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.


Hagel Expected To Be Picked As Defense Chief

Jan 7, 2013
Originally published on January 13, 2013 9:00 am



On a Monday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama wants a Republican to be his next secretary of Defense, and some Republicans really don't like the choice.

INSKEEP: Senator Chuck Hagel is a Vietnam veteran. He's a former Nebraska senator, but some of his former colleagues in Congress insist they want answers to a variety of objections that have been raised in recent days.

NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman is on the line. Tom, good morning.

TOM BOWMAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: And Happy New Year. What attracts the president to Hagel even knowing that these objections are coming?

BOWMAN: Well, first of all, he's a Republican and there is a bipartisan element here. And more importantly, he's in line with the president's thinking. Like the president, he's wary of America being entangled in long wars. He'd prefer to leave Afghanistan faster. And also, you know, Hagel was against the surge of troops in Iraq back in 2007, much like then-Senator Barack Obama. And also Hagel's call for more defense cuts - so that echoes with what the president has said, as well.

INSKEEP: OK, so a lot of issues on which the president and Hagel agree. And yet, this is a guy with a fairly conservative voting record when he was in the Senate. How tough will the fight be for him?

BOWMAN: Well, there is opposition to him, particularly when Republicans like Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham. They said they would oppose him, that he's not tough enough on Iran and that he prefers sanctions to talk of military action. And they also note that he opposed sanctions on Iran in some of his votes, but Hagel has supported sanctions in other votes when he was a member of the Senate.

Also, he seen by some as anti-Israel. He made some comments about the pro-Israeli lobby and its influence in Washington, and that mere remark has rankled some people. But, you know, now the White House and Hagel supporters are pushing back hard. They point to his writings and speeches and votes, which they say show strong support for Israel. They point to a book he wrote where he talks about the special historic bond with Israel; a speech last year where Hagel said the U.S. must keep ratcheting up sanctions on Iran to keep the pressure on.

And then, finally they single out people like Daniel Kurtzer, the U.S. ambassador to Israel under President George W. Bush, who calls Hagel a friend of Israel, but also one who is willing to have frank discussions about certain Israeli policies.

INSKEEP: It's interesting. It's almost like we have a confirmation fight already here when you say all these things, Tom Bowman, and he's just now about to be nominated. I wonder if part of the political thinking on the part of the White House here also, as you said, he's a Republican, there's a bipartisan element to this. It's also a challenge to Republicans, isn't it? It's almost daring them to shoot down one of their own.

BOWMAN: You know, I think it is. Obviously, he's had fights with the Republicans over the budgets and the fiscal cliff and so forth. And there's a lot of criticism of Susan Rice, who he thought about for Secretary of State. So this is a way to kind of hit the Republicans hard on this; dare them to knock down one of their own. Even though, again, some Republicans don't see Chuck Hagel as much of a Republican because he's been willing to buck the party in past years.

INSKEEP: Is there something about his record, particularly his military record, which would be unusual for a secretary of Defense?

BOWMAN: There is. He would be the first secretary of Defense that has served as a grunt in ground combat. You know, going back 65 years when we, you know, started the Defense Department, when most of his predecessors, you know, worked as staff officers in rear echelon assignments. And that really, I think, has a profound effect on him. Again, that's why he's weary - maybe much more wary than other politicians - in sending American troops into harm's way.

INSKEEP: Tom, thanks very much.

BOWMAN: You're welcome, Steve.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman this morning, with news that Chuck Hagel is expected to be nominated as President Obama Secretary of Defense. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.