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.


Same-Sex Marriage And Adoption: Unresolved Issues In France

Dec 29, 2012
Originally published on December 29, 2012 8:14 pm

France is known as a tolerant country on many social issues, yet the country is embroiled in a debate about same-sex marriage and adoption.

President Francois Hollande is following through on a campaign promise to bring full rights to gay couples. France legalized civil unions more than a decade ago, though same-sex couples must still go abroad to marry or adopt.

But opposition to Hollande's measure has been unexpectedly fierce, something the Socialist government wasn't expecting.

Thousands of supporters of same-sex marriage took to the streets in Paris last weekend in support of the government's plans to legalize marriage and adoption for gay couples.

But they were playing catch-up.

In October and November, groups opposed to same-sex marriage staged several large demonstrations across France, attracting tens of thousands of people. The new measure has highlighted the divide between urban and rural France.

Treading Carefully Around Religion

But rarely do demonstrators wave signs with Bible verses.

It's not about religion, at least not on the surface, says Gilles Wullus editor-in-chief of Tetu, a magazine for homosexuals.

"There is a kind of taboo in France for using religion in the political debate. There is a strong tradition of avoiding religious arguments in politics. That's French history," says Wullus. "So even for the conservatives it's very delicate to use religious beliefs. But that doesn't mean that religion is out of the mind[s] of these people."

In a rare move, and to the surprise of many, the French Catholic Church has become involved in the debate. Since the separation of church and state in France more than a century ago, the church rarely injects itself into political and societal matters.

But this time the archbishop of Paris, Monsignor Andre Vingt-Trois, spoke out on TV and radio, saying that society was threatened by such changes in the family structure. Many believe the Vatican is behind the church's rare outspokenness because France is a large and strategic Catholic country.

Other European Catholic countries, like Belgium and Spain, have already legalized gay marriage and adoption. Analysts say one reason France has not is that it was the first to adopt civil unions for same-sex couples in 1999.

A Debate About Parenting

Opposition to the new measure seems mainly centered around children.

Parisian Eric Robichon voices a commonly heard viewpoint: "I think gay couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples, like in matters of inheritance. After all, they pay taxes too. But I draw the line there. I think a child needs a father and a mother, and this could open a Pandora's box."

Wullus says the declining status of marriage is another reason the opposition is focused on children.

"Marriage is not a big institution in France. Most couples aren't married," Wullus says. "They have pacts, civil union or nothing. Unlike the U.S., marriage is not very well considered here, except in the bourgeois families."

The absence of a religious tone to the French protests seems strange to someone used to the Bible-centric, American opposition to gay marriage.

Recently in the city of Lyon, hundreds of people acted out a scene with a person dressed in a butterfly suit, with one wing that said "papa," and the other "maman."

As the newly hatched butterfly staggered to walk and stretch its wings, hundreds of men and women seated on the sidewalk on different sides of the creature reached out to prop him up, alternately screaming, "Mama! Papa!"

The message was clear — a child needs both parents to fully develop. But the scene was more than just bizarre.

The French government has been caught off guard by the strength of the opposition. After an outcry from a group of rural mayors who said they didn't want to marry same-sex couples, Hollande said they could call in their deputies to do it.

Hollande had to backtrack amid an uproar over whether people would now be able to choose the laws they wished to obey.

The bill legalizing gay marriage and adoption will go before parliament this spring. There is likely to be a contentious debate over whether it will include the right to assisted reproduction.

With or without this component, the law is set to be promulgated by June just ahead of Paris' annual gay pride parade.

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