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Washington, Oct 7 : Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice on Saturday night soon after the US Senate has confirmed him as the 114th Supreme Court Justice by one of the narrowest margins in history amid mass protests, ending a vitriolic battle that began as a debate over judicial ideology and concluded with a national reckoning over sexual misconduct.

The 53-year-old Kavanaugh was promptly sworn in by both Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the retired Justice Anthony M. Kennedy – the court’s longtime swing vote, whom he will replace – in a private ceremony.

As a chorus of women in the Senate’s public galleries repeatedly interrupted the proceedings on Saturday night with cries of “Shame!”, somber-looking senators voted 50 to 48 – almost entirely along party lines – to elevate Judge Kavanaugh, reports The New York Times.

“He’s going to go down as a totally brilliant Supreme Court Justice for many years,” an elated President Donald Trump told reporters, whom he had invited to join him in watching the vote on television aboard Air Force One.

Trump also derided the sizable protests against Judge Kavanaugh on the steps of the Supreme Court and the Capitol as “phony stuff”, and said it was a misnomer to imply that women were upset at his confirmation.

“Women, I feel, were in many ways stronger than the men in this fight,” the President said.

“Women were outraged at what happened to Brett Kavanaugh. Outraged.”

The brutal confirmation fight is likely to have far-reaching implications in next month’s midterm elections.

Republicans are confronting an electrified Democratic base led by women infuriated by the treatment of professor Christine Blasey Ford, who detailed in emotional testimony her allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when both were teenagers in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh has denied the allegations.

Republicans have said that the battle to get Kavanaugh confirmed only motivated a fractured party electorate on a singularly unifying issue for conservatives: the federal judiciary.

“It’s been a great political gift for us. The tactics have energised our base,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told The Washington Post.

“I want to thank the mob, because they’ve done the one thing we were having trouble doing, which was energising our base.”

But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, called the nomination “one of the saddest moments in the history of the Senate” and said, “this chapter will be a flashing red warning light of what to avoid”.

Republicans “conducted one of the least transparent, least fair, most biased processes in Senate history, slanting the table from the very beginning to produce their desired result”, he added.

The two-vote margin for Kavanaugh was the narrowest for a confirmed Supreme Court Justice since 1881, when the Senate confirmed Stanley Matthews, a nominee of President James A. Garfield’s.

Ahead of the vote, hundreds of people protested against Kavanaugh’s nomination at the US Capitol in Washington. Protesters had gathered outside the court and at one point some ran up the steps and banged on its ornate doors. Other demonstrators climbed on the nearby statue of justice.

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Nine drug addicts killed in Afghanistan shooting

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Kabul, Nine drug addicts were shot to death in an overnight shooting in a non-residential area in western side of Kabul, Afghanistan, the capital police said on Sunday.

“The shooting occurred at side of Qurugh Mountain in Police District 6 roughly at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday. Personnel of Kabul Criminal Investigation Police Department shifted the bodies to Forensic Science Service Department near Kabul University shortly after the shooting was reported,” Ferdaus Faramarz from Kabul police told Xinhua.

One arrest was made after the shooting and the motive behind the incident remained unclear. Further investigation is on, police added.

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31 civilians killed in Yemen airstrike: UN

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An airstrike in the Yemeni northeastern province of al-Jawf has killed at least 31 civilians and injured 12 others, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen said in a statement on Sunday.

“We share our deep condolences with the families of those killed and we pray for the speedy recovery of everyone who has been injured in these terrible strikes,” Lise Grande said in the statement obtained by Xinhua.

“Under international humanitarian law parties which resort to force are obligated to protect civilians. Five years into this conflict and belligerents are still failing to uphold this responsibility,” she added.

The victims were killed in the airstrike on Saturday that targeted a gathering of people at the site where a Tornado warplane of the Saudi-led coalition crashed in al-Masloub district in the southwest of al-Jawf, according to a local tribal source.

The victims were members of three relative families, the source said on condition of anonymity. The strike came hours after the Houthi rebels claimed to have shot down the Tornado warplane.

Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition confirmed that a Tornado warplane crashed in al-Jawf during an operation to support Yemen’s government forces. The coalition held Houthis responsible for the lives and safety of the plane’s crew, according to a statement carried by the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television.

The Saudi-led coalition has been fighting the Iran-allied Houthi rebels since its intervention in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support the internationally-recognized government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

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Japan confirms 70 new coronavirus cases from cruise ship

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Toky, Another 70 people aboard the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan’s Yokohama have been tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total to 355 cases, Health Minister Katsunobu Kato confirmed on Sunday.

The health ministry said that the 70 new cases came out of 289 people tested, bringing the total number of those who have undergone tests to 1,219, Japan Times reported.

The cruise ship arrived in Japan earlier this month with more than 3,700 passengers and crew members from more than 50 countries and regions.

With global attention increasingly focused on the situation, the US Embassy sent a letter on Saturday to Americans aboard saying that a chartered aircraft, set to arrive in Japan on Sunday, would repatriate those who wished to leave the ship.

The US aircraft is set to depart from Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Monday, according to Japanese official japan will also cooperate with other countries that make similar arrangements to evacuate their citizens on the ship, Japanese government officials said.

More than a week has passed since the cruise ship was put under a two-week quarantine at Yokohama port after a passenger who disembarked in Hong Kong was found to be infected with COVID-19, the pneumonia-causing coronavirus.

Japan’s health ministry had initially planned to keep all of the passengers and crew confined on the vessel until Wednesday, when the quarantine is scheduled to end.

But the ministry decided last Thursday to let passengers 80 and older, as well as their traveling companions, leave before the end of the quarantine after they were screened for infection.

Those with pre-existing conditions or who were staying in cabins without windows were prioritized for disembarkation.

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