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.

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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.

"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.

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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.

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Sinema, First Openly Bisexual Member Of Congress, Represents 'Changing Arizona'

Jan 1, 2013
Originally published on January 8, 2013 2:19 pm

Arizona's new 9th Congressional District is sending a different type of representative to Washington this week: She's young — 36. She grew up homeless for a time. And she'll be the first openly bisexual member of Congress.

Democrat Kyrsten Sinema marvels at the number of women, minorities and members of the LGBT community who will join her in the freshman class, which will be sworn in Thursday.

"I'm just really proud of the Democratic caucus," she told voters in her district at a coffee meeting on a recent rainy winter morning. "I look around in our meetings, and I think we really look like America."

For a while it was unclear whether Sinema — a social worker who rose quickly through the state Legislature — would make it to Congress. It took nearly a week after Election Day for Sinema to learn she had beaten her Tea Party opponent by 10,000 votes.

"How often can you say a kid who was homeless is going to Congress?" she says.

Sinema grew up in a Mormon family. Although she's no longer affiliated with any religion, she says her family's conservative roots helped launch her career. Amid recession in the 1980s, her parents divorced. When the bank foreclosed on their home, Sinema moved into an abandoned gas station with her mom and stepfather. She says for two years they had no toilet or electricity.

"I kind of grew up with a mix of two things," she says. "One was kind of this individual work ethic that my father and my stepfather and my mother all taught me, which was never depend on anyone else to do things for you, and work really hard on your own."

And Sinema did work hard. She graduated from college at 18. She got a job as a social worker, then got a law degree. In 2004, she ran for the state Legislature and won. This year, she threw in a doctorate for good measure.

"At the same time, I benefited from the help of church and family and government my whole life," she says.

Democratic Sen. David Lujan, a colleague of Sinema's in the state Legislature, says he had "no doubt she would be in Congress someday."

Lujan says she was the smartest person in the state Capitol — and the hardest-working. "There were a lot of people that were jealous of her," he says. "And I saw that on both sides of the aisle."

Early on, Sinema formed a reputation as an outspoken advocate for women's rights and same-sex marriage. But Lujan says she also learned to moderate her tone and found Republicans to co-sponsor her bills. Even critics say they respect Sinema's charm and political skill.

But Republican state Sen. Frank Antenori says it's a masterful ruse.

"She created this transformation ... going from one of the most left-wing leftists of the state House into one of the more moderate Democrats in the state Senate — which was a facade," he says.

And perhaps shrewd. Her district is made up of almost equal parts Republicans, Democrats and independents. GOP political analyst Kris Mayes says to win, Sinema had to seek the middle.

"It is representative of a changing Arizona — such that you are going to see a much more diverse cast of characters go to Congress from Arizona than ever before," Mayes says.

Back at the coffee shop, Sinema wraps up an hourlong chat with supporters that ranged from immigration reform to access to education.

When asked why the public seems to be fascinated with her, Sinema says: "I speak my mind. I'm not really afraid of things. I actually don't think that's that unusual. And I think it's not a surprise here in Arizona."

The real surprise may come later. Will Sinema continue a path of moderation? Or will this new-generation congresswoman end up too liberal for Arizona voters?

Copyright 2013 KJZZ-FM. To see more, visit http://kjzz.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, our second profile of a new member of Congress, Arizona Democrat Krysten Sinema. She's a trained social worker who rose quickly to the state legislature. She also grew up homeless for a time.

Peter O'Dowd from member station KJZZ has the rest of her story.

PETER O'DOWD, BYLINE: Sinema is also young, just 36. And on this rainy, winter morning, she's holding a regular coffee meeting with voters in Central Arizona's new 9th Congressional District.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Hello. Congratulations.

O'DOWD: The next time they'll meet, she'll officially be Congresswoman Sinema.

REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT KYRSTEN SINEMA: So I want to start today by giving you a couple updates. So we won the election, right? That was good. Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

O'DOWD: Update number two, Sinema's got a place to live in D.C. and in office, plus she marvels at the number of women, minorities and members of the LGBT community that will join her in the freshman class. Sinema is the first openly bisexual member of Congress.

SINEMA: I'm just really proud of the Democratic caucus. I look around in our meetings, and I think we really look like America.

O'DOWD: For a while, it was unclear if the Democrat would make it this far. It took nearly a week after Election Day for Sinema to learn she'd beaten her Tea Party opponent by 10,000 votes.

SINEMA: How often can you say a kid who was homeless is going to Congress?

O'DOWD: Sinema grew up in a Mormon family. Though she's no longer affiliated with any religion, she says her family's conservative roots helped launch her career. Amid recession in the 1980s, her parents divorced. When the bank foreclosed on their home, Sinema moved into an abandoned gas station with her mom and stepdad. She says for two years, they had no toilet or electricity.

SINEMA: I kind of grew up with a mix of two things. One was kind of this individual work ethic that my father and my stepfather and my mother all taught me, which was never depend on anyone else to do things for you and work really hard on your own.

O'DOWD: And Sinema did work hard. She graduated from college at 18. She got a job as a social worker, then a law degree. In 2004, she ran for the state Legislature and won. This year, she threw in a Ph.D. for good measure.

SINEMA: At the same time, I benefited from the help of church and family and government my whole life.

O'DOWD: Democrat David Lujan was a colleague of Sinema's at the state Capitol. He says she was the smartest person there and the hardest working.

SENATOR DAVID LUJAN: I had no doubt she would be in Congress someday.

O'DOWD: Early on, Sinema formed a reputation as an outspoken advocate for women's rights and same-sex marriage. But Lujan says she also learned to moderate her tone and found Republicans to co-sponsor her bills. Even critics say they respect Sinema's charm and political skill. But Republican state Senator Frank Antenori says it's a masterful ruse.

SENATOR FRANK ANTENORI: She created this transformation as going from one of the most left-wing leftists of the state House into one of the more moderate Democrats in the state Senate, which she was a facade.

O'DOWD: And perhaps shrewd. Her district is made up of almost equal parts: Republicans, Democrats and independents. GOP political analyst Kris Mayes says to win, Sinema had to seek the middle.

KRISTIN MAYES: It is representative of a changing Arizona, such that you're going to see a much more diverse cast of characters go to Congress from Arizona than ever before.

O'DOWD: Back at the coffee shop, Sinema wraps up her hour-long chat with supporters that ranged from immigration reform to access to education. After they leave, I asked Sinema to consider the public's fascination with her.

SINEMA: I speak my mind. I'm not really afraid of things. I actually don't think that's that unusual. And I think it's not a surprise here in Arizona.

O'DOWD: The real surprise may come later. Will Sinema continue a path of moderation? Or will this new-generation congresswoman end up too liberal for Arizona voters?

For NPR News, I'm Peter O'Dowd in Phoenix.

CORNISH: This is NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.