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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."

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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.


Sen. Kerry Gets Obama's Nod For Secretary Of State

Dec 21, 2012



It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm David Greene. This afternoon, President Obama is set to nominate Massachusetts Senator John Kerry as the nation's next secretary of state. Kerry would replace Hillary Clinton, who's planning to leave that post after four years as the president's globe-trotting emissary. Joining us to talk about the move is NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley; and NPR's diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen, who's here in the studio with me.

Thank you both for coming in.



GREENE: Scott, you're at the White House, where you've learned of this decision. All signs, so far, that Kerry would win an easy confirmation from the Senate. And I guess I wonder if that was - if that was a factor for the president when, you know, when not much seems very easy in Washington right now.

HORSLEY: That's right. Unlike U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who was, by some accounts, the president's first choice for the job, but who became a lightning rod over her comments about Benghazi, John Kerry's expected to sail through the confirmation process. He's a well-regarded senator. He chairs the committee that would have to cast the first vote on his nomination. He's friendly to some key Republicans, who've actively promoted him for the secretary of state's job. Of course, he's a decorated war hero who fought in Vietnam, then became active in the antiwar movement. So at a time when the president has plenty of congressional battles ahead, this is one choice that was fairly easy.

GREENE: No small thing, that the first vote will be in the committee that he has been on for a very long time.


GREENE: Certainly, a lot of foreign policy experience; not, though, a member of President Obama's inner circle, but they do have some history together.

HORSLEY: Well, that's right. Of course, in 2004, when John Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president, he tapped as the keynote speaker at his convention, a then-little-known Senate candidate from Illinois named Barack Obama.


HORSLEY: And of course, it was that speech that launched Mr. Obama on the national stage. One of John Kerry's speechwriters was actually assigned to vet Mr. Obama's speech. And he took one line out of that famous speech because Kerry wanted to use similar language in his own acceptance speech.


HORSLEY: So I think it's fair to say, these two are pretty much on the same page; certainly, in the internationalist way that they view the world.

GREENE: Even liking in the same lines. Well, Michele Kelemen, let me turn to you. You've been covering Secretary Clinton. You've gone to - it seems like - every corner of the world with her. What do you expect? Are we going to have a different State Department, a different foreign policy if, indeed, John Kerry takes this job?

KELEMEN: I don't think it will be that different, to be honest. James Traub wrote a very funny profile in Foreign Policy magazine, where he said John Kerry is Hillary Clinton wearing pants - and then, of course, pointed out that she, too, always wears pants.


GREENE: That's true.

KELEMEN: But, you know, look. He's been the secretary-of-state in-waiting for years now. The administration has turned to him on several occasions. When there's been troubles with Afghanistan or Pakistan, he's gone out there to smooth things over. He certainly has the temperament of a diplomat. He was on this program back in 2009, talking about his walk in the gardens with Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president. That was the trip that the senator persuaded Karzai to agree to runoff elections. He's also gone, repeatedly, to Syria before Bashar al-Assad so brutally cracked down on his opponents. You know, so like many in Washington, Kerry thought that the U.S. could do business with Assad, at that time. So he's ready to engage even bad actors, if that's what the administration wants.

GREENE: So maybe not so much of a change in President Obama's foreign policy. But one change is this - Scott, let me go back to you briefly. This leaves a Senate seat open; that could make it vulnerable to a Republican replacing John Kerry.

HORSLEY: Well, that's right. This could be a lifeline for Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, who lost his own seat in November. He could get a second chance, to win a special election in that state. Of course, there will be a lot of Massachusetts Democrats trying to keep the seat in the blue column. That political consideration might have been a factor here but, you know, thanks to their strong showing in November, Democrats have a little bit more of a cushion in the Senate. And even if Scott Brown were to win Kerry's seat, he would not be the 51st Republican vote for anything.

GREENE: NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen, and NPR White House correspondent Scott Horsley, thank you both.

KELEMEN: Thank you.

HORSLEY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.