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Report: Assad was in "good mood" day after U.S. strikes

Syrian President Bashsar al-Assad.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2016. Photo: Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images

Russian news reports said that that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was in a "good mood" in a meeting with Russian lawmakers on Sunday, per The Washington Post, a day after the U.S. led airstrikes on three chemical weapons facilities. One Russian lawmaker reportedly described Assad as in "absolutely positive spirits."

Why it matters: There's a different narrative being touted in Syria about what happened over the weekend. Per the Post, Assad believes the strikes reveal "that Russian weapons were superior to U.S. ones," and their "limited scope...suggested that Western powers do not intend to challenge his rule." The Pentagon had a different perspective, saying on Saturday that the strikes were "precise, overwhelming, and effective."

Axios 7 hours ago
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North Korea says it is stopping nuclear and missile testing

Kim Jong-un sits at a desk.
Kim Jong-un. Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has announced the country will stop conducting nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles starting April 21, and shut down a nuclear test site in the north side of the country, through a broadcast on the state news agency KCNA reports, and President Trump announced in a tweet, later adding quotes from the message.

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State Department report cuts references to Israeli "occupation"

A Palestinian protester at the Gaza-Israel border
A Palestinian demonstrator at a protest today near the Gaza-Israel border. Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The State Department dropped almost all uses of the term "occupation" from its latest annual report on the human rights situation in Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Between the lines: This is a significant change, because the public language used by the State Department usually communicates a policy. The U.N., the E.U., Russia, China and almost all the countries in the world see the Israeli control of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights since 1967 as "military occupation." But Israel doesn't, and now the U.S. might not see it that way either.