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

Housing Made A Big Turnaround In 2012

Dec 30, 2012
Originally published on December 30, 2012 12:45 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

It is possible, maybe even likely, that 2012 will be remembered as the year the housing market finally turned around. Across the country, on average, home prices for the year are expected to rise about 6 percent. Foreclosures remain a problem in some areas, but less so than in recent years. And looking ahead, the Federal Reserve is saying it will keep interest rates low until the labor market improves, which means borrowing costs to buy a house will also remain low. Here to discuss the year that was and the year ahead for housing is NPR's Yuki Noguchi. Good morning, Yuki.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning.

WERTHEIMER: So, what would you say is the most notable change of this year?

NOGUCHI: Well, definitely the rise in home prices. Partly, this was driven by investors who are snapping up the available homes, so much so that in fact inventory in much of the country is very, very low. Also, you know, for every 5 percent rise in home prices, there are about two million fewer homeowners who are underwater on their homes, meaning it would be much easier for them to sell or refinance their homes without taking a loss.

WERTHEIMER: And being underwater, owing more money than your house is worth, that has been a huge problem.

NOGUCHI: Definitely. There are at least 10 million households who still are in that position that you're talking about, being underwater on their loans. And that is a drag on the economy because those people generally can't move, they can't upgrade, they don't spend money, because their homes had lost value.

WERTHEIMER: So, can you tell us about the foreclosure problem? Why is it improving? Have foreclosures peaked?

NOGUCHI: Well, it depends on what state you live in whether it's peaked or not. You know, certainly some states still have a big foreclosure problem. What's interesting is that the epicenter of that crisis has moved. So, it's no longer the sand states, you know, the Western states, like Nevada, Arizona and Southern California, that have the biggest issues. It's New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Ohio. So, it's moved eastward.

WERTHEIMER: What about for the country overall? Is housing a dragging down the economy still?

NOGUCHI: Taken as a whole, no. For the first time in five years, in fact, housing started contributing to economic growth in 2012. Housing starts are rebounding from their lows. And, as I said earlier, inventory is very low and construction is picking up. And next year it's expected to pick up even more. So, the underlying dynamic that's boosting the housing industry overall is demographics. Fewer people bought homes or moved out of their parents' homes in recent years when the economy was bad. But this year household formation really starting to pick up and get back to normal. So, housing itself makes up a pretty small slice of the U.S. economy - about 5 percent normally. But with every house that's bought, there's what economists call the multiplier effect, meaning people will buy furniture, they will pay people to paint their homes or carpet their homes. And those things contribute much more to the economic activity. So, when you factor those things in, the effect on housing could be pretty big.

WERTHEIMER: NPR's Yuki Noguchi. Yuki, thank you.

NOGUCHI: Thank you, Linda.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: You're listening to NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.