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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.

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.

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Home Mortgage Deduction Is A Big Tax Break

Dec 21, 2012
Originally published on December 21, 2012 11:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Our regular listeners know by now we've been spending part of this holiday season exploring the tax code. So much of that code is up for debate as fiscal negotiations stagger forward, so we're learning what the rules are in our 12 Days of Tax Deductions.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS")

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

No, you cannot necessarily write off 10 lords a leaping, especially if they're in the higher tax bracket. But on day 10, we will look at a deduction that is taken by millions of Americans. It's the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction. Right now, mortgage holders can deduct, from their taxable income, the interest paid on home loans.

INSKEEP: This deduction is so closely tied to homeownership, it seems like part of the American dream, but it was not always this way.

MARTIN SULLIVAN: The home mortgage interest deduction really came about by chance.

INSKEEP: That's Martin Sullivan, who is an economist who writes for the publication Tax Analysts.

SULLIVAN: When the income tax originated in 1913, interest expense was deductible because it was considered a business expense. There wasn't really a lot of consumer borrowing like we have now. But over time, people started getting mortgages and bigger mortgages, and nobody really envisioned it as an incentive for homeownership.

GREENE: Well, now it's one of the largest tax breaks in the U.S. tax code. Some call it a housing subsidy worth about $100 billion a year. Past efforts to modify or eliminate the deduction have failed, though there is talk of limiting it as one way to raise more federal revenue. And that's the latest of our 12 Days of Deductions.

INSKEEP: Now, if you get a tax refund, part of the fun is deciding what to do with it. Save it. Pay off some bills. Maybe make a purchase. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.