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.


Why 'Amour' Is Sad, But Not Depressing

Jan 7, 2013
Originally published on February 20, 2013 3:29 pm

The first voices I heard about Michael Haneke's Amour were essentially in complete agreement: beautiful, brilliant, almost unbearably depressing. Having seen it, I'm not sure I agree with that last part.

The film follows a married couple, former music teachers, who live in a Paris apartment, and whose pleasant life of concerts and breakfasts is disrupted when the wife (Emmanuelle Riva) suffers a series of strokes and the husband (Jean-Louis Trintignant) becomes her caregiver. In a sense, the story really is that simple: it is about a woman who is losing more and more of herself and dying, and the film promises from the very outset that she will die, that this is the story of how she will die, and that you will watch her die.

There's no question that it's devastatingly hard to watch in places. It is unambiguously about terrible suffering, both on her part and on her husband's part. It's enormously sad. But is it depressing?

There's a reason that, of all the things this story could be called, it's called Amour. Film titles aren't chosen at random, and this one is there in particular to recast this story not as a story about suffering and dying but as a story about love. Not at all the typical Hollywood story of love, in which there is dancing and kissing and good times. By the time we meet this couple, Georges and Anne, they have had most, if not all, of their good times. This is a story about the fact that feeling love — forming attachments to other people to this degree — has rewards and it has risks, and that plainly, one of the risks is that something like this can happen to you. This is suffering that follows directly from love; that would not exist without it. For both of them, it would be so much easier if they loved each other even a tiny bit less. You could read into it certain suggestions that hospitals are also bad at caring for the dying, but the majority of the massive hurt here was going to happen anyway; it is failing health plus love.

This, coming into a love story for the hard part, isn't terribly common. It's unsettling, of course, to be reminded that some version of this — of at least some of this — lies in store for a lot of people, whether they're the one who needs care or the one who gives care or both.

But while this is a story about suffering, it's also a story about almost boundless grace. These are people, both of them, who try valiantly — valiantly — to balance their own needs with each other's needs. Every move they make is dictated by their understanding that this is not his fate or her fate; it is their joint fate, both because that is what they promised and because they are grown together like vines and there is no way to untangle now.

The movies I find depressing are the ones about suffering that isn't needed. They're about the infliction of pain unnecessarily. They're about human weakness and unkindness and the limitations on the compassion of which people are capable. They are about, at least in part, the absence of grace. The Hunger Games? That's depressing. Or The Master, with its acknowledgement that vulnerable people will always be pulled along paths that cause them grief. The Queen Of Versailles, a documentary about obscene wealth and emotionless climbing, is depressing. Compliance, The House I Live In, even Looper — those are depressing. (And all of them, by the way, are in their own ways wonderful and well worth seeing.)

Amour is just sad — perhaps the saddest movie of the year, but sad is all it is. It's about the less-frequently-filmed side of the fundamental bargain that most people cannot avoid: The closer you get to other people, the more limitless your love for them, the more you potentially are going to experience agony, and sometimes it will in fact be this bad. If you narrow your focus on Georges and Anne to the events of the film, it really does make their story seem miserable. But if you accept the film's suggestion that they have lived happily together, raising a daughter and playing the piano and drinking tea at the table, it's a beautiful story anyway. The ending is indeed almost unbearably sad, but the whole story as it's reflected in everything that happens here? Not really.

And ultimately, what I walked out with was enormous respect — almost reverence — for the fact that this can happen, it can end this way, or in a thousand other ways that are also agonizingly difficult — and we do it anyway. People get married, have kids, make dear friends, get close, and know that at the end, the best-case scenario if it works out exactly the way you hope it will is that somebody dies at the end. Preferably not like this, preferably without so much pain and waiting, but somehow. And we do it anyway. In fact, if Georges and Anne could do it over, they'd do it exactly the same way.

This is a story about the things we have to put out of our minds when we decide to fall in love, or we'd never do it. It's a story about nature at its cruelest, but people at their most selfless. Sad? Yes. Bleak? No.

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