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.


How Good Is The World's Most Expensive Fighter Jet?

Jan 2, 2013
Originally published on January 2, 2013 3:34 pm

First of two parts

After years on the drawing boards and in testing labs, a new fighter plane is entering the U.S. arsenal. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is supposed to help the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines replace their fleet of aging aircraft.

But this plane has become the most expensive military procurement program in history. While critics continue to carp about the cost, the plane is now in the skies, and the military says it's the lynchpin for future defense strategies.

On a cold fall morning at Eglin Air Force Base near Pensacola, Fla., Air Force Lt. Col. Lee Kloos watches a fellow pilot prepare an F-35 for launch. Kloos loves the technology — from the advanced helmet that lets him see in the dark, to the stealth technology that lets him hide from radar.

Some of that stealth design is built right into the smooth shape of the plane.

"When he closes his weapons bay doors, everything is going to clean up really nicely on this jet, whereas compared down there to the F-16, he's hanging external tanks, and of course, if he had weapons, he'd be hanging external weapons all over the aircraft," says Kloos. "So, [the F-35 is] a very clean, slick jet to fly."

Weapons and fuel are kept in internal bays, so there are no sharp edges or bumps that will show up on radar. The military says stealth is key to dealing with future threats, and to staying ahead of the Chinese and the Russians.

Loaded With Problems

For years, pilots like Kloos have relied on the unstealthy F-16, the workhorse of the fighter fleet. But the F-16 is long in the tooth, and the U.S. has not bought any new copies for years. So the F-35 is supposed to pick up its mission: enforcing no-fly zones, or supporting special ops teams.

But despite its sleek profile, the F-35 is loaded down with problems.

In a control room, pilots in green jumpsuits check on the weather near Eglin. The military is eager to show off this plane, to show that it's not just a flying money pit. But even though the F-35 is in the air, it still faces years of testing before it can go into battle.

Maj. Matt Johnson explains that his pilots are still working on the instruction manual.

"We know how we think the jet should take off, what we've seen from developmental tests," he says. "But what we're trying to do is codify that and put it in writing, and write those publications that in previous jets were already written by the time you get to training. Well, we're doing that here."

Thanks to a strategy known as "concurrency," the F-35 is being flown and tested at the same time. Concurrency was supposed to speed up the F-35's development. But the jet is years late. Lockheed has been locked in arguments with the Pentagon over who should pay for the fixes that are needed as test pilots work out the kinks.

F-35 Emblematic Of Broader Change

A big selling point for this plane is that it's supposed to satisfy pilots from the Air Force, the Marines and the Navy. They've all relied on a roster of up to 10 aircraft to land on carriers, do aerial combat, and conduct surveillance.

Maj. Adam Levine says for Marine fliers like himself, the F-35 is supposed to replace three different planes: the F/A-18 Hornet, the AV-8B Harrier, and the EA-6B Prowler jamming airplane currently employed by the Marines Corps.

But to do that, manufacturer Lockheed had to mess with the sleek shape of this plane and add a special feature. The Marine version sports a noticeable bump behind the cockpit; that's the home of a powerful fan.

The fan, Levine explains, provides the thrust and lift needed for the aircraft to perform short takeoffs and vertical landings.

Vertical landings let the jet land like a helicopter, and let it take off on short runways, critical functions for the Marines. But that bump also makes the plane less stealthy, and it has added greatly to the cost.

The Marine version of the plane costs more than $160 million, nearly one-third more expensive than the Air Force variant, which costs nearly $130 million. And trying to hide a tailhook for carrier landings inside the Navy version has also been a problem.

Lt. Col. Todd LaFortune walks away from his plane after a training run. He is still wearing his pressure suit and is a little flushed from his flight. LaFortune is now qualified to be an F-35 instructor. He'll never fly an old F-16 again.

"We decided once you start flying the F-35 we're not going to be dual-qualified. So now, I should be done with the F-16 for the rest of my life," he says. "That was a sad day, but it's one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life, was being selected to come fly this aircraft and then get to actually fly it now. It's pretty neat."

That transition is emblematic of what the military is going through. At Eglin, they are building everything from new training facilities to maintenance hangars to prepare for their share of the more than 2,000 F-35s the U.S. military plans to buy. The Pentagon is wedded to this plane, despite cries from many that the Joint Strike Fighter will break the bank, and steal money from the rest of the defense budget.

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