Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is in talks with North Korea. Cliff Owen / AP

Sec. of State Rex Tillerson said today that the U.S. has "three channels open to Pyongyang," confirming for the first time that the Trump administration is in direct talks with North Korea, NYT reports. The channels allow the admin and the North Korean regime to talk about nuclear and missile tests, and, some hope, avoid a war between the two countries.

Key quote: "We ask, 'Would you like to talk?' We have lines of communications to Pyongyang — we're not in a dark situation, a blackout," Tillerson said. "We can talk to them. We do talk to them. Directly."

This is similar to the Obama administration's communication with Iran, but Tillerson argued, "We are not going to put together a nuclear deal in North Korea that is as flimsy as the one in Iran." The goal, he said, is to decrease the tension between North Korea and the U.S. and lower the likelihood of threats from the DPRK.

"I think everyone would like for it to calm down," Tillerson said of both Kim Jong-un's and Trump's back-and-forth threats.

Go deeper: Trump and Kim Jong-un are in a war of words.

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Supreme Court won't block Rhode Island's eased absentee voting rules

Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Supreme Court said Thursday that it will not block Rhode Island's move to ease its requirements for absentee voting during November's election.

Why it matters: The decision is a loss for Republicans, who had requested an emergency order as the state is expected to begin mailing out its ballots.

Breaking down Uber and Lyft's threat to suspend services in California

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Uber and Lyft are ratcheting up the fight with California’s state government over the classification of drivers with a move that would deprive Californians of their ride-hailing services (and halt driver income).

Driving the news: On Wednesday, both companies said that if a court doesn’t overturn or further pause a new ruling forcing them to reclassify California drivers as employees, they’ll suspend their services in the state until November’s election, when voters could potentially exempt them by passing a ballot measure.

Trump announces normalization of ties between Israel and UAE

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu, Trump and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto; Samuel Corum; Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced a "historic" deal Thursday which will see Israel and the UAE open full diplomatic relations and Israel suspend its annexation plans in the West Bank.

Why it matters: This is a major breakthrough for Israel, which lacks diplomatic recognition in many Middle Eastern countries but has been steadily improving relations in the Gulf, largely due to mutual antipathy toward Iran.