Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar Assad in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Photo: Mikhail Klimentyev, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Sochi to discuss potential peace efforts, championed by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, the AP reports.

The backdrop: Putin told Assad that he's going to cut back Russia's military presence in Syria, though in the past, Moscow hasn't followed through on its announced military curtailments.

  • Assad thanked Putin and all Russians for their efforts to save Syria.
  • This came before a meeting between the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey, where they all agreed to coordinate efforts in Syria, per the AP — Iran and Russia have been backing Assad while Turkey has been backing the opposition.
  • Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman have discussed the Syria situation via a phone call with Putin, per the AP. The White House said Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Ukraine were on the agenda.

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Sports return stalked by coronavirus

Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Austin Meadows bumps elbows Friday during a workout at Tropicana Field. Photo: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports via Reuters

When MLB teams arrived at the ballpark this weekend for the first summer workouts of 2020, the comforting sounds of baseball brought smiles to players' faces.

Between the lines: Even the loudest crack of the bat couldn't mask the eerie silence or distract from the ever-present coronavirus threat.

239 scientists call on WHO to recognize coronavirus as airborne

People walk at the boardwalk in Venice Beach. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

A group of 239 scientists in 32 countries is calling for the World Health Organization to revise its recommendations to account for airborne transmission as a significant factor in how the coronavirus spreads, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The WHO has said the virus mainly spreads via large respiratory droplets that fall to the ground once they've been discharged in coughs and sneezes. But the scientists say evidence shows the virus can spread from smaller particles that linger in air indoors.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 11,294,859 — Total deaths: 531,419 — Total recoveries — 6,078,552Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 2,839,917 — Total deaths: 129,676 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.