Florida panhandle braces as storm Alberto gains new strength
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Subtropical Storm Alberto, gained strength as it approached the northern Gulf Coast, emptying out beaches in Florida ahead of Memorial Day.
The storm disrupted long holiday weekend plans from Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle to Miami Beach on Florida’s southeastern edge. Lifeguards posted red flags along the white sands of Pensacola Beach, where swimming and wading were banned amid high surf and dangerous conditions.
It also triggered mandatory evacuations of some small, sparsely populated Gulf Coast barrier islands in one Florida county. The Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a statement Sunday that a mandatory evacuation has been issued in Franklin County for all barrier islands there and those in the county living directly on the coast in mobile homes or in recreation vehicle parks.
Alberto got an early jump on the 2018 hurricane season, which doesn’t officially start until June 1. The storm prompted Florida, Alabama and Mississippi to launch emergency preparations over the weekend amid expectations Alberto would reach land sometime Monday. Rough conditions were expected to roil the seas off the eastern and northern Gulf Coast region through Tuesday.
“These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in a statement.
Trump says US team in NKorea planning summit with Kim
President Donald Trump said Sunday a U.S. team was in North Korea to plan a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, raising expectations that the on-off-on meeting would indeed take place.
The State Department said earlier that a team was in Panmunjom, which straddles the border inside the demilitarized zone, or DMZ, separating the North and South Korea. One can cross the border simply by stepping across a painted line, but moving beyond several footsteps into the North at Panmunjom would be rare for U.S. officials.
Trump withdrew from a planned June 12 Singapore summit with Kim last Thursday, but quickly announced that it could get back on track. His tweet Sunday afternoon, which offered praise for the longtime U.S. adversary, was the latest signal that his concerns about the North’s stance toward the summit had been allayed.
“Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself,” he tweeted. “I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!”
South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, gave details about his surprise meeting Saturday with Kim in the Panmunjom truce village, saying Kim had committed to sitting down with Trump and to a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Budget battle brews as Trump threatens another shutdown
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has warned Congress that he will never sign another foot-tall, $1 trillion-plus government-wide spending bill like the one he did in March. His message to lawmakers in both parties: Get your act together before the next budget lands on my desk.
After a brief government shutdown earlier this year, Democrats and Republicans now agree on the need for budgeting day-to-day operations of government by the old-fashioned way. That means weeks of open debate and amendments that empower rank-and-file lawmakers, rather than concentrating power in the hands of a few leaders meeting in secret.
But Capitol Hill’s dysfunction is so pervasive that even the most optimistic predictions are for only a handful of the 12 annual spending bills to make it into law by Oct. 1, the start of the new budget year. The rest may get bundled together into a single, massive measure yet again.
The worst-case scenario? A government shutdown just a month before Election Day, Nov. 6, as Republicans and Democrats fight for control of the House and possibly the Senate. Trump is agitating for more money for his long-promised border wall with Mexico. So far, he has been frustrated by limited success on that front.
“We need the wall. We’re going to have it all. And again, that wall has started. We got $1.6 billion. We come up again (in) September,” Trump said in a campaign-style event in Michigan last month. “If we don’t get border security, we’ll have no choice. We’ll close down the country because we need border security.”
Maryland community heartbroken after second flood in 2 years
ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — Officials in Ellicott City, Maryland, say they are heartbroken to see the community so severely damaged by flooding again less than two years after a devastating flood killed two people and caused millions in damages.
Flash floods sent cars floating down Main Street Sunday, while first responders rescued dozens of people trapped in buildings swamped by water.
As the flood waters receded late Sunday, officials were just beginning the grim task of assessing the destruction. No fatalities or missing people were reported. But rescue crews were still going through the muddied, damaged downtown conducting safety checks.
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said the damage appeared to him to be worse than the flooding of July 2016.
Giuliani advises no Mueller interview without informant info
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s legal team would advise that he refuse to submit to an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller unless the team can review classified information shared with select lawmakers about the origins of the FBI investigation into Russia’s election meddling, Trump’s personal lawyer said Sunday.
Rudy Giuliani said that should Mueller’s investigators seek a court order to compel the president to testify, Trump’s lawyers would fight such a subpoena all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.
“I think we win it,” Giuliani said.
Giuliani downplayed the chances that Trump would fire Mueller, a Republican who once was FBI director and has served under GOP presidents. Asked if Trump would dismiss anyone if the investigation kept going, Giuliani told “Fox News Sunday” that firings would play “into the hands of playing the victim, Watergate.”
Giuliani’s public negotiation over terms of an interview focuses on the use of a government informant who approached members of Trump’s 2016 campaign in a possible bid to glean intelligence on Russian efforts to sway his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump has made unproven claims of FBI misconduct and political bias and has denounced the informant, without evidence, as “a spy.”
Conservative, leftist head to contentious runoff in Colombia
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The conservative protege of a powerful former president and a leftist former guerrilla who has galvanized voters with an anti-establishment message are headed for what promises to be a polarizing presidential runoff after gaining the most votes in Sunday’s election.
With almost all quick-count results in, former senator Ivan Duque was leading with 39 per cent of the ballots cast, short of the 50 per cent threshold needed to avoid a June runoff. One-time rebel and ex-Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro trailed in second place with 25 per cent, edging out former Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo, who garnered nearly 24 per cent.
Duque and Petro represent opposite ends of Colombia’s political spectrum and have presented dramatically different visions for the future of the Andean nation as it moves forward with a historic peace process with leftist rebels.
Duque is the handpicked candidate of Alvaro Uribe, the ex-president and chief critic of the nation’s 2016 peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. He is promising to amend important aspects of the accord like ensuring that drug trafficking is not an amnestied crime and blocking guerrilla leaders from political office.
Petro supports the accord and has galvanized youth voters angered by deeply entrenched corruption and income inequality. He is vowing to end Colombia’s dependence on oil exports and raise taxes on vast swaths of unproductive land in hopes of boosting agricultural production. Critics have warned his rise could push Colombia dangerously toward the left and rattle markets.
George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine
BIDDEFORD, Maine (AP) — Former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized Sunday in Maine after he experienced low blood pressure and fatigue, a spokesman said.
Just after 2 p.m., Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the 93-year-old Bush, said he was awake, alert and not in any discomfort. He said Bush would spend at least a few days in the hospital for observation.
Bush was taken to Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford. A spokeswoman said Sunday all information would be released by the Bush family.
Bush arrived in Maine for the summer May 20. Coming about a month after the death of his wife, Barbara, of 73 years, the family said the 41st president was eager to return to the family compound on Walker’s Point. He has visited every summer since childhood, the only exception being the years of his World War II service.
On Saturday, Bush attended a pancake breakfast at an American Legion post in Kennebunkport. He had been scheduled to attend a Memorial Day parade in the town Monday.
Soldiers recall carnage of Alaska WWII battle 75 years later
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — William Roy Dover’s memory of the World War II battle is as sharp as it was 75 years ago, even though it’s been long forgotten by most everyone else.
His first sergeant rousted him from his pup tent around 2 a.m. when word came the Japanese were attacking and had maybe even gotten behind the American front line, on a desolate, unforgiving slab of an occupied island in the North Pacific.
“He was shouting, ‘Get up! Get out!'” Dover said.
Dover and most of the American soldiers rushed to an embankment on what became known as Engineer Hill, the last gasp of the Japanese during the Battle of Attu , fought 75 years ago this month on Attu Island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain.
“I had two friends that were too slow to get out,” the 95-year-old Alabama farmer recalled. “They both got bayonetted in their pup tents.”
LeBron’s 35 help Cavs beat Celtics 87-79, reach NBA Finals
BOSTON (AP) — LeBron James scored 35 points with 15 rebounds and nine assists on Sunday night to earn an eighth straight trip to the NBA Finals, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an 87-79 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
In the first close game of the series — and the lowest-scoring — James played all 48 minutes for his sixth straight Game 7 win.
The NBA Finals begin Thursday at either Houston or Golden State. The Rockets host the seventh game of the West finals on Monday night.
Jayson Tatum scored 24 for Boston, which was looking to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.
Will Power wins Indy 500, No. 17 for car owner Roger Penske
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Will Power hated racing on ovals. He wasn’t a fan of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and figured he would never win the Indianapolis 500.
That kind of attitude doesn’t fly when you drive for Roger Penske.
Power had to change his thinking and his performance on oval tracks. He learned to respect the speedway. And the 37-year-old Power is now a winner of one of the biggest races in the world.
“I’ve slowly changed to be a more positive person. It’s hard when you’re very negative,” said Power, who pulled away in the final moments to win the 102nd running of the Indy 500. “You’ve got to have determination. That’s what I had. You work hard at something, it comes to you. It eventually comes to you. (Indy) was the last box to tick, to be considered as a very successful driver.”
The different approach landed Power in the most storied winner’s circle in history Sunday when he gave Penske a 17th victory in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Power actually swept the month of May at Indy after winning on the road course two weeks ago and his 34 wins tied him with Al Unser Jr. for eighth on IndyCar’s all-time list.