Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 28, 2018

U.S. officials meet North Korean counterparts despite summit doubts, Memorial Day ceremonies honor fallen military service members, and more


U.S. officials enter North Korea for summit preparations

A team of U.S. technical and diplomatic officials crossed into North Korea on Sunday to meet with North Korean counterparts in an effort to revive plans for a June 12 summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump last week said he was canceling the summit in Singapore because of angry recent statements from Pyongyang, but he tweeted Sunday that the U.S. team was working on "arrangements" for talks between him and Kim. "I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day," Trump tweeted. "Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!" South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Kim on Saturday, and said the North Korean leader remained committed to "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula.


Subtropical Storm Alberto strengthens ahead of landfall

Subtropical Storm Alberto strengthened as it approached the northern Gulf Coast early Monday ahead of an expected landfall on the Florida panhandle later in the day. Overnight the storm's top sustained winds were 65 miles per hour, up from 45 mph earlier Sunday. Alberto became the first named storm of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season east of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Friday, days before the official start of the season on June 1. The subtropical storm, which has a cooler center than a tropical storm, has sent rain bands over Florida and as far north as the Carolinas. After landfall, the storm will push north into parts of the Ohio Valley or east. It has triggered flash flood watches for much of the Southeast as late as Wednesday.


Memorial Day ceremonies honor fallen military service members

Americans are gathering across the country on Monday for Memorial Day ceremonies to honor fallen military service members. Volunteers in many communities spent hours ahead of time planting small flags on the graves of people who have served in the military. Communities in Texas, Louisiana, Ohio, and New York are joining in a tradition started on Boston Common, displaying tens of thousands of flags in "flag gardens" inspired by the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund tribute in 2010. Financial markets and government offices are closed for the holiday, originally known as Decoration Day because it was an occasion to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers.


Flash floods devastate Maryland town for second time in two years

A massive rainstorm triggered powerful flash flooding Sunday in Ellicott City, Maryland, a historic mill town outside Baltimore that was devastated by a similar disaster two years ago. Churning brown water blasted down Main Street, submerging the ground floors of shops and other businesses, as well as cars. Dozens of customers were stranded in a restaurant before rescuers got them out. Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency. "They say this is a once-every-1,000-years flood, and we've had two of them in two years," he said. The flooding forced a wedding party to evacuate the Main Street Ballroom. "It looked like we were in the Titanic or The Poseidon Adventure," said the bride's father, Bill Rigney. No deaths were reported, but one man is missing.


George H.W. Bush hospitalized in Maine

Former President George H.W. Bush checked into a Maine hospital on Sunday due to low blood pressure and fatigue. "I guess he partied too hard with the American Legion yesterday," wrote Jean Becker, Bush's chief of staff, in an email to Bush's family and friends. "Darn it." Bush was described as "awake and alert, and not in any discomfort." He arrived in Maine, where he spends summers, last week. He was hospitalized last month in Houston after the funeral of his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush. Bush, 93, is the oldest living ex-president. He also is the father of former President George W. Bush and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who unsuccessfully ran for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.


Giuliani says basis for Mueller appointment illegitimate

President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Sunday that the evidence used to justify the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was illegitimate, which means Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump campaign associates is illegitimate, too. "I'm not saying Mueller is illegitimate; I'm saying the basis on which he was appointed was illegitimate," Giuliani told State of the Union host Dana Bash. He pointed to James Comey's leaked memos and "Spygate" — the FBI's use of an informant who met with several Trump campaign aides — as the reasons Mueller's appointment was illegitimate. "We're more convinced, as we see it, that this is a rigged investigation," he said.


Colombia's presidential election heads into June runoff

Conservative lawyer Iván Duque and centrist Medellín Mayor Sergio Fajardo advanced to a runoff in the first round of Colombia's presidential elections on Sunday. Duque led the five-candidate field with 39 percent of the vote, Colombia's national electoral agency said. Fajardo trailed with 24 percent. Outgoing president Juan Manuel Santos' former vice-president, Germán Vargas Lleras, only got 7 percent of the vote, while Santos' peace negotiator, Humberto de la Calle, got 2 percent. The June 17 runoff gives voters a clear choice as the South American nation struggles to unify under a shaky peace accord between the government and the leftist FARC rebel group.


Italy thrust into political chaos as coalition effort collapses

Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Monday is expected to ask former International Monetary Fund official Carlo Cottarelli to lead a caretaker government after the anti-establishment Five Star and far-right League parties abandoned efforts to form a ruling coalition. The chaos came after Mattarella vetoed the choice of 81-year-old Euroskeptic Paolo Savona as finance minister. Mattarella is more pro-European than either of the populist parties, and his rejection of Savona angered their leaders, who indicated they would call for early elections rather than offering Mattarella new proposals for a coalition government.


Solo falls short of expectations in opening weekend

Solo: A Star Wars Story brought in far less than expected in its opening weekend, with $83.3 million in ticket sales in North America from Friday through Sunday. Disney on Sunday estimated that the film would gross $101 million over the four days of Memorial Day weekend, and some estimated as much as $150 million last week. Solo's debut box office haul marked a record low for the Star Wars franchise. The film, which stars Alden Ehrenreich in the role that Harrison Ford made into a cinema classic, still had the biggest Memorial Day opening weekend in recent years. Experts said it might have suffered because it came out after two blockbusters, Deadpool 2 and Avengers: Infinity War.


Will Power wins Indy 500

Will Power won the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, his first win in the storied race in a career that has included more than 30 IndyCar wins and an IndyCar championship. Power took the lead with five laps to go after leaders Stefan Wilson and Jack Harvey had to make pit stops for fuel. "I've had so many wins, and so many poles, but everybody always talked about the 500," Power said. "I just couldn't imagine winning a race in front of a crowd like this. It's just amazing. What an event." The 102nd running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" included seven crashes that knocked out Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, last year's winner Takuma Sato, and Danica Patrick, in her last professional race.


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