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.

Pages

Merck: Niacin Drug Mix Fails To Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes

Dec 20, 2012
Originally published on December 20, 2012 2:59 pm

Niacin, a B vitamin that raises "good" cholesterol, has failed to benefit heart disease patients when taken in tandem with a statin drug that lowers "bad" cholesterol, according to drug maker Merck.

Patients taking the niacin-statin combo had no fewer heart attacks, strokes or artery-clearing procedures than those taking simvistatin alone, the company said Thursday. And it may have caused serious harm to some of the 25,000 patients in Europe and China involved in the study.

The large niacin-plus-simvistatin study may have far-reaching implications, since millions of people take niacin every day on their doctors' belief that it will prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Dr. Steven Nissen of Cleveland Clinic says in an email to Shots that "phones will ring off the hook in cardiology practices throughout America" because of the news.

The company didn't specify the nature or magnitude of the harmful effect, but a study last year suggested that patients taking niacin plus simvistatin had a slightly higher risk of strokes. That study, called AIM-HIGH, was stopped early because it showed no benefit either.

Merck says it has abandoned its plan to seek Food and Drug Administration approval of its niacin drug, called Tredaptive. The drug is already licensed in 70 countries. The FDA earlier declined to approve it until it got the results of the just-completed study.

Nissen says he frequently prescribes niacin to patients who have low HDL. "I won't start new patients" on it, he tells Shots, but he won't tell patients on niacin to stop taking it until he has a chance to review Merck's published study, which presumably won't be out for some months.

Nissen has been a proponent of finding drugs that raise HDL, which stands for high-density lipoprotein. For years the dogma has been that HDL scavenges harmful LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, from the bloodstream so it can be excreted in bile. Therefore, raising HDL should be a good thing.

But other recent studies besides the new Merck data have called this into question. The HDL-raisers torcetrapid and dalcetrapib failed to show benefit. And a large study earlier this year found that people who are genetically predisposed to have higher HDL levels have no less heart disease than those with genes that yield somewhat lower levels.

Nissen says he's "unwilling to abandon" the hypothesis that raising HDL lowers heart disease. "Nevertheless," he acknowledges, "this is a serious blow to the theory."

The Cleveland researcher thinks that using drugs to raise HDL involves complicated mysteries about very different effects from different medications.

One unknown in the Merck study is whether a second drug called laropiprant that was combined with niacin in Tredaptive may have blunted a beneficial effect of niacin or caused adverse effects. Laropiprant, which is designed to counter the flushing that many patients experience with niacin, didn't show ill effects in earlier studies, Nissen says.

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