U.S., Russia appear set to extend last remaining nuclear pact

WASHINGTON — The United States and Russia inched closer Tuesday to a deal to extend their last remaining arms control pact, after U.S. threats to allow the deal to expire early next year.

The two sides signaled they are ready to accept compromises to salvage the New START treaty just two weeks ahead of the U.S. presidential election in which President Donald Trump faces a strong challenge from former Vice President Joe Biden, whose campaign has accused Trump of being soft on Russia.

After the White House last week rejected a proposal from the Kremlin to keep the accord alive, calling it a “non-starter,” Moscow said Tuesday it could agree to a U.S.-proposed freeze on each side’s nuclear warheads and to extend the treaty by one year. In response, the U.S. said it was ready for a quick deal.

Melania Trump nixes campaign trip due to cough from COVID-19

WASHINGTON — Melania Trump’s return to the campaign trail will have to wait.

The first lady has decided against accompanying President Donald Trump to a campaign rally Tuesday in Erie, Pennsylvania, because of a lingering cough after her bout with COVID-19, said Stephanie Grisham, her chief of staff.

It was to be Mrs. Trump’s first public appearance since recovering from the coronavirus, as well as her first time out on the campaign trail in more than a year.

The first lady’s announcement served as yet another reminder for the president that, as much as he wishes the virus would “just disappear” — as he has said — it remains a powerful presence in everyday life, including his.

Jewish group condemns auction of Hitler speeches in Germany

BERLIN — A prominent European Jewish organization slammed a Munich auction house’s decision to sell several of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s handwritten speech notes, saying Tuesday it “defies logic, decency and humanity” to put them on the market.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, said the upcoming sale of the manuscripts is particularly worrisome amid recent figures showing rising anti-Semitism in Germany, and could encourage neo-Nazis.

“I cannot get my head around the sheer irresponsibility and insensitivity, in such a febrile climate, of selling items such as the ramblings of the world’s biggest killer of Jews to the highest bidder,” he said in a statement. “What auctions like this do help legitimize Hitler enthusiasts who thrive on this sort of stuff.”

The speech notes being offered, all dated before World War II, are directed to Nazi-party organizations and contributors at various functions, and make reference to preparing Germany for war and the “Jewish problem,” said Bernhard Pacher, the managing director of the Hermann Historica auction house where they go on sale Friday.

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