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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.

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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.

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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.


North Dakota's Newest Senator On Her Tax Plans

Nov 9, 2012
Originally published on November 16, 2012 12:17 pm



When Democratic Senator Kent Conrad announced his retirement, his seat in North Dakota was all but written off to the Republicans. Instead, on Tuesday, North Dakota voters chose Conrad's onetime protege at the State Tax Commissioner's Office, the state's former attorney general, Heidi Heitkamp, and she joins us now from her home. Welcome to the program.

SENATOR-ELECT HEIDI HEITKAMP: Thank you so much for having me.

SIEGEL: And since the fiscal cliff is already so much in the news, I'd like to ask you about it. Your campaign website said those who earn more than $1 million a year should help reduce the deficit, but you also wrote about reducing the corporate tax rates. Do you support people who make over a million dollars a year paying higher tax rates?

HEITKAMP: What we've been talking about over the course of the campaign is the need to look at a overall package for deficit reduction that includes not only revenue enhancements, including those on people making over a million dollars a year, but also looking very closely at budgets, looking very closely at getting people back to work.

SIEGEL: But as for increasing taxes, you've spoken of people who make a million dollars a year, the battle line here in Washington, and it was restated by President Obama today, is $250,000 a year. Do you think people who make that much should also pay more in taxes?

HEITKAMP: Well, I think what we need to take a look at is not, you know, income levels, but taking a look at the tax rates on the type of income that people earn. One of the things that I talked about consistently through the campaign is the fact that Paris Hilton pays a lower tax rate on her earnings, which are all trust fund earnings, than a Bobcat worker here who works, you know, maybe 50, 60 hours a week. And so we've got a big disparity between the tax rates on earned and unearned income that I think this country needs to look at.

SIEGEL: So perhaps increase the rates on interest, dividends, capital gains?

HEITKAMP: What I mean, I think you have to be a little careful when you look at it just to make sure that what you're doing is not hampering the economy in ways that you don't intend. But it certainly seems to me that obviously we enjoy a very nice lifestyle. My husband and I, we have a fair amount of unearned income. I think it's taxed too low for us.

SIEGEL: Your state is riding an oil drilling boom in North Dakota. Do you expect the Keystone pipeline to be approved shortly? And how important is that?

HEITKAMP: I always have. I mean, if you look at every statement that I've made during the campaign, I have said repeatedly that the delay on the Keystone pipeline had more to do with politics than it did the route. It certainly is helpful that the company now has rerouted around Nebraska.

SIEGEL: But did you not buy the argument that it was about Nebraska's objections to where the pipeline was supposed to go?

HEITKAMP: No. I never bought that argument. I think this argument is about opposition to tar sand oil development up in Canada, which to me shouldn't stop the pipeline.

SIEGEL: Well what about the argument, should we be increasing our reliance on fossil fuels at this stage of our national development even if the bulk of the environmental impact might be north of the border?

HEITKAMP: Well, I will tell you this. The way I look at this issue is increasing our energy independence in North America. We still import a fair amount of oil. I think anything that we can do to reduce those imports, grow our refinery capacity in this country adds to our national security and I think improves the quality of our economy. Now, with that said, I definitely think we need to be taking a look at a moderate kind of policy that also includes renewables. We need to get everybody together and include everything and quit putting politics in the energy policy.

SIEGEL: You know, we heard from out reporters in North Dakota throughout this campaign, said, Heidi Heitkamp is running very well way ahead of President Obama, obviously, in North Dakota. And part of it, as everyone says, she's just a really good, nice person. I just wonder if that's your interpretation of why you succeeded. Or if not, what do you think is the main reason that you are able to rescue a Democratic seat in the Senate?

HEITKAMP: I put it this way. Yes, you know, I hope people like me, but more important to me is that they knew me. I've been visible and active for a lot of years in North Dakota. And when the ads came saying Heidi Heitkamp is this person, because people know you - they don't always agree with you, and they may not always like you, but they know you - they go, well, I don't believe that. And so it made me a little immune to a lot of the, I think, very direct and negative attacks.

SIEGEL: I thought everyone in North Dakota knows everyone else in North Dakota.


HEITKAMP: It's one degree of separation. If we don't know someone, we both know someone we do know.

SIEGEL: Well, Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp, congratulations on your election and thanks for talking with us today.

HEITKAMP: You bet. Thank you.

SIEGEL: That's Heidi Heitkamp, the Democratic senator-elect from the state of North Dakota. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.