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.

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Kerry's Cabinet Nod Sets Off Massachusetts Senate Fight

Dec 21, 2012
Originally published on December 21, 2012 5:55 pm

President Obama's nomination of Democrat John Kerry to be secretary of state sets off a chain of events that could put another Kennedy in the Senate, at least on an interim basis.

And it gives ousted Republican Scott Brown a fighting chance of returning to the Senate by midyear.

On Friday, Obama nominated Kerry, the senior senator from Massachusetts, to replace Hillary Clinton as the nation's chief diplomat. A 27-year veteran of the Senate and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry should win easy Senate confirmation early in the new year.

Brown, the junior senator from Massachusetts, won a 2010 special election after the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, and then in November lost his bid for a full term to Democrat Elizabeth Warren. He leaves office Jan. 3.

Brown has not announced his interest in the upcoming special election, but in a farewell to Senate colleagues last week, he pointedly called it "my closing floor speech for this session in the United States Senate." And The New York Times called his candidacy a "foregone conclusion," noting that his popularity would likely preclude serious GOP opposition in the solidly blue state.

A poll by WBUR, Boston's NPR news station, found high favorability ratings for Brown, a moderate who was the first Senate Republican to back a renewed assault weapons ban after the Connecticut school shootings.

Massachusetts law requires Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint an interim successor to Kerry and then to hold a special election between 145 and 160 days after the vacancy is created. The New York Times explains:

"A special election for the Kerry seat would likely occur in May or June. ... A vacancy is deemed to occur once the departing senator files a letter of resignation, even if the resignation is not effective until a later date.

"It is not clear if Mr. Kerry will submit such a letter right away or if he will wait until he is confirmed by the Senate. Even Republicans have said that Mr. Kerry would sail through the confirmation process."

The WBUR poll, conducted by MassINC Polling Group, pitted Brown against several potential Democratic opponents in a special election, and he handily beat them all: Brown led state Attorney General Martha Coakley, whom he defeated in 2010, by 15 percentage points; Rep. Ed Markey by 18 points; Rep. Mike Capuano by 19 points; former Rep. Marty Meehan, now the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, by 19 points; and Rep. Stephen Lynch by 27 percentage points.

He led Gov. Patrick himself by only 7 percentage points, but there is no indication the governor would consider seeking the post.

Boston.com reports:

"Others mentioned included Victoria Kennedy, Senator Edward M. Kennedy's widow, and Edward Kennedy Jr., the late senator's son, who lives in Connecticut. But because there is no clear front-runner, others may emerge. Even Ben Affleck, the Hollywood actor, has been floated."

After Kennedy's death, Patrick appointed an interim successor who vowed not to run for the seat, a tactic he would like to follow again, the governor said Friday. "I expect to appoint someone who does not plan to run for the seat," he told reporters, according to Masslive.com. "I have had a number of conversations and there's some pretty compelling candidates. Remember it is a four- or five-month assignment."

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