While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 5

VIDEO: REUTERS

Hopes rising, Republicans set vote on Kavanaugh as Democrats denounce FBI report

Confidence grew among President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans that Brett Kavanaugh would win Senate confirmation to the US Supreme Court, after positive comments from two wavering lawmakers about an FBI report on accusations of sexual misconduct by the judge.

The report, sent by the White House to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the middle of the night, was denounced by Democrats as a whitewash that was too narrow in scope and ignored critical witnesses.

But Republicans moved forward with plans for a key procedural vote on Friday and a final vote on Saturday on confirming the conservative federal appeals judge chosen by Trump for a lifetime job on the nation’s top court.

The FBI report represented the latest twist in a pitched political battle over Kavanaugh, and comments by two crucial Republican senators – Jeff Flake and Susan Collins – indicated it may have allayed concerns they had about the judge.

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Mike Pence accuses China of seeking to change US president

Vice-President Mike Pence accused China of military aggression, commercial theft and rising human rights violations as he cast the Asian power as a villain bent on interfering in upcoming US elections.

In a blistering speech that expands on complaints aired by President Donald Trump at the United Nations last week, Pence accused China of waging an “unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion” ahead of critical congressional elections on Nov 6.

“To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working; China wants a different American president,” Pence said at the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington think-tank. “There can be no doubt – China is meddling in America’s democracy.”

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French man who punched woman in viral video gets six months' jail

A man who punched a young woman outside a Paris cafe, prompting outrage after a video of the assault went viral, was sentenced to six months in prison and ordered to pay a €2,000 (S$3,100) fine by a French court, lawyers said.

The video of the attack on student Marie Laguerre, which she posted on Facebook on July 25, boosted support for plans to punish sexual harassment on France's streets with fines.

The court determined that the defendant, named only as Firas M, was responsible for his acts when he punched Laguerre.

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Prince Harry, Meghan to pet koalas as part of Pacific tour plan

Prince Harry and Meghan will pet koalas and watch soldiers perform the haka when they tour the Pacific in their first major outing abroad this month, a royal official said on Thursday.

The US actress married the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II in May, becoming the new royal of media obsession in Britain and beyond.

Meghan has only just attended her first solo function, opening an exhibition last month and making media waves in the process by closing her own car door. The new Duchess of Sussex will now be scrutinised for 16 days running as she dashes with the prince across Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand starting on Oct 16.

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Football: Juventus say rape allegations 'do not change opinion' of Ronaldo

Italian champions Juventus on Thursday  broke their silence over rape allegations against superstar player Cristiano Ronaldo, saying the claims made by an American woman do not change their opinion of the Portuguese striker.

"Cristiano Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus," the reigning seven-time Italian champions said on Twitter.

"The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion."

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