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.

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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.

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Supreme Court To Look At Who Is A 'Supervisor' In Harassment Cases

Nov 26, 2012
Originally published on November 26, 2012 9:44 am

The U.S. Supreme Court this week takes up the question of who qualifies as a supervisor when the issue is harassment in the workplace. The court's answer to that question could significantly restrict employer liability in racial and sexual harassment cases, or, in the view of some business organizations, it could result in frivolous litigation.

The facts of the particular case before the court Monday are, to say the least, in dispute.

In 1989, Maetta Vance started working in the banquet and catering department of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. Over most of the next 18 years, she was the only African-American in the department. Although she was promoted twice, she eventually sued the university for what she claimed was a racially hostile work environment.

In particular, she claimed that one of her immediate "supervisors," Sandra Davis, had repeatedly used racial epithets and threatened her. The university investigated, but because the two women provided conflicting accounts of who had harassed whom, the school took no disciplinary action and instead required both women to undergo counseling.

A federal appeals court subsequently threw the case out. The lower court said the alleged harasser did not fit the definition of a "supervisor" because she did not have the power to hire, fire, demote or discipline Vance; therefore, the court said, the university was not liable.

Vance appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that the appeals court was wrong in its definition of a supervisor. (Click here to see the "proceedings and orders" in the case.)

"There are lots of situations where people have power over other employees when they don't have the power to fire them, to discipline them, to promote them, to set their wages or things like that," says University of Virginia law professor Daniel Ortiz, who represents Vance.

Indeed, most of the federal appeals courts in the country have a broader definition of the term "supervisor." Most have adopted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) definition that says a supervisor is an individual who has authority to direct daily work activities — like making working assignments and schedules — or to recommend employment actions.

So Monday's case is asking the Supreme Court to resolve the conflict and to establish the definition of a supervisor for all courts to use as a measuring stick in future cases (click here to see the court's "questions presented" document on the case). The definition matters because when a supervisor harasses a worker, the employer is automatically liable for damages in most cases; the supervisor is viewed as an agent of the employer. On the other hand, if the harasser is a mere co-worker, the victim, in order to prevail, has to show that the employer was negligent in following up on complaints.

Ironically, in this case, only business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business are defending the narrow definition imposed by the appeals court in the Vance case. None of the actual participants in the case are defending the restrictive standard.

Gregory Garre, representing Ball State University, agrees that "the universe of supervisors can't be limited to those with the authority to hire, fire or demote." At the same time, however, Garre contends that the EEOC definition is too broad and that there should be further limits to the definition of supervisor.

For example, Garre contends that an employee's job title and job description are irrelevant — reflecting nothing more than "paper titles" or greater experience, he says. Thus, he argues that in this case, it does not matter that the alleged harasser had a job description that required her to "lead" and "direct" kitchen assistants like Vance.

Civil rights lawyers counter that while not dispositive, job descriptions are important indicators. As Ortiz asserts, "Job descriptions in particular, you would think, would be highly relevant to trying to figure out the kind of authority one employee has over another."

All of this will be hashed out in front of the Supreme Court on Monday, with a decision expected after the first of the year.

Also on this case: "Who Is A Supervisor?" (ScotusBlog)

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