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.

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Fiscal Cliff Leaves Accountants Hanging, Too

Dec 9, 2012
Originally published on December 9, 2012 2:53 pm

The expiration of Bush-era tax cuts. A patch to the alternative minimum tax. An increase in capital gains taxes.

As the "fiscal cliff" approaches, all of these are possible, but none certain. That uncertainty solicits many questions from anxious taxpayers. But, for accountants and financial planners, there are a few definitive answers.

Financial professionals who spoke with NPR say they are not strangers to uncertainty. When the Bush tax cuts were up for expiration two years ago, for instance, the feeling was similar.

"Every time there's a significant change in tax law, you have to retool and learn things," says Mark Burger, a CPA in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

But the fiscal cliff, with its host of associated changes, presents a challenge unlike anything the pros have dealt with in the past.

"The difference this year is the volume and the unprecedented amount of issues coming at the same time," says Ed Karl, vice president of taxation of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Clients, they say, crave certainty. Although they can't provide that, professionals say, they can be honest about what they don't know, and help their clients prepare for possible futures.

"Our job is to make clients aware of these issues and be in a position to act when these rules become final," says Daniel Joss, a financial planner in Reston, Va.

One thing they can do, Karl says, is to work with clients on scenario planning.

"In other words, 'Let's talk about your situation. If this happens or doesn't happen politically, then we should do this, or I recommend you do this.' So when you get to [Dec. 21 or Dec. 22], which is when we're guessing there will be a clearer picture of what might happen, you'll be in a better position to make decisions from a planning perspective," Karl says.

For one, clients wonder whether they should they sell their assets before year end in anticipation of possible capital gains tax increases in 2013.

"It doesn't make sense if you weren't at all thinking of selling stocks or assets," Karl says. "But if you were thinking about selling it now or within the next couple of months you clearly need to do some serious thinking about accelerating the sale of that business or particular assets into this year."

Of course, accountants can't say for sure that the taxes will go up. But they might. So consider it, they say.

Uncertainty about tax rates, meanwhile, has effectively caused accountants to turn some traditional advice on its head.

"Normally at the end of the year you're thinking of deferring income to the next year and accelerating expenses into the current year. This year you're probably looking at the reverse of taking income earlier into this year where the rates and the preferential rates are almost certain to change next year," Karl says.

But not everything is up in the air.

After Jan. 1, for instance, the record-high exemption for estates and gifts is expected to drop to $1 million from $5.12 million. For people with lots of money to give, it may be time to make that transaction.

The Associated Press reports that financial advisers and trust and estate attorneys have been "flooded" with requests from those who wish to make financial gifts and create trusts. Joss, the financial planner, says he has handled such requests.

"We're saying to our wealthier clients, 'If you're planning to give more than a million dollars away to the next generation, you may want to do that this year instead of waiting to see what may happen next year. Not everyone can afford to give gifts, but with the top 1 percent, they'd much rather give this year when they're allowed to give more than next year," Joss says.

He says he's also helping clients avoid the 3.8 percent tax increase associated with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that takes effect in 2013. The increase will apply to investment income for single taxpayers with adjusted gross income above $200,000 or jointly filing married couples making more than $250,000. Taxpayers can avoid the tax by realizing taxable gains before the end of the year.

There's a similar sense of urgency for big charitable contributions, The Wall Street Journal reports. Fears of a threat to the charitable deduction have caused wealthy taxpayers to scramble to make donations before the end of the year.

But taxpayers aren't the only ones holding their breath. The IRS is already bracing itself for the worst.

In a letter to members of Congress, IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller said that the Internal Revenue Service annually conducts planning during the summer to prepare for the upcoming filing season, but that planning this year has been "particularly challenging" due to unresolved tax issues.

"When Congress takes action well after this planning process is under way, there is potential for substantial disruption to the filing season ahead," Miller wrote.

Expiration of the alternative minimum tax patch, for instance, would require systems changes that would require a significant amount of time. This could delay tax filing until March, and in turn, delay refunds.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.