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.


McConnell Appeals To Biden To Break Through Fiscal Cliff Logjam

Dec 30, 2012
Originally published on December 30, 2012 7:36 pm

Senate negotiators failed to reach a deal Sunday on averting the "fiscal cliff," with the chamber adjourning for the night and only one day remaining before a package of spending cuts and tax increases automatically kicks in.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will go back in session at 11 a.m. ET Monday. It's at least theoretically possible that negotiators might reach a deal and the Senate will have a package to vote on when it reconvenes Monday, meaning the measure could go to the House — where it may or may not come to the floor for a vote.

But even if there is no Senate vote Monday, negotiations could continue all the way into the next Congress, which convenes Thursday.

Majority Leader Harry Reid said Sunday that negotiations will continue and that "there is still time left," though he said the parties remain far apart on the issues. On Sunday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he sought help from Vice President Joe Biden to reignite talks.

NPR's David Welna reports that if the two sides can't come up with a bipartisan deal, Senate Democrats' backup plan is to hold an up-or-down vote on President Obama's proposal Monday. The president's plan would extend tax cuts on income below $250,000 and renew unemployment benefits that are set to expire for about 2 million people.

Speaking on Meet The Press Sunday morning, Obama said, "The pressure's on Congress to produce."

Our Original Post Continues:

On the Senate floor Sunday, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell announced that the fiscal cliff negotiations were stalled.

NPR's David Welna reports the GOP's latest offer was made Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET, but had yet to receive a response.

Following McConnell on the Senate floor, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid confirmed that his party was currently unable to make a counteroffer. While McConnell has shown "good faith," Reid said, some pretty big issues still divide them.

In addition to speaking with Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, McConnell said he's also called Vice President Joe Biden "to see if he could help jump-start the negotiations on their side." McConnell said he has worked with Biden successfully in the past.

"The consequences of this are too high for the American people to be engaged in a political messaging campaign. I'm interested in a result here. And I'm willing to work with whomever can help," he said.

A GOP aide tells Welna there are a number of sticking points, including taxation levels on large estates and the cut-off point for income levels eligible for extended tax cuts. Welna reports:

"He said Democrats have made two proposals since Friday; Republicans have made four, including their latest from last night."

"It's not clear yet how [Biden] might intervene in what's clearly to become a do-or-die moment in these talks. The Senate GOP and Democratic caucuses are scheduled to meet separately behind closed doors at 3 p.m. to discuss where things stand."

Any agreement would fall far short of what was initially envisioned, The Associated Press reports. The original idea was to come to a comprehensive agreement that would serve as an alternative to the so-called "fiscal cliff," the deep, automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to begin on Jan. 1. The AP continues:

"Instead, their compromise, if they do indeed cut a deal, will put off some big decisions about tax and entitlement changes and leave other deadlines in place that will likely lead to similar moments of brinkmanship, some in just a matter of weeks."

Current negotiations do not include discussion of the nation's debt limit, for example, even as the country is on the brink of reaching it.

Update at 6:04 p.m. ET. Hoping For News In The Morning:

There appears to be no deal in sight for Sunday, Welna reports. In remarks on the Senate floor, Reid said he was "gratified" to hear that Republicans had pulled the chained CPI off the table but that there was "still significant distance between the two sides."

"There's still time left to reach an agreement, and we intend to continue negotiations," he said.

Reid said and that "perhaps" there will be further announcements at 11 a.m. Monday.

Update at 5:12 p.m. ET. GOP Pulls Back On CPI:

Welna tells Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered, that Republicans have said they won't demand that chained CPI be included in the deal. The New York Times reports:

"Senate Republicans emerged from a closed-door meeting to say they agreed with Democrats that the request — which had temporarily brought talks to a standstill — was not appropriate for a quick deal to avert the tax increases and spending cuts starting Jan. 1."

Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Where The Consumer Price Index Fits In:

One of the main issues holding back the negotiations is a proposed change to how the government measures inflation. A Senate Democratic aide tells Welna that Democrats believed the "chained CPI" (consumer price index) was off the table for a small agreement, but says Republicans have insisted on keeping it part of any deal. Overtime, the chained CPI would cause cuts to benefits like Social Security that Democrats have tried to protect.

When Congress was debating raising the debt limit last year, the chained CPI was part of a plan to reduce the nation's deficit.

At the time, NPR's Scott Horsley spoke with Marc Goldwein, then a staffer for President Obama's fiscal commission, about what this alternative inflation measurement was. He said that the current measurement tends to overstate the rate of inflation, and since government programs grow at the rate of inflation, the chained CPI could produce big savings over time. Those savings would come from programs like Social Security and in the form of tax revenue.

Goldwein says adjusting this measurement wouldn't make immediate, severe cuts. Instead, it would help deficit reduction over the medium and long term.

Update at 3:15 p.m. ET. Biden In Washington:

A White House spokesman tells NPR's Scott Horsley that the vice president is now at the White House and that talks continue.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.