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.

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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.


Potential Geithner Departure Could Complicate Debt Ceiling Battle

Jan 4, 2013
Originally published on January 4, 2013 7:02 pm



President Obama may be going into the next big budget fight without his long-time treasury secretary. Timothy Geithner had been planning to leave before the start of the president's second term, but that would mean he is departing with the debt ceiling still looming and the Treasury scrambling to keep up with the government's bills.


NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now. And, Scott, Secretary Geithner has made no secret of his plans to leave the government, but it sounds like his departure could be complicated.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Well, it could be. As you say, he's wanted to leave for a long time. It is obviously a high-stress job, and his family moved back to New York in 2011. He's been anxious to rejoin them. He agreed to stay on two years ago, but said at the time that he would leave at the end of the president's first term.

The only reason there's even a question about now - that now is that the deal that we've just gotten through to resolve the fiscal cliff did not settle this question of what happens with the debt ceiling, as the White House had hoped it would. So the Treasury Department's now been using what it calls extraordinary measures to avoid a government default.

It can do that for a couple of months, but it's not easy, especially at this time of year when the government's cash flow is at its weakest state because they start paying out tax refunds, but the - a lot of the folks it owed taxes the government won't be paying until April. So this is a tricky period. Despite that, Bloomberg News reports Secretary Geithner wants out now.

SIEGEL: Let's go over Tim Geithner's record as secretary of the Treasury. He got off to a rocky start, first of all, we should say.

HORSLEY: He did. He was, of course, dogged during his confirmation hearings by tax problems. And then his first big moment in the spotlight as secretary, in which he outlined a plan to help banks deal with their toxic assets, was widely panned. Neither the plan nor the secretary seemed ready for prime time.

But as we slowly emerged from the financial crisis, the secretary's stewardship looks a lot better. For the most part, the big-bank bailouts have been repaid. The banking sector has been stabilized, although some critics say the government could and should have done more to encourage bank lending during this period.

The auto rescue, which was run out of Treasury, was, by most measures, a big success. The carmakers are profitable again. They have their best sales since 2007 last year. Even AIG, which was probably the ugliest part of the government bailout, is now running thank-you ads on television, noting that it's paid back what it owed in full, plus $22 billion in profit. So the secretary's record looks a little better with four years' hindsight.

SIEGEL: Well, assuming that he's leaving soon, who's likely to replace him at Treasury?

HORSLEY: Well, the first name you usually hear mentioned is Jack Lew. He's the president's chief of staff, and he's a veteran of the White House Budget Office, both in the Obama and Clinton administrations. Lew knows where all the bodies are buried on the government spreadsheets. In between government jobs, he had a short stint with Citigroup, but Jack Lew doesn't really have a lot of Wall Street experience, which could be a plus politically, but might mean he needs some backup at the Treasury Department.

One reason that a lot of people think Lew might get the nod, he didn't play a very conspicuous role in this most recent round of fiscal cliff negotiations even though he had a big hand in sort of setting the stage for the president's strong bargaining position. And some people think the White House didn't want Lew to perhaps alienate any senators if he was going to need their support in a confirmation battle.

Now he has not been formally nominated, and Bloomberg reports that the White House also sounded out the head of American Express, Ken Chenault, but he was not interested in the Treasury job. And there are other candidates such as Wall Street banker Roger Altman. He's another Clinton administration veteran who's sort of the Susan Lucci of Treasury appointments. He's a perpetual runner-up who never actually gets the nod.

SIEGEL: Well, Treasury is just actually one of the vacant seats to fill in the president's cabinet or soon-to-be-vacant seats. We know about State, where Senator Kerry awaits confirmation hearings, all the talk about Defense, of course, and the discussion of possibly former Senator Chuck Hagel being the nominee there.

HORSLEY: Right. We also still have an acting secretary at Commerce ever since John Bryson stepped down for health reasons last year. Those are just the vacant seats we know about. There could be others. Attorney General Eric Holder has said under no circumstances will he stay for four more years, although he may not be gone right away. We could be looking at a new Energy secretary, maybe others. So on top of all the other business Congress has staring in the face this spring, we could be looking a lot of cabinet confirmation hearings.

SIEGEL: And a vacancy at CIA to fill as well. Scott, thanks.

HORSLEY: My pleasure.

SIEGEL: That's NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.