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.


Senators Exert Power During Confirmation Process

Jan 11, 2013
Originally published on January 11, 2013 8:35 am



It's Friday and it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Renee Montagne.

As if the looming battles over the budget and debt ceiling are not enough, President Obama faces another delicate act with Congress.

INSKEEP: This one too grows out of the Constitution's separation of powers. The president gets to name his cabinet choices - as he's been doing. The Senate gets to confirm or reject them.

MONTAGNE: Some, like Defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, face sharp questions. Others, like the Treasury secretary nominee, Jack Lew, would normally face no hostile questions at all. But these are not normal times.

NPR's Tamara Keith reports on the president's latest nomination and what happens now.

TAMARA KEITH, BYLINE: Jack Lew is a life-long public servant and budget wonk. He was a young congressional staffer involved in the 1986 tax reform, served two stints as the chief presidential budget writer - first under President Clinton and then in the Obama administration, and for about the last year he's been president's chief of staff.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Under President Clinton he presided over three budget surpluses in a row. So for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it, three times.

KEITH: On the lighter side, the president did say there was one issue with the nominee whose signature would grace the nation's paper currency. That signature looks kind of like the squiggle on top of a Hostess cupcake.

OBAMA: Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency, should he be confirmed as secretary of the Treasury.

KEITH: Notice the phrase should he be confirmed. Throughout most of history, confirmation of cabinet level nominees was more a formality than anything else. Certainly there would be no doubt about someone like Lew, already confirmed multiple times. But now it's not so clear.

Republican senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions put out a scathing statement saying Lew must never be secretary of the Treasury, and calling him the architect of two of the worst budgets in American history. Lew is also getting some criticism from the left for a brief stint at Citibank. And it only takes one senator to put the brakes on a nomination, or at least to slow it down.

Sarah Binder is a professor of political science at George Washington University.

SARAH BINDER: Well, I mean it's just sort of emblematic of senators pushing their powers here, right, into an area where we've traditionally said that senators are willing to defer to the president.

KEITH: It's not clear yet whether this is all bluster or whether senators will end up filibustering one of the president's nominees.

Tevi Troy, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, traces this back to the failed Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork - who was defeated not because of ethical or personal failings, but because of policy disagreements.

TEVI TROY: And when the Senate Democrats scored that scalp, there was thoughts on both sides of the aisles going forward that this was an effective method.

KEITH: Troy, who was deputy secretary of health under President George W. Bush, knows all about the sometimes lengthy confirmation process. He ultimately got unanimous Senate confirmation, but he says it took...

TROY: Longer than it should have, but overall it took less time than most folks. I figure I got it in about four and a half months.

KEITH: But he says it really has been different with top level cabinet positions.

TROY: Cabinet slots are definitively more protected even today in this more contentious environment than other slots. Other slots are much more likely to be held up.

KEITH: Still, there's a question. In fact, two years ago a Democratic senator held up Lew's confirmation to be director of the Office of Management and Budget for two months - over an unrelated policy disagreement. Which might explain why with each announcement President Obama calls on the Senate to move quickly.

Tamara Keith, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.