WASHINGTON – The U.S. and Russia on Friday rejected each other's proposals for potentially salvaging the last remaining legal constraint on their strategic nuclear forces. President Vladimir Putin called for an unconditional extension of the soon-to-expire New START treaty, and the White House called that a “non-starter.”
Adding an edginess to the diplomatic clash, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, suggested the Russians rethink their stance “before a costly arms race ensues.”
Administration officials have previously alluded to building up nuclear forces if the treaty is abandoned, although the Pentagon has its hands full paying for a one-for-one replacement of older nuclear weapons.
In the closing days of his reelection bid, Trump has looked for ways to boost his foreign policy record, and although he says he favors nuclear arms control, he has called New START flawed and unfavorable to the U.S. Last year he withdrew the U.S. from a separate nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and he waited until this year to begin engaging the Russians on the future of the New START deal.
After denial, feds approve wildfire aid
President Donald Trump's administration abruptly reversed course and approved California's application for disaster relief funds to clean up damage from six recent deadly and destructive blazes that have scorched the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.
“Just got off the phone with President Trump who has approved our Major Disaster Declaration request. Grateful for his quick response,” Newsom said in a brief statement.
Neither he nor the White House gave details on why the administration shifted positions less than two days after it initially denied the state's request for a declaration that officials said could provide the state with hundreds of millions of dollars.
The reversal came the same week the Pacific Gas and Electric utility cut off service to more than 40,000 Northern California customers to prevent powerful winds from damaging equipment and sparking wildfires amid a fall heat wave. Electricity was restored to most customers by Friday evening, PG&E said.
Black man sues gas station over slight
A Black man who said he was prohibited from buying gas by a white gas station attendant has filed a $350,000 racial discrimination lawsuit against the station.
Dominique DeWeese said in the lawsuit filed Wednesday that he asked an attendant in July at Jay's Garage in Portland for a gallon of gas in a container so he could do yard work.
DeWeese said the attendant declined and claims he implied that he did not want to provide DeWeese with an opportunity to set fires or commit other crimes.
The gas station's owner did not return a request for comment by The Oregonian.