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- Tonight's edition takes you from Vienna to the Sahel and over to Bermuda (1,545 words, 6 minutes).
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Welcome back to Axios World.
Billingslea arrives for the talks in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images
Negotiations resumed in Vienna this week on a top Trump priority and potential election year twist: a U.S.-Russia nuclear agreement.
Why it matters: In the next several months, President Trump and Vladimir Putin could either sign a framework for the future of arms control or put the last major treaty constraining the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals on course for expiration in February.
What they’re saying: The man tasked with delivering a deal, U.S. arms control envoy Marshall Billingslea, spoke with Axios shortly after returning from Vienna.
The big picture: The Russians want to extend 2011's New START. The Trump administration is "ambivalent" about the treaty's looming expiration, Billingslea says, but will agree to an extension if Russia signs onto its ambitious framework for a future nuclear treaty.
Driving the news: The Trump administration has abandoned its demand that China be involved in any nuclear talks. It's now aiming to reach a political accord with Russia, and then pressure China to join talks and eventually a treaty.
Where things stand: Any deal appears a long way off. While Billingslea says the only question is "political will in Moscow," his Russian counterpart says the sides' priorities "differ significantly.”
What to watch: The Russians will likely come back with counterproposals, says Rose Gottemoeller, who served as the lead U.S. negotiator on New START.
Worth noting: Joe Biden has said he'd extend New START if elected. Billingslea says that's no surprise, and he denies that it weakens his negotiating position.
Pompeo today at the UN Security Council. Photo: Mike Segar/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
The U.S. has officially demanded that sanctions on Iran lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal be brought back into force, setting the stage for a major diplomatic showdown at the UN Security Council.
Why it matters: The U.S. withdrew from the Iran deal in 2018, but it's now invoking the deal's terms in an attempt to restore sanctions on Iran — and possibly to destroy the deal before a potential Biden administration could salvage it.
Driving the news: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially lodged the "snapback" request today at the UN.
Between the lines: The deal says any of the signatories — the U.S., Russia, China, France, Germany and the U.K. — can demand sanctions be reimposed automatically if they believe Iran has committed substantial violations. No country can veto such a move.
Photo: Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, is in an intensive care unit after drinking what an aide believes was poisoned tea before boarding a flight from Siberia to Moscow.
The big picture: Navalny is not only a Kremlin critic, he made his reputation by documenting corruption in Putin’s inner circle. Facts are sparse at present, but his case evokes the grim history of poisonings by Russia’s security services.
How it happened: An aide traveling with Navalny says he ordered tea at the airport and fell ill shortly after boarding his flight.
Where things stand: The aide said this afternoon that Navalny was in a coma.
Go deeper: Read The Guardian's coverage.
Members of the military are cheered as they parade through Bamako following the mutiny. Photo: AFP via Getty
Mali’s ousted president and the soldiers who arrested him have both made televised addresses in the wake of Tuesday’s coup, with the former offering his resignation and the latter promising new elections.
Why it matters: The uprising from within the military follows months of protests in a country facing intertwined political and security crises. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is out, but it's unclear what comes next.
What to watch: Mali's neighbors fear that extremist groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIS will seize on the uncertainty and instability.
Where things stand: Activity is slowly returning in Bamako, per the BBC, after shops and offices closed amid the uncertainty of the coup.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The global race for a COVID-19 vaccine is a high-stakes test of China's scientific prowess, Axios' Alison Snyder reports.
What's happening: Of the 202 COVID-19 vaccines in development around the world, 20 involve teams in China, per the Milken Institute.
What to watch: "If China is one of the first to develop a safe and effective vaccine, they would be in an extraordinary diplomatic and scientific moment in how they chose to share it," says Ryan Ritterson of Gryphon Scientific.
A view of Coral Beach, Bermuda. Photo: Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Bermuda is ramping up a scheme to attract foreign workers on year-long residencies, the island's prime minister tells Axios' Rebecca Falconer.
Where things stand: The island of 62,000 has conducted more than 34,000 tests, with 166 testing positive in total and 10 active cases at present.
My thought bubble: If you're not going to make it to Bermuda but would like a taste of island life (and have dark rum on hand), may I recommend mixing up a Dark & Stormy.
Catching a show in Cornwall, U.K. Photo: Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images
“If law enforcement agencies are not looking into intentional poisoning, why are there so many cops in the hospital?”— Navalny's spokesperson