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.

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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.


How Much Income Taxes Could Rise: A Breakdown Of The Options

Nov 30, 2012
Originally published on November 30, 2012 10:46 am

"No substantive progress has been made." That's what House Speaker John Boehner had to say Thursday about efforts to avoid automatic spending cuts and tax increases at year's end.

The administration's lead negotiator, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, met with congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle Thursday, looking for an agreement on the hazard Congress and the White House created last year to focus their minds on deficit reduction.

Perhaps the most important sticking point is over income tax rates. The outcome of the negotiations will determine how many Americans will face higher tax rates — and how much of a hike it will be.

Obama's Proposal

President Obama has proposed that top tax rates for well-off Americans rise to their levels from before the Bush-era tax cuts. But he wants to keep the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. So income tax rates for couples making less than $250,000 and individuals making less than $200,000 would remain where they are.

What would that mean for you? Well, if you're among the well-off and earn more than those amounts, the money you make above those levels would be taxed at 36 percent and 39.6 percent — up a few points from where they are taxed now, and exactly where they were during the Clinton administration. For the top 1 percent of taxpayers, this change would boost their tax bill a lot.

"That tax increase would amount to something in the neighborhood of $120,000," says Donald Marron, co-director of the Tax Policy Center.

The center has crunched a lot of numbers related to the tax effects of the fiscal cliff and the various proposals to avoid it. Len Burman, who used to run the center but now is a professor at Syracuse University, says allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the well-off would put a dent in the deficit.

"Raising the tax rates to basically the pre-Bush levels for the high-income people would raise about $850 billion over 10 years," he says.

But would that be a bulldozer-size dent or a baseball-size dent in the deficit?

"It's significant ... but we're looking at $10 trillion-plus in deficits over the next 10 years, so this is less than 10 percent of the total," Burman says.

The president would reduce the deficit an additional 5 percentage points through his proposal to reduce the value of tax deductions for the wealthy.

The Fiscal Plunge Scenario

But what if policymakers can't reach an agreement and we go over this fiscal cliff? Tax rates would go up across the board. The Tax Policy Center says about 90 percent of Americans would see their tax bill increase.

"For a middle-income household, this increase would be around $2,000; for a low-income household, it would be around $400," says center co-director Marron.

While that's not a pleasant thought, allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for everyone would cut deficits significantly, Burman says.

"We'd raise $2.2 trillion in income tax revenues over the next 10 years and $430 billion in estate tax revenues," he says.

That would cut projected deficits by about 25 percent over the next 10 years — a much more sizable chunk, but still not enough to solve the deficit problem.

Of course, the shock to the economy of the abrupt tax hikes and spending cuts would likely cause the economy to plunge back into recession. That's really why they call it the "fiscal cliff."

GOP Pushes Tax Reform

Republicans say hiking rates for anyone is the wrong approach. They want to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone for one more year. That would mean a $400 billion boost to next year's projected deficit.

But during the year, Republicans say, Washington could work on changes to tax policy and entitlements and try to close the budget gap for the long term. Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia University's School of Business and an adviser to Mitt Romney, agrees. He says raising rates is a bad idea.

"I'd rather see us talk about tax reform," Hubbard says. "That is, have the Congress say, 'OK, here's the dollars that we need to raise in revenue, now let's talk about a better tax system.' "

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