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.

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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.


In Fiscal Cliff PR War, Obama Seeks Help From A Public Already Leaning His Way

Nov 28, 2012
Originally published on December 4, 2012 7:18 pm

In Washington's latest game of chicken, President Obama is counting on voters who see things his way to give him the edge in his quest to get congressional Republicans to accept tax increases on the nation's wealthiest as part of any fiscal cliff deal.

To energize those voters, the president is ramping up a series of campaign-style events meant to educate the public about the stakes, as he sees them, of letting the Bush-era tax cuts for middle-class Americans expire if no agreement is reached by year's end.

It's all about raising the pressure on Republican lawmakers enough, especially those in the House, so that at least some will soften their opposition to tax increases for families earning more than $250,000. Whether the president's tactic will work remains to be seen.

On Wednesday, Obama added a twist to the White House campaign for public support. He urged voters to use social media to express themselves to members of Congress.

At a White House event with a group of everyday Americans serving as a backdrop, Obama even supplied supporters with a new Twitter hashtag for their messages: #my2k. The hashtag incorporated the president's argument that an average middle-class family would have to pay an additional $2,200 in federal income taxes if no agreement is reached.

"Call your members of Congress, write them an email, post it on their Facebook walls," Obama told his audience. "You can tweet it using the hashtag 'My2K' " Not 'Y2K [laughter].' 'My2K.' We figured that would make it a little easier to remember."

For Obama, the hashtag-slinging public relations effort was the 2012 version of a president's traditional White House bully pulpit to further his agenda. It was also an attempt to tap into the energy of the president's supporters, who gave him the opportunity of a second term.

To a significant extent, Obama would seem to have an easier PR task than congressional Republicans. According to Election Day exit polls, a majority of voters agree with him that taxes should be increased on the wealthiest Americans.

As Obama has repeated since his re-election, the issue of higher taxes on the wealthy was exhaustively debated during his campaign against Republican Mitt Romney — and the president's side won.

Because of that, even a political scientist who has become well known in the field for persuasively arguing that the power of the bully pulpit is overrated gives Obama the edge in the message war with Republicans.

"The public favors resolving the fiscal cliff problem in general and by raising tax rates on the wealthy in particular," George C. Edwards III of Texas A&M University wrote in an email response to a question. "So the president does not have to persuade the public on these points. He just has to make pre-existing views more salient to members of Congress. This is an example of a president exploiting an opportunity in his environment without having to create one by changing people's minds."

Obama was clearly counting on a repeat of earlier moments of his presidency, when public pressure caused House Republicans to accept an extension of the payroll tax holiday, among other proposals aimed at helping middle-income Americans.

Obama said Wednesday:

"Some of you may remember that a year ago, during our last big fight to protect middle-class families, tens of thousands of working Americans called and tweeted and emailed their representatives, asking them to do the right thing.

"And sure enough, it worked. The same thing happened earlier this year when college students across the country stood up and demanded that Congress keep rates low on their student loans. Congress got the message loud and clear, and they made sure that interest rates on student loans did not go up."

But as of Wednesday, while some Republicans, like Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, indicated a willingness to consider Obama's proposal, most of the GOP wasn't talking about raising tax rates for the wealthy. Instead, they placed their emphasis on spending cuts.

At his own news conference Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said:

"We all know that we've had this spending crisis coming at us like a freight train, and it has to be dealt with. And in order to try to come to an agreement, Republicans are willing to put revenue on the table, but it's time for the president and Democrats to get serious about the spending problem that our country has."

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