Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The United States and Russia began talks via video link Thursday to keep their respective military aircraft from coming into contact over the skies of Syria, where both countries are now conducting airstrike operations.

Meanwhile, U.S. officials said that it was clear that ISIS was not targeted by Russian aircraft on Wednesday.

On Monday, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that both nations should work out details to hold the talks as it appeared that Russia would soon begin air operations in Syria.

Two days later, U.S. officials were surprised that Russia began launching airstrikes in Syria even before details had been worked out for when to hold the talks.

The U.S. did not receive advance notification of the start of the Russian airstrikes until an hour before when a Russian general went to the American embassy in Baghdad to request that American aircraft vacate the area where the missions would strike.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter later described that initial Russian contact as a “drop in” and labeled that kind of notification as “unprofessional.” He told reporters that his goals for the talks to “de-conflict” Syrian airspace would be “to facilitate the flow of information between coalition forces and Russian elements that will help us maintain the safety of our personnel in the region, which is critical. To ensure that any additional Russian actions do not interfere with our coalition’s efforts to degrade and defeat ISIL. And to clarify that broader U.S. security commitments in the region remain unchanged.”

Defense officials confirmed that the talks began Thursday morning via a secure video conference between officials at the Pentagon and their Russian counterparts.

The U.S. team is headed by Elissa Slotkin, the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs and vice Admiral Frank Pandolfe, the Joint Staff’s Director of Strategic Plans and Policy.

A military spokesman in Baghdad said the Russian strikes had not affected U.S. air operations over Syria.

Warren confirmed that Russian aircraft conducted more than half a dozen strikes on Wednesday, but did not have information as to how many airstrikes may have taken place today.

“In the last 24 hours, we have conducted several sorties over Syria,” said Col. Steve Warren. “We have not altered operations in Syria to accommodate new players on the battlefield.”

While noting that there is always the risk of a miscalculation or inadvertent contact involving aircraft from different nations over the skies of Syria, he also noted there are “a lot of square miles in Syria”and American pilots “have terrific situation awareness.”

Warren said that even though Russia has claimed that it is striking at ISIS targets inside Syria, “We don’t believe that they struck ISIL targets.“

A U.S. official told ABC News that Wednesday’s airstrikes near Homs and Hama struck al Nusra and Free Syrian Army locations. The Free Syrian Army is a moderate opposition force that has received assistance from the U.S. for several years. There were also reports that other groups that have received training and equipment from the CIA were also struck by Russian airstrikes.

“When they said that they planned to strike ISIL. And yet, where they struck yesterday, we don’t believe there was any ISIL there,” said Warren using another acronym for ISIS. “So that’s a problem, right?,”said Warren. “The Russians have said that they’re going to do one thing, and here they are doing something different than that, which we, of course, have seen before.”

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Kris Connor/WireImage(WASHINGTON) — Is Al Gore running in 2016?

He’s been asked repeatedly — and often gives the same answer — but it is never a straight up “no.”

“I am a recovering politician. The longer I go without a relapse the less likely one becomes,” the former Vice President and 2000 Presidential candidate told the Atlantic‘s James Fallows at the Washington Ideas Forum.

Gore admitted that he had overused this answer, but said, “I’m gonna give it anyway.”

Gore gave a virtually identical answer to Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, in an excerpts of an interview that will broadcast on Oct. 6.

After hearing Gore’s first answer, Ramos subsequently asked, “Are you ruling out any possibility of running for president in this campaign?” and “I just wanted to know if you want to run for president again.”

Gore repeated his claim about being a recovering politician.

ABC News reported in August that a group of friends and former aides are having a “soft conversation” about the possibility that Gore run for president in 2016, but noted that no formal or informal moves had been made.

After reports about Gore considering a bid began surfacing, his spokesman denied any truth to them.

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NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA(NEW YORK) — NASA’s Dawn probe has unlocked new mysteries about the terrain of the dwarf planet Ceres, including irregularly shaped craters and a solitary 4-mile-high mountain.

New images and data sent back to Earth from the mission have captivated scientists — while also raising new questions about the dwarf planet’s topographical features.

“Ceres continues to amaze, yet puzzle us, as we examine our multitude of images, spectra and now energetic particle bursts,” Chris Russell, Dawn’s principal investigator, said in a statement.

One of the new mysteries includes observations from Dawn’s gamma ray and neutron spectrometer, which found that three bursts of energized electrons could possibly be the result of interaction between Ceres and the sun’s radiation, however the hypothesis is still being investigated.

Another shows the cone-shaped 4-mile-high mountain in the Occator crater, which is also home to some of Ceres’ brightest spots. Scientists are still trying to determine what processes could have created the mountain or shaped Ceres’ irregular craters.

Nearly 600 miles in diameter, about 25 percent of Ceres’ mass is believed to be ice. Ceres is the largest body in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Dawn will begin this month descending to its lowest orbit of Ceres, reaching an altitude of 230 miles. The probe has been orbiting Ceres since March and will continue studying the dwarf planet through June 2016.

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iStock/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

From headaches to high blood pressure, stress can take a toll on you. But now, there are growing concerns that stress can also affect fertility.

A study from Ohio State University found that women with the highest stress levels took 29 percent longer to get pregnant compared to other women, and their risk of infertility doubled.

As an OB/GYN and as a woman, I know just how stressful it can be for a couple trying to conceive. The good news is that there are simple ways to reduce stress that could make a big impact:

  • Separate the tasks that need to be done from the those that would be nice to get done.
  • Stop smoking, and cut back on caffeine and alcohol.
  • Practice relaxation methods, such as yoga or my favorite, meditation.
  • And for fertility, relax — there’s a reason so many couples conceive while on vacation.

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Peeple(NEW YORK) — This is the stuff nightmares are made of for the self-conscious.

Instead of telling someone how you feel face to face, a new app in beta called Peeple is unleashing the five-star rating and review system on humans. The app hasn’t launched yet, but the founders say on their website the goal is to “change the way people can learn about each other online,” whether it’s looking at prospective roommates, dates or learning about a potential business partner.

Perhaps the most unnerving part of it all for some people: Anyone can add a new user and you can’t remove your profile from the app.

The only item needed to add a person to the app is the user’s cell phone number. They’ll then receive a text message letting them know who started their profile.

A review works the same way it would on other platforms for restaurants and services. A person is given a rating of up to five stars and then the reviewer can leave a short message explaining their rationale.

Reviews two stars and below are sent to a user’s inbox before being published, giving them 48 hours to work out the disagreement with a reviewer. If there is no resolution when the period expires, the review is then published and the person will have the chance to publicly defend him or herself against the feedback.

If a review is posted by someone a user does not know or includes bullying and other hateful content violating the app’s terms and conditions, it will be removed. Peeple’s creators say users will have to agree they are 21 and older before joining the app.

While the concept sounds scary, Peeple’s creators are billing it as a “positivity app” and advise future users to use it how they would any other social network.

“Your network lifts you up and says positive things about you so that you can have a strong online reputation and get job opportunities, access to more networking opportunities with like-minded people, interact with other single people, and have the ability to search others to make better decisions around your greatest assets such as your family,” the Peeple website says. “You can look up the character of the people you meet and interact with.”

Peeple seems to be one of the first apps geared to the masses for rating people and having reviewers take ownership for their comments, while other apps have focused on anonymous reviews in more niche areas.

Knozen is a fun app letting users rate their co-worker’s quirks, personality and work ethic by presenting users with photos of two colleagues and a question like, “Who is more likely to leave work early for a date?” or “Who is more likely to sing a song out loud?”

Another app called Lulu lets women research and review men, with reviews factoring into an average score of up to 10 points.

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Brian Bowen Smith/NBC(NEW YORK) — A TV project Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine was set to produce for NBC has fallen through.

Deadline reports NBC has decided not to move forward with The 1970s, described as a limited drama series. Apparently, the project may have become too expensive for the network.

The 1970s would have focused on the real-life battle between independent music companies and big corporations in that decade, and featured contemporary artists performing classic songs from the ’70s.

Producers may shop the project to other networks, according to Deadline.

Adam still has a relationship with NBC, of course, as a coach on The Voice.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Jobless claims were higher last week, increasing by 10,000 from the previous week’s level, according to the latest figures released Thursday by the Labor Department.

For the week ending Sept. 26, the number of people filing for benefits rose to 277,000. The previous week, claims stood at an unrevised level of 267,000.

The Labor Department said there were no “special factors” impacting that week’s figures.

The four-week moving average decreased by 1,000 to 270,750.

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ABC News(HERTFORDSHIRE, England) — Residents were evacuated overnight in St. Albans, north of London, after a 32-foot deep and 66-foot wide sinkhole appeared in front of a driveway.

“Fire crews attended a sink hole on Fontmell Close, St. Albans,” Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service tweeted, “and worked with other agencies to ensure people were safely evacuated.”

Properties around the sinkhole have reportedly been cut off from electricity and gas because of a smell of gas, and highway engineers are assessing the damage before repairing the crater.

“Holes of this kind crop up across Hertfordshire often for historic reasons and we’d like to reassure the public that it is rare for them to turn into large holes,” Richard Thake, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, told local radio BOBfm Home Counties.

The local Fire and Rescue Service said an evacuation center had been set up and was being assisted by the British Red Cross.

In August, a large hole reported to be 40 feet deep appeared on a busy road in Manchester, while earlier in the year, “Traigh Golf Course” on Scotland’s west coast saw a sinkhole cause $25,000 in damage.

“The strata at the site consist of about 13ft of sands, silt and gravels overlying chalk,” Peter Hobbs, from the British Geological Survey, told the Press Association while adding that “sinkholes in this chalk formation are not uncommon.”

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ABC/Michael Desmond(NEW YORK) — Before he became “Mr. Wonderful,” Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank scooped ice cream for his first job. Since then, he went on to build a company that has since sold for $4 billion and is the founder of O’Leary Financial Group.

“Business is war. My job is to salt the earth my competitors walk on, burn down their market shares, steal their customers, take all of their profits and go home and hug my kids,” O’Leary told ABC News’ 20/20. “[I] get up in the morning and do it again.”

To O’Leary, 61, the hardest business job in the world is sales.

“Every business has sales. If you have no sales you have no business,” O’Leary said. “I don’t think it’s ever been more competitive than it is now. We not only have competition within our own country, but we have the world competing for our customers.”

Watch the full story on ABC News’ 20/20 Friday at 10 p.m. ET. And check out the Shark Tank shark and sales expert’s five top techniques to making a sale below:

1. Walk the Walk.

In this technique, it’s important for salespeople to know who they are and what they’re selling.

“Number-one rule: great salesmen and women understand it’s their destiny to be a salesperson and to be great,” O’Leary said. “It has to be there all the time, 24-7, no chink in that armor.”

2. Feel the Love.

O’Leary said salespeople need to be passionate about their products.

“You have to love the product you’re selling. You have to have an emotional bond with it. It has to be oozing from every pore that this is the greatest product you have ever sold,” he said.

3. It’s All About the Perfect Pitch.

“Don’t dribble on. Capture your audience immediately. Communicate your vision for why the product belongs in their hands. That’s the perfect pitch,” O’Leary said.

Of all the thousands of sales pitches he has heard, O’Leary said there has been one constant factor in companies that were able to gain an investor.

“In every case, that person was able to articulate the opportunity in 90 seconds or less,” O’Leary said.

4. Be Kind, Not Nice.

“I don’t trust nice people … I don’t believe that someone can be nice all the time,” O’Leary said.

“Every product has its merits and its downsides. Don’t lie about a product … as if there’s no problems at all. Create that bond of trust. That’s paramount.”

5. Be Sticky, Not Gummy.

Salespeople should know when to stop talking, O’Leary said.

“In sales your best friend is time and it’s also your worst enemy. You have to make a decision whether they’re ultimately going to buy from you or not,” he explained.

“As soon as you understand that they’re not, don’t waste your time. Cut them loose. Gummy people just keep going after the sale and wasting everybody’s time.”

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Peter Kramer/NBC(LOS ANGELES) — Matt Damon admits he didn’t come off very well when he made his controversial comments regarding diversity in filmmaking in an episode of his HBO reality series, Project Greenlight, that aired a few weeks ago.

“There was some context taken out,” Damon tells The Hollywood Reporter.

In the episode, producer Effie Brown, who is African-American, discussed the need for a diverse directing team that could bring sensitivity to a script involving a black prostitute character.

Damon responded, “When we’re talking about diversity, you do it in the casting of the film, not in the casting of the show.”

The Martian star has since told The Hollywood Reporter that when he saw the final edit of the scene, “I went, ‘Oh my God, I look like an a******.’ I thought it was a really insensitive thing to say.”

Days after the episode aired, Damon issued an apology for offending people with his comments.

More recently, Damon made headlines for an interview with The Guardian in which he stated, “Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.”

He clarified his stance on Tuesday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show: “I was just trying to say actors are more effective when they’re a mystery, right? And somebody picked it up and said I said gay actors should get back in the closet. Which is like, I mean it’s stupid, but it is painful when things get said that you don’t believe.”

In The Hollywood Reporter article, Damon also defends his friend Ben Affleck, whom he calls “misunderstood.” “Ten years ago, the public image of him could not have been farther apart from who he actually is,” he says. “It was like he was being cast in a role, that he was a talentless kind of meathead, with his whole relationship with Jennifer Lopez. He just got cast as this person that he wasn’t.

“It was just really painful. It was painful to be his friend, because it wasn’t fair, you know?” Damon continued. “To my mind, nobody really got him at all. And through his work, he climbed from the bottom of the mountain all the way back up to the top and past where either of us had ever been.”

Damon’s new space drama, The Martian, opens Friday.

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