in practice - according to Bob Greenstein, who's president of the Center for Budgetary and Policy Priorities - a lot of these provisions just don't go away.

BOB GREENSTEIN: Some were originally justified as just having a temporary need. Others, the people, the interests seeking the tax cuts really wanted them on a permanent basis, but the price tag was too high. So they were able to get them passed by doing them on a one-year basis. And this has become a bigger and bigger package of tax cuts.

SHAPIRO: So, Audie, right now the tax code includes about $75 billion a year in these so-called temporary provisions. Some of them sound ridiculous. Like there are sections related to Puerto Rican rum and tuna canneries in American Samoa, but actually, those were a very small amount of the total spending on temporary tax benefits. Most of them have some substance to them.

For example, the biggest is the research and development tax credit, which costs $14 billion a year. Everyone, for the most part, agrees that the R&D tax credit would be more effective at spurring innovation, if it were permanent and people could rely on it. Instead, like all the other temporary extensions, it just gets renewed year after year, along with everything else on the list.

CORNISH: So would an overhaul of the entire tax code actually help get rid of some of these provisions?

SHAPIRO: That's the Obama administration's hope. I spoke with a White House official today who said they would have preferred a detailed reevaluation of the tax code that could clear out some of the underbrush. And they still believe that's possible but there's another perspective, which is that each of these esoteric perks has a very highly paid lobbying team behind it.

And so, if you open everything up for analysis, some of these things are just going to become permanent at the end of a very long fight.

CORNISH: Now, another part of this deal seems to have not that much to do with the fiscal cliff.


CORNISH: Parts of the Farm Bill are in the package. What happened there?

SHAPIRO: Yeah. Well, along with the fiscal cliff, we were looking at something with a slightly absurd name: The Dairy Cliff. Farm subsidies were about to expire after five years and that could've doubled the price of a gallon of milk. So to keep that from happening, Congress included a nine-month extension of the subsidies in this fiscal cliff bill.

It did to go as far as some farmers wanted. For example, there's no disaster relief money for people who lost livestock in recent droughts. But the extension buys Congress more time to hopefully come up with another long-term solution, packed into this short-term solution they packed last night.

CORNISH: NPR's Ari Shapiro, Ari, good talking to you.

SHAPIRO: You too, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.