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.


Before The Showdown: The Long Road To The Fiscal Cliff

Nov 22, 2012
Originally published on November 22, 2012 4:45 am

New Year's Day typically inspires hope and new beginnings. But this next one may be cause for trepidation. Tax cuts for all income levels expire on Jan. 1, 2013, and most federal programs will face a 10 percent haircut — because Congress failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan.

It all goes back to some hot, frantic days in late July and early August of 2011. Treasury officials were warning that the nation was near defaulting on its debt for the first time. Congressional Republicans, spurred by Tea Party activists, set off this unprecedented crisis because they refused to raise the government's borrowing limit unless spending was cut by an equal amount. And they would not accept more revenue as a means to offset a hike in the debt ceiling.

A Last-Ditch Scramble

More than $2 trillion in deficit reduction had to be found and fast. Congress hurriedly agreed to $1 trillion worth of cuts over the next decade, with the remainder to be found later by a congressional "supercommittee" proposed, at the time, by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"There would be a joint committee that would move forward, and there would be a trigger that if they didn't resolve this, then something else would happen," Reid said in late July. "And based on past experiences, I think there would be tremendous incentive not to let that certain thing happen when the trigger kicked in."

That "certain thing" Reid referred to is what's known as "sequestration." Lawmakers agreed that if they failed to come up with a deficit-reduction plan, draconian across-the-board cuts in federal spending would be triggered Jan. 1, 2013 — the same day that all the George W. Bush-era tax cuts were scheduled to expire.

At the White House, President Obama gave his blessing. "If we need to put in place some kind of enforcement mechanism to hold us all accountable for making these reforms, I'll support that too, if it's done in a smart and balanced way," he said.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was also on board. "I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending," he said.

Ross Baker, a congressional expert at Rutgers University, says that at the time, minds were not focused on what might be happening at the beginning of 2013.

"It was August. August is a time for recesses, not the time for serious legislation," he says. "I think the real problem at the time was trying to ensure that there was not a default. They just had to get beyond that."

A Deal That Pleased No One

Some Democrats, including Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, voted for the debt-ceiling deal only because it avoided default. "Almost everything else about this deal stinks, and it stinks to high heaven," Udall said at the time.

And some Republicans voted for the deal, even though it could end up shearing a trillion dollars off defense spending. "This should never have been agreed to by members of Congress, but most of all, should never have been promoted by the president," said Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl.

Ultimately, the supercommittee charged with finding additional deficit reduction last year failed to do so, after Republicans on the panel rejected raising any new revenue. So the trigger for automatic spending cuts was cocked.

But in his final debate with then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Obama seemed to rule out sequestration. "First of all, the sequester's not something that I proposed," he said. "It's something that Congress has proposed; it will not happen."

Baker thinks the president had reason to trust that Congress would prevent sequestration. "With a gun at its head, Congress will, in fact, act," Baker says. "But then, and only then."

Indeed, after meeting with Obama last week, Sen. McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner said there could be a new way to cut deficits. Both said they are prepared to "put revenue on the table."

And if lawmakers do hit on a way to mix spending cuts and more revenue to cut deficits and avoid sequestration, New Year's could be cause for celebration.

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