Ailes is out as Fox News head, Murdoch named acting chief
NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Ailes is out as chief executive at Fox News Channel, his career at the network he built from scratch and ran with an iron hand for nearly 20 years over with stunning swiftness following allegations that he forced out a former anchor after she spurned his sexual advances.
Network parent 21st Century Fox said that Rupert Murdoch, the company’s executive chairman, would run Fox News and its sister Fox Business Network, which Ailes had also led, until a successor could be found.
Murdoch and 21st Century Fox did not address the widening scandal in the statement on the resignation but lauded Ailes for his contributions. Ailes did not comment in the statement, and no details were given on a settlement agreement.
“I am personally committed to ensuring that Fox News remains a distinctive, powerful voice,” Murdoch said. “Our nation needs a robust Fox News to resonate from every corner of the country.”
Cutting short a vacation, the 85-year-old Murdoch addressed Fox News employees in New York on Thursday. Details were not given on the settlement agreement for a contract that was supposed to run through 2018, but Ailes is expected to get a payment of at least $40 million.
Timeline of events leading to Roger Ailes resignation
NEW YORK (AP) — Here are the key events leading up to Roger Ailes’ resignation from Fox News Channel, the cable-news juggernaut he built from scratch two decades ago:
June 23: Fox News Channel anchor and former “Fox & Friends” co-host Gretchen Carlson is quietly let go after 11 years with the network upon the expiration of her contract.
July 6: Carlson sues network chief executive Roger Ailes, claiming she was cut loose after she refused his sexual advances and complained about harassment in the workplace. Though the complaint is filed against Ailes, she also cites her former “Fox & Friends” colleague Steve Doocy for alleged sexual harassment. Ailes, in a statement, denies the allegations and accuses Carlson of filing the lawsuit in retaliation for her contract not being renewed. Doocy doesn’t respond. Parent company 21st Century Fox, while stating that “we have full confidence in Mr. Ailes and Mr. Doocy,” it is launching an internal review.
July 9: New York magazine publishes allegations of sexual misconduct by Ailes from six other women, two of whom speak on the record.
July 12: Veteran Fox News Channel host Neil Cavuto publishes a defense of Ailes in the Business Insider website, describing the accusations against him as “sick.” Cavuto joins a number of female Fox News on-air personalities including Martha MacCallum, Sandra Smith, Greta Van Susteren and Maria Bartiromo who publicly push back against Carlson’s allegations.
It’s Trump’s big night before the nation _ and GOP skeptics
CLEVELAND (AP) — Donald Trump takes the final-night stage at his Republican convention facing a daunting array of challenges, many of his own making. At the top of the list: Unifying a fractured party and quieting Americans’ concerns about his preparedness for the presidency.
Overseas U.S. allies as well as voters at home will be closely watching his Thursday night address, which comes the day after his suggestion that he might not defend America’s NATO partners as president.
His comments only added to the chaotic nature of Trump’s nominating event, which has been consumed by a plagiarism charge, unusually harsh criticism of Democrat Hillary Clinton, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s dramatic refusal to endorse the GOP nominee from the convention stage.
Trump’s wife, Melania, foreshadowed it all on opening night, noting, “It would not be a Trump contest without excitement and drama.”
His team hopes to close the convention on a more traditional note, with the businessman delivering a scripted speech to the convention crowd and millions of Americans watching on television. Balloons will drop from the ceiling, and the stage will be filled with Trump family members and supporters.
Shock, condemnation after Trump questions NATO commitments
WASHINGTON (AP) — Alarm and condemnation erupted Thursday from European capitals, the White House and leaders of Donald Trump’s own party after the Republican presidential nominee suggested the United States might abandon its NATO military commitments if he were elected president.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who backed Trump at the party’s national convention only two days earlier, said he totally disagreed with the statement but was willing to “chalk it up to a rookie mistake.”
McConnell called NATO “the most successful military alliance in the history of the world,” in a Facebook interview with The New York Times.
In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance agreement was crystal clear: “We defend each other.”
“I will not interfere in the U.S. election campaign,” Stoltenberg said. But he pointedly added, “Two world wars have shown that peace in Europe is also important for the security of the United States.”
Cruz defiant as GOP slams him on Trump non-endorsement
CLEVELAND (AP) — A defiant Sen. Ted Cruz declared Thursday he’s no “servile puppy dog” as he faced a torrent of GOP criticism over his refusal to endorse Donald Trump on the Republican National Convention stage.
Irate convention delegates predicted Cruz had committed political suicide by accepting a prime-time speaking slot Wednesday only to urge Republicans to “vote your conscience,” not vote for the nominee. Although the Texas senator had not been expected to offer an effusive endorsement of his primary foe, many GOP delegates had hoped and expected to hear some expression of support as they struggle to unite their party to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton this fall.
Instead they got the opposite Wednesday night as Cruz’s defiance ripped apart their showcase of GOP unity moments before vice presidential nominee Mike Pence took the stage. The result was a moment of high drama in the convention hall, as delegates booed Cruz angrily and waved their arms, and some even rushed the stage. Only Trump’s sudden appearance in his family’s box, dispensing smiles and waves, quieted the simmering crowd.
Trump himself declared Cruz’s move “no big deal!” in a late-night Twitter post Wednesday. But on Thursday the Texan met anger and denunciations from many sides and was even heckled at a breakfast meeting of his own Texas delegation where a vocal minority of the large crowd was furious.
“Get over it, this is politics!” one man yelled, while another told Cruz he could unite the party by saying just a few words in support of Trump and “You need to do it now!” A third told Cruz to “Stop spinning it!”
Turkish lawmakers give leader Erdogan sweeping new powers
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey will be able to extend detention times for suspects and issue decrees without parliamentary approval under a three-month state of emergency approved Thursday by lawmakers following last week’s attempted military coup.
Parliament voted 346-115 to approve the national state of emergency, which gives sweeping new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had been accused of autocratic conduct even before this week’s crackdown on alleged opponents. Erdogan has said the state of emergency will counter threats to Turkish democracy.
Even without the emergency measures, his government has already imposed a crackdown that has included mass arrests, mass firings and the closure of hundreds of schools. Erdogan said the new powers would allow the government to rid the military of the “virus” of subversion, blaming the coup attempt on a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen. The cleric has denied any knowledge of the attempted coup.
“This is a state of emergency imposed not on the people, but on (the state) itself,” declared Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. “We will, one by one, cleanse the state of (Gulen’s followers) and eliminate those who are trying to harm the country.”
The government hopes the state of emergency will be lifted within 40 to 45 days, said Yildirim’s deputy, Numan Kurtulmus.
Truck attacker in Nice had accomplices, planned for months
PARIS (AP) — The truck driver who killed 84 people on a Nice beachfront had accomplices and appears to have been plotting his attack for months, the Paris prosecutor said Thursday, citing text messages, more than 1,000 phone calls and video of the attack scene on the phone of one of five people facing terror charges.
Prosecutor Francois Molins said the five suspects in custody faced preliminary terrorism charges for their alleged roles in helping 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel in the July 14 attack in the southern French city.
Molins’ office, which oversees terrorism investigations, opened a judicial inquiry Thursday into a battery of charges for the suspects, including complicity to murder and possessing weapons tied to a terrorist enterprise.
Details about the investigation came as France’s interior minister faced criticism that a faulty security plan may have opened the way for the truck attack and as France extended its state of emergency for six months.
The prosecutor said the investigation made “notable advances” since the Bastille Day attack by Bouhlel, a Tunisian who had been living legally in Nice for years. Bouhlel was killed by police after barreling his 19-ton truck down Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais, mowing down those who had come to see holiday fireworks.
Brazil nabs 10 IS backers in Olympics anti-terror swoop
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Ten Brazilians who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State militant group were arrested Thursday, authorities announced, describing them as “amateurs” who discussed on social media the possibility of staging attacks during next month’s Olympics.
Justice Minister Alexandre de Moraes said in the capital, Brasilia, that the 10 were being held on two terrorism-related charges and that two more people were being sought.
Authorities said any attack plan would have had little chance of coming to fruition, citing the group’s lack of resources and skills.
But officials and security experts argued that police were justified in being aggressive in light of “lone wolf” attacks staged in the U.S. and Europe by men with little or no training.
Moraes said police acted because the group discussed using weapons and guerrilla tactics to potentially launch an attack during the Olympics, which begin in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 5. They will remain in police custody for at least 30 days.
NBA moving All-Star Game out of Charlotte, cites LGBT law
The NBA is moving the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because of its objections to a North Carolina law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people.
The league had expressed its opposition to the law known as HB2 since it was enacted in March, and its decision Thursday came shortly after stage legislators revisited the law and chose to leave it largely unchanged.
“While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2,” the league said in a statement.
The league added that it hoped to announce a new location for next February’s events shortly. It hopes to reschedule the 2019 game for Charlotte if there is a resolution to the matter.
“We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season. There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so,” Hornets chairman and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan said. “With that said, we are pleased that the NBA opened the door for Charlotte to host All-Star weekend again as soon as an opportunity was available in 2019.”
Russians lose track appeal; IOC to weigh total ban for Rio
LONDON (AP) — Now that Russian track and field athletes have failed in their effort to have their Olympic ban overturned, it’s up to the IOC to decide whether to kick the entire Russian team out of the games that begin in Rio de Janeiro in 15 days.
In another blow to the image of the sports superpower, the highest court in sports on Thursday dismissed an appeal by 68 Russian track athletes of the ban imposed by the IAAF following allegations of systematic and state-sponsored doping.
Sports officials in Moscow condemned the ruling as “political,” and said some athletes might take their case to civil courts. Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva said the Rio Games will be devalued, with only “pseudo-gold medals” available.
In its ruling, the Court of Arbitration for Sport found that track and field’s world governing body, the IAAF, had properly applied its own rules in keeping the Russians out of the games that begin Aug. 5.
The three-man panel ruled that the Russian Olympic Committee “is not entitled to nominate Russian track and field athletes to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games considering that they are not eligible to participate under the IAAF competition rules.”