Turkey, once touted as regional model, is mired in tension
ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey was riding high in 2010, casting its brand of Islamic piety, Western-style democracy and economic growth as a regional model amid popular upheavals in the Mideast and North Africa.
Six years later, it is mired in tension with neighbors and allies, dominated by a president seeking to increase his constitutional powers and now enmeshed in a purge of large sectors of society after an uprising by renegade military officers.
The changes that led to this turn in Turkey’s fortunes include internal rifts — the collapse of a Kurdish peace process and the alleged erosion of democratic rights under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among them — as well as the war in Syria and other regional chaos in which Turkey has taken sides.
Erdogan is also sparring with the United States, a NATO ally, over his demand that Washington extradite Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Turkey accuses of orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt.
And on Aug. 9, the Turkish president is scheduled to meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin in an effort to repair strained ties following Turkey’s apology for shooting down a Russian fighter jet last year. The breach has cost Turkey an important source of tourists, and stalled energy deals.
Democrats highlight diversity, but face gap with white men
ATLANTA (AP) — The Democratic National Convention’s lineup of speakers has highlighted an increasingly diverse country that could soon elect the first female president to succeed its first black chief executive.
Yet the stream of women, African-Americans, Latinos, gay Americans — from U.S. senators and celebrities to activists and, on Thursday, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton herself — also serves as a reminder of Democrats’ struggles to connect with most heterosexual white men.
“It’s just sad,” says Dave “Mudcat” Saunders, a Democratic strategist turned Donald Trump supporter who says his party “has abandoned” culturally conservative white men like himself.
Vice President Joe Biden confronted the reality Wednesday, telling delegates in Philadelphia that Trump’s claims of being a middle-class savior are “malarkey” and that the Republican presidential nominee and billionaire real estate mogul “doesn’t have a clue about the middle class.” Earlier in the day, Biden told MSNBC that Democrats have “done the right thing” for white working-class voters, but still haven’t “spoken to them.”
It’s a long-developing gap that bolsters Republican control of Congress and most statehouses. It could play into the hands of Republican Trump, whose path to victory depends on whites drawn to his blistering critiques of elitism and “political correctness” in the America of Clinton and Barack Obama.
Putin slams discrimination as banned athletes join send-off
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin hit out at “discrimination” against the country’s banned track and field athletes at a Kremlin send-off ceremony Wednesday for its depleted Olympic team.
Fencers, triathletes and table tennis players became the latest team of Russians to be cleared to compete in the Olympics by the governing bodies of their sports ahead of the Moscow ceremony, but the IAAF rejected a bid by the bulk of the track and field team to be reinstated.
More than 100 Russians from the 387-strong Olympic team have been banned so far from going to Rio de Janeiro.
“We can’t accept indiscriminate disqualification of our athletes with an absolutely clean doping history,” Putin said. “We cannot and will not accept what in fact is pure discrimination.”
Putin said the athletes banned from the Olympics were victims of a campaign to present Russian sports in a bad light. He spoke with two-time Olympic pole-vaulting champion Yelena Isinbayeva, the most high-profile of the 67 track and field athletes banned from the games, standing beside him.
Obama boosts Clinton; Kaine mocks Trump
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Their political fates now entwined, President Barack Obama is imploring voters to elect Hillary Clinton to the White House, joining a chorus of Democrats vouching Wednesday night for her readiness to be commander in chief at a time of volatility around the world.
“Even in the middle of crisis, she listens to people, and keeps her cool, and treats everybody with respect,” Obama said in excerpts released ahead of his remarks at the Democratic convention. “And no matter how daunting the odds, no matter how much people try to knock her down, she never, ever quits.”
Clinton’s running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, introduced himself to the nation as a formidable foil to Republican nominee Donald Trump. With folksy charm, he ridiculed Trump’s list of promises and imitated one of the GOP candidate’s favorite phrases.
“Believe me!” he said mockingly, as the audience boomed back, “No!”
For Democrats, the night was steeped in symbolism, the passing of the baton from a barrier-breaking president to a candidate trying to make history herself.
Trump to Russia: Uncover, release deleted Clinton emails
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump encouraged Russia on Wednesday to find and make public missing emails deleted by his presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton, setting off an instant debate over hacking and his urging of a foreign government to meddle in American politics.
Shortly after Trump’s extraordinary remarks, his Republican running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, took a different tack and warned of “serious consequences” if Russia interfered in the election.
Democrats — and some Republicans — quickly condemned the remarks by the Republican presidential standard-bearer.
They came as the Democrats met on the third day of their national convention in Philadelphia, where Clinton will accept the presidential nomination Thursday night to face Republican Trump in November.
Trump’s comments raised the question of whether he was condoning foreign government hacking of U.S. computers and the public release of information stolen from political adversaries — actions that are at least publicly frowned upon across the globe. His brief remarks managed to divert attention from an embarrassing leak of other hacked emails that exposed sensitive internal political communications that had divided Democrats.
AP FACT CHECK: Warped claims in political hothouse
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s hot out there, politically speaking, with Hillary Clinton’s convention going full steam and Donald Trump refusing to stay quiet while Democrats put on their big show. Reality is sometimes getting warped in the process.
A look at some claims Wednesday and how they compare with the facts, on a day packed with a lengthy news conference by Trump and evening convention speeches by high-powered Democrats, President Barack Obama among them:
VIRGINIA SEN. TIM KAINE, Clinton’s running mate: “You can go to HillaryClinton.com right now and find out exactly how she’ll make the biggest investment in new jobs in generations.”
THE FACTS: It’s the biggest in generations only if you don’t count Obama’s $814 billion 2009 stimulus, a curious omission for a Democrat.
Clinton promises to spend $275 billion over five years on roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Obama’s stimulus was more of a hodge-podge and included tax cuts as well as aid to state and local governments. But all of it was intended to boost the economy and hiring.
10 Things to Know for Thursday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:
1. FIRESTORM FOLLOWS TRUMP’S URGING OF FOREIGN MEDDLING IN US POLITICS
The billionaire businessman sets off an instant debate by encouraging Russia to find and make public Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.
2. WHICH VOTERS OBAMA BELIEVES CLINTON MUST APPEAL TO
The same women, minority and young voters who powered his rise appear crucial to her campaign as well.
Biden says Trump has ‘no clue’ about needs of middle class
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Leveling a blistering attack on Donald Trump, Vice President Joe Biden put on his rhetorical hat as “middle-class Joe” Wednesday and told Democratic delegates and millions of television viewers that the billionaire businessman “has no clue” about the needs of working-class people or what makes the nation great.
“He’s trying to tell us he cares about the middle class?” Biden said at the Democratic National Convention. “Give me a break. That’s a bunch of malarkey.”
The delegates ate it up, chanting “not a clue, not a clue” and jumping to their feet over and over, waving signs that read simply “Joe.”
It was a bittersweet moment for Biden in more ways than one. He took note of the loss of his son, Beau, to brain cancer a little more than a year ago. And left unspoken was the knowledge that Biden had long hoped for a very different kind of convention moment — one in which he claimed the nomination for himself.
Biden, 73, ran for president twice and spent months last year debating whether to challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination before he opted out in October.
Bloomberg warns of Trump economic plans at Dem convention
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Bloomberg, elected mayor of New York City as a Republican, offered a forceful denunciation of fellow New York billionaire Donald Trump on Wednesday at the Democratic convention, describing the GOP presidential nominee as a “risky, reckless, and radical choice.”
One of the nation’s richest men, Bloomberg drew upon his business background in his unorthodox convention speech to make the case that a Trump administration would be disastrous for the nation’s economy.
“Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies and thousands of lawsuits and angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off,” said Bloomberg, now an independent. “Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us.”
“Truth be told,” said Bloomberg, “the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy.”
A three-term mayor who left office in 2013, Bloomberg considered making a third-party run for president this year before opting against a campaign, expressing worry he would siphon away votes from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and inadvertently help elect Trump.
To reverse damage of sitting, take a brisk, hour-long walk
LONDON (AP) — If you spend all day sitting on your rear end, then you might want to schedule some time for a brisk walk — just make sure you can spare at least an hour.
Scientists analyzing data from more than 1 million people found that it takes about 60 to 75 minutes of “moderate intensity” exercise to undo the damage of sitting for at least eight hours a day. Not exercising and sitting all day is as dangerous as being obese or smoking, they found.
And the added risk of parking yourself in front of a television for 5 hours or more a day after sitting at the office is so high even the hour of exercise is not enough to reverse the damage.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of getting exercise, whether it’s getting out for a walk at lunchtime, going for a run in the morning or cycling to work,” said Ulf Ekelund of the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences in Norway, one of the study authors, in a statement.
It has been long suspected that sitting a lot, at work or at home, is not healthy. Previous studies have found that prolonged sitting can raise the chances of heart disease, various cancers and an earlier death.