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Putin, Kim sign comprehensive partnership agreement in North Korea

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Russian President Vladimir Putin receives a grand welcome from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the two leaders strengthen their partnership. And tense moments during the White House briefing as someone appeared to faint as dangerous temperatures grip the nation’s capital. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Wednesday, June 19, 2024.

Putin, Kim sign comprehensive partnership agreement in North Korea

Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a comprehensive partnership agreement on Wednesday, June 19, strengthening the ties between the two countries as Putin visits the north for the first time in 24 years. Putin was welcomed by Kim with a lavish ceremony filled with music and cheering crowds around midday local time. 

The two then headed off for a summit where Putin thanked Kim for the North’s support in Russia’s war with Ukraine, adding Moscow is fighting the “imperialist policy” of the United States and its allies. In reply, Kim promised “full support and solidarity” to Russia in what he calls Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine. 

The two leaders sat down for a two-hour meeting before signing the partnership agreement. Putin said the agreement includes a pledge that the nations help each other if either one is attacked.

The two countries are strengthening their relationship as both face multiple global sanctions — North Korea over its weapons program and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. 

U.S. officials believe North Korea is providing weapons to Russia in the war. Both Russia and North Korea deny those allegations.

U.S. soldier sentenced to nearly 4 years in Russian penal colony

A U.S. soldier has been sentenced to nearly four years in a Russian penal colony after being found guilty by a Russian court of stealing money from his girlfriend and threatening to kill her. Army Staff Sgt. Gordon Black was sentenced to three years and nine months Wednesday. 

The judge also ordered black to pay 10,000 rubles (about $115) in damages. 

According to Russian media, Black partially admitted guilt to theft charges but not to the threats. 

Black’s case is just the latest to go to sentencing in a string of Russian arrests of Americans, including two the U.S. has declared as wrongfully detained: former Marine Paul Whelan and Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich

Person appears to faint from heat during White House press briefing

The record-breaking heatwave hitting the U.S right now is more than just sweltering — it’s downright dangerous. A scare at the White House in the middle of a daily press briefing is highlighting just how dangerous heat can be, even indoors.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stepped off the podium Tuesday, June 18, to check on someone who appears to have overheated, before returning to the briefing. 

AccuWeather is reporting the high temperature reached 94 degrees in Washington Tuesday. It’s also expected to get hotter as the week goes on, with the National Weather Service predicting a potential high of 99 degrees by Saturday, June 22. 

The heat in D.C. is part of a bigger heatwave sweeping over the eastern U.S. right now. Meteorologists say around 270 million people will experience temperatures at or above 90 degrees this week. 

The heat is not the only big severe weather event facing the U.S. right now. At least one person has been confirmed dead in New Mexico as two wildfires continue to burn. 

The fires forced thousands to quickly flee their homes and fire officials say more than 500 structures have been destroyed by those fires so far. 

However, forecasters said incoming cooler weather and the chance of rain could bring some relief this week to firefighters battling the blazes. 

The Texas coast is under a tropical storm watch as what could soon become the first named storm of the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season approaches. The National Hurricane Center said heavy, potentially flooding rain is expected, with as much as 15 inches possible. 

Los Angeles school district moves to ban cell phones during school day

People saying, “Back in my day, we weren’t using cell phones in school” may soon see that as a reality because of a case in the second-largest school district in America.  

The Los Angeles Unified School District board moved forward with a plan Tuesday, June 18, to ban cell phones all day on campus. They said the devices distract students from learning, lead to anxiety and allowed cyberbullying. 

“I’ve been struck in prior years just how our students are glued to their cellphones, not unlike adults,” school board member Nick Melvoin said. “They’re surreptitiously scrolling in school, in class time, or have their head in their hands, walking down the hallways. They’re not talking to each other or playing at lunch or recess because they have their AirPods in.” 

The ban could soon spread even further. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, vowed Tuesday to severely restrict the use of phones during the school day statewide. 

The move comes on the heels of the U.S. Surgeon General’s op-ed in the New York Times Monday, June 17, calling on Congress to approve “tobacco style” warnings on social media. 

Nvidia becomes most valuable company in the world

Move aside Microsoft and Apple — Nvidia is now the most valuable company in the world. Propelled by its role in artificial intelligence, the computer chipmaker jumped to the top on Tuesday. 

The company’s share price rose more than 3%, giving the company an overall market valuation of $3.34 trillion. 

Nvidia controls approximately 80% of the market for chips used to power AI systems. 

In the first quarter of the year, the company saw its revenue rise to $26 billion — up from $7 billion from 2023. 

Baseball great Willie Mays passes away at 93

The baseball world is mourning the loss of one of the most legendary players of all time: Willie Mays. Mays passed away Tuesday in the Bay Area at 93 years old. 

Nicknamed the “Say Hey Kid,” Mays spent 22 seasons in the big leagues, the majority with the Giants — both in New York and San Francisco. 

He was part of the 1954 World Series championship team, highlighted by his over-the-shoulder catch during Game 1. That catch is considered to be the greatest in baseball history. 

Among those remembering Mays is baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, who called Mays “one of the best ever to play the game and even a better person.” 

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[KARAH RUCKER]

RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN AND NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG UN SIGNED A COMPREHENSIVE PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT WEDNESDAY STRENGTHENING THE TIES BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES AS PUTIN VISITS THE NORTH FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 24 YEARS. 

PUTIN WAS WELCOMED BY KIM WITH A LAVISH CEREMONY AROUND MIDDAY LOCAL TIME – FILLED WITH MUSIC AND CHEERING CROWDS. 

THE TWO THEN HEADED OFF FOR A SUMMIT – AS PUTIN THANKED KIM FOR THE NORTH’S SUPPORT IN RUSSIA’S WAR WITH UKRAINE – ADDING MOSCOW IS FIGHTING THE “IMPERIALIST POLICY” OF THE UNITED STATES AND ITS ALLIES. 

IN REPLY, KIM PROMISED “FULL SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY” TO RUSSIA IN WHAT HE CALLS RUSSIA’S “SPECIAL MILITARY OPERATION” IN UKRAINE. 

THE TWO LEADERS THEN SAT DOWN FOR A TWO-HOUR MEETING – BEFORE SIGNING THE PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT. 

THE DETAILS OF WHICH HAVE NOT BEEN MADE PUBLIC. 

THE TWO COUNTRIES STRENGTHENING THEIR RELATIONSHIP AS BOTH FACE MULTIPLE GLOBAL SANCTIONS. NORTH KOREA OVER ITS WEAPONS PROGRAM – AND RUSSIA OVER THE CONFLICT IN UKRAINE. 

U.S. OFFICIALS BELIEVE NORTH KOREA IS PROVIDING WEAPONS TO RUSSIA IN THE WAR. BOTH RUSSIA AND NORTH KOREA DENY THOSE ALLEGATIONS.  

A U-S SOLDIER HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO NEARLY FOUR YEARS IN A RUSSIAN PENAL COLONY — AFTER BEING FOUND GUILTY BY A RUSSIAN COURT OF STEALING MONEY FROM HIS GIRLFRIEND AND THREATENING TO KILL HER. 

ARMY STAFF SERGEANT GORDON BLACK WAS SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS AND NINE MONTHS WEDNESDAY. 

THE JUDGE ALSO ORDERED BLACK TO PAY 10-THOUSAND RUBLES — WHICH AMOUNTS TO ABOUT 115 DOLLARS — IN DAMAGES. 

ACCORDING TO RUSSIAN MEDIA — BLACK PARTIALLY ADMITTED GUILT TO THEFT CHARGES BUT NOT TO THE THREATS.  

BLACK’S CASE IS JUST THE LATEST TO GO TO SENTENCING IN A STRING OF RUSSIAN ARRESTS OF AMERICANS INCLUDING TWO THE U.S. HAS DECLARED AS WRONGFULLY DETAINED — FORMER MARINE PAUL WHELAN AND WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH. 

THE RECORD-BREAKING HEATWAVE HITTING THE U-S RIGHT NOW IS MORE THAN JUST SWELTERING — IT’S DOWNRIGHT DANGEROUS —  AND A SCARE AT THE WHITE HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF A DAILY PRESS BRIEFING IS HIGHLIGHTING JUST HOW DANGEROUS HEAT CAN BE… EVEN INDOORS. 

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY KARINE JEAN-PIERRE STEPPED OFF THE PODIUM TUESDAY TO CHECK ON SOMEONE WHO APPEARS TO HAVE GOTTEN OVERHEATED… BEFORE RETURNING TO THE BRIEFING. 

ACCU-WEATHER IS REPORTING THE HIGH TEMPERATURE REACHED 94 DEGREES IN WASHINGTON TUESDAY. 

IT’S EXPECTED TO GET HOTTER AS THE WEEK GOES ON — WITH THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PREDICTING A POTENTIAL HIGH OF 99 DEGREES BY SATURDAY. 

IT’S PART OF A BIGGER HEATWAVE SWEEPING OVER THE EASTERN U-S RIGHT NOW. 

METEOROLOGISTS SAYING AROUND 270 MILLION PEOPLE WILL EXPERIENCE TEMPERATURES AT OR ABOVE 90 DEGREES THIS WEEK. 

AND THE HEAT IS NOT THE ONLY BIG SEVERE WEATHER EVENT FACING THE U-S RIGHT NOW… 

AT LEAST ONE PERSON HAS BEEN CONFIRMED DEAD IN NEW MEXICO AS TWO WILDFIRES CONTINUE TO BURN … FORCING THOUSANDS TO QUICKLY FLEE THEIR HOMES. 

FIRE OFFICIALS SAY MORE THAN 500 STRUCTURES HAVE BEEN DESTROYED BY THOSE FIRES SO FAR. 

HOWEVER — FORECASTERS SAY INCOMING COOLER WEATHER AND THE CHANCE OF RAIN COULD BRING SOME RELIEF THIS WEEK TO FIREFIGHTERS BATTLING THE BLAZES. 

AND THE TEXAS COAST IS UNDER A TROPICAL STORM WATCH AS WHAT COULD SOON BECOME THE FIRST NAMED STORM OF THE 20-24 ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON APPROACHES. 

THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER SAYS HEAVY, POTENTIALLY FLOODING RAIN IS EXPECTED — WITH AS MUCH AS 15 INCHES POSSIBLE. 

MOVE ASIDE MICROSOFT AND APPLE — NVIDIA (EN-VID-IA) IS NOW THE MOST VALUABLE COMPANY IN THE WORLD. 

PROPELLED BY ITS ROLE IN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – THE COMPUTER CHIPMAKER JUMPED TO THE TOP ON TUESDAY – WITH ITS SHARE PRICE RISING MORE THAN 3 PERCENT – GIVING THE COMPANY AN OVERALL MARKET VALUATION OF 3.34 TRILLION DOLLARS. 

NVIDIA CONTROLS APPROXIMATELY 80 PERCENT OF THE MARKET FOR CHIPS USED TO POWER AI SYSTEMS. 

IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF THE YEAR – THE COMPANY SAW ITS REVENUE RISE TO 26 BILLION DOLLARS – UP FROM 7 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR AGO. 

THE BASEBALL WORLD IS MOURNING THE LOSS OF ONE OF THE MOST LEGENDARY PLAYERS OF ALL TIME – WILLIE MAYS. 

MAYS PASSED AWAY TUESDAY IN THE BAY AREA AT 93 YEARS OLD. 

NICKNAMED THE “SAY HEY KID” – MAYS SPENT 22 SEASONS IN THE BIG LEAGUES – THE MAJORITY WITH THE GIANTS – BOTH IN NEW YORK AND SAN FRANCISCO. 

HE WAS PART OF THE 1954 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM – HIGHLIGHTED BY HIS OVER-THE-SHOULDER CATCH DURING GAME 1 – CONSIDERED TO BE THE GREATEST CATCH IN BASEBALL HISTORY.   

AMONG THOSE REMEMBERING MAYS – BASEBALL HALL OF FAMER DEREK JETER WHO CALLED MAYS – “ONE OF THE BEST EVER TO PLAY THE GAME AND EVEN A BETTER PERSON.”