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.


Obama's Cabinet 2.0 Coming Into Focus

Dec 15, 2012
Originally published on December 18, 2012 12:50 pm

In the category of unintended consequences, Susan Rice's announcement about her future could — under one scenario — mean a Republican in President Obama's inner circle, decorated Vietnam veterans overseeing the nation's military and its foreign policy, and another special election for Senate in Massachusetts.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is now the popular choice to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, after Rice, the U.N. ambassador, withdrew her name Thursday from consideration.

Kerry, who like Clinton once sought the presidency (in Kerry's case winning the 2004 Democratic nomination), is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and enjoys broad and bipartisan backing in the Senate, where his nomination would need to be confirmed.

"Even if we don't agree with Sen. Kerry on some of the domestic issues, we think that he has handled foreign relations as chairman pretty good, and so I think he'd have an easy confirmation," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Thursday.

Had Rice gotten the nod to head the State Department, Kerry had been seen as a potential successor to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

The choice for that role now could be former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican and, like Kerry, a Vietnam veteran. In the Senate, Hagel was among the most vocal Republican critics of President George W. Bush's policies in Iraq.

"If the president aims to really create an atmosphere of bipartisanship — which is what he's been saying all along — it would serve him well perhaps to do something innovative and appoint some high-level moderate Republicans to some of these positions to really start to bring the country together," said Lori Handrahan, professor of American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University, after Rice's announcement. "Because I think everybody's tired of the partisan bickering."

Others reportedly under consideration for the post include former top Pentagon official Michele Flournoy, who would be the first woman to run the Defense Department.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also could soon set a deadline for his stated intention to step down early in Obama's second term, perhaps after the immediate fiscal cliff negotiations have concluded. Jack Lew, the White House chief of staff, is reportedly among Obama's choices as a successor.

And at the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder has said he does not intend to stay for all of Obama's second term. When he does leave, potential successors include Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Of course, choosing Napolitano would create an opening at Homeland Security. And choosing Patrick would mean further political upheaval in Massachusetts, where — should Kerry become secretary of state — it would be Patrick's job to appoint a temporary replacement and to establish a special election shortly thereafter.

The Republican candidate could well be Sen. Scott Brown, who loses his job on Jan. 3, when the newly elected Elizabeth Warren is sworn in. Brown won that Senate seat, held by the late Sen. Edward Kennedy for nearly five decades, in a 2010 special election.

Several House members from Massachusetts could compete for the Democratic nomination, including longtime congressman Ed Markey, and Reps. Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch. The Hill noted Friday that Markey has more than $3 million cash on hand after his 2012 re-election, the third most of any House member.

But if Brown were to prevail and claim Kerry's vacated seat, he would join a rather exclusive group of American politicians who have held both of a state's Senate seats over a career. They include two current senators, Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and the retiring Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and historical figures like Tennessee's Andrew Jackson, Kentucky's Henry Clay, Minnesota's Hubert Humprey and Arizona's Barry Goldwater.

And another bit of trivia: If Kerry becomes secretary of state, he'd be the first white male to hold the post in 16 years, following the tenures of Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

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