Biden'd
July 21, 2014
Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden claims he once looked Russian President Vladimir Putin right in the face and called him soulless. That incredible tale comes via a sprawling profile of the vice president in the latest edition of The New Yorker.

To illustrate his emphasis on personality as a factor in foreign affairs, Biden recalled visiting Putin at the Kremlin in 2011: "I had an interpreter, and when he was showing me his office I said, 'It's amazing what capitalism will do, won't it? A magnificent office!' And he laughed. As I turned, I was this close to him." Biden held his hand a few inches from his nose. "I said, 'Mr. Prime Minister, I'm looking into your eyes, and I don't think you have a soul.'" [The New Yorker]

Putin even smiled at the remark, according to Biden.

The incredible anecdote is a riff on former President George W. Bush's claim that he looked into Putin's eyes, when they first met in 2001, and saw his soul. Whether or not Biden's version is 100 percent accurate, given the VP's alleged penchant for embellishing the truth, we'll never know. Jon Terbush

Foreign affairs
8:10 a.m. ET
GORAN TOMASEVIC / Reuters / Corbis

The leader of Burundi's opposition party on Saturday was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in the capital of Bujumbura. Zedi Feruzi, the leader of the party Union for Peace and Development-Zigamibanga, and a bodyguard were shot dead by unidentified gunmen just one day after a grenade attack killed at least two civilians in the same city. Burundi has been rocked by unrest — including a failed coup — for weeks since President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would run for a third term. Jon Terbush

Oops
May 23, 2015
Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Bank of England apparently needs a refresher on how to keep a classified project…classified.

An editor for The Guardian received an email on Friday, accidentally forwarded by the Bank's head of press, which details plans to research the financial repercussions of a British exit from the European Union. Nicknamed Project Bookend, the not-so-secret work was meant to be carried out by just a few senior officials, and examine how a "Brexit" would affect the country's export's and major cities' economies.

The email noted that any questions from the press should be answered by saying that "there is a lot going on in Europe in the next couple of months…that would be of concern to the Bank."

A note to the Bank's staff on the project: Take a good, long look at the "CC" field before you send any of Project Bookend's results. Also, consider a better name than Project Bookend. Sarah Eberspacher

This just in
May 23, 2015
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Irish voters overwhelmingly said "yes" to same-sex marriage on Saturday, with 62.1 percent in support of amending the constitution to legalize gay marriage, The Associated Press reports.

The results make Ireland the first nation in the world to legalize gay marriage with a popular vote. John Lyons, one of just four openly gay members of the country's 166-member parliament, credited young voters with shifting Ireland's historically conservative constitution in a more liberal direction.

"This says something about modern Ireland," Lyons said. "Let's never underestimate the electorate or what they think." Sarah Eberspacher

Trailer Time
May 23, 2015

"If nobody sees it, it didn't happen."

Such is the advice Whitey Bulger gives his small son in the new trailer for Black Mass, a film promising to peel back the layers on "the most feared, the most wanted, the most notorious gangster in U.S. history." Johnny Depp stars as Bulger, who was arrested in 2011 at age 84 after more than a decade on the run. He was sentenced to two life sentences in 2013, for a string of murders and extortion and money-laundering schemes throughout the 1970s and '80s. Some of the families of Bulger's victims are unhappy with Hollywood's take on the criminal; one told Boston's CBS affiliate the trailer glamorizes Bulger's actions.

Watch Depp's take on Bulger in the new trailer, below. —Sarah Eberspacher

Space News
May 23, 2015
Courtesy NASA

It's a star-eat-star universe out there.

A group of astronomers published a new study with the Royal Astronomical Society this week in which they hypothesize that a star nicknamed "Nasty 1" is being subjected to "sloppy stellar cannibalism" by a second star buried in its hydrogen-dominated outer layers, NBC News reports.

Nasty 1 is a Wolf-Rayet, a huge type of star that begins its life with nearly 20 times the sun's mass. But those outer layers eventually disappear, leaving the star's core susceptible to space. So astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope were surprised to observe a unique gas disk nearly three trillion miles wide encompassing Nasty 1. The discovery is leading scientists to think a second Wolf-Rayet star located within that disk is causing a "mass-transfer process."

The study's authors say they hope to learn more about the process by "catching binary stars in this short-lived phase." Sarah Eberspacher

This just in
May 23, 2015
AP Photo/Tony Dejak, Pool

Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was found not guilty on two counts of felony voluntary manslaughter on Saturday, The Washington Post reports.

He is the first of six officers to be prosecuted for their roles in the November 2012 fatal shootings of Timothy Russell, 43, and Malissa Williams, 30, both of whom were unarmed at the time of their deaths. Russell and Williams led 62 police vehicles on a chase after the Chevy Malibu Russell was driving backfired in front of police headquarters, which officers mistook for gunfire.

When Russell finally stopped his car in East Cleveland, 13 police officers, including Brelo, shot at least 137 rounds into the vehicle. Russell was shot 23 times; Williams was shot 24 times. Sarah Eberspacher

Crisis in Iraq
May 23, 2015
John Moore/Getty Images

Two U.S. officials speaking anonymously with The Guardian on Friday said Iran has contributed troops to the Iraqi ground force operations against ISIS.

The U.S. military has previously stated that Iran's involvement would not be opposed, so long as its troops remain under the command of Iraqi government-led forces. Still, a U.S. statement released Friday detailing recent operations against ISIS made no mention of Iran's involvement.

The U.S. and its allies have staged a series of offensives over the past few days, in a bid to retake control of the Beiji refinery compound. U.S.-led airstrikes have also targeted the city of Ramadi, which was overtaken by ISIS earlier this week. Sarah Eberspacher

See More Speed Reads