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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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.


High Expectations As Mexico's Pena Nieto Takes Helm

Nov 30, 2012
Originally published on November 30, 2012 7:05 am



As President Obama begins his second term, he'll be sharing the world stage with a new neighbor. In Mexico tomorrow, Enrique Pena Nieto formally takes over as president. Now, some in Mexico have feared this moment because it marks the return of the PRI party to power. Also known as the Institutional Revolutionary Party, they dominated Mexican politics for much of the 20th century and they were seen as heavy-handed and authoritarian. Yet many have high expectations for this new president, who's young and telegenic. And to learn more about him, we're joined by NPR's Carrie Kahn in Mexico City. Carrie, good morning.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So with a new president in the country you cover, Pena Nieto is just 46 years old. Give us a better sense of who he is.

KAHN: Well, he is quite popular here. He was the governor of the country's most populous state, and that's right outside Mexico City. He has long been groomed for this job by many very well-known old-timers in his PRI party. And he had their support. But during his campaign, he artfully managed to really distance himself just enough from them and proclaim himself as a part of the new PRI, a much more modern political party than before. Many here say that he's very handsome, and he's married to a famous soap opera star, which earned him lots of points. And many Mexicans are really frustrated with the brutal drug violence here and they really wanted a change. So this handsome, young politician seemed to many to be the answer for the time.

GREENE: Well, you mentioned the brutal drug violence. I mean it feels like that's all we've heard about from Mexico in recent years - the news about violence and this drug war. I mean, the State Department in the United States tells Americans they shouldn't even go to parts of Mexico. Why are expectations so high for this man despite all of that?

KAHN: Well, it's very interesting. He really hasn't said he's going to do anything much differently to change the current drug war that's going on. You know, for the short-term we're going to see the military and some sort of federal police force continue to be the lead agencies in this fight. But one difference Pena Nieto is talking about is that instead of going after cartel kingpin, like the outgoing president, Felipe Calderon, he says he's going to just stop the murders, the extortion, the associated violence with the drug trade instead of an all-out military offensive. And some people really like that. He's gone so far as saying that he's going to cut the murder rate dramatically in just his first 100 days in office. He does have one plan that's been a bit controversial. He said he wants to reorganize the federal police force into just one agency and put that under the interior ministry. He's just going do away with this public security agency that President Calderon started here. Some say Pena Nieto is just reinventing the wheel, and they really worry about the interior ministry being resurrected as a major police force in the country. It has this notorious reputation for political repression under PRI administrations.

GREENE: Now, one bright spot in Mexico, Carrie, has been an economy that hasn't been doing that badly.

KAHN: It is. And Pena Nieto's really been able to shift this discussion away from the drug story that dominates the news so much to really the economy. It's just a really much happier story here. The economy here has really recovered quite well in the past two years. And Pena Nieto says he can even make it even better because he has the political skills necessary to bring the reforms that Mexico needs right now, and there's a lot of hope that he can do that.

GREENE: And of course the relationship with the United States, always important, with the shared border and immigration issues. And even before being sworn in, Pena Nieto was in Washington meeting with President Obama.

KAHN: Right. And when he was there, and as he's doing here, he really wants to shift this discussion away from drugs and just border security and security issues with the United States and bring it into the economy, have more of a broader agenda with the United States. He really wants to integrate the economies and make the growth rate grow even better. It's about three percent, and he says he can do it - he's been promising that he's going to double that and it'll be six percent annual growth by the end of his six year administration.

GREENE: Pretty ambitious in a worldwide economic downturn. But it sounds like he's coming in with a lot of plans.

KAHN: He does, and he's making a lot of promises. But you know, people are optimistic that he can do it, but beyond the media hype these days, Pena Nieto has just a ton of challenges. Mexico has one of the lowest tax collection rates in Latin America, corruption is still terrible here. One watchdog group estimates that Mexicans pay - this is an amazing statistic - $2.5 billion a year in bribes, and that's quite a big bite chunked out of GDP. So Pena Nieto has a lot of challenges ahead of him.

GREENE: Enrique Pena Nieto is taking over as Mexico's president tomorrow. And we've been hearing about him from NPR's Carrie Kahn in Mexico City. Thanks, Carrie.

KAHN: You're welcome, David. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.