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.


'Gangster Squad': Law? What Law?

Jan 10, 2013

Decked out in impeccable suits and a fedora so crisply brimmed it could cut through drywall, Josh Brolin stars in Gangster Squad as a square-jawed policeman of the first order, an Eliot Ness type who would sooner burn a pile of dirty money than pocket a single dollar.

In 1949 Los Angeles, Brolin's Sgt. John O'Mara has been trusted with the task of rebuffing the threat posed by Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), an East Coast gangster working quickly and ruthlessly to set up shop.

The trouble for the police is that not everyone is as incorruptible as Sgt. O'Mara: Cohen has connections inside the department and the courtroom that keep him well-protected, and fortresses of armed henchmen should some hero cop get any ideas besides.

The question posed by Gangster Squad is a troubling one: If a mass murderer like Cohen can't be brought to book by conventional means, are extralegal tactics necessary? And the answer suggested by the film is even more troubling: Yippee-ki-yay!

With all the current hand-wringing over the controversial tactics used to extract information in Zero Dark Thirty, it's ironic that a full-throated endorsement of by-any-means police conduct like Gangster Squad will likely skate by unnoticed. Granted, the two films aren't completely analogous — the fight over how the narrative of Osama bin Laden's killing will be understood is more urgent than the cartoonish pulp of a period shoot'em-up — but they both address similar questions about what it takes to bring a "Most Wanted" type to justice. Zero Dark Thirty stews in moral ambiguity; Gangster Squad barely gives it a second thought.

A slick, empty-headed exercise in Old Hollywood glamour and New Hollywood style — like a kids-playing-dress-up version of The UntouchablesGangster Squad pushes through mob-movie cliches with ultraviolent force. Director Ruben Fleischer, who made the entertaining horror-comedy Zombieland a few years ago, has the technical chops to put his action sequences across, and no expense has been spared in bringing this world to life with an art-deco pop. But the film's utter lack of reflection does nothing to ripple its glossy surface.

With Cohen close to setting up a gambling wire that will give him a piece of every transaction in the western half of the United States, O'Mara's superior (Nick Nolte) puts him in charge of assembling an off-the-books task force — a "gangster squad," if you will — to bring down Cohen's operation.

For that, O'Mara partners up with the more lighthearted Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling) and a team of other incorruptible cops, played by Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña, and Robert Patrick. They've been told to target Cohen using any and all means, whether that means warrantless searches and wiretapping, or busting up brothels and nightclubs with machine guns.

A lovely Emma Stone turns up in the obligatory role of a moll who's caught between Cohen and Wooters, serving partly as evidence that women exist, and partly as confirmation that the filmmakers will leave no type unexploited.

There are a couple of occasions when one of O'Mara's men worry about mission drift — Ribisi's surveillance man, for example, worries that he's not making a good role model for his son — but it's remarkable how little Gangster Squad seems troubled by the moral and legal quandaries it poses. More consideration has been given to the shade of Stone's lipstick than to the complete dismissal of legal constraints.

Then again, Gangster Squad doesn't invite much thought. It parrots gangster films of old with a fetishist's eye for decor and wardrobe and the pace of a lurid dime-store novel. But it's all secondhand pastiche, striking only for its chilling subtext — that the authorities should be granted unlimited powers to protect ordinary citizens. Not even Dirty Harry expected that kind of latitude.

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