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 Story Of Slavery, Loss And Hope In 1850s Ohio

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

In the aftermath of the Compromise of 1850, a controversial bill that included the Fugitive Slave Act, the journey to freedom became increasingly difficult for enslaved people. In Tracy Chevalier's newest novel, Ohio and its intricate network of Underground Railroad activity provides a rich background for this period.

After her betrothed abandons her to pursue a woman outside the Quaker community, Honor Bright follows her sister Grace to the U.S. During the journey, Grace succumbs to yellow fever, and Honor is left struggling to find a place for herself in the household occupied by her sister's former fiance and his widowed sister-in-law.

From the moment Honor Bright arrives in the U.S., she observes all that is different between England and America. American robins are larger. Buildings and bridges are made of wood. Roads and cities are spaced differently. There are possums, raccoons, porcupines and fireflies. Honor delights in her first taste of corn on the cob, and she admires the flowers of the dogwood tree. Even the sunlight feels new. Honor views 19th century America through innocently curious eyes, and the journey is as delightful for the reader as it is for her.

Perhaps most central to Honor's perception of this young nation are American-made quilts, which Ohioans refer to as "comforts." American Quakers prefer applique over the patchwork technique of her English village of Dorset, and while at first she finds applique distasteful, as she does most things in America, she grows to appreciate the beauty and practicality of this American approach.

Yet this story is no quiet walk in the park. Chevalier has something to say about the moral urgency of abolitionism. The Quakers in the novel face a quandary: If they adhere to their principles, they may be punished by fines or imprisonment. Honor has not been settled long in her new country before she has to decide for herself whether or not to help the refugees she encounters in the Ohio woods: "She had grown up with the understanding that slavery was wrong and must be opposed, but that had been all thoughts and words. Now she must actually do something, though she did not yet know what."

To complicate matters, a troubled slave hunter named Donovan watches her closely, traversing the woods in his search for escapees. Honor and Donovan share a mutual attraction, which she finds difficult to resist. Yet when Honor asks his sister Belle if Donovan could ever change, Chevalier offers her insight into the Southern justification for slavery: "I think deep down, most Southerners have always known slavery ain't right, but they built up layers of ideas to justify what they were doin'. Those layers just solidified over the years. Hard to break out of that thinking, to find the guts to say, 'This is wrong.' "

At times, Chevalier's explanation of Quaker culture assumes too little knowledge on the part of the reader. Quakers dressed simply, did not drink or curse, did not lie. At other times, her observations are insightful: Honor's description of how she finds the silence within herself during Meeting is beautifully drawn.

You have probably read stories like this before — about the Underground Railroad: how some people escaped slavery, and how some good people helped them. But what makes this particular story interesting is Honor's perspective. She's English. And in some ways, coming from far away helps her see American slavery in simpler terms.

The Last Runaway is a rich, well-researched novel — it's the story of one young woman becoming an American.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez is the author of Wench.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



Tracy Chevalier, best known for writing "Girl with a Pearl Earring," has a new book out set in Ohio. It takes place as the Compromise of 1850 is about to pass. That, among other things, included crushing new controls on runaway slaves caught even in non-slave states.

Here's Dolen Perkins-Valdez with our review of the "The Last Runaway."

DOLEN PERKINS-VALDEZ, BYLINE: It's the story of the Underground Railroad experienced by a white Quaker woman whose name is Honor. Honor Bright grows up in England, but her fiance abandons her, and she decides to make the trip to the U.S. Everything is different here. The robins are bigger, roads and cities are spaced out. She tries corn on the cob and sees her first firefly. It's just as delightful for the reader as it is for her. But the story turns out to be much darker.

In America, Quakers face a tough choice. They're against slavery. But after the compromise, helping runaways could mean fines and jail time. For our heroine, it doesn't take much time before she's faced with the same dilemma. Should she protect the escapees running through the Ohio woods? You've heard this story before: the Underground Railroad, some people escaping slavery, some good people helping them. But what makes this story interesting is Honor's perspective. She's English. And in some ways, coming from far away helps her see American slavery in simpler terms.

"The Last Runaway" is a rich, well-researched novel. It's the story of one young woman becoming an American.

CORNISH: That was Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Her latest book "Wench" also deals with slavery and is set in Ohio. The book she reviewed is "The Last Runaway." You can find more reviews at our website, nprbooks.org. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter, @nprbooks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.