Trump and Putin discuss arms race, welcome OPEC + oil deal

US President Donald Trump spoke to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday. (AP)
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Updated 07 May 2020

Trump and Putin discuss arms race, welcome OPEC + oil deal

  • Trump and Putin spoke by telephone and also discussed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump called on Thursday for involving China in new arms control talks with Russia, telling his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that they need to avoid a "costly arms race," the White House said.

Trump and Putin spoke by telephone, also welcoming the recent OPEC+ oil deal as well as discussing the global coronavirus pandemic, the White House added.

"President Trump reaffirmed that the United States is committed to effective arms control that includes not only Russia, but also China, and looks forward to future discussions to avoid a costly arms race," a statement said.

"President Trump reiterated that the United States is working hard to care for Americans at home and is also ready to provide assistance to any country in need, including Russia," the statement added.

In a readout of the phone call, the Kremlin said the two presidents had also discussed global oil markets, noting their support for last month's output deal between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, something they said had helped stabilise oil prices.

Russia and the US — rivals during the four decades of the Cold War — ripped up the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty this year, blaming one another for its demise. That deal was seen as a cornerstone of global security and its burial sparked fears of a new arms race.

Washington is threatening to quit the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or “New START,” when it expires next year.

New START — which obliged them to halve the number of missile launchers and set up a new verification regime — is seen as the last major deal keeping their arsenals below the Cold War peak.

However, Trump has been pushing for China to be brought into a future deal, arguing that Beijing’s missile and nuclear capability is rapidly expanding.


Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

Updated 2 min 3 sec ago

Pakistan couple arrested for allegedly murdering seven-year-old maid

  • Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi
  • Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: A Pakistan couple have been arrested for allegedly murdering their seven-year-old maid after she was blamed for letting a pet bird escape, police said, the latest case of violence against child domestic workers in the country.
Hassan Siddiqui and his wife employed Zohra Bibi at their home in a middle-class suburb of Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, to care for their son of a similar same age.
“The poor girl was subjected to torture by Siddiqui and his wife who accused her of freeing one of the four pet Macao parrots,” investigating officer Mukhtar Ahmad said on Thursday.
“Siddiqui kicked her in the lower abdomen which proved fatal.”
Some 8.5 million people — including many children — are employed as domestic workers in Pakistan, according to the International Labour Organization.
Theoretically it is illegal to employ anyone under the age of 15, but it remains common practice.
Zohra was taken to hospital by the couple on Sunday, but died the following day. The incident was reported to the police by staff at the hospital.
The young girl’s body was handed over to her parents, who live in Muzaffargarh, near the city of Multan, more than 500 kilometers away from where she was working.
Human rights minister Shireen Mazari confirmed the arrests in a tweet and said the ministry was in touch with police.
“Violence and physical torture against children will not be tolerated and all those involved in such incidents will be dealt with,” city police chief Muhammad Ahsan Younus added.
Domestic workers frequently face exploitation, violence and sexual abuse, with Pakistan’s patriarchal and rigid social-class structure leaving them without a voice.
Children are particularly vulnerable, and Bibi’s case is the latest in a growing number of incidents involving minors.
In December 2018, the rising number of abuse cases led the provincial legislature in Punjab to set regulations for the employment of domestic workers, which theoretically grants them rights such as sick leave and holidays.