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.


Hours Left To 'Fiscal Cliff' Deadline

Dec 31, 2012
Originally published on December 31, 2012 6:43 am



On the final day of the year, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm David Greene.

We still do not know if taxes will be going up as the ball in New York City's Times Square goes down.

INSKEEP: Congressional negotiators are still discussing ways at the White House to avoid the higher tax rates and spending cuts due to take effect after midnight tonight.

GREENE: Now, it would not be fair to say that Congress has left another crisis to the last minute. We've got hours and hours before the last minute at 11:59 tonight.

INSKEEP: But it is fair to say that talks have staggered into the final day.

NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley is on the line. Scott, good morning.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good morning. Happy New Year's Eve.

INSKEEP: Happy New Year's Eve indeed. And of course you're going to be working throughout the day. Things looked pretty bad yesterday in these negotiations. Then Vice President Biden gets involved. What's happening here?

HORSLEY: Vice President Biden has been conferring with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. Those two were longtime Senate colleagues. And sometimes in the past Biden has provided a useful back channel for negotiation. Senator McConnell called him in yesterday after failing to reach an agreement with the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, Harry Reid.

At one point the Senate Republicans were insisting that any deal should include a revised measure of inflation that would result in smaller cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients. Democrats objected. The GOP eventually dropped that demand. But Senator Reid says the two sides remain a significant distance apart.

INSKEEP: OK, let's remember here, there's a discussion of the tax rates that are supposed to part of this. There's a discussion of spending that may or may not be part of this. Then the question is the cost-of-living increases in Social Security and so forth; that was going to be part of the deal. Now it is not, according to the White House, on the table. Why that change?

HORSLEY: Well, you're right. When the president was negotiating one-on-one with House Speaker Boehner back before the Christmas holidays, Mr. Obama was willing to make concessions on Social Security. He was also offering significant cuts to Medicare and other entitlement spending. But in exchange, he wanted a lot of new tax revenue, a hike in the debt ceiling, some additional spending on unemployment insurance and public works.

Democrats still hope to get that extension of un employment insurance benefits, but otherwise there's really no more big bargain in sight. The best we are hoping for now is a stop-gap measure. And you know, if deficit reduction really is their goal, as they say, Republicans could end up kicking themselves about the deal they let get away two weeks ago.

GREENE: Scott, you mentioned this stop-gap measure. I mean is - what exactly happens at 11:59 tonight, if there's no big deal?

HORSLEY: Well, it's not an instant catastrophe, David. You know, the fiscal cliff has been described in these apocalyptic terms...


HORSLEY: ...of a $500 billion hit to the economy, between the tax increases and the spending cuts. But that's over the full year and it wouldn't happen all at once, and many of those effects could be reversed. In fact, the president has adopted a tough bargaining position, precisely because he's willing to go over the cliff if necessary.

Here he is speaking yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press."


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And if all else fails, if Republicans do in fact decide to block it, so that taxes on middle class families do in fact go up on January 1, then we'll come back with a new Congress on January 4 and the first bill that will be introduced on the floor will be to cut taxes on middle class families.

And you know, I don't think the average person is going to say, gosh, you know, that's a - that's a really partisan agenda on the part of either the president or Democrats in Congress. I think people will say that makes sense, because that's what the economy needs right now. So one way or another we'll get through this.

GREENE: He doesn't sound that worried.

HORSLEY: No, he doesn't. And as I said, the worst effects could be reversed. But you know, consumer confidence has already taken a hit from this prolonged stalemate. The stock market tumbled last week. Asian stocks are off this morning. Financial markets, the broader business community, and frankly, most Americans would really like to see some signal from Washington that politicians can cooperate.

We're already looking at a two percent cut in people's take-home pay with the New Year, when the payroll tax holiday expires. So the last thing we need right now is more stress because lawmakers can't make a deal.

INSKEEP: OK, Scott, thanks very much.

HORSLEY: My pleasure.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's White House correspondent Scott Horsley. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.