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In our news wrap Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky held their first one-on-one meeting. It came in Paris, after the two met with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for broader talks at a peace summit. Also, North Korea fired hostile new words at President Trump, calling him “a heedless and erratic old man.”
In the day's other news: Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky held their first one-on-one meeting. It came in Paris, after they met with French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel for broader talks at a peace summit.
Putin and Zelensky said the meetings were positive, and they agreed on a prisoner swap. Russia backs rebel forces that control Eastern Ukraine.
North Korea sent hostile new words in the direction of President Trump today. Former nuclear negotiator Kim Yong-chol called the president — quote — "a heedless and erratic old man."
That came after Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, is — quote — "too smart" and has gone too far — and has far too much to lose to return to open hostility.
Iran says that it is ready to swap more prisoners with the U.S. after an exchange on Saturday. Tehran freed a Chinese-American scholar who is accused of espionage. Washington released an Iranian scientist charged with violating sanctions on Iran.
In Tehran today, a government spokesman said the swap doesn't open the door to broader talks.
Ali Rabiei (through translator):
We are ready for cooperation to bring back all the Iranians unfairly imprisoned in America. But I emphasize that the prisoner exchange wasn't done based on negotiations.
At least four American citizens are currently being held in Iran.
Police in Hong Kong report that they have made 6,000 arrests during six months of pro-democracy protests. Today's announcement came after hundreds of thousands of protesters marched peacefully through the city on Sunday. Many carried banners and chanted "Fight for freedom." Officials approved the march in advance.
In France, mass strikes kicked off the workweek with near standstill commutes. Parisians crammed into the few available trains, as transit workers stayed off the job for a fifth day. And in Lille, train tracks at usually bustling stations were empty. The strikers are targeting President Emmanuel Macron's calls for pension changes.
The World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia today from international sporting events for four years over state-sponsored doping. Russian athletes will still be allowed to compete at next Summer's Olympics in Tokyo and elsewhere, but not with their flag or their national anthem.
In Switzerland, the Anti-Doping Agency said that Russian authorities have only themselves to blame.
Russia was afforded every opportunity to get its house in order and to rejoin the global anti-doping community for the good of its athletes and for the integrity of sport. But it chose instead a different route.
The Russians signaled that they will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
At least five tourists are dead after a volcano erupted today off New Zealand's coast. Eight more are missing and feared dead. It happened on White Island in the Bay of Plenty, just north of the mainland. Dozens of people were exploring the area at the time. Most were evacuated, but some were critically injured.
Back in this country, the U.S. Supreme Court left in place a Kentucky law that mandates ultrasound exams for women who want abortions. The statute requires doctors to perform the ultrasound and show the images to the patient before any abortion procedure. An appeals court had upheld the law. The Supreme Court refused today to review that ruling.
On Wall Street, stocks pulled back, as investors kept watch on U.S.-China trade talks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 105 points to close at 27909. The Nasdaq fell 34 points. And the S&P 500 slipped almost 10.
And former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker died today. His passing came 40 years after he drove interest rates to record highs to tame double-digit inflation.
Economics correspondent Paul Solman looks back at Volcker's life and work.
At 6'7", Paul Volcker was known as tall Paul. And, indeed, he towered over economic policy for more than 60 years.
President Jimmy Carter chose Volcker to head the Federal Reserve in 1979, when the U.S. faced runaway inflation. To bring prices under control, Volcker, never without a cigar, choked off the money supply, driving up interest rates to discourage lending and borrowing.
Volcker defended the policy on "The MacNeil/Lehrer Report" in 1981.
The way you're going to get those interest rates down is by persisting in policies that will indeed continue to bring the inflation rate down. And at some point, this dam is going to break and the psychology is going to change.
And sky-high interest rates, he figured, would have the desired effect, as they did, but caused deep recession and unemployment that reached nearly 11 percent. Homebuilders sent Volcker their protests scrolled on wooden planks. But Volcker stood tall.
You can't deal with that problem by simply saying, we're going to let inflation go ahead.
Volcker's policies may have cost Carter the 1980 election.
But in a statement released today, the one-term president said: "Although some of his policies as Fed chairman were politically costly, they were the right thing to do."
By 1983, inflation had come down dramatically, and President Ronald Reagan reappointed Volcker, a lifelong Democrat, as Fed chair. But the two soon clashed over the growing federal deficit, which Volcker feared might reignite inflation. Volcker left the Fed in 1987. His last legacy: advising President Obama after the 2008 financial crisis, pressing to restrict commercial banks from making risky investments, a controversial reform known as the Volcker rule.
For the "NewsHour," this is Paul Solman.
Paul Volcker was 92 years old.
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