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.


Music-Streaming Services Hunt For Paying Customers

Dec 27, 2012
Originally published on December 27, 2012 8:58 am

2012 has been a strange year for content creators — authors, producers, musicians. It was a year when the very idea of physical ownership of a book or CD or even a song file became almost passe.

It was also the year in which music-streaming services like Spotify and Pandora launched major efforts to convince people to pay for something they didn't own. But it's been slow going.

Music-streaming services have been trying to win over two types of customers: a younger generation that doesn't buy at all and an older generation that still likes owning physical albums.

Kayleen Fong, 19, doesn't pay for music. Like a lot of young people, when Fong wants to hear a song, she listens for free on YouTube. In fact, she doesn't even think about it as a video site.

Here's her definition: "It's a search engine where you type in my favorite artist, which is The Hollies. They have a video of them and they usually have interviews."

Fong's taste in music may date back to the days before she was born, but her way of getting it is totally au courant. A study this year by Nielsen found that YouTube is the most popular way for teens and young adults to listen to and discover music.

Streaming services also are trying to appeal to an older audience, like Jennifer Taylor, a filmmaker in her 40s who calls herself "a dinosaur."

Taylor still buys music. More than a thousand CDs and hundreds of LPs crowd her San Francisco apartment. She pulls out an album by Brazilian singer Tetê Espíndola.

"I remember buying this. I remember, you know, going to a record store in Brazil," she says. "I used to take these trips to South America with empty tote bags and minimal clothes, so I could come back with tote bags full of 12-inch vinyl records that there'd be no way I could find elsewhere."

As different as she is from 19-year-old Fong, Taylor presents streaming services with the same basic problem: How do you get consumers to pay a monthly fee for something when they won't actually own it and they can probably find it for free somewhere online?

The two major streaming services, Spotify and Pandora, have been trying to lure these people into paying by offering free versions supported with ads.

"You have to have some version of the free or the radio extreme experience so you can get people into the system," says Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner. "Then, how do you get them to cross over to become paying subscribers?"

So far, Spotify has only managed to get about a quarter of its 20 million users to pay $10 a month — and it still is not profitable. Its main competitor, Pandora, which has 175 million users, has had several quarters of profitability, but it has had to put the money back into growing the service. And the more users the two streaming services get, the more royalties they have to pay to artists and labels, even if those users aren't paying for a subscription.

This year, Pandora launched a lobbying effort to get Congress to lower the royalty rates. "Because that's kind of their big existential threat," McGuire says. "If those rates go way up, it's going to be even harder for them to generate profit."

McGuire says even if Pandora were to succeed in changing royalty rates, there is still a question of whether these streaming services can hold on until music listening habits change.

"We're in this period of transition where it's not going to be a simple cut-off transition, where, you know, at some point X percent of the consumer base all of a sudden flops over to streaming," he says. "It's going to be a progression. Probably a relatively slow one."

Taylor, the San Francisco filmmaker, was actually surprised by what she found when she began investigating Spotify. She was convinced it wouldn't have all the artists she loves, like that Brazilian singer, but a search brought Espíndola right up.

Taylor isn't planning to subscribe to Spotify any time soon. But the pressure to move over to streaming services is growing. Many computer makers are no longer installing a CD/DVD drive. And rumor has it that this coming year, Apple is going to launch its own streaming music service.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.