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.


Where Do 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks Stand?

Dec 20, 2012
Originally published on December 20, 2012 11:37 am



That is something nearly everyone agrees on. If the fiscal cliff is not avoided, it could do some serious harm to the U.S. economy. So let's talk further about whether Congress and the White House are close to some kind of agreement. We'll bring in NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Mara, good morning.


GREENE: So one step we're going to get soon is this House vote on what Speaker Boehner's calling Plan B. It's a Republican plan. The White House doesn't like it. I mean how do you interpret this vote?

LIASSON: Well, it's either we're one step closer to the cliff or this is just part of the two steps forwards, one step backward process that Congress and the White House have to go through. Both sides have to prove to their troops that they're fighting as hard as they can before they make the ultimate compromise, and there are a lot of people who think that there's going to have to be several votes that fail.

We might have to go over the cliff for a little bit. The markets are going to have to weigh in and really exact some pain on lawmakers and taxpayers are going to have to see their taxes go up and get angry before this thing can actually be solved.

GREENE: It sounds like what you're saying is that, I mean there's some political posturing going on. I mean they have to play to their bases, but that the president and Speaker Boehner might, in the end, be pretty close to something.

LIASSON: Well, are - they were pretty close to something. It's still unclear whether they actually can get the votes to pass it. But when you look at where the speaker and the president were, the speaker wanted to raise a trillion dollars in taxes by letting the Bush tax cuts expire for people making over a million dollars. The president wanted to raise $1.3 trillion by letting the tax cuts expire for people earning over $400,000.

On spending cuts, they were very close, Boehner at one trillion, President Obama at 930 billion. So you could really see how they could split the difference if they wanted to.

GREENE: Well, let's talk about the two sides and how - who do they need to convince in terms of, you know, bringing their bases on board with this idea of splitting the difference?

LIASSON: Well, that's always the problem. They've both gone out of their comfort zones in their negotiations, but the question is, will their followers follow them out of their comfort zones? Can the speaker sell a deal? That's always been the big question. It's much easier for the president, although there have been groups on the left, including AARP, the powerful seniors lobby who has gone back to a hard line on Social Security.

They were very unhappy that the president was considering agreeing to a new way of calculating inflation that would affect the rate at which Social Security benefits grow. The speaker has the much harder task here. He does have important figures like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan on board, but 26 groups on the right, including Heritage Action and the Club for Growth, are against Plan B, even though Grover Norquist, who's you could say the most important outside player on taxes, said it was okay.

But last night the speaker was still scrambling for votes, trying to add some spending cuts, trading domestic cuts for defense cuts into that Plan B to get some votes.

GREENE: No small thing that Grover Norquist comes out and says that he could swallow a tax increase.

LIASSON: Well, yes. On Plan B. We don't know about whether he'll approve of the ultimate compromise.

GREENE: You know, one term that we've heard this week, Mara, is grownups. There was a notion that with what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, that people in Washington would act more like grownups in this whole fiscal debate. Are you seeing that?

LIASSON: Well, we thought for a minute there. You know, you did see after the Newtown shooting, Speaker Boehner did agree to rate hikes. That was the biggest turning point in this entire negotiations. That was a watershed moment. Then the question is, is he backing off from that or not? I do think that the crisis has tended to strengthen the president's hand as crises do for presidents.

He was able to say, let's show one tiny iota of the courage of the teachers in Newtown and do the right thing here. But right now we don't know if things are going backwards or forwards.

GREENE: All right. Mara, thanks so much.

LIASSON: Thank you.

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