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.


Year Ends As It Began, With Lawmakers Headed Toward The 'Fiscal Cliff'

Dec 31, 2012
Originally published on December 31, 2012 2:05 pm

(Scroll down for updates.)

Well, here we are. It's New Year's Eve and with just hours to go before the end of the year and the arrival of the so-called fiscal cliff, Democrats and Republicans in Washington are still trying to strike a deal that heads off automatic increases in taxes, automatic deep spending cuts in a variety of programs and the automatic expiration of some jobless benefits.

As host David Greene said on Morning Edition, "we still do not know if taxes will be going up as the ball in New York City's Times Square goes down."

But, at least lawmakers haven't left things until the last minute, David said (with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek). After all, "we've got hours and hours before the last minute."

The two leaders at the center of the talks now are Vice President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who will try to come up with some sort of deal before the Senate reconvenes later this morning. If they can, and if such a deal is passed by the Senate, then the House might also take it up today.

As you can see, though, there are several big "ifs" in such a scenario.

The good news, if there is any: As NPR's Scott Horsley pointed out on Morning Edition, going over the cliff isn't "an instant catastrophe." The "$500 billion hit to the economy" it would deliver is spread over a year and "many of those effects could be reversed" by later legislation, he said.

The continued uncertainty, though, is rattling the world's financial markets.

We'll watch how this all plays out as the day continues.

Update at 2:05 p.m. ET. On Taxes, Obama Says Agreement Is "In Sight":

The president just told the nation that his top priority — preventing an increase in taxes for most Americans — is within sight. We live-blogged as he spoke.

Update at 1:10 p.m. ET. We'll Follow The President's Comments:

There's a fresh post here where we'll post updates on what President Obama says during an appearance at the White House set for 1:30 p.m. ET.

Update at 12:40 p.m. ET. Obama To Speak:

The White House just alerted reporters that at 1:30 p.m. ET, "the president will deliver remarks about the fiscal cliff at a White House event."

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. Stocks Holding Their Own:

"Stocks were on track to break a five-session losing streak in the final trading day of 2012, even as the year-end fiscal-cliff deadline looms," The Wall Street Journal writes.


"We're seeing an underlying pressure for the market to move up, based on fundamentals like reasonable valuations," Adrian Day, president of Adrian Day Asset Management told the Journal. "That's offset by the fiscal cliff ... [but] there's also a realization that going over the fiscal cliff wouldn't necessarily be a disaster."

Update at 11:30 a.m. ET. Outlines Of A Deal On Taxes?

The Wall Street Journal says:

"On taxes, one of the thorniest issues on the table, the two sides appeared to be converging. President Barack Obama has called for raising individual income-tax rates on family income above $250,000. In the latest round of Senate talks, Republicans proposed a $550,000 threshold, which Democrats moved to $450,000, according to Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.)."

While Politico reports that:

"McConnell and Biden, who served in the Senate together for 23 years, are closing in on an agreement that would hike tax rates for families who earn more than $450,000, and individuals who make more than $400,000, according to sources familiar with talks. That would mark significant concessions for both men, particularly for McConnell. President Barack Obama campaigned on raising taxes for families who make more than $250,000, but McConnell has long been dead-set against any tax increases, warning they would jeopardize the economy."

As the Journal adds, though:

"Before noon on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said on the Senate floor that discussions continue, but he also warned 'we really are running out of time,' adding that 'There are a number of issues on which the two sides are still apart.' "

Update at 10:15 a.m. ET. Biden, McConnell Talked Late And Early:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters this morning that he and Vice President Biden spoke at 12:45 a.m. ET before going to bed and again at 6:30 a.m. ET after rising. So the negotiations continue.

Update at 8:40 a.m. ET. "Major Progress?"

Politico now reports that:

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden engaged in furious overnight negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff and made major progress toward a year-end tax deal, giving sudden hope to high-stakes talks that had been on the brink of collapse, according to sources familiar with the discussion."

There have been several such moments when hopes were high, of course.

7 a.m. ET. Some Other Early Headlines:

-- "After Fruitless Weekend, Congress Still Seeks Fiscal Deal." (Morning Edition)

-- "Fiscal Cliff-Hanger As Deal In Limbo." (Politico)

-- "Day Of Seesaw Talks Produces No Accord." (The New York Times)

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.