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.


'Jack Reacher': Well Beyond Cruise's Grasp

Dec 20, 2012

Whenever James Stewart played a character, he was always a little bit James Stewart; that's a good thing. Cary Grant was always a little bit Cary Grant — also a good thing. But Tom Cruise, through a career that's spanned some 30 years, is almost always very much Tom Cruise. And that, particularly in Jack Reacher, can be a very tiresome thing.

Among those who have read and loved Lee Child's enormously popular Jack Reacher novels, the big complaint about Cruise's having cast himself as Child's burly, laconic protagonist is that he's the wrong physical type. Cruise doesn't have the strapping stature of Child's Reacher, although he is extraordinarily fit — lest we fail to notice, he appears shirtless several times in the picture. He's also pretty good at pulling off the hand-to-hand combat at which Reacher excels.

The bigger problem is that Cruise, as Reacher, has no wit and no style, other than the studiously applied kind. He's so desperate to do everything right that nearly everything he does comes off all wrong. And though director Christopher McQuarrie — who also adapted the screenplay, from Child's novel One Shot — shows some visual intelligence, he doesn't do enough to goad Cruise into giving this performance some shape. Cruise's idea of characterization consists chiefly of glaring and tightening his jawline. How could readers who love Jack Reacher not expect more?

At least McQuarrie, a veteran screenwriter who made his big splash with The Usual Suspects and also did some reworking of last year's moderately enjoyable Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, has good storytelling instincts. (This is the second film he's directed; the first was 2000's The Way of the Gun, with Ryan Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro.) The picture opens with an extended wordless sequence that sets up the plot in precise visual language: A man whom we later learn — or believe — is a trained Army sniper heads to a specific urban locale in Pittsburgh and coolly picks off five human beings in the span of a few minutes. The suspect, an anonymous-looking guy named Barr (Joseph Sikora), is immediately arrested and taken into custody, where he's quizzed by a detective (David Oyelowo) and the DA (Richard Jenkins). The two try to force a confession out of the suspect, but instead, he scrawls on a sheet of paper, "Get Jack Reacher."

Enter Reacher — eventually, at least. Reacher is a former Army investigator, now a drifter who moves hither and yon, taking action whenever justice needs to be served. (In one case, he does so by bashing the craniums of two meatheads together until the poor sods fall into a heap on the floor.) Reacher knows something about Barr's past, and he agrees — or at least doesn't refuse — to help the man's attorney (Rosamund Pike), who also happens to be the DA's daughter, keep the guy off death row.

Through it all, Cruise's Reacher breaks the limbs of thugs as if they were twigs, makes wry remarks that don't quite qualify as jokes and drives fast cars, crazily, though the streets and the forlorn outskirts of Pittsburgh.

Watching Cruise wrestle the role of Reacher into submission isn't exactly painful, but it isn't particularly enjoyable, either. Even when Cruise allows himself to be the butt of a joke — when, for example, Reacher is being assaulted by guys with heavy-duty automatic weapons and looks down forlornly at the weapon in his hands, a knife — he's always in complete control; he can never relax and let go.

There's more than a whiff of desperation in the performance: When Reacher enters a bar, or any other place where womenfolk tend to congregate, the ladies in the room fix the female gaze upon him with a "What's that aftershave you're wearing?" intensity. Naturally, Reacher is hot, and obviously irresistible to women. But Cruise plays these moments with faux-cool cockiness that speaks more to his own middle-age insecurity than to anything inherent in Reacher's character.

And again, Cruise never passes up a chance to show what a great bod he's got. (Pike, an actress who's generally cool as a cuke, is called upon to act flustered when she's treated to an eyeful of Reacher's brawny bare pecs.) Luckily, there are other actors to look at here, and they manage to throw off some intelligent energy when they're around: Werner Herzog plays a mysterious baddie with a milky eye and a silky voice, and Robert Duvall, as an extremely helpful ex-Marine, steps in at the 11th hour to show Cruise a thing or two about how to sling a joke. (His buoyancy, even when he's playing your stock, squinty-eyed Marine type, is key.)

But none of it is enough to make Jack Reacher exciting or even just vaguely fun. The picture is joyless and perfunctory. Call it Mission: Possible.

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