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.


In 'Titian,' New Perspective On An Italian Master

Nov 21, 2012

He may not have a Ninja Turtle named after him, but Tiziano Vecellio of Venice — Titian, to English speakers — has a claim to being the most enduringly influential painter of the Renaissance, even more than his Roman contemporaries Michelangelo and Raphael. Something about him drives his fans to excess. Peter Paul Rubens painted nearly two-dozen copies of Titian's work; Anthony van Dyck bought 19 Titians for his own collection. Velazquez and Rembrandt worshipped him. Oscar Wilde called Titian's Assumption of the Virgin "certainly the best picture in Italy." And just a few years ago, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown set off a bizarre media uproar after he praised Titian's late work and his political opponents vandalized the painter's Wikipedia entry.

Titian's paintings have been the subject of countless exhibitions and art historical studies, but Sheila Hale's new biography is the first full-length life of the Venetian master since 1877. And it doesn't take long to see why. Although he lived an uncommonly long life, into his mid 80s, it wasn't a very exciting one. He almost never left Venice, where he had no real rivals for artistic supremacy; Tintoretto and Veronese were much younger. His working practice remains unclear, since, as Hale writes, "16th-century writers on art thought it inappropriate to describe the physical act of painting." He was faithful to his first wife, and although he remarried after her death, we don't even know the name of his second spouse. His letters concern mostly dry matters of accounting — "I do not see how I can hope ever to obtain those moneys kindly assigned to me," that sort of thing — and many of those were actually written by secretaries.

Titian's canvases can be sweeping, like The Rape of Europa, or hair-raising, like his late masterpiece The Flaying of Marsyas. His life, however, was the opposite; he was business-minded, stern and deeply identified with the establishment. And at over 800 pages, this biography groans under the weight of Hale's research. Even specialists may not really care just how many ducats Titian received for this or that portrait, or how he got his cousin appointed as a notary at court.

The book perks up when Titian fades into the background and Hale turns her attention to his friends and clients. We follow Philip II, the enterprising Spanish king, for whom Titian paints his disturbingly sexy Danae; Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor who died gazing at Titian's Adoration of the Trinity; Ippolito de Medici, "a swaggering, spoiled, restless young hell-raiser" who, despite his sexual appetite, becomes a cardinal in Rome; and a whole collection of dukes and doges.

Best of all is her study of Pietro Aretino, one of Titian's best friends, an "avaricious, unscrupulous and highly sexed powerbroker" who is most famous today for his pornographic sonnets. (Titian painted three portraits of him, one of which hangs at the Frick Collection in New York.) A much more natural subject for a biography than Titian, Aretino recurs in this book as the consummate Renaissance operator, hustling from the Vatican — where he kisses the feet of Pope Julius III — to the brothels of the Grand Canal. In one letter he praises a famous courtesan for "putting a mask of decency on the face of lust." Not long after that, she was in Titian's studio, where she became the model for his Venus of Urbino, now at the Uffizi in Florence.

Venice in the 16th century was a rollicking boomtown: Intellectually and religiously progressive, it served as a mixing point for immigrants from east and west and was the capital of an expanding empire. A few decades later, Venice's glory days were gone. Hale does an admirable job recapturing the sights and smells of the Most Serene Republic, its traders and patricians, and of showing how the city nurtured one of the greatest painters of Western art history. But the subject of her biography remains beyond her grasp, which is just as well: As she would surely acknowledge, the brilliance of Titian rests not on his correspondence or bank ledgers but on his paintings.

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