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Trump and Putin discussed a new nuclear accord, Venezuela, and North Korea in an hour-long chat
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke for more than an hour on Friday, discussing the possibility of a new nuclear accord, North Korean denuclearization, Ukraine and the political situation in Venezuela, the White House said.
"Had a long and very good conversation with President Putin of Russia," Trump said in a post on Twitter, noting they had discussed trade, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea, nuclear arms and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Trump and Putin talked about the possibility of a new multilateral nuclear accord between the United States, Russia and China, or an extension of the current U.S.-Russia strategic nuclear treaty.
She called it an "overall positive conversation."
The two men, who last chatted informally at a dinner of world leaders in Buenos Aires on Dec. 1, briefly talked about the report Mueller report that concluded Trump did not collude with Russia during his 2016 presidential campaign.
The Mueller probe discussion was "essentially in the context of that it's over and there was no collusion, which I'm pretty sure both leaders were very well aware of long before this call took place," Sanders said.
The Kremlin confirmed the two leaders talked and highlighted in its statement that the call was initiated by Washington. It said the two leaders agreed to maintain contacts on different levels and expressed satisfaction with the "businesslike and constructive nature" of the conversation.
With the United States concerned about a Russian military presence in Venezuela at a time when Washington wants Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to leave power, Trump told Putin "the United States stands with the people of Venezuela" and stressed he wanted to get relief supplies into the country, Sanders said.
Putin told Trump that any external interference in Venezuela's internal business undermines the prospects of a political end to the crisis, the Kremlin said.
The 2011 New START treaty, the only U.S.-Russia arms control pact limiting deployed strategic nuclear weapons, expires in February 2021 but can be extended for five years if both sides agree. Without the agreement, it could be harder to gauge each other's intentions, arms control advocates say.
The New START treaty required the United States and Russia to cut their deployed strategic nuclear warheads to no more than 1,550, the lowest level in decades, and limit delivery systems - land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.
It also includes extensive transparency measures requiring each side to allow the other to carry out 10 inspections of strategic nuclear bases each year; give 48 hours notice before new missiles covered by the treaty leave their factories; and provide notifications before ballistic missile launches.
Trump has called the New START treaty a "bad deal" and "one-sided."
"They discussed a nuclear agreement, both new and extended, and the possibility of having conversations with China on that as well," Sanders said.
The Kremlin said the two sides confirmed they intended to "activate dialogue in various spheres, including strategic security."
Sanders also said the two leaders discussed Ukraine. Trump canceled a summit meeting with Putin late last year after Russia seized three Ukrainian Navy ships on Nov. 25 and arrested 24 sailors. Putin also told Trump that the new leadership in Ukraine should take steps to solve the Ukrainian crisis, the Kremlin said.
Trump also raised with Putin the issue of getting North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Trump has met twice with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but Kim has yet to agree to a disarmament deal.
Sanders said Trump mentioned several times "the need and importance of Russia stepping up and continuing to put pressure on North Korea to denuclearize." The Kremlin said both leaders highlighted the need to pursue denuclearization of the region.
During an April summit with Kim in Vladivostok, Putin expressed Russian support for a gradual process of trading disarmament for sanctions relief.
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The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.
The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.
The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.
Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.
Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.
Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.
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The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
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Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
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On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."