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.

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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.


Love To Hate Nickelback? Joke's On You

Nov 10, 2012
Originally published on November 10, 2012 8:23 pm

Nickelback. The name itself is musical shorthand for everything music aficionados love to hate about modern rock.

But with more than 50 million record sales worldwide and a lead singer who earns $10 million a year, the band is laughing all the way to the bank — as reporter Ben Paynter describes in Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine.

To start with, Paynter tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, the band has worked hard to become ubiquitous in the blue-collar rock scene. You can hear them on the entry songs for World Wrestling Entertainment, commercials for NASCAR's Speed Channel and Michael Bay's bombastic Transformers movie. The band even struck a strategic promotional alliance to have some of their music played during Stanley Cup highlight videos.

"If something's getting punched, smashed, broken or otherwise causing chaos, Nickelback is usually the background soundtrack to it," Paynter says.

The band also tours on the cheap, under a promotional deal with Live Nation that rivals that of Jay-Z and Madonna. Lead singer Chad Kroeger is an incredibly prolific songwriter, Paynter says, who co-owns 604 Records, the Canadian label that spawned Carly Rae Jepsen's monster summer hit, "Call Me Maybe." Paytner says the label takes a lot of chances on young, Canadian talent.

"They just work on building them up in Canada and launching them in the United States," he says.

As for the band's take on its divisive reputation, Paynter spent some time with them — and concluded they don't seem to mind much.

"These guys know exactly what they do. They do it to a T. They pack stadiums because of it. And they've worked real hard to get to that point."

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It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. One of the more controversial groups in rock is a band called Nickelback. Critics hate them for what they call the band's derivative, uninspired sound.


NICKELBACK: (Singing) This is how you remind me of what I really am. This is how you remind me of what I really am.

RAZ: Now, even though the band is consistently bashed, Nickelback happens to be one of the industry's most successful acts - 50 million in record sales, a lead singer who earns 10 million a year. And how do they do it? By treating the band as a business. Ben Paynter wrote about Nickelback in this week's Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

BEN PAYNTER: Well, I guess the best way to explain it is if you tune in to your regular TV, you can hear them on, you know, the entry songs for World Wrestling Entertainment's "SmackDown," commercials for NASCAR's SPEED channel, the background of the "Transformers" movie. And during the Stanley Cup, they did a strategic promotional alliance to have some of their music played during highlight videos. So if something's getting punched, smashed, broken or, you know, otherwise causing chaos, Nickelback is usually the background soundtrack to it.

RAZ: Ben, explain this about Nickelback because it's a phenomenon. They are a hated band. Like, people, listeners, music fans around the country and the world hate them.

PAYNTER: Yeah. You know, I think you'd say that music aficionados hate them because there's a whole group of fans that absolutely love them. But as far as the hate goes, they've been vilified for doing what is basically formulaic rock and roll.

RAZ: I mean, apparently, during a protest against the union standoff, the teachers' union standoff in Chicago, somebody held up a sign that said: Rahm Emanuel likes Nickelback.

PAYNTER: Yeah. You know, they've become...

RAZ: He - by the way, he had to publicly deny this. Like, he went on the record...


RAZ: ...and said: It's not true. I don't like Nickelback.

PAYNTER: You know, that was probably a strong political move for him at that point. You know, it's - they're incredibly prolific. They've had this great business model behind what they do. They tour on the cheap. They produce music incredibly quickly and prolifically, because Chad Kroeger's such a...

RAZ: He's the lead singer of the band.

Yeah. He's an amazing - he's just an amazingly quick songwriter. They sell their concert tickets cheaper than other bands do because they travel cheaper than other bands do. And that allows them to hit more places, you know, at a quicker pace. And they've gotten this multimillion-dollar tour deal from, you know, a touring company because people recognize that they're not just good but they're incredibly efficient in the way that they travel.

They also own a record label - or the lead singer owns a record label - the record label that spawned this hit.


CARLY RAE JEPSEN: (Singing) Hey, I just met you and this is crazy...

RAZ: The song by Carly Rae Jepsen, which has been a number one - which was a number one song for many, many weeks. He owns that label.

PAYNTER: He owns that label. He's been around with 604 Records since 2002. Basically, he goes out there, and he takes a chance on talent. And if you look at a lot of talents they have, it's a lot of - a lot of it is Canadian born and bred talent, just like Nickelback. And a lot of them are their own songwriters, and they just work on building them up in Canada and launching them in the United States.


PAYNTER: You know, they seem to be a little bit sensitive to that fact that not everybody likes...

RAZ: Oh, really?

PAYNTER: ...they're under the spotlight.

RAZ: And how do they respond to it?

PAYNTER: Well, you know, I think that they're going for giving their fans fun and a lot of action and, you know, a good boozing time at their shows. And, you know, if people have an expectation that they're going to be more like Mozart, they're not going to - that's not going to happen. These guys know exactly what they do. They do it to a T. They pack stadiums because of it. And they - I think they've worked real hard to get to that point.

RAZ: That's Ben Paynter. His article about the business behind the band Nickelback is in the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek. Ben, thanks so much.

PAYNTER: Thank you.


NICKELBACK: (Singing) This is how you remind me of what I really am. This is how... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.