Erdogan Reasserts Power Over AK Party Weeks After Controversial Referendum

ANKARA, May 21 (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan pledged to fight Turkey?s enemies at home and abroad on Sunday as he was elected leader of the ruling AK Party, a move enabling him to reassert his grip on the party and its legislative work.

Erdogan, who founded the Islamist-rooted AKP in 2001 and led it to victory in a general election a year later, had to give up its leadership nearly three years ago when he was elected president, a position traditionally above party politics.

That changed with April?s referendum in which Turks narrowly backed constitutional changes creating an executive presidency with sweeping new powers. Allowing the head of state to be a party member or leader was among the reforms.

Erdogan?s renewed control of the party, which came in a near unanimous vote at an AKP congress where he faced no opposition, coincides with growing foreign policy challenges and tensions with NATO allies.

?Rather than facing our people with our heads down tomorrow, we prefer to stand tall today against the scum at home and abroad,? he told thousands of cheering supporters in the Ankara sports arena.

?The months ahead will be a leap forward for Turkey, from its fight against terrorism to the economy, from the broadening of rights and freedoms to investments,? he said in a brief speech after the vote.

Erdogan vowed to keep Turkey?s state of emergency until peace is achieved against Kurdish and Islamist insurgents.

He became the first president to lead a party since 1950, taking back the AKP reins from Binali Yildirim, who remains prime minister until elections set for 2019.

Such sweeping political changes, he says, are vital to ensure stability in the face of militant threats and after an attempted coup last year that Ankara attributed to supporters of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

On the eve of the congress, police killed two suspected Islamic State militants during a raid on an apartment in Ankara, state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The two men killed were believed to be planning an attack, it said.

Opposition parties, which want the referendum annulled because of alleged irregularities, say the reforms push Turkey toward one-man rule. Some of its NATO allies and the European Union, which it aspires to join, have also expressed concern.



Last week, Erdogan met U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington and sought to reconcile deep disagreement over U.S. support for a Syrian Kurdish militia that Ankara regards as a terrorist group.

Ties with European Union countries soured in the build-up to the April referendum. Tensions with Germany have been additionally exacerbated by a dispute over the stationing of German troops at Turkey?s Incirlik air base.

Erdogan kept up his fierce criticism of the bloc on Sunday.

?We don?t have to put up with the European Union?s double standards anymore,? he said, demanding the EU keep its word on visa-free travel for Turks, aid for migrants and progress in accession talks if it wants relations to improve.

As party leader once again, Erdogan is expected to streamline his economic team to try to speed up decisions and reassure markets that ministers are working to the same plan, sources said.

In a speech lasting an hour and 45 minutes before the vote, he said he wanted a ?serious renewal? of the party by year-end. Nineteen of the AKP?s 50-member executive board were changed on Sunday.

Once regarded as one of the world?s most promising emerging markets, Turkey has been hit by a sell-off of the lira on concerns about the erosion of institutions and the slow implementation of promised change.

Erdogan rejoined the AKP this month, implementing the first of 18 constitutional amendments bolstering his powers. In a second step, lawmakers elected seven members to a reshaped judicial authority on Wednesday.

The other amendments, giving the president authority to draft the budget, declare a state of emergency and issue decrees, will not take effect until after elections scheduled for November 2019.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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NYC Spends $116 Million A Year Jailing People Who Can’t Afford To Pay Their Way Out

New York City courts rely heavily on making defendants pay bail to get out of jail before trial. But thousands of inmates can?t, leaving taxpayers footing the cost of locking up thousands of people who could otherwise be released, according to a Thursday report. And critics say these figures don?t consider the full human toll of the practice, which heaps untold expenses on the city due to lost opportunity.

On any given day in the city, nearly 4,000 people are awaiting trial behind bars simply because they can?t afford to pay bail, finds an Independent Budget Office audit of pretrial defendants in the city. All told, the city spends $116 million each year incarcerating these individuals who have not been convicted of a crime.

The report uses 2016 data, which reveals that the overwhelming majority of pretrial detainees admitted to New York City jails last year were booked on misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.

The audit also illustrates stark disparities in the population held at lockups around New York City. These facilities house nearly 10,000 people each day. Around 7,600 are being held pretrial and the rest have been convicted and are serving sentences of a year or less. Ninety percent of all pretrial detainees are men, and they?re largely young men of color.

Of all pretrial detainees booked last year, 72 percent were given the option to post bail. In other words, the courts decided that they were allowed to go free, so long as they could afford it. Many couldn?t, however, leaving them to languish behind bars either until their trial date ? a period that often stretches on for months or longer ? or until they could come up with bail money.

?On an average day 3,931, or 52 percent, of all pretrial detainees were being held because they had been unable to post bail, although at least some would likely be able to do so shortly,? reads the report, written by IBO Director Ronnie Lowenstein.

Facing the likelihood of prolonged confinement, many defendants feel pressured to plead guilty to charges, even if they didn?t actually commit a crime. In 2013, under 5 percent of cases processed in New York City were resolved in a trial. The odds of a case reaching a favorable outcome for the defendant greatly decrease if they are held before trial, studies show.

In New York City, many pretrial detainees remain jailed before trial even though they face only low-level charges. A full third of those unable to post bail at arraignment last year faced misdemeanor charges, according to the audit. Another quarter faced felony charges for drugs or other nonviolent offenses.

Lesser charges typically result in smaller bail amounts. But that doesn?t mean an easy path out of jail. For some defendants, just hundreds of dollars could have been the difference between freedom before trial and an indefinite jail sentence.

?The mean bail set for those unable to post bail immediately was $39,163 and the median bail was $5,000, indicating that for half of these individuals bail was $5,000 or less,? Lowenstein added.

Commercial bail bondsmen typically charge a nonrefundable fee of 10 percent of the total bail amount, meaning that $500 would cover a $5,000 bail.

The audit?s findings are likely to bolster calls for change from critics of money bail, who are fighting what they call a ?two-tiered? system of justice that favors the wealthy and disadvantages the poor in jurisdictions around the nation.

New York City council member Rory Lancman (D), the chair of the Committee on Courts and Legal Services who requested the audit, said he found the results concerning.

?Today?s IBO report confirms that the vast majority of people on Rikers Island are there because they cannot afford bail, are overwhelmingly black and brown, and many are there for nonviolent, low-level offenses ? all at enormous expense to taxpayers,? said Lancman in a statement. ?It reaffirms the urgent need for [New York City] Mayor de Blasio to put in place a real plan to close Rikers Island.?

In March, De Blasio announced plans to shutter Rikers, the city?s largest corrections facility, within the next 10 years.

Although the audit establishes a $116 million figure for detaining people who don?t have the means to pay bail, it fails to capture the full human cost of this form of incarceration, says Scott Levy, special counsel to the criminal defense practice, the Bronx Defenders.

?Even short stays on Rikers can have devastating effects for our clients,? he told HuffPost. ?The family and community ties are strained, people lose jobs, people lose houses, mental health issues are exacerbated, health care is disrupted, families are disrupted.?

With little evidence to suggest that keeping most of these defendants in jail before trial has any effect on public safety or crime rates, Levy said the city needs to rethink its approach. 

?It?s costing the city a fortune, it?s costing our clients a fortune in lost opportunity and life disruption, which in turn costs the city untold money but also justice and resources,? said Levy. ?And it?s not really clear what we?re getting for any of that.?

Not all of these cases involve short stays. The story of Kalief Browder, just 16 years old when he was arrested in 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack, opened many people?s eyes to the controversial practice of money bail and pretrial incarceration. Although Browder maintained his innocence, his family couldn?t afford to bail him out. He remained locked up on Rikers for three years while he awaited trial, with much of that time spent in solitary confinement. In June 2013, a judge dismissed his case, allowing Browder to return home. Two years later, Browder hanged himself after a battle with depression.

Browder would have celebrated his 24th birthday later this month. His case continues to serve as a reminder of how the justice system operates differently for those who don?t have financial resources.

?For indigent people charged with offenses, the setting of bail is a de facto sentence,? said Levy. ?You have no due process.?

Supporters of bail reform have been challenging the use of money as a condition for release in court systems around the nation. They argue that judges must take into account a defendant?s ability to pay before assigning bail. They also support changes, like those recently implemented statewide in New Jersey, requiring judicial officers to base pretrial release decisions upon a risk assessment of a defendant?s danger to the community and likelihood to return for future court dates. Although judges can hold defendants without bail, most are now released under their own recognizance, or under the supervision of a pretrial services program.

Judges in New York City have a number of alternatives to money bail at their disposal. This includes the option of supervised release, which de Blasio endorsed last year with a new pretrial release program. Although overall city jail populations have fallen in recent years, suggesting there may be some shift, bail decisions remain largely up to the discretion of judges who, for the most part, appear satisfied with the status quo.

That needs to change, said Levy.

?Most people, left to their own devices, will come back to court on their own without any conditions put on them whatsoever,? he said. ?You can just release people and they will come back to court and they will have the ability to resolve their case as justice requires.?

Read the full audit below:

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You Can Get Trump’s Voice On Your GPS Now Because We’re All Masochists

If you already have a miserable commute and feel inclined to make it worse for yourself, then Karta GPS has an offering for you: The navigation company has recently added a Donald Trump impersonator to its repertoire.

Meaning that if you want someone to tell you ?go straight ahead, it?s tremendous!? or ?You have reached your destination, let?s make navigation great again!?, you?re in luck. (Seriously, these are real quotes from the device.)

We have absolutely no idea who would want this or why it seemed like something to bring to fruition, especially when the current political climate is extremely fraught. We?re just surprised it doesn?t lie about where you?re supposed to go. We?d imagine a more true-to-life iteration of this software would tell users things like ?Turn left… I said right! SAD!? or ?Believe me, you don?t want to make a U-turn. Nut job!?

At any rate, you can snag Trump vocals for your GPS in the Karta GPS iOS or Android app via the Downloads section. You can also get a voice that sounds like Bill Clinton, which is arguably a less unsettling alternative. 

What a world, friends. What a world.

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These Are The Best Mineral Sunscreens, According To Dermatologists

We all know that wearing SPF is important, but chemical sunscreens ? the kind you?ve probably been wearing for years ? can be irritating for some people with sensitive skin. That?s where mineral sunscreen comes in.

Mineral sunscreens help prevent sun damage, just like traditional sunscreens, but they do so using physical blockers like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These  ingredients work by reflecting the sun off your skin, as opposed to absorbing and transforming harmful rays on the skin as chemical sunscreens containing the likes of oxybenzone, avobenzone and homosalate do.

With so many mineral sunscreens on the market now, it can be difficult to know which might be best for you. So we called up a couple of experts: Dr. Janellen Smith, a dermatologist at UC Irvine Health, and Dr. Angela Lamb, director of the Westside Mount Sinai Dermatology faculty practice, director of dermatology at the Institute of Family Health and an assistant dermatology professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Smith told HuffPost what matters most of all is picking a product you?re actually going to use.

?Mineral sunscreens are thicker and may leave a whitish color on your skin, so if this keeps you from wearing it, that is not good, and ?medically? means you are higher risk for skin cancer,? she said. ?On the other hand, chemical sunscreens tend to have more ingredients and may be more irritating for sensitive skin. So both the irritation and your tendency to avoid them could leave you with a medical problem.? 

Keep in mind as you shop around that although it most often refers to mineral sunscreens, ?natural? is ?not a term that dermatologists use? when referring to sunscreen, as Smith previously told HuffPost, nor is the term legally regulated in personal care products. Remember that the real danger of sun exposure isn?t the use of chemicals in sunscreen. But no matter which type of sunscreen you choose, make sure it?s labeled ?broad spectrum? for protection from both types of harmful rays and has an SPF of 30 or greater.

 Check out Dr. Lamb and Dr. Smith?s picks for best mineral sunscreens below. 

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Jason Chaffetz Reportedly Resigning From Congress

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) will step down from Congress later this year, Politico reported Thursday. Sources told The Wall Street Journal that Chaffetz, whose term was set to last until 2019, plans to leave office in June.

The news comes less than a month after Chaffetz, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, announced he would not seek re-election or ?be a candidate for any office in 2018.? He also hinted in an interview with Utah?s KSL Newsradio that he was considering leaving before the end of his term.

While he left open the possibility of running for governor of Utah in 2020, Chaffetz said he wants to spend more time with his family. Sources told Politico that he is considering joining Fox News.

In his role as House Oversight chair, Chaffetz has been near the epicenter of many of the issues surrounding President Donald Trump?s administration. Chaffetz was often criticized for being slow to investigate allegations against the president, including questions about his campaign?s ties to Russia and conflicts of interests related to Trump?s businesses.

It?s unclear how Chaffetz?s departure may affect the investigations into the Trump campaign. Some of the leading contenders to replace Chaffetz as House Oversight chair are former Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio).

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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News Roundup for May 18, 2017

Well, the world?s on fire.

1. Roger Ailes, founder of FOX news, is dead at 77 years old. Skirts at FOX News will be worn at half mast today. More here.

2. Here?s how right-wing news sites cover President Trump?s scandals. Spoiler: they live in a very different world from ours. More Here.

3. Alex Jones has settled his bizarre defamation suit with Chobani yogurt. Looks like that?s a victory for the globalist agenda. More here.

4. Chris Cornell, lead singer of Audioslave and Soundgarden, was found dead just hours after playing a concert in Detroit. Take the time to celebrate his music today. More here.

5. Here?s a video of George W. Bush stumbling into a live broadcast of a baseball game. More here.

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saintlily Son was recently suffering from a severe cough and and we decided to take him to the best hospital<\a> so that he could receive the best treatment. We went at Accessible and competitively prized lice removal in Manhattan is something Peter Byram is developing into a money churning business empire. and still the doctors and nurses were responsive and friendly. I will definitely recommed it.

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Wall Street Is Starting To Panic About Trump

Wall Street looked at the news coming out of Washington, D.C., and pushed the panic button Wednesday.

In the first day of trading after The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump had told former FBI Director James Comey to stop an investigation into disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn, stocks slid the most since Election Day. The Standard & Poor?s 500 index closed down 1.8 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, an index that tracks a smaller group of companies, dropped 371 points or 1.77 percent. Bank stocks, which have surged since Trump?s election, were down 3.5 percent.

The prices of bonds and gold went up, as usually happens when other assets are volatile.

Before Wednesday?s slide, stocks were up 15 percent since Election Day, despite ho-hum jobs reports and growth numbers. Investors seemed to be betting that everything that could be good for stocks ? slashed tax rates for capital income and the wealthy; a huge infrastructure spending bill; bank regulations being gutted; a one-time tax holiday on overseas cash that companies could plow into huge dividends and share buybacks ? would happen. But an infrastructure spending bill and a massive tax reform package always seemed like long shots, and only look even more unlikely given the current turmoil in Washington.

The other assumption investors seemed to be making was that things that are bad for stocks ? restrictive immigration policies; trade wars; a foreign policy crisis; a constitutional crisis ? wouldn?t happen. But the chances of the last scenario becoming a reality rose dramatically Tuesday night with the report that Trump appeared to try to obstruct the FBI?s investigation into Flynn by telling Comey to drop the investigation before eventually firing him.

As stocks fell Wednesday afternoon, Bloomberg?s Joe Weisenthal tweeted: ?Investors lose faith in Trump agenda after stocks go down.? That may sound like a joke, and it is funny, but Weisenthal was serious and he makes a perceptive point about the basis of the Trump Rally: On Wall Street, the question of whether something is ?good? or ?bad? hinges entirely on how it affects stocks.

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‘Walking Dead’ Star Reportedly Leaves Instagram Over Body Shaming

Another ?Walking Dead? star has had it with internet bullies.

Josh McDermitt recently left social media due to online abuse, and now Alanna Masterson has apparently done the same. The BBC reports that Masterson deleted her Instagram account over body shaming this week.

The actress, known as Tara Chambler on ?The Walking Dead,? gave birth to her daughter, Marlowe, before the latest season started filming. She went right back to work and was subjected to intense online abuse after being featured on an episode late last year.

Masterson then addressed the abuse in a lengthy Instagram post, telling people to ?grow the fuck up?:

Dear Instagram trolls, body shamers, and the men and woman who think it?s ok to comment on my weight: I hope that you don?t have children. And if you do, I hope you teach them about kindness and acceptance. I hope they learn that it isn?t ok to make fun of people or call people names. I hope one day YOU learn what it takes to be a parent. A kind, selfless parent. A working parent. A parent that puts themselves in someone else?s shoes. Maybe you can?t get it through your thick fucking skull, but nursing a baby for a year (and pumping in a van between takes, in the dead of summer in Georgia) is a lot of work, determination, and scheduling. So before you decide to make a comment about my chest being ?too large? or how ?fat? I?ve become, just know that this little girl got the best start to life. I wouldn?t have changed it for a second. I would?ve gladly continued to eat enough calories to produce milk for her little bones to grow. Also, grow the fuck up. Your mother should be ashamed for raising such a judgmental bully. I?m sure she knows how ?courageous? you must be for trolling and hiding behind your Iphone and computers. P.s. I would LOVE to see any man or woman give birth to a baby, nurse the baby, and then work 17 hour days and NAIL their own stunts. P.s.s. Be kind to each other. We need it now more than ever.

At the time, McDermitt came to his co-star?s aid, telling HuffPost, ?People need to chill the F out with the crap that they?re putting on the internet.?

The actor later left his social media accounts after receiving death threats for his character?s storyline on the show. It appears Masterson is following in her co-star?s footsteps, although the actress remains active on Twitter.

Like McDermitt said, the people doing this abuse really do need to ?chill the F out.?

HuffPost has reached out to Masterson?s reps for comment and will update this post accordingly.

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Alleged Drunk Driver Had Bearded Dragon Lizard In Her Bra, Police Say

A Massachusetts woman was arrested on Monday after she knocked over six mail boxes while driving drunk with a lizard in her bra, police said.

Amy Rebello-McCarthy, 39, was slurring her words when authorities in Taunton caught up with her and her crashed 1999 Mercedes C280.

The scene was not pretty:

But the situation only got more wild from there.

According to a police account posted to Facebook

Prior to transporting the parties to the police department Amy revealed that she was in possession of a Bearded Dragon Lizard. (You can?t make this stuff up)
Where does one hold a Bearded Dragon Lizard while driving you ask?
Answer: In their brassiere of course!! The Bearded Dragon Lizard was transferred to the Taunton Police Department and turned over to the Animal Control Officer.

And yes, there is a picture of that lizard:

Police also noted a male passenger with Rebello-McCarthy, who they said was carrying an airsoft replica of a semi-automatic weapon and was unable to ?recall his first or last name as he slurred his way through the conversation.?

Authorities later identified him as 22-year-old Marvin K. Kyewalyanga, according to WJAR.

Police said that Rebello-McCarthy flattened all four of her tires and ripped off both bumpers in the accident.

Rebello-McCarthy was charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor, driving to endanger, and marked lane violation.

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