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Tropical Storm Alberto forms in Gulf, set to bring heavy rain to Texas

ABC News

A tropical system off the coast of Mexico strengthened into Tropical Storm Alberto on Wednesday morning and is set to bring heavy rain and coastal flooding to Texas.

Alberto — the first named storm of the season — is forecast to make landfall in Mexico Wednesday night.

Alberto has prompted a tropical storm warning in Corpus Christi and south Texas. Flash flooding is possible from Corpus Christi to Laredo to Brownsville.

Rain totals could reach 10 inches in Texas and up to 20 inches in the mountains of Mexico over the next 24 hours.

Storm surge has already topped 4 feet at San Luis Pass, in Texas, just south of Galveston Island.

Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30.

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Entertainment

Alicia Vikander, Jude Law on playing Katherine Parr and Henry VIII in ‘Firebrand’

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Katherine Parr takes center stage in Firebrand, the new period drama in theaters now. Alicia Vikander plays the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII in the film, and she told ABC Audio what it was like to tell her story.

“I think it’s nice that we focus on the person who actually did survive,” Vikander said. “I think that it’s almost been more films and TV series that have focused on the other wives. I felt I probably knew the least about Katherine Parr, and I was kind of amazed when I read the script the first time and also even realized that she was actually the first ever published woman in British history.”

Jude Law took on the role of the famous king, and he said he found the character through wardrobe.

“I tried to look at shapes and silhouettes of the guy. So, the shape of his head and his jaw and the beard. The clothes help a lot because we’re wearing these enormous and layered outfits. They kind of wore their fortune on them, so everything was gold and jeweled,” Law said.

Director Karim Aïnouz said Law “brought a vulnerability to a monster that I think is something that not every actor can do.”

As for what made Aïnouz know Vikander would make the perfect Katherine Parr, he said her acting talent was obvious, “but there’s also something very modern about her.”

“I thought it would be an interesting contrast. When you think of Katherine Parr, you think hundreds of years ago and so on,” Aïnouz continued. “I thought it was very important to have a body and a face and a soul which was a very modern soul. And I was also very intrigued by having an English queen being played by a Swedish actress.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

World news

Russia and North Korea solidify partnership, vowing mutual assistance against ‘aggression’

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un attend a welcoming ceremony on June 19, 2024, in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Contributor/Getty Images)

(LONDON) — Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a partnership agreement on Wednesday in Pyongyang, further solidifying their strategic cooperation in opposition to Western leaders.

Their signed agreement included a pact for “mutual help” in the event of “aggression” against either country, Russian media reported. Putin in an opening statement had thanked Kim for his “unwavering support” for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The two heads of state met for about two hours in Pyongyang on Wednesday as part of Putin’s official state visit, his first trip to Pyongyang in 24 years. The negotiations are the latest in a series of discussions about trade and economic relations between the two countries, both of which are subject to Western sanctions.

The two heads of state held face-to-face talks in eastern Russia in September, which were followed by rounds of lower-level talks in both Pyongyang and Moscow.

“As a result of your visit to Russia last year, we made much headway in developing contemporary interstate relations,” Putin said in his opening statement, according to Interfax, a Russian news agency. “A new fundamental document has been drafted to lay a long-term foundation for our relations.”

North Korean state media on Wednesday said Kim’s government was hoping the meetings would lead to “deepening economic and trade relations” with Russia.

The U.S. State Department has said North Korea has shipped arms — including dozens of ballistic missiles and more than 11,000 containers of munitions — to Russia for use in its war against Ukraine. U.S. officials said it was likely that Putin would ask for further military aid while in Pyongyang.

“We have seen him get incredibly desperate over the past few months and look to Iran to rebolster the military that he’s — military equipment that he has lost in Ukraine, to look to North Korea to rearm himself,” Matthew Miller, a state department spokesperson, said during a briefing on Tuesday. “And so I’m quite certain that that is what he’s up to.”

Putin called their new agreement, which was signed prior to Wednesday’s negotiations, a “fundamental document,” promising it would be the cornerstone of a long-term relationship between the two countries, according to Interfax, the Russian news agency.

Both sought to position their two-hour meeting as an affront to the United States and its Western allies. As Putin thanked Kim for North Korea’s support for his invasion of Ukraine, he said the war was a “fight against the imperialist hegemonistic policies of the U.S. and its satellites against the Russian Federation.”

North Korea on Wednesday hosted a welcome ceremony for Putin, who had arrived late Tuesday and stayed at a state guest house overnight.

Kim had greeted Putin as he stepped off his plane at Pyongyang International Airport. The two traveled in Putin’s private vehicle, passing “through charmingly lit streets” to the guest house where Putin stayed, North Korean state media reported. The two “exchanged the inmost thoughts” as they drove, the report said.

The pair on Wednesday morning strolled through Kim Il Sung Square along a red carpet. They were greeted by throngs of North Koreans waving flowers, balloons and flags.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Entertainment

Pat Sajak’s ‘Wheel of Fortune’ farewell draws 4-year-high 11 million viewers

ABC

Pat Sajak‘s final Wheel of Fortune episode on June 7 was the show’s most-watched episode since April 2020, according to Variety.

It also grabbed more viewers than any other broadcast or cable telecast for that week, excluding sports.

Sajak, 77, announced in June 2023 that the show’s 41st season would be his last.

Sajak concluded his 41-season run with a direct-to-camera address at the end of his final Wheel of Fortune episode, calling it “an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes night after night, year after year, decade after decade.”

“I’ve always felt that the privilege came with a responsibility to keep this daily half hour a safe place for family, fun, no social issues, no politics, nothing embarrassing I hope, just a game,” he continued. “But gradually it became … a place where kids learned their letters, where people from other countries honed their English skills, where families came together, along with friends and neighbors and entire generations.”

“What an honor to have played even a small part in all that. Thank you for allowing me into your lives,” he concluded.

Ryan Seacrest joins co-host Vanna White for Wheel of Fortune‘s 42nd season, kicking off this fall.

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

World news

Environmental protesters spray ‘orange powder paint’ on Britain’s Stonehenge

Nukorn Plainpan/Getty Images

(LONDON) — Environmental protesters sprayed an orange substance across part of Britain’s Stonehenge on Wednesday afternoon.

British environmental activist group Just Stop Oil posted video of the incident on X, the social media platform, showing two of its supporters spraying three of the stones within the prehistoric megalithic structure on Salisbury Plain in England’s Wiltshire county. Both people were subsequently arrested, according to the group, which also posted video of police taking the two campaigners into custody.

Just Stop Oil wrote in a post on X that the sprayed substance is “orange powder paint” and “is made of cornstarch, which will wash away in the rain.”

“But the urgent need for effective government action to mitigate the catastrophic consequences of the climate and ecological crisis will not,” the group added.

A Just Stop Oil spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday that the action at Stonehenge came as the group demands the British government commits “to a legally binding treaty to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.”

A spokesperson for English Heritage, the charity that cares for Stonehenge and hundreds of other historic sites in England, confirmed to ABC News that “orange powdered paint has been thrown at a number of the stones at Stonehenge.”

“Obviously, this is extremely upsetting and our curators are investigating the extent of the damage,” the spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday. “Stonehenge remains open to the public.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

World news

Environmental protesters spray orange material onto Britain’s Stonehenge

Nukorn Plainpan/Getty Images

(LONDON) — Environmental protesters sprayed what appeared to be orange powder paint across part of Britain’s Stonehenge on Wednesday.

British environmental activist group Just Stop Oil posted video of the incident on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, showing two of its campaigners spraying three of the stones within the prehistoric megalithic structure on Salisbury Plain in England’s Wiltshire county.

Story developing…

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Sports

Baseball community, athletes and more react to Willie Mays’ death: ‘The best there ever was’

San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds (L) laughs with godfather and Giants legend Willie Mays as Mays was introduced during the Giants Opening Day against the San Diego Padres on April 5, 2002 ,in San Francisco, California. (JOHN G. MABANGLO/AFP via Getty Images)

(NEW YORK) — The baseball world is in mourning following the death of Willie Mays at 93.

Major League teams across the U.S. expressed their condolences as they remembered the iconic athlete of their sport, who played 22 seasons and had 660 home runs.

The San Francisco Giants, the team Mays spent the most time on, announced the news of his death Tuesday night, going on to share the outpouring of love from across the baseball community.

“He leaves us with a lasting reminder: to work hard and find joy in this great game and this extraordinary life,” the Giants posted Tuesday evening on X. “Say Hey, Willie Mays. The best there ever was.”

Some of the biggest athletes in sports, legends in their own right, also turned to social media to share memories of the former San Francisco Giants player.

Read on to see how the baseball community and notable figures are remembering Mays:

“We join the baseball world in mourning the passing of Willie Mays,” read a post on the Mets’ X page.

Barry Bonds, Mays’ godson and whose father played with Mays on the Giants, shared his heartfelt emotions on Instagram.

“I am beyond devastated and overcome with emotion,” Bonds, also a Giants legend, wrote. “I have no words to describe what you mean to me- you helped shape me to be who I am today. Thank you for being my Godfather and always being there. Give my dad a hug for me. Rest in peace Willie, I love you forever. #SayHey”

New York Yankees alum Derek Jeter called Mays, “One of the best to ever play the game and even a better person.”

“Thoughts and prayers are with Willie’s family and loved ones,” he added on X.

The Seattle Mariners called Mays, “an icon of the sport.”

“Our hearts break at the news of Willie Mays’ passing, and we send our condolences to his family, friends and loved ones,” the team’s statement continued. “His impact on and off the field will live on forever.”

Jose Canseco wrote on X, “One of the best to ever play the game. Rest in Peace Willie Mays.”

“We join the baseball community in mourning the passing of the legendary Willie Mays.Our hearts go out to the @SFGiants and all of Willie’s family and friends,” read a post on the St. Louis Cardinals’ X page.

Former President Barack Obama posted on Threads, writing, “Willie Mays wasn’t just a singular athlete, blessed with an unmatched combination of grace, skill and power. He was also a wonderfully warm and generous person – and an inspiration to an entire generation. I’m lucky to have spent time with him over the years, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family.”

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson shared condolences on behalf of himself and wife Cookie Johnson.

“I’m devastated to hear about the passing of the legendary Hall of Famer Willie Mays, one of the main reasons I fell in love with baseball. Cookie and I are praying for his family, friends, and fans during this difficult time,” Johnson wrote.

Former MLB pitcher CC Sabathia wrote on X, “I’ll never forget this day when I walked in and heard, ‘that’s that boy who wears his hat like this.’ RIP Willie Mays. You changed the game forever and inspired kids like me to chase our dream. Thank you for everything that you did on and off the field. Always in our hearts.”

Tennis legend Billie Jean King wrote on X, “He was a 24-time All-Star, a 12-time Gold Glover, a 2-time MVP, World Series champion, and a Hall of Famer.”

“The great Willie Mays has passed away. It was a privilege to know him. We were both honored by @MLB in 2010 with the Beacon Award, given to civil rights pioneers,” her post continued.

“He was a such a kind soul, who gifted my brother Randy a new glove and a television during his rookie year with the @SFGiants,” she wrote, adding, “My deepest condolences to his family. He will be missed.”

Actor and comedian Billy Crystal wrote on X, “The great @Willie Mays has passed away. Had the honor of talking with him several times. He loved that we mentioned his ‘54 World Series catch in @CitySlickers.The man who hit the ball and the “ Giant” who caught it signed this ball. RIP #24.. a thrill to watch you play.”

“Willie Mays was more than just a baseball icon. He broke barriers and inspired millions of Americans — setting records, bringing joy to countless fans, and becoming a role model for a generation of future athletes. The ‘Say Hey Kid’ will be dearly missed — and never forgotten,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement on X.

The mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, shared a lengthy post commenting on Mays’ legacy.

“To a native San Franciscan, some things just go without question: it’s foggy in the summer, cable cars go halfway to the stars, and Willie Mays is the best there ever was. It was an unbelievable opportunity of a lifetime to meet someone like Willie Mays. I remember hearing about the struggles that he endured because he was black, and what he overcame to become an icon on the field and the greatest baseball player of all time. He was from a generation who faced segregation and racism, a generation that paved the way so that many of us could have the freedom to thrive. Willie Mays meant so much to this city as a player, but also as a leader, staying involved in San Francisco and the Giants organization long after he retired from the game he loved. Willie Mays will forever be the greatest of giants in the story of San Francisco,” she wrote on X.

The Philadelphia Phillies posted, “We join the Giants and all of baseball in mourning the loss of Hall of Famer Willie Mays.Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Health

There may be an increase in COVID cases this summer. Experts say this is why you shouldn’t be concerned

Massimiliano Finzi/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — As the United States heads into the summer season, early indicators show the country is likely to experience an increase in COVID-19 infections.

For the week ending June 8, the latest date for which data is available, COVID test positivity was 5.4% across the U.S., an increase of 0.8% from the previous week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the Western region — which is comprised of Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada — COVID test positivity was 12.8%, higher than any other region of the U.S. The New England region — made up of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont — had the next highest test positivity rate at 5.4%, matching the national rate.

Wastewater data from the CDC shows that although viral activity levels are still low nationally, levels have more than doubled in the western U.S. over the last month.

Additionally, COVID emergency department visits for the week ending June 8 rose 12.6% from the week prior, according to CDC data.

Traditionally, the U.S. has seen increases in COVID every summer, typically after the Fourth of July, but public health experts said Americans will likely see a “drift upwards” rather than a surge.

“To put it proportionally to like where we were in many winters, we are at a very, very low rate of COVID, compared to some of our peaks,” Dr. Cameron Wolfe, a professor of medicine in the infectious diseases division at Duke University, told ABC News. “Like compared to early 2022, for example, when omicron first emerged, this is night and day different. But … there’s just this little drift upwards, perhaps in the last few weeks.”

Increases have been seen in several states, most notably on the West Coast. In Los Angeles, the county’s Department of Public Health reported an average of 121 cases on June 13, up from a daily average of 106 instances one week prior.

However, experts said a combination of us learning how to better manage the virus and having high levels of immunity means COVID will not be a major threat to the average person.

“Our bodies have learned how to manage the virus over the last four years, meaning that many people have had successive waves of infection, many people have had initial vaccinations,” Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, told ABC News. “So that combined immunity gives a big force field that can help protect us during the summer. … Although most people will be fine, there are still some people that are going to get very sick.”

As of Tuesday, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S. remain stable. For the week ending May 18, the last week of complete data, there were 311 deaths due to COVID, which is the lowest death figure recorded in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic.

Chin-Hong said most hospitalizations and deaths are occurring among high-risk groups, including elderly individuals aged 75 and older and people who are immunocompromised, such as those who have undergone organ transplants or are on medications that suppress the immune system.

He recommends the average person track COVID wastewater data from the CDC to see if it’s trending upwards in their area and to keep masks and COVID rapid tests handy in case they need them, but he added that an increase in COVID should not be cause for fear.

“I think there’s a fine balance between ignoring everything and being scared by everything,” Chin-Hong said. “It’s like when you’re crossing the street. You never just run across a busy road; you always look both ways, but it doesn’t mean you don’t go to the next destination. So, I think in the new… phase of COVID, that’s the way we should think about it.”

Similarly, Wolfe said people should assess their individual risk and take more precautions if they will be around high-risk individuals such as senior citizens or sick patients. He also recommended getting the newest updated COVID vaccine that will likely be rolled out in late September.

“Very much in the same way that flu vaccines are tailored each year to adapt to the strains that we see, the same is occurring with COVID,” Wolfe said. “And I think for someone who might be themselves or someone in their family or close contact known to be high risk I’m going to be still actively encouraging those people to get vaccinated.”

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