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.


U.S. Steps Up Aid (But No Arms) To Syrian Exiles

Dec 3, 2012
Originally published on December 3, 2012 7:12 pm

The Obama administration remains wary about arming Syria's rebels. But when it comes to humanitarian aid, the U.S. contribution, over $250 million, is second only to Turkey.

Then there is non-lethal aid, an additional $50 million for communication equipment and training courses.

If you are surprised by the numbers, so are Syrian activists, who say American support is still almost invisible on the ground. Now, U.S. officials are highlighting the American aid profile.

High-Profile Visit

Rajiv Shah, the head of the United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, made the first high-level visit to Turkey's largest refugee camp last week.

The Killis camp, within sight of the Syrian border, houses more than 13,000 refugees. Shah was accompanied by a delegation of Turkish officials and a large contingent of the Turkish media in a tour to showcase U.S. support.

With more than 130,000 Syrians registered in border camps, Turkish officials say they are overwhelmed by the influx. The U.S. is stepping in to help with a new $3.9 million dollar U.S.-funded program to provide food aid for all the residents of the Killis camp.

Matthew Nims, the deputy director of the USAID office for Food for Peace, explained that every family gets an electronic voucher card. "It's a stipend through an electronic Visa card," he says.

The cards are accepted in the food markets in the camp. Nims said that by the end of December, 40,000 e-vouchers will be distributed and by this summer, the program will expand for 100,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey.

As the U.S. steps up aid programs outside Syria, for the first time, U.S. officials acknowledge U.S. aid is also going inside the country.

"We know we've reached more than 300,000 Syrians with medical support," said Shah, referring to field clinics and hospitals in rebel held areas. "We know there's some hospitals in Homs and Dera'a — you walk into that hospital — 80, 90 percent of the medical supplies are coming from American assistance."

But many Syrians remain skeptical of U.S. support because it does nothing to end the rule of President Bashar Assad, said Elizabeth O'Bagy, an analyst with the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War. While American support is largely focused on humanitarian aid, she said, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are sending cash and weapons to rebel groups.

"This had led to the perception that the U.S. is not helping at all and actually created a certain amount of resentment towards the U.S. for not being more active," said O'Bagy.

Quiet Support Of Activists

But the U.S. State Department is supporting Syria's political opposition, in projects that have been under wraps until recently.

One program, a multimillion-dollar media project called Basma, or "fingerprint" in English, is run out of an office in Istanbul where Syrian activists write and produce reports for a Facebook page and the Basma website. A promotional video explains the goals of Basma: "to support a peaceful transition for a new Syrian nation that supports and guards the freedom of all of its citizens."

One of the reporters on the team, who can't be named because she still has family inside Syria, said, "It's our dream to be like the voice of new Syria."

But the media effort is not well-known inside Syria as local, grass-roots media outlets begin to emerge.

In another U.S.-funded program, kept quiet over security concerns, young activists, mostly those in the front lines in the early days of the revolt, are invited to Istanbul for workshops. They gather in hotels, from towns and villages inside Syria. They are now members of revolutionary councils — civilians trying to restore services and local government in places out of regime control.

One of the trainers says the program tries to prepare them for leadership in a country that's been ruled from the top down for 40 years.

"Someone who's a doctor or a lawyer or owned a bakery are now finding themselves in positions where they have to make decisions and they have to call the shots. ... They're unsure over how to proceed," said the trainer.

But they are also uncertain even after the training ends because the U.S. program doesn't include resources, cash, to fund projects in places where garbage is piling up, fuel for bakeries is running low, and thousands of Syrians are now homeless and cold as winter sets in.

Money is power in Syria, O'Bagy tells NPR, and it's the armed groups who have the cash; the most religiously militant have plenty of private backers.

"The rebel groups do have greater access, they do have greater means and this has given them leverage over the political activists," O'Bagy said.

As the fight grinds on, rebel groups, including the Islamists, are growing more powerful, while the more secular, civilian activists say they are still begging for support.

Rima Marrouch contributed to this article.

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