Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a grim press conference following a 2 hour meeting between Tillerson and Vladimir Putin, with the U.S. Secretary of State conceding that U.S./Russia relations had reached "a low point."

Tillerson

  • "The world's two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship."
  • Tillerson accused Assad of using chlorine bombs and other chemical weapons on more than 50 occasions.
  • He said: "Clearly our view is that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end," and that Russia is best placed to convince Assad that's the case.
  • Russian interference in elections "is fairly well established" and might merit more sanctions, but was only "briefly" mentioned in the meeting with Putin (Lavrov said the U.S. had no evidence it took place and had made no sanctions threats).

Lavrov

  • Called for an "unbiased" and "frank" investigation into the chemical weapons attack in Syria, just a day after U.S. officials accused Russia of attempting to "cover up" the Syrian regime's culpability.
  • Putin "reaffirmed" his agreement to keeping channels of communication between the U.S. and Russian militaries open. Added that Putin is open to cooperating in Syria if the focus is fighting ISIS
  • Lavrov issued a roundabout warning over potential U.S. efforts to remove Assad, saying he hopes Iraq and Libya serve as examples. Called for "common sense," claiming that if Assad is ousted, ISIS may fill the void.
  • Said they discussed the crisis in Ukraine and agreed that the Minsk peace accords are the only way forward, and spoke about North Korea.

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Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

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Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

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Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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