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.


A Sin City Comedy That Comes Up Snake Eyes

Dec 6, 2012

Based on Beth Raymer's memoir, Lay the Favorite has a cheeky, double-meaning title that sets up the story and the irreverent tone with impressive efficiency; the reference is both to the gambling practice of betting for the favorite and to the heroine's generous sexual proclivities.

Gambling and sex are the twin elixirs of Sin City, of course, but mixed together they can create an unstable alchemy subject to the ups and downs of hot streaks and cold decks. Raymer's willingness — puppy-dog eagerness, even — to throw herself in the hands of volatile fate and fickle men makes her a great adventurer on the Strip. And Rebecca Hall, best known for playing the uptight Vicky to Scarlett Johansson's more libertine Cristina in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, uncorks a performance as bubbly as pink champagne.

So why is Lay the Favorite such a terrible drag?

Perhaps the best point of comparison is Striptease, the famous calamity starring Demi Moore as a Miami stripper who gets caught up in a custody battle and a thicket of political corruption. Adapted from a comic thriller by Carl Hiaasen, South Florida's day-glo answer to Elmore Leonard, the film missed the fizzy, beach-friendly fun of Hiaasen's work, and wound up playing the comedy and the suspense at half-speed. It couldn't keep up with its own protagonist.

Lay the Favorite feels like Striptease revisited, a listless comedy built around a vivacious protagonist. Director Stephen Frears, whose varied and distinguished filmography includes Dangerous Liaisons and High Fidelity, can't seem to decide what movie he's trying to make here. He delves into the world of high-stakes gambling, but not far enough. He dabbles in wacky farce, but lets it subside into thin romantic comedy. The film has a neither-here-nor-there quality that suggests a lack of commitment to the material — or worse, a lack of real directorial interest.

After logging some time as a private dancer in Florida, Beth (Hall) informs her father with starry eyes that she's leaving town to pursue her dream: to be a cocktail waitress at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The saddest part of her modest ambition is that it's unachievable in the short term, since the waitresses are unionized and she'd have to wait around for one of the ancient ones to retire. With no prospects, she and her dog won't be able to afford even their fleabag motel for long.

But Vegas is a city of rapidly changing fortunes, and Beth's life takes a turn for the positive when she meets Dink (Bruce Willis), a professional gambler who runs a sports-betting operation off the Strip. Beth's savant genius with numbers — and her taste for short shorts and cowboy boots — helps her thrive in the gambling world, but her obvious affection for Dink goes over poorly with his jealous wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Bounced from that job, Beth hooks up with a sleazy New York bookie (Vince Vaughn) looking to set up shop in the Caribbean, but a romance with a blander-than-bland journalist (Joshua Jackson) gives her pause.

Frears has assembled a cast flush with A-listers, but only Willis, as a streak-riding bettor in tube socks and T-shirts, makes much of an impression. The best scenes in Lay the Favorite follow Willis into the specifics of manipulating betting lines and exposing odds-makers, but even there the film seems anxious to chalk wins and losses up to lucky charms and terrible curses.

The Grifters proved Frears capable of finding the allure of shadowy characters who know all the angles, and you can imagine the potential fun in casting someone as open and guileless as Beth into such a seedy world. But stranded in the middle of comic fecklessness, she's a live wire with nothing to charge.

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