American Scene: Former British PM heckled during Maine speech

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He said the fire may have started in the chimney, when someone was cooking or grilling, and spread to the walls. Ruston police and the state fire marshal were investigating the cause. He described the fire as a “total loss.”

SOUTH CAROLINA

Tropical Storm Alberto weakens off state’s coast

COLUMBIA — Tropical Storm Alberto weakened slightly off the South Carolina coast Sunday, a day after becoming an early first storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season.

The storm was not expected to approach landfall on the Carolinas’ coast, but it prompted a tropical storm watch and forecasters warned that it could produce high winds, heavy surf, rip currents and scattered rain across the region.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for the South Carolina coast from the Savannah River to the South Santee River.

The hurricane center said the storm was expected to slow down through Sunday night, then begin turning northeast and heading farther out to sea Monday.

Alberto was named a tropical storm Saturday upon forming in the Atlantic. Tropical storms occasionally occur before the official June 1 start of the hurricane season.

ALASKA

Man dies after falling during climb on McKinley

DENALI NATIONAL PARK — National Park officials say a man has died after falling during a climb of Alaska’s Mount McKinley.

A park release Saturday said the climber fell about 1,100 feet Friday while following the West Buttress route to the summit. Witnesses say the climber fell at about 16,200 feet. He was trying to recover a backpack that had started to slide downhill.

A park service mountaineering patrol was behind the climber’s three-person team and called for a helicopter. The victim’s body was flown to Talkeetna, Alaska, after rangers confirmed that the climber had died.

The victim’s identity has not been released pending notification of family members overseas.

Mount McKinley is North America’s highest mountain.

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