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The D-Day Anniversary That Was Just as Awkward as Expected

On Friday, world leaders descended on Normandy, France, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. That gathering included Russian President Vladimir Putin, setting up a series of, well, let's call them awkward interactions with his fellow world leaders.

President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko were all on hand for the celebration. Perhaps in memory of a time when Russia and the West played on the same team, French President Francois Hollande also invited Putin to the ceremonies, which included a ceremonial luncheon and a dance performance.

The resulting photos show some of the world's most powerful men and women -- who have been at loggerheads for months over Russia's annexation of Crimea and its aggression in eastern Ukraine -- as they attempt to make nice despite ongoing the political and economic sparring. The summit marked the first meeting between Poroshenko and Putin, but it wasn't purely ceremonial. In a brief encounter, the two men reportedly discussed a possible cease-fire in eastern Ukraine. Putin also briefly met with Obama and held more formal talks with his French, German, and British counterparts.

The best images from the get-together are below.

Here, Putin arrives for a group photo, earning some glares from his peers:

In conversation with Putin, Merkel just looks confused. The series below captures their exchange, which appears to leave Merkel somewhat baffled.



Putin seems to have an unrivaled ability to make ridiculous expressions in Merkel's company. The scene below brings to mind that time he was accosted by a naked protester at a trade show in Hanover.

At an indoor sit-down with Merkel, Putin's expression isn't ridiculous -- just bored.

It's hard not to think Putin is doing is best to ignore Poroshenko here:


YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

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Sorry to Be a Killjoy, but the CIA’s First Tweet Isn’t Funny

The CIA hasn't gotten a lot of good press lately. The agency is embroiled in a brutal fight with the Senate Intelligence Committee over the content of a report documenting the use of torture under the Bush administration. Much of the public is wary of its drones that strike militants around the globe, particularly when the targets are American citizens. And just last month the White House accidentally revealed the identity of the CIA's top spy in Afghanistan.

But on Friday, the agency scored an incredible psychological operations victory: The CIA joined Twitter, and with a clever first tweet managed to engineer a public relations coup (see what I did there?): 

That message has been retweeted more than 100,000 times and for anyone who has ever tried to write anything about the agency, it is a dark joke. In its capacity as America's premier intelligence agency, the CIA is very good at controlling information about itself and its work. The phrase "neither confirm nor deny" is wonderful shorthand for the agency's frequent refusal to reveal information about its operations, and its use on Twitter isn't so much humorous as it is smugly ironic about the power vested in the agency.

In addition to Twitter, the agency also joined Facebook and in so doing says that it hopes to better communicate with the public. "By expanding to these platforms, CIA will be able to more directly engage with the public and provide information on CIA's mission, history, and other developments," CIA Director John Brennan said in a statement. "We have important insights to share, and we want to make sure that unclassified information about the Agency is more accessible to the American public that we serve, consistent with our national security mission."

Needless to say, that pledge is highly unlikely to include greater transparency, making the CIA's first tweet at best a smug jibe at those who have tried to pry the agency's secrets into the open:

 

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images