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.


Spain's Banks Face Layoffs, New Regulations

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



One of Spain's most troubled banks announced, this week, that it's laying off half of its staff - after being sold to a competitor for just one euro. Crippled by the housing market's collapse, Spanish banks are living off bailout loans from Europe. Those loans come with strings attached, including massive layoffs and strict new regulatory measures by Spain's central bank.

From Madrid, Lauren Frayer explains.


LAUREN FRAYER, BYLINE: Two years ago, this TV ad heralded the merger of seven Spanish banks, creating Bankia - Spain's biggest real estate lender. Across your TV screen scrolled the words: Today is the start of something big.


FRAYER: Now we know, Bankia was too big - and so was Spain's entire banking system. Bankia failed and was taken over by the government last year after the property market crashed. At the time, there was one bank branch for every couple hundred people in Spain.

JOSE ENRIQUE CONCEJO: We have for many, many years, been the most over-branched country in the world. That is changing, and that has to change.

FRAYER: Jose Enrique Concejo is the head of investment banking for Societe Generale here in Madrid. He says new Spanish banks kept popping up because real estate lending was so profitable. But not anymore.

CONCEJO: Depending on who you ask, the system has to reduce by at least 25 percent, maybe more, in terms of branches. And that applies, of course, to the employees.

FRAYER: About 55,000 bank employees will lose their jobs in the fallout. Spanish banks had to promise these layoffs in exchange for $50 billion in bailout loans from Europe so far. And the Bank of Spain had to promise tougher regulation. It plans to embed inspectors in the top 16 Spanish banks.

Regulators admit that during the boom years, they felt pressure to look the other way while lenders racked up risky debt, says Jose Ignacio Torreblanca, who heads the European Council on Foreign Relations here in Madrid.

JOSE IGNACIO TORREBLANCA: The regulators and the inspectors in the bank, they felt alone and they felt not backed by the government, in doing something which they all knew they had to do. But for political and economic reasons, nobody was interested in doing it.

FRAYER: There's a lot of anger in Spain now, at the banks for gambling in real estate, and at the government for failing to stop them. People are wondering what this is going to cost them.

Protesters gather often in front of the central bank's headquarters. And around the corner, Mario Gonzales waits in line outside his bankrupt mortgage lender, Bankia, with a foreclosure notice in hand. He says banks were so solicitous, in the boom years.

MARIO GONZALES: (Through Translator) Back then they treated you like a prince, like a king. When we had money and jobs, they would say, welcome. Come in, sit down. How much money do you need to buy your house? And the bank knew that we'd never be able to pay back that money. But they gave it to us anyway.

FRAYER: Now his house is being repossessed. But Spanish law requires that he still pay his mortgage. He's out of work, but if he finds a job, his salary will be seized by the bank for years to come.

Again, Torreblanca.

TORREBLANCA: People now feel that they've been entrapped into a system from which the banks can escape. They can be bailed out. But they, as citizens, cannot be bailed out. They cannot just cancel their debts and go, you know, home or elsewhere.

FRAYER: With this massive restructuring, Spanish banks may begin to pay for the mistakes of the past. But bank tellers, homeowners and the European taxpayer will also pay dearly.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: For NPR News, I'm Lauren Frayer in Madrid. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.