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.


No Nominees, But Obama Cabinet Already Has Critics

Dec 2, 2012



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

President Obama has less than two months before the start of his second term. Often, that means a lot of shuffling in the presidential cabinet. The recent resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus means there's an open spot at Langley. And Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she will leave that office at the end of the year.

But a president does not get to pick a cabinet unilaterally. The Constitution requires the, quote, "advice and consent" of the Senate. And in the case of a possible nominee for secretary of State, that has caused a lot of headaches for the White House.

For more on the possible composition of the next Obama cabinet, we're joined by NPR national political correspondent, Mara Liasson. Good morning, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: OK, let's start with the controversy over Susan Rice. She's currently the ambassador to the United Nations, but there've been all kinds of very public speculation that the president wants her to be the next secretary of State. This has triggered an unusual outcry from the Republicans. Is she still on the short list?

LIASSON: Well, she's certainly on the short list. President Obama said at a cabinet meeting last week, he said, Susan Rice is extraordinary; I couldn't be prouder of the job she's done. He has sent her up to Capitol Hill to kind of test the waters, to see if she could convince some of her critics to soften their opposition. It didn't work out that way.

She had private meetings with a bunch of senators. And afterwards, four of them seem to be even more adamantly opposed to her. Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte, two of the senators who are her critics, said that they would place a hold on her nomination. And, of course, the question is could she get the 60 votes necessary, which means she'd have to get five - about five Republicans - to get confirmed.

So now the question is will the president go forward with her nomination? Do they think they can get her through? Is he willing to fight to the bitter end on this? Is she willing to go through this? So that's a decision that has yet to be made. But her chances don't look any better now than they did before she went up to Capitol Hill.

MARTIN: We should just remind people that the outcry from the get-go was over how she handled the messaging about the Benghazi tragedy that led to the death of a U.S. ambassador.

LIASSON: And, of course, if he Susan Rice should either not be nominated, or her nomination should fail, John Kerry, the senator from Massachusetts, is waiting in the wings. Republican senators have said he'd be confirmed very easily. So he clearly would be the next choice for State.

MARTIN: And I mentioned in the open spot at the CIA; the secretary of Defense is another important post that will have to be filled when the current secretary, Leon Panetta, steps down, which is expected to happen early next year. What are you hearing about these particular cabinet positions?

LIASSON: Well, there are a lot of other possible openings. Certainly Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator, has been mentioned for that position. Michelle Flournoy, who is the former undersecretary of Defense, has been mentioned for that position. CIA, could be Tom Donilon, the current National Security adviser. It's possible that Eric Holder, who's the attorney general could leave; in which case, Janet Napolitano - who is the current Homeland Security secretary - might be a possible replacement for him.

Other names for Justice that have been floated our Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts; Sheldon Whitehouse, the Democratic senator from Rhode Island. There are a lot of positions that have to be filled. Treasury is a really big one. Tim Geithner wants to leave. And the current Chief of Staff at the White House, Jack Lew, is at the top of the mentioning list to replace him at Treasury. So the president has a lot of jobs to fill.

MARTIN: Switching gears a bit, Mara, I want to ask you about this high profile lunch date President Obama had last week. He and Mitt Romney got together for a meal and some conversation. Is that just pro forma? Or was that in some way a real attempt by the president to reach out to the GOP?

LIASSON: Well, I think it is pro forma but it's also an attempt to reach out. This is something that the president did after he was elected in 2008. He had John McCain up to the White House. I don't think that Mitt Romney will have a role in this administration, outside or inside. But it is a courtesy and it's a symbolic gesture to the Republicans.

MARTIN: You say he won't have a role in it administration. What is Mitt Romney's role in the party?

LIASSON: Well, that is a really good question because he's not being embraced as someone who could describe the future of the party. He made some remarks after the election describing why he lost, saying it was because the president gave a lot of gifts to Hispanic and African-American voters and young voters that angered a lot of Republicans. And I don't think that he's going to be part of the discussion that's now going on in the Republican Party about what they need to do to start winning national elections again.

MARTIN: NPR's Mara Liasson. Mara, thanks so much.

LIASSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.