October 5, 2018

This is VOA news. I'm David Byrd in Washington.

Senate Republican leaders say they are confident President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, will be confirmed as a justice.

As AP's Ed Donahue reports, Senate Democrats are charging that an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh is incomplete.

Republican like Utah's Orrin Hatch say the report shows no hint of misconduct by Brett Kavanaugh.

"It's time to end a charade."

The FBI investigation looked into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine says it didn't go far enough.

"I'm not allowed to discuss it. The public can't see it. It's a complete sham."

Protesters were arrested at a Senate office building, including comedian Amy Schumer.

"... they cannot keep us down. We will win. A vote for Kavanaugh is a vote saying women don't matter."

Orrin Hatch says the Senate can't turn away Brett Kavanaugh.

"He is going to be a great justice, perhaps one of the greatest we've ever had."

Ed Donahue, Washington.

The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday it has charged seven Russian intelligence officers with hacking the computer networks of international anti-doping agencies and organizations investigating Russia's use of chemical weapons.

Assistant Attorney General John Demers said that the Russians belonged to the GRU, Russia's military intelligence agency.

"Our indictment today charges some of the same Russian operatives caught in The Hague as part of a conspiracy to hack a variety of individuals and organizations in the United States, Canada, and Europe, to obtain information or access that was then exploited for the benefit of the Russian government."

Demers said that three of the accused had previously been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller in connection with the hacking of Democratic computers during the 2016 presidential election.

This is VOA news.

The Trump administration is accusing China of trying to undermine the United States by targeting the American political system.

Vice President Mike Pence said during a speech at a conservative thinktank Thursday that Beijing does not like President Trump's actions, especially new tariffs.

"To put it bluntly, President Trump's leadership is working, and China wants a different American president."

Pence also said in his speech, the Chinese are trying to protect their military power and project it farther than ever before, noting that Chinese ships routinely patrol around disputed islands administered by Japan.

He said Beijing's deployment of advanced anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on artificial islands are also evidence of its hegemony.

The remarks come a week after President Trump accused the Chinese government of attempting to interfere in the U.S. midterm elections scheduled for next month.

The U.N. refugee agency warns that populist politics and fear-mongering about immigration are eroding international protection for refugees fleeing conflict and persecution.

Lisa Schlein reports from Geneva.

Conflict, persecution and violence have displaced a record 68 one half million people around the world. Most are internally displaced while 25 million are refugees. These are people who have crossed international borders and are entitled to international protection under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

But U.N. Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Volker Turk says this right is slipping away. He says some governments are taking political and legal measures to narrow the concept of who is a refugee.

Turk says xenophobia, racism and bigotry often are driven by fear, anger and anxiety within communities. He says they must be confronted and addressed. He warns history shows how the mistreatment of the foreigner paves the way for the mistreatment of the citizen.

Lisa Schlein, for VOA news, Geneva.

The Voice of America announced Thursday that it has fired or proposed to terminate more than half of the members of its Hausa language service following an investigation that found individuals had accepted improper payments from a foreign official in West Africa.

VOA Director Amanda Bennett notified VOA staff of the move in an agency-wide email. Bennett said the action was taken after simultaneous investigations by VOA staff and the agency's Office of the Inspector General.

The Hausa service reaches some 20 million people weekly, principally in Nigeria but also in Niger, Ghana, Chad and Cameroon.

For more on these stories, be sure to log on to our website voanews.com. You can also find us on the VOA mobile app. I'm David Byrd, VOA news.