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Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(RUSSKY ISLAND, Russia) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted North Korea’s ruler, Kim Jong Un, at a summit in the Russian port of Vladivostok on Thursday, the first time the two have met as leaders, amid efforts by the United States to persuade the North to abandon its nuclear weapons.

The two met at a university on Russky island, a large island in the Sea of Japan linked to Vladivostok by a bridge. Putin received Kim with a Russian honor guard on a red carpet, with the two exchanging a long handshake before going inside for talks.

Speaking at the opening of the talks, Putin said he welcomed Kim’s efforts to normalize relations with the U.S. and said he hoped the talks would help Russia play a role in ending the diplomatic standoff over North Korea’s nuclear arms.

Putin said he was sure the meeting "will allow us to better understand what ways we can resolve the situation on the Korean Peninsula, what we can do together, [and] what Russia can do in order to support the positive processes which are happening now."

Following the talks though, which lasted a little less than two hours, it was unclear if any concrete details came out of them despite Putin's pronouncement of "quite a substantial talk." Ahead of the summit, experts said it was very unlikely the meeting would produce anything concrete. Instead, the encounter for both sides was more about the image it broadcast.

The meeting is the first time Putin and Kim have met since he became North Korea’s ruler in 2011 and comes against the backdrop of President Donald Trump’s efforts to make North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons and the U.S. president’s own two summits with Kim in the past year.

After concluding their discussions, Putin and Kim appeared at a televised session seated with their delegations, which included senior ministers. They gave very brief statements saying they had exchanged opinions on the Korea conflict and thanked one another for coming.

"I was very glad to meet with you Mr. President and with Russian friends,” Kim said. “I would like to again express my sincere gratitude that you flew here, far from Moscow, thousands of miles and gave us the time to substantively discuss questions,” Kim said.

Putin said the two talked about the nuclear dispute, saying, “We exchanged opinions about what, and how, we need to do so that the situation has a good prospect for improvement.”

He concluded, "I want to thank Mr Chairman that he accepted our invitation and came to Russia."

The meeting was most notable for the fact it had taken place. Kim arrived in Vladivostok on Wednesday, travelling on the armored train he uses for foreign trips.

The summit was billed as a way for Russia and North Korea to bolster their relations and discuss the dispute over the North’s nuclear weapons. Russia has been involved for years in efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal and has joined with the U.S. in imposing tough United Nations sanctions on Pyongyang. But Russia has also sought to maintain friendly relations, which draw on the countries' shared Communist past, and the Kremlin has criticized the U.S. for being overly aggressive and relying too heavily on sanctions to persuade the North Koreans.

Russia meanwhile has felt like it has been locked out of the efforts to handle the crisis between the U.S. and North Korea and sees meeting with Kim as a way to underline its involvement.

The summit "brings Moscow back into the diplomatic game focused on the Korean Peninsula," Alexander Gabuev, chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center, wrote in an article ahead of the summit.

"I want to thank you dear Mr. President for inviting me, and despite your extremely busy schedule, you hosted my visit and traveled thousands of kilometres to come here and meet me," Kim said.

Kim is expected to remain in Vladivostok for another day after Putin leaves to tour cultural sites.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant reported this week that Kim’s itinerary may include a trip to a local theater or the Russian Pacific Fleet’s museum, as well as to a number of other sites that Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, visited during a similar official trip he made in 2002.

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In a video released Thursday morning, former Vice President Joe Biden formally announced he's running for president in 2020 -- ending months-long speculation about his intentions.

Biden becomes the 20th Democrat to enter the 2020 race, and enters as a high-profile candidate, with decades of experience.

He will hold his first event as a candidate in Pittsburgh on Monday.

The core values of this nation… our standing in the world… our very democracy...everything that has made America -- America --is at stake. That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the United States. #Joe2020 https://t.co/jzaQbyTEz3

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) April 25, 2019

Following his formal announcement, Biden's first television interview will take place on ABC's The View on Friday.


He and his wife Dr. Jill Biden will also sit down with Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, ahead of his Pittsburgh event. The interview will air on GMA Tuesday.

Throughout the 2018 midterms, Biden cast the upcoming elections as a "battle for the soul of America."

In a field that boasts a number of vocal progressive candidates, Biden's bipartisan approach may make it difficult for him to gain support with the liberal wing of the party.

"Middle-Class Joe" isn’t backing away from his bipartisan roots.

"Vice President Biden believes to his core that you can disagree politically on a lot and still work together on issues of common cause, especially issues as essential as the fight against cancer," Biden spokesperson Bill Russo told ABC News earlier this year.

One of the first challenges to Biden's candidacy will be answering tough questions on allegations from some women who have said that the former vice president made them feel uncomfortable in past interactions by touching them without their permission.

On Wednesday, his Democratic rival, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, signaled that Biden "is going to have to directly answer to voters" on the allegations.

This will be Biden's third run for president. He previously ran in 1988 and 2008, before serving as vice president to Barack Obama.

Biden was one of the youngest people ever elected to the Senate, when he won his race in 1972 at 29 years old.

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Marvel Studios/Disney(LOS ANGELES) -- It's one of the most anticipated films of the year, and the wait is almost over. Avengers: Endgame, which opens in previews on Thursday, is the culmination of 10 years of Marvel movies, and Don Cheadle, who plays War Machine, tells ABC News it has "all the feels."

"You're gonna get the ones that make you smile, the ones that you know, confuse you," he says. "You're gonna get a real 'Oh man' in this one."

The film is full of moments that will "make you cheer" and "make you excited, says Captain Marvel star Brie Larson, who goes on to describe it as an "edge-of-your-seat type of film."

It's widely speculated that Endgame will be the end of the line for more than one Avenger. Chris Hemsworth says whatever the future holds for his character, Thor, it's been a great ride thus far.

"It's been the best thing I've ever been a part of, he tells ABC.

As for the future of the franchise, Hemsworth says, "I think...the universe will continue to grow with or without us you know, just because it's showing no sign of slowing down or stopping you know."

Avengers: Endgame opens nationwide on Friday. Disney is the parent company of Marvel and ABC News.

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Rattankun Thongbun/iStock(JASPER, Texas) -- White supremacist John William King was executed on Wednesday, more than 20 years after he killed James Byrd Jr. in a horrifying hate crime.

King was one of three white men convicted of murdering Byrd, who was black, on June 7, 1998, near Jasper, Texas.

Byrd, a 49-year-old father of three, was abducted, beaten, chained to the back of a pickup truck and then dragged down a country road.

His body was decapitated, dismembered and ditched.

King, 44, was sentenced to death in 1999.

The other killers were Lawrence Russell Brewer, who was executed in September 2011, and Shawn Allen Berry, who is serving life in prison.

In 1999, Byrd's family founded the Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing, a non-profit organization that works to promote "racial healing and cultural diversity through education."

Byrd's gruesome slaying led to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama in 2009.

The legislation added crimes motivated by victims' race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability to the federal hate crime law. Shepard, an openly gay college student, was abducted, fatally beaten and tied to a fence in Wyoming in October 1998.

King's execution took place in Huntsville, Texas, at 7 p.m. local time Wednesday.

King called himself an "unrepentant racist" -- but innocent of the crime -- in a 2004 interview with ABC News.

Allen Richard Ellis, an appeals attorney for King, told ABC News in 2003 that King's "racist beliefs" left him on death row even though he said the crime wasn't race-related.

"Byrd was not killed because he was black," said Ellis. "There was a history of drug dealing between one of the people in the apartment and Mr. Byrd. Mr. Byrd had ripped one of them off, and this is unfortunately what happened to him."

"A lot of people in this country, for very good reason, would find him to be a very offensive person," Ellis said of his client, but added that "he deserves unconflicted legal representation."

Ellis did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment on Wednesday.

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wellesenterprises/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A Texas family is accused of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in a scheme to re-sell tickets to the annual Masters golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, the Department of Justice said.

The indictment, unsealed in the Southern District of Georgia on Tuesday details a pattern from 2013 to 2017 in which Steven and Diane Freeman and their children Christine Oliverson and Stephen M. Freeman took steps to defraud the prestigious golf tournament's through its selective ticketing system.

According to the indictment, tickets are distributed in a lottery after information is submitted on the Augusta National Incorporated website and only one account per household is allowed.

Prosecutors allege that the family "defrauded ANI by creating false user accounts in order to purchase spectator tickets to attend the Masters Golf Tournament held annually in Augusta, Georgia." They went on to say, the family was hoping to "re-sell the tickets at a substantial profit.

The government alleges that the family created "false user accounts by purchasing mailing lists that included the actual names and addresses of individuals who did not grant their authority or permission for the creation of these accounts," the charging document says. They also created fake IDs, utility bills and credit card statements to go with fake accounts, and mail them to Augusta for a change of address, the prosecutors said.

They also purchased emails, "in bulk" to use to register online, authorities said.

The government says the family created a document in which they could all see information pertaining to the scheme at the same time.

"Mom, this links to a document that we can all see at once. this is how chrissy requested i send her the info," reads an email included in the indictment allegedly sent by Stephen M. Freeman. "we'll see how this works. i found a fairly basic utility bill in NY state. the link to the bill is on the document along with the changes that need to be made," the email reads.

Stephen Michael Freeman is also charged with identity theft.

If convicted, each member of the family could face up to 20 years in prison.

No attorneys for the family members were listed in court records.

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CDC(WASHINGTON) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed a 2018 case in which a blood-sucking insect known as a "kissing bug" bit a child in the face.

In July 2018, the family requested help from the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Department of Agriculture to identify an insect that had bitten their daughter's face while she was watching television in her bedroom at night because they were "concerned about possible disease transmission from the insect," the CDC announced last week.

The family, who lives in an older home in a heavily wooded area in Kent County, said at the time they had not recently traveled outside the area, and a window air conditioning unit was located in the girl's bedroom, according to the CDC.

Delaware officials preliminarily identified the insect as the "blood-sucking" kissing bug, or Triatoma sanguisuga, which feeds on animals and humans and have a habit of biting humans in the face, according to the CDC. Texas A&M University's Kissing Bug Citizen Science Program, a research program that documents and collects kissing bugs from across the U.S., identified the insect through a photograph.

The bug was also sent to the CDC, which then confirmed that the species was present in Delaware. Previously, a report of a suspected kissing bug in Kent County was sent to Texas A&M, which confirmed the bug via photograph, but a local institution in Delaware had initially identified the insect as a milkweed bug instead and destroyed the evidence before the university could examine it for further confirmation, according to the CDC.

The bug can transmit a parasite known as Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes a disease known as Chagas.

About 300,000 in the U.S. and 8 million people in Central and South America are living with Chagas, but only a few cases of the disease caused by contact with the kissing bug have been documented, according to the CDC. The rare parasitic disease can lead to heart failure or stroke, but the parasite can hide in the body for decades and most people who are infected do not develop any signs or symptoms.

Initial symptoms may include fever, fatigue, body aches, headache and rash, as well as local swelling where the bite occurred and the parasite entered the body. It is treated with an anti-trypanosomal medication, which is only available through the CDC.

The girl who was bitten in 2018 did not suffer any effects, according to the CDC.

To prevent infestation by the kissing bug, the CDC advises homeowners to place outdoor lights away from the home, dog kennels and chicken coops and to turn them off when they are not in use. Homeowners should also remove trash, wood and rock piles away from the home, clear out any bird and animal nests near the home and consider consulting a licensed pest control professional. In addition, cracks and gaps around windows, air conditions, walls, roofs, doors and crawl spaces should be inspected and sealed, chimney flues should be tightly closed when not in use and screens should be placed on all doors and windows.

The CDC also suggests that pets sleep indoors, especially at night, and that all pet resting areas be kept clean.

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Wolterk/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Boeing announced Wednesday that it was taking an initial $1 billion hit on the grounding of the 737 Max jet following two fatal plane crashes in five months.

The company also abandoned its previous full-year financial outlook as it grapples with the aftermath of the 737 Max fallout and works to implement software upgrades to its best-selling plane. Boeing is also halting stock buybacks.

The crashes of the 737 Max jets operated by Indonesia's Lion Air on Oct. 29 and by Ethiopian Airlines on March 10 killed a total of 346 people (189 and 157 deaths, respectively).

Chicago-based Boeing disclosed the information early Wednesday ahead of a call with investors.

The company reported Q1 earnings of $2.15 billion on revenue of $22.9 billion. Boeing said that losses from the 737 Max were partially offset by higher defense and services revenue.

Boeing also said it is making steady progress on the path to final certification for a software update on the 737 Max, with over 135 test and production flights of the software update complete.

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WING WARS 2019 WINNER

Congrats to Wings 4U in Cushing!!!!!! The Winner of Wing Wars 2019!!!!!!

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