Alexei Druzhinin, RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, Filenews

Russia signed signed an agreement Friday giving it a much greater ability to deploy military forces in Syria for at least the next HALF-CENTURY, per the NYT.The winner: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has slaughtered hundreds of thousands of his people during the six-year war to hold power.Elsewhere:

  • More from the NYT: "As the clock wound down on Barack Obama's presidency, an Air Force B-52 bomber carried out a punishing airstrike against a training camp of al Qaeda in Syria, the Pentagon said Friday. The attack, which took place west of Aleppo, killed more than 100 fighters."
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May, the first leader Trump mentioned in our interview when asked about his top allies, told the Financial Times she would be very frank about the need for a strong NATO and EU. Trump has very critical of both institutions.

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Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

Updated 57 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
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  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.
3 hours ago - World

Opposition leader Leopoldo López flees Venezuela

Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo López outside the Spanish embassy in Caracas, in 2019. Photo: Juan Barreto/AFP via Getty Images

Leopoldo López, a former political prisoner and prominent Venezuelan opposition leader, has left the country, his Popular Will party confirmed in a statement Saturday.

Why it matters: He's been an influential force in the push to oust President Nicolás Maduro's regime and a mentor to opposition leader Juan Guaidó. He'd been in the Spanish ambassador's Caracas residence since escaping house arrest in April 2019 following a failed military uprising.