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Brett Kavanaugh: Key senators back embattled Supreme Court choice

Brett Kavanaugh Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation process has been one of the most contentious for years

Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court seat looks all but confirmed after he won the backing of key senators despite an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations.

Republican Senator Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, a Democrat, both indicated their backing for the judge on Friday.

Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation would tilt America’s highest court in favour of conservatives.

The court has the final say on issues such as abortion and gun control.

A final vote on whether Judge Kavanaugh will join the nine-member panel is scheduled for Saturday. If confirmed, the position is for life.

Hours before the undecided senators indicated their backing, the US Senate narrowly advanced President Donald Trump’s nominee to a final vote by voting to strictly limit debate on the issue.

Friday’s “cloture” vote – 51-49 in favour – was a test of support for the embattled nominee who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct from three women, including Prof Christine Blasey Ford.

What did the senators say?

Senator Collins ended hopes she would side with Democrats in the final vote, telling fellow senators she did not believe the “charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court”.

“The facts presented do not mean that Professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night or at some other time but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations failed to meet the more likely than not standard,” she said.

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Media captionCollins: I vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh

Senator Manchin, who is up for re-election in West Virginia, a traditionally Republican state that Mr Trump won by a landslide, told the Senate moments later he “found Judge Kavanaugh to be a qualified jurist who will follow the constitution and determine cases based on the legal findings before him”.

What has the reaction been?

The reaction has been swift, with former president George HW Bush and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders both tweeting their support for Ms Collins.

Mr Manchin, however, has found himself in the firing line.

A liberal group which raises money for Democratic candidates, Priorities USA, immediately said it would not be giving any funds to his re-election campaign.

Outside, protesters shouted “shame on you” as Mr Manchin spoke to reporters about his decision.

Meanwhile, a tweet asking someone to run for Senator Collins’s seat in Maine when it comes up for re-election in 2020 from former White House communication chief, Jen Psaki, had a swift response from former UN ambassador Susan Rice.

She later clarified she was “not making any announcements” but was “deeply disappointed in Senator Collins’s vote for Kavanaugh”.

Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski – a Republican who voted against the nomination earlier on Friday – is yet to officially say which way she will vote on Saturday.

However, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted she could “see 2022 from my house”, suggesting Senator Murkowski would face a fight for her seat at the next election should she not side with her Republican colleagues in the vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

Analysis: Just the beginning

By Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court is all but certain. The Republican Party has the votes and the battle appears over. The political war, however, is just beginning.

Donald Trump’s court pick generated a controversy that captured the nation’s attention in a way that few political issues do. It generated daily headlines rivalled only by the US quadrennial presidential elections.

Now that the bombs have been thrown, it’s time to assess the fallout.

Read more from Anthony

What was the FBI inquiry about?

In public testimony last week Prof Ford said she had been assaulted by Judge Kavanaugh when they were both teenagers in 1982.

Judge Kavanaugh denied the claim – and allegations that he drank to the point of memory loss at the time – in a feisty confrontation with senators.

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Media captionChristine Blasey Ford said she was “100%” sure Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her

After the testimony, President Trump agreed to a new FBI inquiry.

Federal agents are believed to have spoken to five witnesses regarding Prof Ford’s accusations and another four other witnesses involving a separate accusation by Deborah Ramirez, who said the nominee had exposed himself to her when they were both at Yale University. He denies Ms Ramirez’s allegations, too.

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Media captionFeinstein and McConnell have very different views on the FBI report

Mr Trump and his fellow Republicans said the new FBI report had cleared their nominee.

But Democratic senators said it had been incomplete.

The lawyers of both women have also complained that several witnesses they had offered to the FBI to corroborate their claims had not been contacted at all.

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Brett Kavanaugh: Hundreds arrested in Supreme Court protest

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Media captionProtesters take to Capitol Hill

Hundreds of protesters against US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have been arrested in Washington, DC.

Comedian Amy Schumer and model Emily Ratajkowski were among 302 women held for demonstrating against the nominee.

Republicans earlier declared an FBI report had exonerated him of sexual assault allegations.

But Democrats said the five-day inquiry was “incomplete” because it was limited by the White House.

The Senate will hold a procedural vote on the nominee on Friday.

The likelihood of Judge Kavanaugh winning a full Senate vote appeared to increase on Thursday after two Republicans whose backing will be essential gave a positive account of the FBI inquiry.

But the confirmation is not a certainty, with several senators undecided and one at risk of missing a vote because he is attending his daughter’s wedding.

If confirmed to the lifetime position on America’s highest court, the 53-year-old is expected to help conservatives dominate the nine-member panel, which has the final say on issues such as abortion, gun control and voting rules.

As the vote neared, the judge defended his neutrality in a Wall Street Journal editorial titled, “I am an independent, impartial judge”.

Addressing his angry testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he branded the allegations against him an “orchestrated political hit”, he wrote: “I know that my tone was sharp, and I said a few things I should not have said.”

What happened at the protests?

Thousands of mainly female demonstrators marched through the nation’s capital on Thursday, starting at the appeals court where Judge Kavanaugh currently presides.

They converged on Capitol Hill and held a rally outside the Supreme Court, chanting: “Kavanaugh has got to go!”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Comedian Amy Schumer (C) joins the protest on Capitol Hill

Police rounded the protesters up in a Senate office building after they sat down and refused to budge.

There was another protest in front of Trump Tower in New York City.

What was the reaction to the FBI report?

President Trump and his fellow Republicans declared the FBI report had cleared their nominee, as they sounded increasingly confident Judge Kavanaugh would win confirmation.

Senators said the FBI had spoken to five witnesses connected to accusations by Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges a drunken Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in 1982.

Federal agents are also said to have spoken to four other witnesses involving a separate accusation by Deborah Ramirez, who claims the nominee exposed himself to her when they were both were at Yale University. He denies both allegations.

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Media captionFeinstein and McConnell have very different views on the FBI report

“This investigation found no hint of misconduct,” Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley said in a statement.

Senate Republicans plan a procedural “cloture” vote at 10:30 on Friday (14:30 GMT), which is required to move to a final vote, scheduled on Saturday at around 17:30 (21:30 GMT).

But Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said the FBI report was “the product of an incomplete investigation”, saying key corroborating witnesses had been snubbed. Another Democratic Senator, Richard Blumenthal, told reporters it was a “whitewash”.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Anti-Kavanaugh protesters rally outside the US Supreme Court

White House spokesman Raj Shah said: “What critics want is a never-ending fishing expedition into high school drinking.”

One Republican Senator, John Cornyn, raised eyebrows by telling his party this was “our Atticus Finch moment”, a reference to the lawyer in classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird who refutes a false rape allegation.

What did undecided senators say?

Given that Republicans have a razor-thin 51-49 margin of control in the Senate, the party can potentially only afford one defection if it wants to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, assuming Democrats vote the same way.

His nomination has been at the mercy of three wavering senators, but two of those – Jeff Flake and Susan Collins – appeared to respond positively to the FBI report.

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Media caption‘Ford is a liar’: Trump supporters’ unequivocal backing for Kavanaugh

Another wavering Republican senator, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, reportedly met sexual assault survivors in her office on Thursday.

Complicating matters, the office of Republican Steve Daines said he was planning to attend his daughter’s wedding in Montana on Saturday – meaning he might not be around to vote, or that the vote may be held open until he can return to take part.

Another Republican, Cory Gardner, who previously said he would back Judge Kavanaugh, is yet to decide how he will vote, the Denver Post reported.

A previously undecided Democratic Senator, Heidi Heitkamp, said she would vote against Judge Kavanaugh, citing “concerns about his past conduct”.

And Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the only Democrat who remains undecided, said he would finish reading the FBI report on Friday morning.

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Brett Kavanaugh: Senate to get FBI report within hours

Judge Brett Kavanaugh testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary committee on September 27, 2018 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Senators will shortly receive the FBI’s report on Judge Brett Kavanaugh

The US Senate is expected to receive an FBI report on allegations of sexual misconduct against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, in the next few hours.

Its conclusions will not be made public, but Senators will be able to review the report on Thursday.

Republicans and Democrats remain bitterly divided on whether to approve Mr Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court judge.

The judge has vehemently denied all allegations against him.

What are the allegations?

Last week Professor Christine Blasey Ford testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Mr Kavanaugh and another man had assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, has accused Judge Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her during a drinking game when they were students at Yale University in the 1980s.

After Prof Ford’s testimony the Senate panel approved Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination but asked for the FBI to conduct further inquiry before the full Senate votes on his appointment to America’s top court.

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Media captionChristine Blasey Ford said she was “100%” sure Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her

However the FBI is not looking at allegations made by a third woman, Julie Swetnick, that Mr Kavanaugh was involved in the drugging and sexual assault of girls at house parties in the 1980s. He has described Ms Swetnick’s allegation as a “joke”.

What’s at stake?

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a final Senate vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination on Saturday.

If he joins the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh, 53, would be expected to tilt its ideological balance in favour of conservatives.

The court’s nine justices are appointed for life and have the final say on some of the most contentious issues in US public life, from abortion, to gun control, to voting laws.

What’s in the report?

Senators are not meant to reveal what the FBI report says, but it remains to be seen whether that secrecy will hold.

The report will be in paper format only and no copies will be made. It will be held in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol building, known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or Skif, AP reported.

Committee chairman Chuck Grassley will see it at 08:00 local time (12:00 GMT) and ranking Democrat Diane Feinstein will see it at 09:00, NBC reported. After that, the Republican committee members will see it at 10:00 and the Democrats at 11:00.

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Media captionMr Trump cast doubt on Prof Ford’s credibility

Reuters reported that investigators spoke to Ms Ramirez for more than two hours on Sunday, and that she provided a list of more than 20 possible witnesses.

However, lawyers for his first accuser, Prof Ford, said that she had not been contacted by the agency.

Democrats have raised concerns that the investigation has been too narrow in scope, and that key witnesses have been omitted.

Will Kavanaugh be confirmed?

Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation depends on Republican Senators voting strictly along party lines.

The party has only a 51-49 Senate majority. That means that if all Democrats vote against confirming Mr Kavanaugh, Republicans can only afford one defection – since in a tie, Vice-President Mike Pence would get the casting vote.

Three Republican Senators – Jeff Flake, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski – are being closely watched, as they have not yet said how they will vote.

The three senators criticised Mr Trump after he mocked Prof Ford at a rally on Tuesday for not recalling some details of the alleged assault. They described the president’s remarks as “appalling”, “inappropriate” and “just plain wrong”.

Two Democrats, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, are also yet to declare their intentions.

President Trump has consistently backed Mr Kavanaugh, tweeting late on Wednesday that he was a “fine man”.

In contrast to the president’s enthusiasm, a coalition of US Christian churches with 40 million worshippers has urged Mr Kavanaugh to withdraw his nomination.

The National Council of Churches said in a statement that he had shown “extreme partisan bias” during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and lacked the temperament to be a Supreme Court judge.

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Kavanaugh investigation: FBI ‘hasn’t spoken to Christine Blasey Ford’

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Media caption‘Brett put his hand over my mouth to stop me yelling’

The FBI team examining sexual misconduct claims against US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have not yet interviewed his main accuser, her lawyers have said.

Writing to the FBI, attorneys for Professor Christine Blasey Ford said it was “inconceivable” that the agency could conduct a thorough investigation without interviewing her.

Prof Ford has testified that Mr Kavanaugh assaulted her as a teenager.

The judge vehemently denies that.

In a letter written on Tuesday to FBI director Christopher Wray and FBI general counsel Dana Boente, Prof Ford’s lawyers noted that it was five days since the fresh background check was launched.

They said the agency had not responded to the offer to interview Prof Ford, or “a series of emails and letters in which we identified witnesses and evidence that would likely assist the FBI”.

The letter went on: “This afternoon, we learned of media reports that the FBI does not intend to interview either Dr Ford or Judge Kavanaugh. We hope that this reporting is inaccurate.”

FBI ‘could finish investigation early’

The lawyers’ concerns emerged amid reports that the FBI could wind up its investigation well before the deadline of this Friday.

Citing unnamed Republican aides, the Wall Street Journal reported that the bureau could finish “as soon as” Wednesday.

The FBI is known to have interviewed Mark Judge, a boyhood friend of Judge Kavanaugh’s, whom Prof Ford said was in the room when she was assaulted. Mr Judge told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a written statement that he did not recall any such incident – but he was not asked to testify in person.

The agency has also spoken to the judge’s Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez, who alleges that he exposed his genitals in her face during a college drinking game.

President Trump reiterated his support for Mr Kavanaugh on Tuesday, saying he believed the Senate would approve the judge.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, Mr Trump said: “My whole life I’ve heard, ‘you’re innocent until proven guilty’, but now you’re guilty until proven innocent. That’s a very, very difficult standard.

“It’s a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.”

At a rally later in Southaven, Mississippi, Mr Trump mocked last week’s Senate testimony by Prof Christine Blasey Ford, without mentioning her by name.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Trump said Judge Kavanaugh’s life is “in tatters”

The audience laughed as the president said: “Thirty-six years ago this happened: I had one beer! Well, you think it was…? Nope! It was one beer.

“Oh, good. How’d you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where was the place? I don’t remember.

“How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know! I don’t know! What neighbourhood was it in? I don’t know.

“Where’s the house? I don’t know! Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know! But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember. And a man’s life is in tatters.”

What will happen to the FBI report?

The FBI will pass its findings to the White House, which will give them to the Senate. The contents are not expected to be made public.

Senators will then vote on whether to confirm Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of trying to derail the nomination on Monday, declaring: “The time for endless delay and obstruction has come to a close.”

Mr McConnell did not specify when exactly the vote would be held, but it is expected to be on Friday or Saturday.

Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said Friday would be too soon. She argued that senators need more time to evaluate the FBI’s findings.

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Indonesia tsunami and quake: Bodies found in church buried by landslide

Vehicles drive along a road affected by a landslide on the outskirts of Palu in Central Sulawesi on September 29, 2018 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Landslides have hit the island of Sulawesi, triggered by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake

The bodies of 34 Indonesian students have been found under a church which was buried by a mudslide after the quake in Palu, say aid workers.

At least 844 people are confirmed to have died in the disaster, but the number is expected to rise as remote areas are reached.

The aid and rescue operation is being slowed by damaged infrastructure and continuing strong aftershocks.

There are fears some survivors may still be trapped under the rubble.

The students are part of a larger group of 86 students who had initially been reported missing from a Bible camp in the Jonooge Church Training Centre in Sigi Biromaru.

The whereabouts of the other 52 students are not known.

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Media captionTsunami survivor: “I was hugging my wife, but when the wave came… I immediately lost her”

The 34 bodies were found in Sigi Biromaru, just outside Palu, which was struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and a tsunami on Friday.

Aid workers told the BBC they were still in the process of retrieving the bodies, and were being hampered by mud.

“The mud conditions in that area are terrible, we have to walk about 1.5 hours to reach [the mudslide area], that makes it very difficult,” Ridwan Sobri, a spokesperson for the Indonesian Red Cross told the BBC.

Mr Sobri said the identities and ages of the students could not yet be confirmed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Rescue workers are now trying to reach more remote regions

‘Unimaginable trauma’

At a collapsed seven-storey hotel in Palu, rescuers are still hunting for survivors.

About 12 people have already been recovered from the ruins of the hotel building – only three came out alive.

“We have to be very careful so we don’t risk hurting any survivors when we move the debris,” the head of the rescue team, Agus Haryono, told Reuters.

An estimated 50 people were thought to be trapped in the Hotel Roa Roa when it collapsed on Friday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption This is what’s left of the Roa Roa hotel in Palu

Across Palu, blocked roads, a damaged airport and broken telecommunications have made it difficult to bring help into the affected area, and impossible to contact more remote regions.

With hospitals damaged, injured people have been treated in the open and at least one military field hospital has been set up.

The military has taken over the airport to fly aid in, and injured people and other evacuees out.

But for thousands of people wanting to get the first commercial flight out of Palu, the wait continues.

“I’d get a plane anywhere. I’ve been waiting for two days. Haven’t eaten, barely had a drink,” 44-year-old food vendor Wiwid told news outlet Reuters.

Those who are stuck are struggling to get hold of food and clean water – which is in short supply. Some have taken to raiding damaged shops for essential products.

“We don’t have any other choice, we must get food,” one man told AFP.

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Media captionIndonesia quake looter: ‘We need to eat’

And for hundreds of thousands of children in Sulawesi, their lives will never be the same again.

“Many of these children will have experienced unimaginable trauma and distress, seeing things no child should ever to have to see – losing their mother or father, and watching everything they have known washed away,” said charity organisation Save the Children’s Program Implementation Director Tom Howells in a statement.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Children in front of a tent on a field of a mosque where they took refuge in Palu

Many children have been forced to sleep in makeshift shelters or on the street, with little access to food, medication or emotional support, added Mr Howells.

Across the city, mass graves are being dug, one of them to hold up to 300 bodies.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A mass grave in Palu

On the outskirts of Palu, bodies were brought for burial by lorries. At one mass grave which measured more than 50 metres (165ft), the smell of decomposition was said to be “overpowering”.

‘In the thousands’

The 7.5-magnitude quake occurred at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just off the central island of Sulawesi at 18:03 (10:03 GMT) on Friday, setting off a tsunami.

The earthquake was powerful but shallow and with more lateral than vertical movement, not typically the kind of tremor that sets off tsunamis.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla has said the final death toll could be in the thousands while the Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected.

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Why Dating Might Be A Game, But It’s Not A Zero-Sum Game

elite daily

BYVASUNDHARA JAIN
OCT 30 2014
I penned this article as a direct response to the recent, “Zero-Sum Game: Women Guard Sex, Men Guard Commitment, No One Wins” by Lauren Martin.

Ms. Martin recently wrote about dating from an interesting viewpoint: It is a zero-sum game, a give-or-take relationship, in which someone always loses. And, it would seem that women always lose because men have a lot from which to choose when in the dating scenario. Well, I beg to differ.

My feminist self would like to speak of equality, but I would be a dreamer to believe such equality exists. So, my economist self would like to bring logic to the rescue in the case of women and reality.

A zero-sum game is one where, if you and I are two players, any individual who loses or gains would be equivalent so that if we sum up our payoffs, the net result would be zero. Now suppose, in a very realistic sense, that we date many people throughout our lives and there was an equal probability of winning and losing.

In such a situation, where we can assume to date an indefinite number of people, our expected gains and losses would sum up to zero. If this is true, why would we date anyone in the first place? In this case, shouldn’t we be simply indifferent to dating, given that the payoff (zero) is equivalent to when we were not dating?

Incidentally, we would not just be indifferent, but rather, against dating. Why? Because although we may win and lose the same amount, the losses hurt more than the gains. That’s classic prospect theory for you. Getting a chocolate may make you happy, but losing a chocolate would make you really, really sad (assuming you like chocolates).

So, in a dating-game situation, where we have equal probabilities of winning and losing, the potential losses hurt me more than the potential gains. My probabilistic emotional state, then, looks negative, so I would never play such a game.

There is one case, however, when you would want to date: when you expect your personal probability of winning to be more than 50 percent.

Similarly, the other person would also only date when he or she expects a higher probability of winning than 50 percent. People would, therefore, self-select and date only if they think there’s a stronger than 50 percent chance of relationship success.

The exception is people who consistently play with weak opponents, this not being a judgment on the people themselves, but on their expertise in the game being played.

The zero-sum game — we are aware — has negative long-run payoffs and there is no incentive to play. (Of course, the payoffs are negative on an average emotional level, so if you don’t care about the emotional aspect, you might not even consider dating).

But, people do date and play this game — are they all illogical? There are two ways to answer this: Firstly, people start with a bias about themselves having a higher probability of winning.

After an extent of experience (the length and depth required depends on the person), the people would realize that playing a zero-sum dating game is not worthwhile.

The assumptions on which this game is based do not cover the entire scope of events. Yes, dating may be a zero-sum game; love, however, is not. For two people in love, their jointly maximized utility would be higher than the sum of their individual utilities from when they were alone.

So, if a happy me falls in love with a happy you, we would each be individually super happy. This is definitely not a zero-sum game. Rather, it is a rare situation where everybody gains. In such a situation, dating makes sense.

If we rule out love, there is one more crucial aspect we must factor in: Why do we view men as sexually-driven beings and women as the emotional ones? The two aspects are not mutually exclusive. Yes, one could say that women seek commitment; it is purely instinct for women to seek a mate for her children.

A guy who cannot commit is a guy who cannot give security to a woman’s future children. There is nothing fiercer than a mother’s love, not even a lover’s love.

It should be no shock if a female seeks commitment from the breadwinner of the family, which is traditionally male. But, we forget an important part of the argument: Men, too, are naturally designed to look out for women whom they want to mother their children.

With the shifting roles and these pervasive needs, the solution for women is simple: You have the potential to simultaneously be breadwinners and caretakers. Men shouldn’t be chosen out of necessity, but rather, out of choice. Able men should value you.

It is time to stop playing the victimized role. Be an empowered, independent woman, and the game, lady, is yours.

Although it most definitely has had some low points, I think I’m going to go ahead and call 2018 my favorite year in terms of celeb relationships. I mean, from Grandavidson to Jailey to Shia and FKA Twigs, new couples are popping up left and right. And now there’s another one on the rise! A recent Instagram post suggested that Nicki Minaj may be dating Lewis Hamilton. (Elite Daily has reached out to both of their representatives for comment.)

OK, some backstory. When Minaj appeared on The Ellen Show earlier this month, she made some very candid comments on her love life. She explained that she’s been enjoying dating two dudes at once.

“There is a new boy, but he and I have kind of fell back a little bit,” Minaj told DeGeneres. And that’s not all! In addition to the new boy, she’s also got a “newer” boy who has “been around for a couple weeks now.”

I have no official intel on whether or not Formula One star Lewis Hamilton is the new boy, the newer boy or possibly even another even newer boy. But it looks like the two are definitely getting serious about each other.

Rumors started swirling earlier this month when the two were spotted together at New York Fashion Week.  That was our first clue that they might be an item, though admittedly, it’s not a great hint. I mean, they could’ve just been friends who just so happen to share a strong interest in fashion!

This next clue is what has me convinced that the two have to be more than friends.

Minaj posted a selfie of herself and Lewis looking very sexy riding around in a race car in the desert while Cosmopolitan reports the pair are on vacation in Dubai. She captioned the post, “🇹🇹🇬🇩 Caribbean tingz what I on. Me & Lewis gettin paper like what ink dry on. #Versace ”

Attending a fashion show with a male friend? OK, I get that. But attending fashion shows and riding around the desert in his race car while on vacation across the world together? Seems a little more than friendly to me.

If Hamilton really is in a relationship with Minaj, let’s all be clear on one thing: He should be treating her like the self-proclaimed queen that she is. And that means giving her some sweet, sweet loving at least three times a night. I mean, remember the line in her song, “Barbie Dreams,” that literally goes, “if he can’t f*ck three times a night, peace”? Yeah, that’s not a joke.While she wouldn’t expect that frequency from a live-in boyfriend, she does demand it from a boyfriend she doesn’t regularly see. “If you see someone once or twice a week, then, yeah, three times a night,” she told DeGeneres. “When I see you, [it’s] three times a night! If you can’t hang, goodbye! I’m not wasting my time.”

She clearly hasn’t said goodbye to Hamilton yet, so it looks like he’s doing something right.

While we have no idea how serious the pair are, Minaj made it pretty clear during her appearance on Ellen that she’s not really looking to be tied down right now. “I went from a six-year [relationship] to a 12-year [relationship] to a two-year [relationship] and then I was just ready to chill and relax,” she told Degeneres. “I didn’t know who I was minus a man. I’m finally learning who I am and I love myself. Everything I do now isn’t about pleasing some man and that makes me feel so empowered. I can come and go as I please.”

Whether or not she does end up officially dating him, I really hope she maintains that same feeling of empowerment because, duh, she’s a queen.

https://www.elitedaily.com/dating/women-gatekeepers-sex-men-gatekeepers-commitment/799452

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Indonesia earthquake and tsunami: Desperate search for survivors

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Media captionRescuers have been digging by hand in the search for survivors

A picture of large scale destruction is emerging in the Indonesian city of Palu, after a quake and tsunami struck on Friday.

At least 832 people are confirmed to have died but that figure is expected to rise sharply as more remote areas are reached.

The authorities have said they will begin burying victims in mass graves, fearing disease could begin to spread.

Dozens of people are thought to be trapped alive under the rubble.

In Palu, rescuers are awaiting heavy machinery to search the ruins of a hotel and a shopping centre as aftershocks made it unsafe for them to go in.

“Communication is limited, heavy machinery is limited… it’s not enough for the numbers of buildings that collapsed,” said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency.

A tsunami warning had been issued after the magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit on Friday, but it is unclear whether it was still in place when the waves hit.

Videos show people screaming as 6m-high waves power over the beach – where a festival was being set-up – sweeping up everything in their path.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited the region to urge a “day and night” effort to rescue survivors.

Mr Widodo has also agreed to accept international help for disaster response and relief, Thomas Lembong, the head of the Indonesian investment board said on Twitter on Monday.

Patients and corpses side by side

By Rebecca Henschke, BBC News, Palu

Lying on a stretcher in the dark outside the Mamboro health clinic in Palu is a five-year-old girl with a broken leg. She was found alone, Doctor Sasono tells me. “We don’t know where her family is and she doesn’t remember where is lives.” His clinic has no power and is running out of medical supplies.

A few metres from her stretcher bed are rows of bodies in bags. The smell of decomposing bodies fills the air.

Dr Sasono says they will be buried in mass graves to stop the spread of diseases: “They are starting to smell. We want to wait for relatives to pick them up but we can’t wait any longer.”

Rows of rubble lie all along the shoreline where vibrant fishing villages once stood.

People’s possessions lie smashed together with cars and boats tossed around by the massive waves. Amid the rubble are tents where families are sleeping out in the open.

How difficult is the rescue work?

Blocked roads, a damaged airport and broken telecommunications have made it difficult to bring help into the affected area, and impossible to contact more remote regions.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Roads have crumbled as the ground underneath gave way

“We don’t know for sure what is the impact,” said Mr Nugroho.

Local media report that mobile phone signals have been detected in the rubble of the shopping mall in Palu, and shouts have been heard under the debris of the Roa Roa Hotel.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Dozens of people were known to be inside the Roa Roa hotel

One volunteer, Thalib Bawano, told AFP news agency that three people had been rescued from the hotel rubble, where more than 50 people may be trapped.

“We also heard voices at several points, including a child,” he said.

“They were asking for help, but they are still there till now. We gave them motivation… so they can have spirit because they are trapped between life and death.”

“We gave them water and food but that’s not what they wanted. They wanted to get out. ‘We want to get out, out, out. Help! Help!’ they kept screaming. That’s what we heard. Some were just knocking.”

What are the other challenges?

In Palu, people have been sleeping in the open, wary of returning to their homes, even if they are still intact.

With hospitals damaged, injured people have been treated in the open and at least one military field hospital has been set up.

The military has taken over the airport to fly aid in, and injured people and other evacuees out.

“What you’ll see, you know, as the days go by and people don’t have access to adequate hygiene supplies, shelter, you’ll see the situation deteriorate if they don’t get that access so, we’ve sent shelter kits,” Tom Howells, programme director for Save The Children, said on Sunday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Military aircraft have been evacuating some of the injured
Image copyright EPA
Image caption A shattered mosque in Palu

With supplies limited, people have been raiding damaged shops for food, water and medicine.

“We don’t have any other choice, we must get food,” one man told AFP.

Meanwhile mass graves are being dug, one of them for up to 300 bodies.

Why was the tsunami so destructive?

The 7.5 magnitude quake occurred at a depth of 10km (6.2 miles) just off the central island of Sulawesi at 18:03 (10:03 GMT) on Friday, setting off a tsunami, US monitors say.

The earthquake was powerful but shallow and with more lateral than vertical movement, not typically the kind of tremor that sets off tsunamis.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla has said the final death toll could be in the thousands while the Red Cross estimates that more than 1.6 million people have been affected.

A sophisticated tsunami warning system was put in place across the whole Pacific region after the 2004 disaster, which killed nearly a quarter of a million people.

It remains unclear why it was not effective this time, but Mr Nugroho said Indonesia’s part of the network has suffered from a lack of funding.


Have you been affected by the earthquake? If it is safe to do so, share your experience by emailing

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

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Grants

Yeah, this is fair, but considering A: everything Regalli said, and also B: that, on top of all her other corner-cutting, she broke up with Walky in order to be less distracted, it feels remarkable to me that she’d so casually give time to Joyce. I mean, I’m always glad to see them interact, it’s just surprising.

(Also thank you for compliment!)

Dumbing of Age

Elon Musk reaches deal over tweets about taking Tesla private

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Media captionWho is Elon Musk?

Elon Musk must step down as Tesla chair and pay a fine after reaching a deal with US regulators over tweets he posted about taking the firm private.

It follows Thursday’s decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sue Mr Musk for alleged securities fraud.

Under the deal, Mr Musk will remain as Tesla CEO but will step down as chairman for three years.

Both he and Tesla will also have to pay a $20m (£15m) fine.

What did he say in the tweets?

The fraud allegation relates to his August tweet in which Mr Musk said he was considering taking electronic car maker Tesla off the stock market and into private ownership.

He wrote he had “funding secured” for the proposal, which would value Tesla at $420 per share. Shares in the company briefly rose after his announcement, but later fell again.

The SEC said those claims were “false and misleading”.

“In truth and in fact, Musk had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source,” the regulator said.

Mr Musk initially responded to the charges by saying the action was “unjustified” and he acted in the “best interests of truth, transparency and investors”.

What is in the deal?

In addition to the fines, Mr Musk will also have to comply with company communications procedures when tweeting about the firm.

He now has 45 days to leave his role as chairman of Tesla.

The SEC had initially sought to ban Mr Musk from working on the board of any publicly traded company, but under the deal he will now be able to stay on as Tesla’s chief executive officer.

A new “independent chairman” for the company will be appointed, who will preside over the company’s board.

Forcing Tesla to separate the roles of CEO and chairman should limit Mr Musk’s power within the company.

Despite this, many analysts say the outcome is a good one for Mr Musk, given he remains in charge of day-to-day operations as CEO.

Who is Elon Musk?

Born in South Africa, Mr Musk made millions from online payments firm PayPal before moving on to Tesla and rocket company SpaceX.

He is the 25th richest person in the world, according to Forbes, which estimates his net worth to be $19.7bn (£15.1bn).

But it has been a volatile summer for the entrepreneur.

Mr Musk is being sued for defamation after making allegations against a British diver involved in the Thai cave rescue.

Earlier this month, he found himself in another controversy after appearing on a podcast while smoking marijuana. Although the drug is legal in California, where the podcast was recorded, shares in Tesla fell more than nine per cent after his appearance.

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Brett Kavanaugh: Trump’s Supreme Court pick faces FBI inquiry

Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford both gave evidence on Thursday

President Donald Trump has ordered an FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against his nominee for the US Supreme Court.

A Senate committee earlier voted to approve Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the top US court.

But a Republican member only backed the move on the understanding that such an inquiry would occur.

As a result, a full Senate vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation has been delayed for up to a week.

Judge Kavanaugh, an appeal court judge, denies allegations from at least three women.

On Thursday, the committee heard testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, a professor of psychology in California, who says Judge Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers in the 1980s.

Judge Kavanaugh also testified, angrily rejecting the allegation he had ever assaulted her or anyone else. He accused Democrats of politicising the process and harming his family and good name.

What will the investigation do?

Announcing the move, President Trump said: “I’ve ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh’s file. As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week.”

The inquiry will involve the FBI reopening its previously completed background check on Judge Kavanaugh. This might mean going back to old witnesses – or speaking to new ones.

Friday saw Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee throw out Democrat attempts to subpoena Mark Judge, a friend of Judge Kavanaugh who Dr Ford said had witnessed the assault on her 36 years ago.

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Media captionTrump: ‘Ford’s testimony was very compelling’

Mr Judge had told the committee in a written statement that he did not recall any such incident.

Mr Judge’s lawyer Barbara Van Gelder said: “If the FBI or any law enforcement agency requests Mr Judge’s co-operation, he will answer any and all questions posed to him.”

Responding to President Trump’s statement, Judge Kavanaugh said “I’ve done everything they have requested and will continue to co-operate”.

Dr Ford’s lawyer, Debra Katz, said her client welcomed the step but questioned the time limit of a week.

“A thorough FBI investigation is critical to developing all the relevant facts… No artificial limits as to time or scope should be imposed on this investigation.”

What led to this?

Friday saw the Senate Judiciary Committee split along party lines in a vote on passing the nomination to the full Senate.

Democrats accused the 11 Republicans of attempting to rush the process, while Republicans countered that the 10 Democrats were using the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh in an attempt to delay – and ultimately block – the conservative judge from joining the Supreme Court.

Arizona Republican Jeff Flake told the committee that he would back the motion to send Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination for a full vote on the Senate floor – but would not support his confirmation in the Senate without the additional FBI inquiry.

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Media captionRepublican Senator Jeff Flake is challenged by a sexual assault survivor

The vote then went ahead, with all 11 Republicans including Mr Flake in favour and all 10 Democrats voting against.

After the vote, the committee said it was requesting that Mr Trump order an additional background investigation “limited to current credible allegations against the nominee and must be completed no later than one week from today”.

Mr Flake began the session by saying he would back Judge Kavanaugh but on his way to the committee room he was berated by two women who said they were victims of sexual violence and urged him to change his mind.

Why is this vote so important?

The Supreme Court plays a vital role in US political life. Appointed for life, its nine members have the final say on US law.

This includes highly contentious social issues, such as abortion, and challenges to government policy.

Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment could tilt the balance in favour of conservatives for years to come.

Republicans control the Senate by a narrow 51-49 majority. Without the support of Mr Flake and one other Republican senator – and assuming all Democrats vote against – the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh cannot occur.

What are the other allegations against Kavanaugh?

Image copyright Michael Avenatti
Image caption Julie Swetnick in an image provided by her lawyer Michael Avenatti

Aside from Dr Ford, they are:

  • Deborah Ramirez. The former Yale University student has said that Brett Kavanaugh once exposed himself to her at a dormitory party in the 1980s. She alleges the incident occurred during a drinking game and remembers Brett Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing
  • Julie Swetnick. A Washington DC resident. In a sworn affidavit, she alleges Brett Kavanaugh was involved in the drugging and sexual assault of girls at house parties in the 1980s. She says she was the victim of a gang rape in 1982 at a party attended by the now-Supreme Court nominee
  • Anonymous. A woman sent a letter to a Colorado senator alleging her daughter had witnessed Judge Kavanaugh pushing a woman he was dating “very aggressively and sexually” against a wall in 1998

Judge Kavanaugh denies these allegations, and on Thursday called Ms Swetnick’s allegation “a joke” and “a farce”.

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Uninvolved

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I lost an entire lengthy comment, but: Normally I would say yes, seeing each other as equals is a fantastic and necessary part of a relationship.

The problem is that Walky and Amber both have massive self-esteem issues and see themselves as equally GARBAGE, and their relationship currently has them reinforcing to each other that yep, we are both terrible people instead of ‘There is at least one person who doesn’t think you’re terrible and maybe we can try and feel less terrible together’.

(This dynamic is also present in Ruth/Billie, though lessening on Ruth’s part. It is EXTREMELY WORRYING there, too. I actively worry about Billie because she is definitely Not Okay and not seeking help.)

I really think in another time, Amber and Walky could be great together. But not with this massive web of secrets of Amber’s hanging over them, and not unless they start feeling like maybe they could be Less Garbage.

Dumbing of Age

Brett Kavanaugh denies Christine Blasey Ford sex assault claim

Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford both gave evidence on Thursday

The man nominated for a vacant post on the US Supreme Court by Donald Trump emphatically denied allegations of sexual assault on Thursday.

Brett Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee his confirmation process had become a “disgrace”.

He accused Democratic senators of destroying his family and his good name for political reasons.

Earlier, Christine Blasey Ford said an assault by Mr Kavanaugh 36 years ago had “drastically” affected her life.

Dr Ford told the committee that the alleged event had left her “afraid and ashamed”.

President Donald Trump has now said the Senate “must vote” on Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

The nine-member Supreme Court plays a vital role in US political life, as it has the final say on US law.

This includes highly contentious social issues, such as abortion, and challenges to government policy.

What did Brett Kavanaugh say?

Taking a combative approach but occasionally becoming emotional, Mr Kavanaugh, 53 – a federal judge – went on the offensive following Dr Ford’s testimony.

“This confirmation process has become a national disgrace,” he told the committee.

“The constitution gives the Senate an important role in the confirmation process, but you have replaced advice and consent with search and destroy.

“Since my nomination in July there has been a frenzy on the left to come up with something, anything to block my confirmation.”

He insisted he would not be “intimidated” into withdrawing from the process.

“You may defeat me in the final vote but you’ll never get me to quit. Never.”

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Media captionBrett Kavanagh: ‘I am innocent of this charge’

Mr Kavanaugh said he did not doubt that Dr Ford had been assaulted, but insisted: “I’ve never sexually assaulted Dr Ford – or anyone.”

He admitted he had drunk beer while at high school and under-age, but said he had never got so drunk as to forget events.

He added that his calendars for 1982 – which he had kept – showed he had not attended a party at the location Dr Ford had described.

Under hostile questioning from Democratic senators, he repeatedly insisted he was innocent and said an FBI investigation -suggested by Dr Ford to establish the truth – would be useless as it would not reach conclusions.

What did Christine Blasey Ford say?

Prior to Thursday, no-one had heard from 51-year-old Dr Ford publicly since the allegations arose.

After addresses by the leading Republican and Democrat senators, Dr Ford delivered her statement, at times close to tears.

“I am here today not because I want to be,” she said. “I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.”

She alleged Mr Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge had locked her in a bedroom during a small gathering at a house in a Washington DC suburb in the summer of 1982, when she was 15 and Mr Kavanaugh was 17.

She said Mr Kavanaugh had tried to remove her clothing, pinned her to a bed and groped her. Both men were “drunkenly laughing”, she said.

She added: “Brett’s assault on me drastically altered my life. For a very long time, I was too afraid and ashamed to tell anyone the details.”

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionChristine Blasey Ford said she was “100%” sure Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her

Under questioning by a Democratic senator, she said her most vivid memory was “the laughter between the two and their having fun at my expense… they were laughing with each other – two friends having a really good time with one another”.

In an answer to another Democratic senator’s question about claims of mistaken identity, Dr Ford said she was “100%” certain it was Mr Kavanaugh who had assaulted her.

The 21 senators on the committee were given five minutes each to ask her questions.

The 10 Democrats posed questions themselves, many paying tribute to Dr Ford’s bravery in coming forward – and supporting her call for an FBI investigation into her allegations.

The 11 Republicans, all men, deferred most of their questions to a female lawyer, Phoenix prosecutor Rachel Mitchell.

Are there other allegations against Mr Kavanaugh?

Image copyright Michael Avenatti
Image caption Julie Swetnick in an image provided by her lawyer Michael Avenatti

Yes, and new ones appeared as the hearing loomed. At present they are:

  • Deborah Ramirez. The former Yale University classmate has said that Mr Kavanaugh once exposed himself to her at a dormitory party in the 1980s. She alleges the incident occurred during a drinking game and remembers Mr Kavanaugh standing to her right and laughing, pulling up his trousers
  • Julie Swetnick. A Washington DC resident. In a sworn affidavit she alleges Mr Kavanaugh was involved in the drugging and sexual assault of girls at house parties in the 1980s. She says she was the victim of a gang rape in 1982 at a party attended by the judge
  • Anonymous. A woman sent a letter to a Colorado senator alleging her daughter had witnessed Mr Kavanaugh pushing a woman he was dating “very aggressively and sexually” against a wall in 1998

Mr Kavanaugh denies these allegations.

In his written testimony he says: “Over the past few days, other false and uncorroborated accusations have been aired. There has been a frenzy to come up with something – anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious – that will block a vote on my nomination.

“These are last-minute smears, pure and simple.”

What is Donald Trump’s stance?

Moments after the day-long hearing ended, Mr Trump said he found Mr Kavanaugh’s testimony “powerful, honest and riveting”.

He has portrayed the events in political terms, accusing the Democrats of trying to block the nomination.

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Media captionMight Donald Trump consider withdrawing Kavanaugh?

Mr Trump has repeatedly defended the judge’s character, saying he is “one of the highest quality people” he has ever met.

But the president on Wednesday did say he could withdraw the nomination if accusations against the judge were proven.

He said: “I can always be convinced. If I thought he was guilty of something like this, yes, sure. It’s possible I’ll hear that, and I’ll say, ‘hey, I’m changing my mind’. I want to watch.”

Why does this all matter and what happens next?

The Senate Judiciary Committee must vote on Mr Kavanaugh’s confirmation before it goes to the full Senate for a vote there.

The committee is scheduled to vote on Friday but its chairman, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, has left open the possibility of a further delay.

All 10 Democratic senators on the committee have called on President Trump to “immediately withdraw” Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Republicans want their nominee in place before mid-term elections next month, when they could lose their 51-49 control of the Senate.

Any confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh could also affect female voters in November. The confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, despite allegations of sexual harassment, fuelled the rise of a new generation of female politicians in elections the following year.


Culture wars flashpoint

By BBC North America editor Jon Sopel

It is hard to overstate the passions, the conspiracy theories, the mistrust and division this Supreme Court appointment has stirred.

To make sense of this you have to understand two things about the Supreme Court – justices are appointed for life, and the Supreme Court, not politicians, will ultimately decide on the most contentious issues of the day – from desegregating schools in the 1950s to abortion law, to gun control and to same-sex marriage.

It was the Supreme Court that decided the outcome of the 2000 presidential election in favour of George W Bush. You name it, they rule on it.

In the 2016 election, many Republicans voted for Donald Trump while holding their nose – but they did so because they thought he’d deliver on their long cherished dream of delivering a Supreme Court with a clear conservative majority for a generation. Now they fear it is slipping away.

And the fact that Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers have come forward at the last minute is seen by many Republicans – mostly male – as a Democrat-inspired plot, not as a legitimate complaint.

The culture wars that have simmered in America for 50 years are finding an extraordinary flashpoint today – cultural conservatives versus Me Too. And in this battle, Judge Kavanaugh and the female complainants are just collateral damage. The reverberations of this hearing will echo for a long time to come.

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University Students Voter Registration

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University Students Who Live On Campus

If your primary residence is the university on campus student housing you may register to vote in the precinct where your student housing is located.

University Students Who Travel To Campus

You should register to vote at your primary residence. Commuting to school does not change your primary residence.

Registering To Vote

Students registering to vote may do so online through the State Secretary’s website which is available from the linked Voter Guide.

State Board of Elections and County Clerk’s will be reporting unofficial numbers on election night. These numbers may differ from voting polls or each other.  We’ll report both sets of results through the Election Results page.

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