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.

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What North Korea's Rocket Launch Means — And What It Doesn't

Dec 12, 2012
Originally published on December 12, 2012 4:31 pm

North Korea's successful rocket launch may conjure up visions of nuclear missiles in the hands of one of the planet's least predictable regimes. But building a satellite launch vehicle doesn't directly translate into an ability to rain warheads on distant enemies.

Pyongyang still faces major obstacles before it can claim to possess reliable, nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting its Asian neighborhood and much of the Pacific basin, including Alaska.

By launching the three-stage Unha-3 rocket into orbit Wednesday, "the North has crossed a major threshold in terms of mating an ICBM with a nuclear weapon," Victor Cha, who holds the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, writes in a Q&A for the think tank.

Cha says the Unha-3 has a range of possibly 4,000 to 6,000 kilometers. Some estimates put it closer to 10,000 kilometers, which would put much of the Western United States in striking distance.

While North Korea might have the reach, it still faces the problem of perfecting a nuclear warhead — a much larger obstacle than simply exploding a nuclear device, which North Korea first accomplished in 2006.

"The North Koreans have demonstrated some of the capabilities they would need to have in order to develop an ICBM," Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the Arms Control Association, tells NPR. "But that doesn't mean that they are ready to build one."

Warheads need to be relatively small, able to withstand the intense heat and vibration of re-entry, and land on — or at least near — their intended targets.

"They are not there on the nuclear end and would have to have many more tests to have enough confidence that they have a reliable mode of delivery," says Jim Walsh, an expert in international security and a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Security Studies Program. "You need reliability. If you shoot one, you better be pretty confident it is not going to malfunction, hit your own territory and explode."

Thielmann agrees that producing a useful warhead is fraught with difficulty. "Based on the testing we've seen and some other assumptions about North Korean abilities, we don't think they're ready to arm an ICBM with a nuclear warhead yet even if they had an ICBM, which they don't yet."

Then there's the fuel problem.

Unlike most ICBMs, which run on solid fuel, the Unha-3 is powered by liquid fuel, which can't be stored for long periods inside the rocket, Thielmann notes. Liquid fuel rockets have other drawbacks, too.

For starters, they are "really too big and too unwieldy to move around," he says. "So, it's a stationary target. Any stationary target is going to be vulnerable to pre-emption."

In other words, if it looks as though North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is planning an attack using an Unha-3 type of missile, Washington might become aware of the preparations in time to destroy it on the launchpad.

Walsh concurs: "Liquid-fueled rockets sitting on the ground for hours are seen as being vulnerable to strike."

While North Korea isn't at the ICBM stage right now, Cha of the Center for Strategic and International Studies cautions against underestimating that threat.

"I think there's a natural tendency to discount the North Koreans as being these crazy people who are not successful in terms of their technology," he tells NPR. "But I think there needs to be greater attention paid to the strategic significance of what they've done.

"There are still other technological thresholds they need to cross to target the U.S. with an ICBM warhead," he says. "Still, it's only a matter of time before they are able to do that, as this test shows."

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