By Orhan Coskun and Jonny Hogg ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish president-elect Tayyip Erdogan looks set to maintain his influence on daily politics after being sworn in next week, with close allies likely to take on cabinet posts in a new government and his economic team expected to remain largely intact. Outgoing president Abdullah Gul said on Tuesday that Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was likely to take over as chairman of the party and become the next prime minister, rekindling speculation about the shape of the new cabinet. Davutoglu, an academic who has served as Erdogan's foreign minister for the past five years, is expected to be confirmed as the ruling AK Party's nominee for chairman on Thursday before being formally voted in at an AK general assembly on August 27. Senior AK officials told Reuters that ministers responsible for the economy would remain in place under Davutoglu, and that close Erdogan allies including his top aide Yalcin Akdogan and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan might be given cabinet positions. Investors have been particularly concerned about the fate of Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, who have guided the economy towards unprecedented stability in recent years. "The decision will be up to Erdogan and Davutoglu, but in the new cabinet which is expected to be formed at the beginning of September, no changes are expected with Babacan and Simsek or other economic portfolios," one senior AK official said. Erdogan, who co-founded the AK Party and has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade as prime minister, won the country's first national presidential election on Aug. 10 with 52 percent of the vote. Previous presidents were elected by parliament. Senior officials had told Reuters before the vote that economic ministers would be retained at least until a parliamentary election next June if Erdogan won. Erdogan will step down as leader of the AK Party when he is inaugurated on Aug. 28, as required by the constitution, but has made clear that he wants the party he co-founded with Gul more than 10 years ago to remain loyal and unified. "Davutoglu is certainly someone that Erdogan can control, because he doesn't have his own constituency. Erdogan made him. He's about the most amenable prime minister that could be chosen," one European diplomat said. But investors are likely to see Davutoglu, a well-known figure internationally and respected within the AK Party, as a choice representing stability given his foreign policy experience, particularly if he retains the economic team. "Davutoglu is the highest-profile person within the AKP with whom Erdogan could work comfortably as prime minister, under a de facto presidential system," said Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, director at the German Marshall Fund think-tank in Ankara. "He's becoming prime minister at a very difficult period, facing severe foreign policy choices but also serious economic choices and domestic tensions." HIGH STAKES Erdogan wants a strong and loyal party leader to boost the AK's majority in next June's election, a result which would help him to change the constitution and strengthen the powers of the presidency. While Davutoglu is likely to back him in this, he would lack his predecessor's high profile among the AK's core voters, meaning Erdogan may try to continue to assert his influence over the party even after breaking formal ties. "Davutoglu lacks Erdogan's caustic rhetorical skills and ability to inspire almost fanatical personal devotion amongst the AKP's grassroots. He is likely to struggle to impose himself and be dependent on Erdogan to maintain party unity," risk research firm Teneo Intelligence's Wolfango Piccoli said. Davutoglu has overseen Turkish foreign policy at a turbulent time for the Middle East, with wars in neighboring Iraq and Syria and the Arab Spring uprisings, but his "zero problems with the neighbors" policy has crumbled, with relations degraded with Egypt, Syria, Israel, Iraq and Iran. "In the Middle East he is basically persona non grata ... they're isolated. Countries like Egypt are hardly going to be happy if he is prime minister and Erdogan is president," the European diplomat said. Gul, who commands respect among core AK voters and is seen as a more conciliatory figure than Erdogan, had long been touted as a future prime minister. But he has been sidelined in recent months and, with the AK general assembly a day before he leaves office, could not in any case immediately become party leader. Senior AK officials said intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, one of Erdogan's closest confidantes, and EU minister Mevlut Cavusoglu were being considered as possible replacements for Davutoglu in the role of foreign minister. Top aide Yalcin Akdogan was also expected to take up a position in cabinet, possibly as a deputy prime minister, while AK deputy chairman Mustafa Sentop is seen as a candidate for justice minister, the officials said. (Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Louise Ireland)
- The Week
Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request
When President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, there was no chief usher to greet them. He had been fired at about 11:30 a.m., half an hour before Biden was sworn in as president, The New York Times reports. Former first lady Melania Trump had hired the chief usher, Timothy Harleth, from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in 2017, after the previous chief usher, Angella Reid, was dismissed a few months into Donald Trump's term.The White House chief usher is in charge of the first family's residence, overseeing everything from personnel issues to budgets. It is typically an apolitical job, and ushers typically stay through several administrations. Reid, hired in 2011, was only the ninth chief usher since 1885, though she was the first woman hired for the job. The Bidens had communicated to the White House counsel that they intended to bring in their own chief usher, a person familiar with the process told the Times. A Biden White House official told CNN that Harleth "was let go before the Bidens arrived," though CNN reports it was the Bidens who gave him the ax.Harleth was already in hot water with Trump's team, though. He "had found himself in an untenable position" since the election, "trying to begin preparations for a new resident in the White House, even as its occupant refused to concede that he would be leaving the premises," the Times reports. And Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was "unhappy" with Harleth "for trying to send briefing books about the residence to the Biden transition team in November." Harleth "had worked with Jill Biden's staff for weeks to organize the move of household belongings," The Washington Post adds.The absence of a chief usher was one manifestation of the chaotic transition period, but it doesn't entirely explain the curious breach in protocol where nobody opened the doors for the BIdens when they arrived at the White House, the Times notes. The doors, which awkwardly stood closed for about 10 long seconds as the Bidens watched, are typically opened by Marine guards.Once the Bidens passed through the doors into the newly sanitized White House, things got better, the Post reports. "Awaiting Biden in a room adjacent to the Oval Office were two trays stacked with chocolate chip cookies, each one in plastic wrap with a gold presidential seal."More stories from theweek.com 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office
- Associated Press
Transgender kids would be banned from playing on school sports teams for the gender with which they identify under a GOP-backed bill that advanced Thursday in Montana, one of more than a dozen states where lawmakers are proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for trans minors this year. The order immediately sparked a backlash from conservative groups, a split that reflects the deep divisions in the U.S. around transgender youth. Proponents of the Montana bill say allowing transgender athletes to compete can create an unfair playing field in middle and high schools, especially in girls' sports.
The move prompted an outcry from some troops.
- The Week
Biden's team reportedly realized after inauguration that Trump really had no vaccine distribution plan
It's been more than a month since the first COVID-19 vaccine was approved for distribution, and nearly a year since it became clear the coronavirus pandemic would require a vaccine to fully end. But former President Donald Trump's administration still failed to arrange a usable plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines to Americans, as President Biden's incoming administration reportedly just discovered.Biden's team expected to find major flaws in Trump's distribution plans when they arrived at the White House on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the administration's COVID-19 work tell CNN. But "one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy," CNN reports. As one source put it, "There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch."Biden campaigned on the promise of swiftly reversing the Trump administration's hands-off approach to handling the virus. The new president did take a small step in that direction Wednesday, signing an executive order mandating people wear masks on federal property and moving to make the federal government the command center for vaccine and testing distribution and administration. But Wednesday's reported discovery reveals it's going to be a lot harder than just changing attitudes around social distancing. And as one source told CNN, the lack of a plan "is just further affirmation of complete incompetence" by the Trump administration.Jeff Zients, the Biden administration's COVID-19 czar, said as much on Wednesday, telling reporters that "what we're inheriting from the Trump administration is so much worse than we could have imagined." Still, as one official leading the COVID-19 response conceded to The Daily Beast, "At least we won't have a president that's actively fighting those rules on national television."More stories from theweek.com Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear
- Yahoo News Video
Former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama delivered a recorded message to President Biden on Wednesday night.
- NBC News
Southlake is known for its top-ranked public schools. But a heated fight over a diversity plan has some parents questioning their future in the city.
- Associated Press
A prominent Chicago family law attorney who was charged last summer with sexually assaulting a colleague has been charged with doing the same thing to two other women, including a client who says he told her that if he didn't have sex with him, she'd lose custody of her children. Prosecutors outlined the new charges against David Pasulka, 61, during a court hearing on Wednesday that ended with Judge Susana Ortiz setting his new bail amount at $100,000 on charges of sexual assault, aggravated sex assault and criminal sexual abuse. Pasulka, who was already out on bond in the initial case, was released from custody after posting the new amount, according to the Cook County Jail.
- The Telegraph
Thousands of national guardsmen were turfed out of the Capitol building on Thursday and sent to sleep in car parks, before being allowed back in late at night after complaints from lawmakers. Despite the quick reversal, two Republican governors commanded their troops home in protest. US Capitol police had ordered the reservists to vacate the building and set up camp outdoors or in nearby hotels, with thousands ending up stationed outside or in car parks. “Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service. Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed,” one of the guardsmen told Politico. The National Guard were brought into the US capital to provide security after Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6.
Beau Biden, who served in the Guard, is buried at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church cemetery in Greenville, Delaware.
- The Week
The evenly split Senate is having a hard time agreeing who's in charge.Georgia's two new Democratic senators were sworn in Wednesday, giving Republicans and Democrats 50 senators each, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a Democratic tiebreaker. The two parties are now working out a power-sharing agreement, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) commitment to the filibuster is standing in the way.McConnell on Thursday formally acknowledged Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the chamber's new majority leader. But as he has been for days, McConnell again implored Democrats to preserve the filibuster that lets a senator extend debate and block a timely vote on a bill if there aren't 60 votes to stop it. Democrats "have no plans to gut the filibuster further, but argue it would be a mistake to take one of their tools off the table just as they're about to govern," Politico reports; More progressive senators do want to remove the option completely.If his filibuster demands aren't met, McConnell has threatened to block the Senate power-sharing agreement that would put Democrats in charge of the body's committees. But Democrats already seem confident in their newfound power, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) telling Politico that "Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader." Giving in to McConnell "would be exactly the wrong way to begin," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed.Other Democrats shared their resistance to McConnell's demands in tweets. > McConnell is threatening to filibuster the Organizing Resolution which allows Democrats to assume the committee Chair positions. It's an absolutely unprecedented, wacky, counterproductive request. We won the Senate. We get the gavels.> > -- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 21, 2021> So after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate's organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.> > Huh.> > -- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2021More stories from theweek.com Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear
- NBC News
A GoPro camera was found inside a bathroom and changing area at a Premier Athletics facility, which trains young cheerleaders, gymnasts and dancers in Franklin.
A man who went missing while snorkelling off the Australian coast may have been taken by a shark, authorities said on Friday, after a search operation found pieces of diving equipment. The man went missing late on Thursday while snorkelling near Port MacDonnell, on the country's south coast, sparking an air and sea search, police said. "We haven't recovered any remains but there are a few remaining areas of interest that we want to explore, but the search will be scaled down," the Australian Broadcasting Corp quoted South Australia Police Limestone Coast operations manager Campbell Hill as saying.
With just over 30 minutes left in his presidency, now-former President Trump issued a full pardon to Albert J. Pirro, Jr., ex-husband of Fox News firebrand and Trump defender Jeanine Pirro.Why it matters: This was Trump's final act as president, and he issued the pardon during the inauguration of Joe Biden.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.Details: Albert Pirro was sentenced to 29 months in federal prison in 2000 on charges of conspiracy and tax evasion. * The final pardon comes after Trump issued 143 pardons and commutations just after 1 a.m. on Wednesday, many of which went to his allies engulfed in corruption scandals. * The pardons include one for his former chief strategist Steve Bannon; former top Republican fundraiser Elliot Broidy, and rapper Lil Wayne. Go deeper: The Swamp wins. Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Independent
Michael Flynn’s brother reveals he was involved in Capitol riot response after Army denied it, report says
Apparent U-turn by Pentagon officials could pose questions about police response
- Associated Press
The master tenant of a cluttered, dilapidated San Francisco Bay Area warehouse where 36 people perished in a late-night fire in 2016 is scheduled to plead guilty Friday to the deaths, avoiding a second trial after the first ended in a hung jury. Families of several victims told the East Bay Times last week that prosecutors told them Derick Almena, 50, will plead guilty to 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter in exchange for a nine-year sentence. Almena may serve little or none of that term because of time already spent behind bars and credit for good behavior.
- The Telegraph
Twitter suspended an account linked to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Friday after it made a post apparently threatening former US president Donald Trump. Earlier on Friday, the @khamenei_site account shared an image of a golfer resembling Mr Trump under the shadow of an aircraft. The accompanying message threatened vengeance for the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, whose assassination Mr Trump ordered in a US drone strike in Iraq last January. The tweet in Farsi repeated comments Ayatollah Khamenei made last month that “those who ordered the murder of General Suleimani as well as those who carried this out should be punished. This revenge will certainly happen at the right time.” The unverified account is one of several believed to be run by the office of the 81-year-old leader. The tweet prompted calls for Twitter to suspend the Iranian leader's account, after the social media platform permanently suspended Mr Trump’s account earlier this month for posts inciting violence. Earlier this month Twitter removed a tweet by Ayatollah Khamenei questioning the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines from the US and the UK, saying the post violated its rules against coronavirus misinformation. "Importing vaccines made in the US or the UK is prohibited. They're completely untrustworthy," said the post in English on the unverified account @khamenei_ir, which shares the Supreme Leader's statements. That account, which has over 884,000 followers, and others associated with Ayatollah Khamenei are still online. Twitter briefly suspended several accounts belonging to Ayatollah Khamenei last March, after mistakenly identifying them as spam content.
- The Week
A Delaware News Journal reporter captured a powerful, private moment on Wednesday as Joe Biden gave his first address as president of the United States. "Poignant moment," the reporter, Patricia Talorico, captioned the photo, which swiftly went viral. "While Joe Biden gave his inauguration speech, a lone man in a uniform knelt at the Delaware grave of his son Beau."> Poignant moment: While Joe Biden gave his inauguration speech, a lone man in a uniform knelt at the Delaware grave of his son Beau. pic.twitter.com/QkCuJRHzTz> > — Patricia Talorico (@PattyTalorico) January 20, 2021As Talorico explained in a subsequent article, "Delaware is a tiny state." She described how back in 2002, when she was struggling with an assignment from her editor, Beau Biden approached her to ask if she was okay while she sat alone on a bench at an elementary school in Wilmington. "He wasn't in office at the time," she wrote. "He was just being kind. It wasn't a grand gesture, just a small one, but somehow, it made a difference that day. I never forgot that act of kindness."On Wednesday, Beau — who died of a brain tumor in 2015 at the age of 46 — was on Talorico's mind, and she decided to drive by his grave to say "a short prayer" when she saw "a lone man in a blue uniform kneeling at Beau's grave. No one else was around … In my car, I had the radio tuned to CNN. Joe Biden was being sworn in as president and was about to begin his address."As Talorico writes, "The journalist in me wanted to go back and find out [the man's] identity and ask why he was there. The person who once received a kind gesture from Beau when I needed it most knew it was a time to be respectful, and I drove away." Read her full story at Delaware News Journal.More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request
People dressed in black and with their faces covered broke windows and the glass door at the Democratic Party of Oregon business office in Portland, spray-painting an anarchist symbol over the party sign, video posted on social media showed. The new Democratic president was sworn in on Wednesday, urging unity and restoration after Republican Donald Trump's divisive tenure.
- FOX News Videos
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reacted to Amazon offering President Biden help to distribute the vaccine after President Trump left office.