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 Stalled Congress On The Fiscal Cliff?

Dec 31, 2012
Originally published on December 31, 2012 7:55 pm



The simplest explanation to what's going on in Washington is that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans command majorities in both Houses and control of the White House and you can throw in political realignment as an explanation. Liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats have been diminished to the point of near extinction. But even so, Democrats and Republicans in Congress in years past somehow managed to make deals and legislate despite profound differences.

What is so different about the way Capitol Hill works these days? Well, joining us now is Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. And Norm, was there some time when Congress just was more productive than it is right now or was that every time until now?

NORM ORNSTEIN: Congress has had its ups and downs, but this is the least productive period, not just in numbers of bills enacted, but in the breadth, depth and scope of what's been done in our lifetimes. It's a different period. Divided government, in the past, worked often. The two parties felt they were in the same boat together. Now, put them in the same boat and each one wants to drill a hole in the bottom so that the boat will sink.

SIEGEL: You say before we get to actual tactics and rules in Congress, the attitude, you said, of essentially Republicans in the House is the biggest difference between now and then.

ORNSTEIN: It's a Republican Party problem more than anything else and it's partly driven by ideology, partly driven by the outside pressures. They're in districts where the primary is all that matters and the wind machine outside, talk radio and the like, pulls them in a different direction. But it's an attitude of a parliamentary minority party - oppose reflexively, a tribal attitude, if this president is for it, we're against it - that makes compromise so much more difficult than we are used to over the last 50 years.

SIEGEL: What you're saying is if this were a parliamentary system, such behavior is rational. You're in a permanent minority and the majority by definition controls the government. But in our system, that doesn't check out.

ORNSTEIN: Exactly so. The expectation that voters have is the two parties are going to come together and find some common ground and that's what makes the decisions legitimate.

SIEGEL: One reporter observes today that the way that a deal used to be lubricated in the more legislatively productive days was by getting those last few members on board with a sweetener, very likely a local project known as an earmark, something that's now considered an affront to good civics. If they were even trying to put together majorities, would that sort of thing make it harder to do so?

ORNSTEIN: It does now. You know, it used to be the case and you could even go back a very few years. If you look at the maneuvering that took place on the House floor over the Medicare prescription drug bill, getting those last few votes on board was done in significant part by either promising members that they would get something back home or threatening them that they would have those things deleted.

That worked. Now, we don't have earmarks in the same way, but frankly, there are many inducements that leaders can use and they don't always work either.

SIEGEL: You've been talking about the House and the Senate. We hear about the increased use of the threatened filibuster or the hold. Do these actually account for the lack productivity in the Congress?

ORNSTEIN: They have a big impact on the outcome. We've seen the filibuster used in ways in the last five years that it had never been used throughout the history of the United States. Not as an expression of a minority feeling intensely about a big issue, but as a simple weapon of pure obstruction on routine matters - bills that passed in the end unanimously, nominations the same way - because the most precious commodity if you wanted to do something is floor time and they soaked up a lot of floor time.

It turned the Senate from what is usually a body that doesn't act very swiftly into one that was totally, if you'll forgive the word, constipated.

SIEGEL: Norm Ornstein, thanks a lot.

ORNSTEIN: My pleasure, Robert.

SIEGEL: Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute. He's co-author with Thomas Mann of "It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How The American Constitutional System Collided With The New Politics Of Extremism." Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.