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.


HSBC Critic: Too Big To Indict May Mean Too Big To Exist

Dec 13, 2012
Originally published on December 13, 2012 8:01 pm

Federal and state authorities have received criticism after deciding not to indict HSBC on accusations that it laundered money for Mexican drug cartels and conducted prohibited transactions on behalf of countries like Iran and Sudan. Instead, they entered into a $1.9 billion settlement this week with the bank.

There's no question that HSBC is a massive, sprawling operation. It markets itself as the world's local bank. But watchdogs of the banking industry say mere size should never insulate an organization from the law.

"Well, if the company is too big to jail, too big to prosecute, too big to indict, then it's just simply too big to exist," says Robert Weissman, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.

For law professors, the question of who should get indicted, even if they do break the law, isn't an easy one. It's not just an issue of whether the economy would fail if HSBC collapsed — it's a deeper question about the purpose of the criminal justice system.

"What's so wonderful about an indictment? The question is: What are we trying to achieve here?" says Hal Scott, director of the Program on International Financial Systems at Harvard Law School.

He says to forget about indicting a bank: Banks don't break the law, people do. And people aren't too big to fail or too big to go to jail.

Not a single individual at HSBC has been charged with the very conduct the bank admits happened, Scott says. And unfortunately, he adds, that's probably because it's just a lot easier to nail a bank. Charging people with crimes means more trials, which requires more money, time and evidence.

"You can go into the bank and say, 'Well, I think you did something wrong, and I'm thinking of indicting you, and you better pay a big fine,' and, you know, they'll agree to it," says Scott. "It's not their money."

And that, he notes, is the perverse thing about the HSBC settlement: That $2 billion is coming from shareholders, not from the people who broke the law.

But the settlement averted an indictment, and authorities thought that was the best outcome for the economy. Some legal experts, like Duke Law professor James Cox, agree. He says it would have been a disaster if HSBC was charged with crimes.

"Indicting a large bank like HSBC would create a huge regulatory ripple — if not an embolism — around the world," Cox says.

When a bank is convicted of a crime, it could lose its banking license, and certain pension plans may be required to pull out their funds, he adds. That could have hemorrhaged HSBC enough to make it shut down.

And because banks are constantly borrowing and lending money to each other, all of those transactions would have to be unwound quickly. Cash would need to appear immediately — cash that may not be there. Businesses might freeze activity.

John Coffee, a professor at Columbia Law School, scoffs at that doomsday scenario.

"I don't think anyone can confidently say what the economic impact on HSBC would be," Coffee says. "I doubt that it would have failed."

And even if by some chance it did fail, he says HSBC isn't as important to the global economy as JPMorgan or Bank of America. The regulators just got skittish, he says, and did the safe thing: They took a big fat fine and called it a day.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.