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.


Tax Breaks Extended For Special Interest

Jan 7, 2013
Originally published on January 9, 2013 1:22 pm



It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.


And I'm Steve Inskeep. Last week's fiscal cliff deal not only raised payroll taxes for working Americans and hiked the income tax for the top 2 percent, it also extended tax breaks and preferences for a wide range of industries and special interests. We've been hearing about this for days, and NPR's Steve Henn has even more.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Generally, the phrase "special interest tax break" is a dirty one in Washington; as are its close cousins, the tax loophole or tax extender. But after the fiscal cliff deal was signed into law last week, President Obama was eager to trumpet some of the special tax breaks the deal preserved.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We extended tax credits for families with children, and tuition tax credits that are helping millions of families pay for college.

HENN: The president also boasted about tax credits for clean energy. But the deal included some tax benefits the president didn't brag about - like this one.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: Captain Morgan - to life, love and loot.

HENN: There is a close to half-billion-dollar tax benefit aimed at rum producers based in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: Ryan Newman makes it four-wide back in the pack.

HENN: There are tens of millions of dollars for NASCAR racetrack owners, and hundreds of millions in special tax deductions for films shot in the U.S.


UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: Hurray for Hollywood...

VICTOR FLEISHER: You know, it's a funny thing to look at because it's pitched as a bill that raises taxes. But then tucked into it are all the tax extenders.

HENN: Victor Fleisher is a law professor and tax expert at the University of Colorado. He says that these special tax breaks are worth tens of billions.

FLEISHER: Which, from a tax policy perspective as an academic, very few of those make any sense at all. I mean, this is exactly the wrong direction in terms of tax reform.

HENN: For years now, Fleisher has been one of the most outspoken critics in the country of a tax treatment known to accountants as carried interest. Fleisher calls it a loophole. It allows money managers at hedge funds, private equity firms and venture capitalists to avoid paying income tax on some of their earnings. Instead, some of the fees they charge their clients are treated as capital gains, and taxed at a much lower rate.

FLEISHER: Even though the fund manager is getting this payment in exchange for services that they provide - it's labor income, it's not investment income for the fund manager - it's nonetheless taxed at the lower, long-term capital gains rate.

HENN: That rate is now going up from 15 to 20 percent, but it's still roughly half the 40 percent they'd have to pay if the money were treated as ordinary income. Collectively, this tax break is worth billions each year to some of the wealthiest people in America. Carried interest even became an issue in the presidential campaign.


OBAMA: I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this message.

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #3: Tax havens, off-shore accounts, carried interest - Mitt Romney has used every trick in the book.

HENN: Yet despite that, the carried interest deduction survived the fiscal showdown last week and emerged almost unscathed.

FLEISHER: The issue keeps coming up, but the various lobbying groups have been effective in maintaining the status quo.

HENN: According to the Center for Responsive Politics, executives at hedge funds, private equity firms and venture capital companies gave more than $100 million to political candidates and outside groups from both parties, during the last election. And these industries spent more than $40 million on lobbying, in the past two years.

Mark Heensen lobbies for the National Venture Capital Association. He's been arguing for years that using the tax code to encourage venture capitalists to take risks, and try to build new companies, makes sense.

MARK HEENSEN: If you are looking at any place that is creating jobs, it's in the emerging growth company sector, and that's exactly where the venture capitalists play.

HENN: For now, at least, that argument has carried the day, but both sides agree this fight isn't over. The debate about carried interest is likely to return to the capital in the next few months, as Washington continues to search for ways to get the deficit under control.

Steve Henn, NPR News, Silicon Valley. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.