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    06 July 2009

    US and Russia agree on arms and Afghanistan

    Russia and the United States have agreed sweeping cuts in nuclear weapons, and to allow American planes to use Russian airspace to resupply NATO forces in Afghanistan. Those are the two headline announcements from President Obama’s first day in Moscow.

    He and President Medvedev also agreed to try to resolve Washington’s planned missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Kremlin said deep differences still remain, but the two sides are to set up a special commission to work on a solution.

    This was the second time the two men have met: they said they had a good personal relations, and wanted to improve ties after years of distrust.

    “Obviously our two countries have their own understanding of their role, but at the same time we accept our wider responsibilities at a time when globalisation means that the world depends on our decisions,” said the Russian leader.

    “The President and I agreed that the relationship between Russia and the United States has suffered from a sense of drift,” said Obama. “We resolved to reset US-Russian relations so that we can cooperate more effectively in areas of common interest.”

    Back in the Cold War, Russia and America boasted many thousands of missiles and nuclear warheads. If the two sides can make any progress on a new arms reduction treaty, those arsenals will be reduced to about 1500 weapons on each side.

    Afghanistan is also important to both countries. Obama has said it is a war the West cannot afford to lose, while Russia has a vested interest in defeating the Taliban as it fears a Muslim insurgency on its southern borders.

    Franco-British relations ‘never been better’ – Brown

    The French and British governments have re-affirmed a closeness between the two countries after a summit at Evian in south-eastern France.
    The UK premier Gordon Brown said relations have never been better. Ministers tackled issues ranging from Iran to immigration and, inevitably the financial crisis. And they targetted tax-havens.

    Gordon Brown said: “The world should be in no doubt that the writing is on the wall for tax havens, wherever they may be. So we are calling today for a March 2010 deadline for the introduction of sanctions against tax havens.”

    On climate-change President Sarkozy said both Britain and France would press hard to make sure this week’s G8 meeting is truly committed to the fight against global-warming.

    “We will not be satisfied with long-term objectives, very long-term. We want objectives in the medium term to ensure their credibility,” he said.

    Britain and France, along with Germany and Italy want to see global warming limited to 2 degrees celsius. With preparations for the G8 summit underway at L’Aquila the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said he will press the US, Japan, Russia and Canada to fall into line with that figure.

    ALERT|NYC Freezes Hiring Because Of Senate Gridlock

    cbs2_logo_full By WCBS-TV Channel 2  New York City,NY…

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg is ordering an immediate hiring freeze because he says the state Senate gridlock is holding up new tax revenue for the city. The freeze delays indefinitely a class of 250 police recruits who were to be sworn in on Wednesday. The city is also putting off planned hires of firefighters, traffic agents, school crossing guards and EMTs.

    © MMIX CBS Broadcasting, Inc\ WCBS-TV New York.

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