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.


Taking To The Waves As The World Catches Fire

Nov 29, 2012
Originally published on November 29, 2012 7:51 pm

Otelo, a lanky, reticent 16-year-old, is standing on the beach outside Durban, South Africa, watching in disbelief and envy as his friend and periodic rival — the older, aggressive Mandla — does what Otelo has only heard of white people doing. Mandla is surfing.

"That's what people mean when they talk about freedom?" Otelo asks, half-heartedly trying to minimize what he's seen as Mandla, elation on his face, rides in on a wave.

When Otelo (Jafta Mamabolo) dares to pick up a surfboard and go out with Mandla (Sihle Xaba), he finds he feels that same sense of open possibility, as the world drops away and leaves only him, the board and the water. It's almost a moment out of time, but the world painfully remains as it is when Otelo returns to the shore. The feeling surfing provides evaporates as he heads back home to Lamontville, a poor, mostly black township south of Durban.

A heavy-handed but forceful coming-of-age story set circa 1989, against the backdrop of the violent beginning of apartheid's end, Otelo Burning examines different paths to freedom — finding it in moments of escape, fighting others for it — and the significant costs inherent in each approach.

Getting out of Lamontville is foremost on Otelo's mind, so he's truly hooked when Kurt (Matthew Oats), a white surfer with a stoner-uncle vibe, observes that with his talent, Mandla could go professional and reap the rewards of contest winnings and sponsorship. A life of swag and room service appeals to Otelo — considerably, given that the lot he can look forward to otherwise is caring for his younger brother Ntwe (Tshepang Mohlomi), and driving his abusive and neglectful father's taxi.

Otelo hides his budding interest from his father, who harbors strong superstitions about water, while Otelo's best friend and fellow aspiring surfer New Year (Thomas Gumede) is pressured by his older brother Blade to do something that advances actual freedom by joining the militant wing of the African National Congress. Meanwhile New Year's sister Dezi (Nolwazi Shange), whom Otelo and Mandla both fancy, increasingly sees only a dead end in taking over her mother's tavern, frequented by men who often take liberties with the proprietor.

Kurt encourages Otelo, New Year and Mandla, and they train over months to compete at the local, regional and national levels. Otelo Burning maintains a consistent undercurrent of tension as it tracks the increasing violence between the ANC and the Inkatha Freedom Party near Durban, but when the guys hit the water, it has the rhythms of any other redemptive sports movie whose hero makes a grab for the brass ring: Mandla undermines Otelo's superior raw talent whenever possible, while Otelo's developing relationship with Dezi motivates him further. And, of course, more time surfing also means he's there to look after Ntwe less.

Conventionally shot surfing sequences barely arouse a sense of excitement. Mamabolo convincingly illustrates the change in Otelo's naturally closed-off demeanor with actual cheerfulness when he's surfing, but the performance isn't quite strong enough to evoke the necessary contrast between the confinement of Lamontville and the adrenaline-fueled optimism of the ocean.

As the death toll rises in Lamontville and across the country, and as the political intrudes on the world Otelo and his friends have created for themselves, an audience unfamiliar with the specifics of the conflict and the relationships between the ANC, Inkatha and the government won't immediately catch up — but then that limited point of view more closely resembles what Otelo and his friends know. A sense of complete context during the film isn't necessary to understand the kids' experience of the moment — they know what they don't have and what they hope to have, and they know getting it will involve sacrifice of one kind or another.

Revealing its allegory late as it draws comparisons between Nelson Mandela's release and its own climax, Otelo Burning suggests that the larger political victories achieved in South Africa since majority rule cannot redeem the years of lives wasted under oppression — and warns of the consequences if the mistakes of the past are allowed to overshadow the opportunities of the future. The film presents a stark choice: seek escape in vengeance and blame, or gamble on the freedom gained by embracing a new world, however scarred it may be.

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