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.


Turning Vaccine Refusals Into A Teachable Moment

Dec 5, 2012
Originally published on December 6, 2012 5:01 pm

More and more parents who object to vaccination aren't getting their children immunized, leading to outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and other diseases.

Some states have responded by making it much harder for parents to get exemptions from required vaccinations based on their personal beliefs.

But Dr. Edgar Marcuse, a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital, says that strategy is likely to backfire. He's trying to come up with new ways to balance parents' freedom of choice with public health needs. He described the problem in the latest issue of the Archives of Adolescent and Pediatric Medicine.

Shots called him to get the scoop. Here are highlights from our conversation, edited for length and clarity.

Q: State legislatures are creating what you call "nuisance barriers" for parents who want a personal beliefs exemption from vaccination. What are they?

It's simply a barrier that does not provide any education or benefit to the process, except for putting an obstacle between the parent and the exemption, like requiring that the form be notarized. It seems to me that any barriers you put in there should have some benefit.

Q: In Washington state, where you live, almost 10 percent of parents had exempted their families from immunization requirements. What have you done to try to get more kids vaccinated?

A: We had a definite problem in Washington state that I think we've gone a long way to correct. We think a substantial number of the exemptions were what I call convenience exemptions. When you go to register a child at school, if you don't have your child's immunization record, you might very well be encouraged by the school clerk to opt out so you child could be enrolled that day.

Q: In this case you think it was too easy for parents to opt out?

A: There was just one form. One side of the form said my child has been immunized, the other side said I'm going to opt out.

One thing we did is very simple; we separated the two forms. Another thing we did is say if you're going to opt out you have to be counseled first by a provider of vaccines.

Q: But a big problem is that can be really hard to understand which vaccines children need, when and why.

A: When's the last time you looked at the [CDC] immunization schedule? It's really complicated. It's not easy for parents to figure out what to believe. If you define hesitancy broadly, you have about 30 percent of the population who have real questions about the immunization schedule. It includes people of all ages and ethnicities.

Q: Pediatricians and public health advocates haven't made much headway on that 30 percent. Why have they failed to communicate that vaccines are important, both for a child's health and for the community?

A: Having physicians forcefully state their position is not sufficient. They need to approach [it] from the standpoint that parents really do want to do the best for their children.

It's a dialogue that's got to be respectful and assumes that parents are well motivated, and doesn't start from the standpoint of judgmental views of parents as scientific illiterates.

Q: You're also trying to figure out ways for parents to talk with each other about their vaccine worries.

A: Peer networks have a huge influence on immunization decision-making. In today's society, they've replaced grandma. But people are generally very respectful of other people's health decision-making. [In our research,] we tell a group of parents of preschool kids about the proportion of kids who are unimmunized in their classroom or child care center. Then, parents do become motivated to engage with their peers in conversation.

Q: Couldn't those conversations be a little scary?

A: I know that there are people who absolutely adamant about this and are not open to discussion, but that's a pretty small percentage – you're looking at 3 to 4 percent. The vast majority are people who have concerns about vaccine safety. They have concerns about specific vaccines, or about too many vaccines at one time.

Q: Public health officials don't talk much about freedom of choice when it comes to vaccines. But you say we've got to. Why?

A: We have these two conflicting values. We're very respectful of people making their own choices about their diets or health care behaviors. I think that's a value we really care about. We also care very much about protecting the public health. There are times when those two things come in conflict. If you have multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the health department has extraordinary powers to make sure you take your medication. That's because the danger to the community is really substantial.

Where it gets tricky is that vaccine-preventable diseases do not present comparable risks to the public health. If you choose not to get the vaccine for tetanus, the only risk to the public is spending public funds to take care of you if you get sick.

With measles, it's a highly infectious disease. If anything over 5 percent of the population are not immunized, it will spread in the community.

I really wish what we were talking about on talk radio is how to balance those two priorities.

We are just now beginning to realize the full potential of modern vaccines to prevent and treat disease. It's absolutely incredible what science and technology are going to come up with in the next decade. We need to get this right so that that the public can look at what comes down the pike and evaluate it appropriately, and decide where it fits in their lives.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.