NEWS     SUNDAY,  OCTOBER  7, 2018    NEWS

Senate confirms Kavanaugh to Supreme Court
Brett M. Kavanaugh, 53, replaces (50-48) the swing vote of retired justice Anthony M. Kennedy. He was confirmed as the Supreme Court’s 114th justice by one of the narrowest margins in Senate history, as police stood guard and protesters’ shouts of “shame, shame” echoed through the Senate chamber. The Kavanaugh court is the one conservatives have worked decades to build.  Expect re-energized efforts from social and religious conservatives to get their issues — gun-control challenges, religious objections to gay rights — before a court where like-minded justices will make up the majority. The median justice now is much more likely to be conservative Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Washington Post
VOA VIEW: Great!

Kavanaugh sworn in as 114th Supreme Court justice
Judge Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the 114th Supreme Court justice late Saturday, just hours after the Senate voted to confirm him to the nation's highest court after a rancorous confirmation battle. Kavanaugh was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony, accompanied by his wife and children. The ceremonial swearing in is expected to happen on Monday evening at the White House. It means that now-Justice Kavanaugh will begin hearing cases before the court on Tuesday. The Senate voted 50-48 to confirm Kavanaugh, mostly along party lines, after a weeklong FBI probe helped settle concerns among most wavering senators about the sexual assault allegations that nearly derailed his nomination and led to a dramatic second hearing. Saturday’s roll call marked the tightest successful Supreme Court confirmation vote in over 100 years, closer than even that of Clarence Thomas who similarly faced sexual misconduct allegations. Fox
VOA VIEW: Done!

McConnell predicts Republican 'surge' from Kavanaugh confirmation heading into midterms
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believed the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court would light the Republican base on fire one month before the November election, rousing conservatives who might otherwise have lacked enthusiasm. “The ironies of ironies, this has actually produced an incredible surge of interest among these Republican voters going into the fall election,” McConnell told USA TODAY in interview just before Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court. “We’ve all been perplexed about how to get our people as interested as we know the other side is, well this has done it," he said. The confirmation vote was a big win for President Donald Trump and is expected to further shift the Supreme Court to the right. Kavanaugh is replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, a moderate who was often a swing vote on the court. USA Today
VOA VIEW: Republicans have a battle charge.

Brett Kavanaugh vote: Will 'asterisk justice' bring political stain to Supreme Court?
Brett Kavanaugh will bring a lot of baggage with him to the Supreme Court, adding to perceptions that the third branch of government is just as political as the other two. Kavanaugh's 50-48 confirmation ends a tumultuous three months in which he was accused of sexual assault and lying under oath. He responded by accusing Democrats and liberal interest groups of a "calculated and orchestrated political hit." For a high court that already features four conservatives named by Republican presidents and four liberals chosen by Democratic presidents, the addition of a justice viewed as partisan, intemperate or both is almost certain to fuel doubts about the court's legitimacy.  USA Today

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U.S.-Japan officials to work together on North Korea
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed Saturday to work together in their approaches to denuclearizing North Korea. They described the agreement during a photo session with Tokyo journalists before their bilateral meeting, CNN reported. Pompeo arrived in Japan Saturday ahead of a fourth North Korea visit Sunday where he is likely to discuss denuclearization with North Korea leader Kim Jung-un as part of his Asia tour. During the appearance with the media, Pompeo said he wanted "a fully coordinated, unified view of how to proceed, which will be what is needed if we are going to be successful in denuclearizing North Korea." UPI

FBI investigation into Kavanaugh was a 'sham,' say Ford's lawyers
The attorneys representing Dr. Christine Blasey Ford described the FBI investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a "sham" after several senators cast on Friday their votes to move his nomination to the Senate floor for a final vote. Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers, was not interviewed as part of the investigation, one of her attorneys, Debra Katz, told ABC News, calling the move a "grave injustice." ABC
VOA VIEW: Ford would be wise to shut up and hide.

Getting your medical records might not be easy
U.S. patients face numerous roadblocks when trying to access their medical records at the nation's top hospitals, a new study finds. Federal law says patients must be given access to their medical records in a timely manner, in their preferred format and at a reasonable cost. But Yale University researchers found many hospitals make the process too confusing or expensive. UPI

President Trump holds campaign rally in Kansas
President Trump was back on the campaign trail Saturday night, speaking at a rally in Kansas just hours after Brett Kavanaugh, his Supreme Court nominee, was confirmed to the court. The Senate voted 50-48, mostly along party lines, to confirm Kavanaugh to the nation’s highest court. Shortly after the vote, Trump tweeted his congratulations. “I applaud and congratulate the U.S. Senate for confirming our GREAT NOMINEE, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the United States Supreme Court,” Trump wrote. “Later today, I will sign his Commission of Appointment, and he will be officially sworn in. Very exciting!” Fox

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Kagan and Sotomayor call for impartial court as final Kavanaugh vote looms
The US supreme court justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor stressed the need for the court to remain impartial during a panel at Princeton University on Friday. Notably absent from the talk was any discussion of the supreme court nomine e Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. “Part of the court’s legitimacy depends on people not seeing the court in the way that people see the rest of the governing structures of this country now,” Kagan said. “It’s an incredibly important thing for the court to guard – this reputation of being fair, of being impartial, of being neutral, and of not being some extension of the terribly polarized political process and environment that we live in.” Guardian
VOA VIEW: Liberals are at the end of the line.

Brett Kavanaugh considered partisan, unfit for Supreme Court by many
Will confirming what many see as a highly partisan figure in Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court erase any remaining notion that the highest court in the land is apolitical? Joy Reid and her panel discuss. MSNBC

Possible hurricane, now a tropical depression, could impact Gulf Coast by midweek
A new tropical depression formed approximately 90 miles east of Chetumal, Mexico, early Sunday and it could develop into a hurricane with a direct impact to the Gulf Coast later this week. Maximum sustained winds were at 35 mph at 5 a.m. and the depression was moving north-northwest at 3 mph. The depression is expected to turn north later on Sunday and continue in that direction through Wednesday. This disturbance will become Tropical Storm Michael later Sunday. Rainfall amounts in parts of Central America and western Cuba will range from 3 to 6 inches, with up to 1 foot possible locally. The Florida Keys will begin to see some rain from the outer bands of this depression late Sunday and into Monday with totals reaching 2 to 4 inches. ABC

Top US admiral warns of Russian submarine threat
America's most senior naval officer in Europe, Adm. James Foggo, said Friday that he was "concerned" about some of Russia's newer and more advanced fleet of submarines. "Russia is not 10 feet tall but they do have assets that keep me vigilant, concerned. One of them is in the undersea domain," Foggo, the commander of US Naval Forces Europe, told reporters at the Pentagon. While Foggo said Russia's surface fleet, including its aging aircraft carrier, posed little threat -- saying Moscow did "not have a robust capital ship capability" -- he did express concerns about Russian advancements in its development of submarines and cruise missiles. CNN

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US unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 1969
US figures have shown the lowest jobless rate since the year of the first moon landings, keeping the world’s largest economy on course for further interest rate rises. Eagerly awaited figures for jobs and wages showed less inflationary pressure in the world’s biggest economy than had been feared, but still pointed to more hikes by the Federal Reserve. Financial markets had been braced for a sharp sell off had the latest monthly payroll numbers indicated faster employment growth and pay increases in September, which could have paved the way for faster-than-expected monetary tightening by the US central bank. As a result of the figures undershooting the most optimistic expectations, losses were smaller than feared in early trading in New York but all the major US markets ended down with the biggest losses on the tech heavy Nasdaq exchange. Guardian

The Many Dangers of Being an Afghan Woman in Uniform
Two dozen Afghan women in their early 20s, dressed in camouflage uniforms, trudge through prickly thistle plants under a nearly full moon. No one dares speak, the silence broken only by too-big army-issued boots crunching to a chorus of stray-dog howls and midsummer cricket chirps. It’s one of the first times these women, all seniors at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul, have taken part in a nighttime exercise. Normally they would be tucked away in their dorm — its hallways plastered with posters of Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart and Col. Latifa Nabizada, Afghanistan’s first female helicopter pilot — surrounded by barbed wire. NY Times

Trump warns that Murkowski 'will never recover' for opposing Kavanaugh
President Donald Trump said Saturday that Sen. Lisa Murkowski "will never recover" from the political consequences of opposing now-confirmed Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court, The Washington Post reported. "I think she will never recover from this," Trump told the paper. "I think the people from Alaska will never forgive her for what she did." Trump also predicted that if the Alaska Republican runs again when she is up for reelection in 2022, she will lose the Republican primary, the newspaper reported. CNN
VOA VIEW: Murkowski is politically finished.

Trump targets Blumenthal, Warren and more Democrats at Kansas rally after Kavanaugh sworn in
At a rally in Topeka, Kansas, after Brett Kavanaugh was sworn into the Supreme Court, President Trump praised Kavanaugh as a "a man of great character and intellect" while slamming Democrats as trying to "plunge our country into gridlock and chaos." Mr. Trump singled out Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker among the Democrats to criticize for "the horror" they put Kavanaugh and his family through. Mr. Trump again pushed claims that Warren lied about her Native American ancestry, calling her "Pocahontas," and saying "I have more Indian blood than her and I have none." Mr. Trump called Blumenthal "Da Nang Dick," a reference to Da Nang, Vietnam, where Americans first landed in the Vietnam War. Blumenthal served in the Marine Corps in the 1970s but did not serve in Vietnam. Blumenthal previously indicated on some occasions that he served in Vietnam. After the discrepancy in his record was revealed in 2010, he said he "misspoken about my service, and I regret that." CBS

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Kavanaugh drama vaults McConnell to status of GOP icon — and Democratic villain
Mitch McConnell didn’t break his trademark stoic expression Saturday afternoon as his colleagues methodically voted, one by one, on whether to place Brett Kavanaugh on the United States Supreme Court. The Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Republican didn’t turn to face fellow senators as they declared “yes” or “no.” He barely flinched as protesters screamed from the viewing galleries overlooking the Senate floor, even as one woman was physically dragged by the arms and legs from the chamber by Capitol Police. But McConnell was enjoying a political euphoria like he has rarely known. Miami Herald

Pompeo will push Kim Jong-un to get rid of nukes in upcoming meeting
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he plans to push North Korea’s Kim Jong-un to ditch his nukes when the two meet Sunday, adding he hopes to make clear to the dictator “that we understand what each side is truly trying to achieve.” Pompeo said he wanted “a fully coordinated, unified view of how to proceed, which will be what is needed if we are going to be successful in denuclearizing North Korea.” His comments came before a meeting Saturday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo. Pompeo is making a day trip to the rogue regime and is not spending the night. He expects to urge Kim to take a second meeting with President Trump and will seek “options for both location and timing,” according to CNN. New York Post

Transcript: Sen. Susan Collins on "Face the Nation," October 7, 2018
The following is a transcript of the interview with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine airing Sunday, August 9, 2018, on "Face the Nation." JOHN DICKERSON: We begin with Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins who made a dramatic 45 minute speech to the Senate on Friday outlining her decision to vote for Judge Kavanaugh. Welcome senator. JOHN DICKERSON: You were one of the senators who backed the FBI inquiry. You said it was a very thorough investigation. But Dr. Ford's lawyers said that none of the people they put forward were interviewed. They said there is corroborating evidence and nobody wanted to see it. CBS

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Trade wars and protectionism threaten global shipping, warns UN agency
The warning from UNCTAD, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, follows a “healthy” four per cent increase in global seaborne commerce in 2017. “While the prospects for seaborne trade are positive, these are threatened by the outbreak of trade wars and increased inward-looking policies,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. “Escalating protectionism and tit-for-tat tariff battles will potentially disrupt the global trading system which underpins demand for maritime transport.” According to the Review of Maritime Transport 2018, 10.7 billion tonnes of goods were transported last year and nearly half were dry bulk commodities. These include iron ore bound for China, which is described as the “main factor” in recent global shipping growth. This positive trend is forecast to continue at a rate of 3.8 per cent by volume, until 2023, the UNCTAD report says. UN

DHS says no reason to doubt firms' China hack denials
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said on Saturday it currently had no reason to doubt statements from companies that have denied a Bloomberg report that their supply chains were compromised by malicious computer chips inserted by Chinese intelligence services. “The Department of Homeland Security is aware of the media reports of a technology supply chain compromise,” DHS said in a statement. “Like our partners in the UK, the National Cyber Security Centre, at this time we have no reason to doubt the statements from the companies named in the story,” it said. Reuters

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Execution of juvenile offender in Iran ‘deeply distressing’
Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran was convicted of murdering her husband in 2012, when she was 17-years-old. She was executed this week, despite a number of appeals from UN Special Rapporteurs. “The sheer injustice in the case of Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran is deeply distressing,” Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a news release on Friday. “The serious question marks over her conviction appear not to have been adequately addressed before she was executed. The bottom line is that she was a juvenile at the time the offence was committed, and international law clearly prohibits the execution of juvenile offenders.”
UN

Pope orders 'thorough study' of Vatican documents in McCarrick abuse case
Pope Francis has ordered a “thorough study” of all documents in Holy See offices concerning disgraced former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Vatican said on Saturday in its first response to accusations that have shaken the Catholic Church. In a statement, the Vatican appeared to be committing itself to examine the paper trail on the McCarrick case, quoting from speech Francis made in 2015 in which he said “We will follow the path of truth wherever it may lead”. The latest crisis began in August when Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican’s former ambassador to the United States, said in a bombshell document that the pope knew for years about sexual misconduct by McCarrick with adult male seminarians but did nothing about it. Reuters

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