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.


What Obama's Cabinet Picks Say About His Second Term

Jan 12, 2013
Originally published on January 13, 2013 9:04 am



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. President Obama has announced most of his Cabinet choices for his second term. There are no big surprises. All are pretty familiar faces in Washington, D.C., but Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and the White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew still must get through Senate confirmation. We're joined now by NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, thanks for being with us.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Happy to be here.

SIMON: And let's start with domestic policy. Jack Lew, President Obama's current chief of staff and former budget director, have confirmed he would, of course, succeed Tim Geithner as Treasury secretary. What does this mean? What does Mr. Lew bring to the assignment?

LIASSON: Well, what it means is that the financial crisis is no longer the top priority. That's what consumed Tim Geithner's term as Treasury secretary. He came from the Federal Reserve Bank Board in New York. He was tied to Wall Street. Lew is a budget expert, and that's what's going to be on the president's plate for the next term, making budget and tax deals with Republicans, trying to find that ever elusive grand bargain on entitlements and the deficit. That's Lew's expertise and that's what he'll be working on.

SIMON: Now, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions suggested, I guess, that Mr. Lew, because he wrote the White House budget might essentially lack the proper perspective. Is this going to harm him politically?

LIASSON: Well, Jeff Sessions is going to vote against him, but significantly Sessions has not said whether he would put a hold on Lew's nomination or lead a filibuster. And I think most betting in Washington is that Lew will be confirmed. He will not face significant opposition. It seems that Session's main problem is that he represents President Obama's budget policies, as he should, because he's working for the president.

SIMON: Of course, there's been a lot more objections voiced over the selection of Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for Defense secretary - questions raised about his depth of his commitment to Israel, policies towards containing Iran. Let's get an understanding, your understanding at the moment of where the opposition for that rests.

LIASSON: Well, first, the opposition is, obviously, with Republicans. They consider him an apostate. They think Hagel was a turncoat. He once talked about how the Jewish lobby intimidates people in Washington. They feel he's been squishy on Iran sanctions. He's said the Pentagon budget was bloated. He also was a loner when he was in the Senate so he doesn't have a lot of deep friendships. He has been going on the offensive, giving a lot of interviews, trying to clarify his remarks, explaining how he is as strong on Israel and Iran as anybody else.

So, there will be Republican opposition. The more immediate problem, however, is that Hagel hasn't nailed down Democratic support, and particularly New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the most prominent Jewish Democrat in the Senate, a real leader, carries a lot of sway on matters of Israel policies with his colleagues, and he has very pointedly not said whether he will support Hagel. Now, if he doesn't, I think it would really be a death blow. And I can't imagine how Hagel could be confirmed if he got that kind of Democratic opposition. However, if Schumer meets with Hagel one-on-one, his concerns are allayed, then I think that his endorsement of Hagel would be a very, very boost for him. So, it's going to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. The president and Chuck Hagel have a lot of work to do.

SIMON: I gather that Senator Kerry of Massachusetts is supposed to essentially sail - I don't want to say wind surf, given that history - but sail through his nomination to be secretary of state.

LIASSON: That's right. Even before he was nominated, several Republicans said that he was their choice, that he would have no problem being confirmed. There is a kind of senatorial courtesy. He's well-liked among his colleagues, and nobody expects that he'll have a hard time at all. What we're waiting to find out, as we said, is will there be a filibuster against former Senator Hagel, and will enough Republicans break to confirm him?

SIMON: And how much consternation is there over the fact that this is not so far a Cabinet that looks like America, if you please, in what's being called the Brooks Brothers wall - all-male appointees?

LIASSON: Well, so far, there have been all-male appointees, especially the replacement for Hillary Clinton at secretary of State. There are a couple of more openings the president has to fill, and I would predict that he fills them with women.

SIMON: OK. Thanks very much, Mara.

LIASSON: Thank you.

SIMON: NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.