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.

Pages

House GOP Leaves 'Lump Of Coal' In 'Fiscal Cliff' Negotiations

Dec 21, 2012
Originally published on December 21, 2012 9:21 pm

In 10 days, virtually all Americans will be hit with a tax increase and deep government spending cuts will follow shortly behind. That is, unless Congress and President Obama can find a way to avert the "fiscal cliff."

It's not looking very promising at the moment. On Thursday night, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pulled the plug on a measure he was calling his "Plan B" and sent his members home for Christmas.

When it was clear Boehner's bill wasn't going to get enough votes to pass, he called his members into an emergency meeting in the basement of the Capitol and told them he was giving up on "Plan B."

Florida Republican Allen West's assessment was matter of fact as he walked out of the somber meeting: "He said, 'Merry Christmas,' OK? So, the lump of coal is in the president's box."

West was one of more than two dozen House Republicans, notably Tea Party freshmen, who refused to get behind the speaker and support his bill.

The measure would have extended the Bush-era tax cuts on all income up to $1 million. But people earning more than that would have been hit with a tax increase — even if the measure didn't technically raise their taxes.

Boehner tried mightily to change minds. "It's not the outcome that I wanted, but that was the will of the House," he said.

In the light of day, at a press conference Friday morning, Boehner did his best to spin this as something other than a defeat of his leadership.

"They weren't taking that out on me," he said. "They were dealing with a perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes."

He was joined at the press conference by his chief deputy, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia — someone who at times has been rumored to have eyes on the speakership. His presence on the stage was a signal that Boehner still has his support.

Boehner said it is now up to the president and Democrats in the Senate to find a way to avoid the fiscal cliff — but then, moments later, he said the only real way out is a bipartisan agreement.

"How we get there, God only knows," he said. "All I'm telling you is that Eric and I and our team here are committed to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, both sides of the Capitol and the White House to address it."

On the other side of the Capitol, a consensus seemed to be building around the same idea. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on Boehner to keep working with the president.

"Now I like John Boehner, but gee whiz. I mean, this is a pretty big political battering he's taken," Reid said.

That battering, he said, made it very clear Boehner can't pass a fix with Republicans alone.

"No comprehensive agreement can pass either chamber without both Democrats' and Republican votes," Reid said.

The problem is settling on an agreement that truly is bipartisan — that enough Democrats and enough Republicans are willing to support. The path is far from obvious, and the House GOP blowup didn't help.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

More now on the fiscal cliff we were just talking about. If the president and Congress don't reach a deal, in 10 days virtually all Americans will be hit with a tax increase, with deep government spending cuts following shortly behind. And as we mentioned, last night, House Speaker John Boehner pulled the plug on a measure he was calling his Plan B. He sent his members home for Christmas. NPR's Tamara Keith reports.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: When it was clear Boehner's bill wasn't going to get enough votes to pass, he called his members into an emergency meeting in the basement of the Capitol and told them he was giving up on Plan B. Florida Republican Allen West's assessment was matter of fact as he walked out of the somber meeting.

REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN WEST: He said, Merry Christmas, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: OK.

WEST: So the lump of coal is in the president's box.

KEITH: West was one of more than two dozen House Republicans, notably Tea Party freshmen, who refused to get behind the speaker and support his bill. The measure would have extended the Bush era tax cuts on all income up to $1 million. But people earning more than that would have been hit with a tax increase, even if the measure didn't technically raise their taxes. Boehner tried mightily to change their minds.

It's not the outcome that I wanted, but that was the will of the House.

In the light of day, at a press conference this morning, Boehner did his best to spin this as something other than a defeat of his leadership.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER: They weren't taking that out on me. They were dealing with a perception that somebody might accuse them of raising taxes.

KEITH: He was joined at the press conference by his chief deputy, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, someone who at times has been rumored to have eyes on the speakership. His presence on the stage, a signal that Boehner still has his support. Boehner said it is now up to the president and Democrats in the Senate to find a way to avoid the fiscal cliff. But then, moments later, he said the only real way out is a bipartisan agreement.

BOEHNER: How we get there, God only knows. But all I'm telling you is that Eric and I and our team here are committed to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, both sides of the Capitol and the White House to address it.

KEITH: On the other side of the Capitol, a consensus seemed to be building around the same idea. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called on Boehner to keep working with the president.

SENATOR HARRY REID: Now, I like John Boehner, but gee whiz. I mean, this is a pretty big political battering he's taken.

KEITH: That battering, he said, made it very clear Boehner can't pass a fix with Republicans alone.

REID: No comprehensive agreement can pass either chamber without both Democrats' and Republican votes.

KEITH: The problem is settling on an agreement that truly is bipartisan, that enough Democrats and enough Republicans are willing to support. The path is far from obvious, and last night's House GOP blowup didn't help. Tamara Keith, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.