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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.

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Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Health Exchange Activity Heats Up As Deadline Is Extended

Nov 15, 2012
Originally published on November 15, 2012 7:45 pm

There's nothing quite like a deadline to focus the mind. Even a deadline that's not quite real.

Friday was originally the day that states were supposed to not only tell the federal government whether they planned to run their own health exchanges but also how they planned to do it.

Last week, however, the feds extended that deadline, so states would have to only say yay or nay by Friday on the issue of running their own exchanges. If they want to partner with the federal government, they can wait until as late as February to speak up.

And no matter what, if a state fails to act, the federal government will set up an exchange in that state for it.

Thursday night, shortly after this story was posted, that deadline got extended again. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told states in a letter they could now wait until Dec. 14 to submit both their decision and their plans if they want to do an exchange themselves.

Still, flimsy or not, Friday's deadline prompted considerable activity this week from states that had been waiting to see what impact last week's election might have on the Affordable Care Act. (Answer: Full speed ahead.)

Thursday afternoon alone, three governors — South Carolina Republican Nikki Haley, Nebraska Republican Dave Heineman and outgoing North Carolina Democrat Bev Perdue — all announced their decisions. The Republicans said they would not be pursuing exchanges in their states; Perdue said North Carolina would very likely pursue the partnership model, a hybrid state-federal exchange.

Haley announced her decision in a letter to Sebelius. "The law fails to give South Carolina any flexibility and decision-making authority that would enable us to truly construct the program in a manner that would offer the most meaningful benefit to our citizens," Haley wrote.

Nebraska's Heineman echoed those sentiments. "The reality is that the federal health care law is being totally dictated and totally controlled by the federal government," he said in a statement.

Heineman also said that building the exchange would cost the state too much money, even though federal funds are available to offset those costs.

In Indiana, Gov.-elect Mike Pence, currently a Republican member of the U.S. House, sent a letter to outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels, also a Republican, urging that the state not establish its own exchange.

Some governors who previously said they would not participate are reaffirming those decisions, including Texas Republican Rick Perry. His spokeswoman told The Texas Tribune today that the state won't design its own exchange because there is "really no such thing as a 'state exchange.' "

But others appear to be changing their tune, most notably Rick Scott, Florida's Republican governor. After vowing to have no part of the health law, Scott earlier this week told The Associated Press he wants "to get to yes" and is ready to negotiate with federal officials.

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