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Brett Kavanaugh, Slovakia, Elon Musk: Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning. Historic testimony in the U.S. Senate, arrests in a Slovak journalist’s murder, and a man chasing a plane in Ireland.

Here’s the latest:

American history in real time.

In emotional testimony before a Senate panel, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, above right, detailed the night on which, she said, she was “100 percent” certain that Brett Kavanaugh, then a suburban Washington prep school student and now a Supreme Court nominee, had sexually assaulted her.

Later in the day, Mr. Kavanaugh, above left, who was equally emotional, told the panel he was “100 percent” sure he had not done so.

The two very different versions of the truth, unfolding in the heated atmosphere of gender divides, #MeToo and the Trump presidency, could not be reconciled.

As a nation watched transfixed, the testimony skittered from cringe-worthy sexual details to accusations and denials of drunken debauchery to one juvenile exchange over flatulence.

At day’s end, only a few of the senators who will determine Judge Kavanaugh’s fate remained undecided, searching for answers where none were readily available, and Republicans vowed to push ahead with a Judiciary Committee vote today.

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• Rapping and catcalling in France.

Few had heard of Nick Conrad, above, a rapper from a Paris suburb. Then his violent music video, which calls for killing “the white babies,” started making the rounds, outraging French lawmakers and anti-racism groups.

And a French court has fined a man 300 euros — about $350 — for making lewd and insulting comments to a woman aboard a bus in a Paris suburb. He was also jailed, for slapping her behind and hitting the bus driver. It was the first conviction under France’s new law against sexist catcalls.

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• A breakthrough in Slovakia.

Eight unidentified suspects were arrested in the killings of an investigative journalist, Jan Kuciak, and his fiancée.

Mr. Kuciak had been digging into high-level corruption in Slovakia. The murders seven months ago led to the largest protests in the country since the fall of Communism and forced the resignation of the prime minister at the time, Robert Fico, who referred to journalists as “presstitutes.” Above, a vigil in March for the victims.

Investigative journalists continue to unravel the threads of corrupt dealings that Mr. Kuciak pulled on, and the inquiry into his murder continues. “There is still a long road to the final judgment,” the interior minister said.

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• Hailed as a hero, she’s now under arrest.

Sarah Mardini, above right, a competitive swimmer from Syria, was called a hero for helping to save her fellow migrants on a sinking boat in 2015. Now she and four other people working for a Greek aid group face charges of aiding illegal immigration that could put them in prison for decades.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s C.E.O., above, is being sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, accused of making false statements that could hurt investors. The suit, which relates to a Twitter post last month in which Mr. Musk announced he might take the automaker private, seeks to bar him from leading a publicly traded company.

• Striking pilots have forced Ryanair, the Irish budget airline, to cancel 100 more flights across Europe, bringing the total to 250 and disrupting travel for tens of thousands of passengers.

• A California energy company says it has developed a rechargeable battery that can store power at far less than the cost of lithium-ion batteries. The battery units can be combined to create a microgrid system for powering a village or a larger area.

Japan agreed to enter bilateral trade talks with the U.S. The move gives President Trump a short-term victory, but it could be a delaying tactic to put off looming auto tariffs.

“My only sin is the extrajudicial killings,” President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, above, said in a speech. That startling admission, apparently a reference to his bloody war on drugs, could add momentum to two cases filed against Mr. Duterte at the International Criminal Court. [The New York Times]

An Iraqi man and six other people were arrested in the Netherlands and charged with plotting a terrorist attack at a “large event.” [The Guardian]

Israel’s leader told the U.N. General Assembly that Iran is keeping a “secret atomic warehouse” in downtown Tehran, though he offered no proof. [The New York Times]

• Italy’s populist government unveiled a budget that would increase spending and aim to “abolish poverty.” It puts the country on a potential collision course with European powers that want it to reduce its debt. [BBC News]

A prominent colonel in Russia’s military intelligence service is one of the men accused of poisoning a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain this year, according to a group of investigative journalists. [The New York Times]

A late passenger at Dublin’s airport chased down his plane, shouting for the pilot to wait. Arrested on the tarmac, he didn’t make the flight. [BBC News]

• Ion Ficior, convicted of crimes against humanity for running a Communist-era labor camp in Romania, died at 90. [The New York Times]

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

• Luca Guadagnino, the director of the film “Call Me by Your Name,” has long dreamed of being an interior designer. Inside a former silk mill in Italy, on Lake Como, he got his shot.

• Roller skates are making a comeback in the U.S. as a feminist uniform, our Styles section reports. Women on wheels ride “in a gorgeous opalescent bubble, floating along, or stunting, or racing in a world void of unfair tennis umpires, sexist politicians and assaulting network C.E.O.s.”

• In case you missed it: A seal slapped a New Zealand kayaker in the face with an octopus. Yes, you read that correctly. That “moment of yuck,” as the kayaker described it, was caught in a video that has gone viral.

Appointed in 1791 to design what would become the city of Washington, Pierre L’Enfant was said to have been inspired by the design of the gardens at Versailles, the royal palace in his homeland of France.

As part of his plan for the federal city, he envisioned “a great church for national purposes.”

The final stone at the Washington National Cathedral was placed almost 200 years later, on Sept. 29, 1990, 83 years after the building’s foundation stone was dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The cathedral is the sixth largest in the world and has been the site of state funerals for three presidents: Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his final Sunday sermon there, four days before he was assassinated in 1968.

The gothic building features more than 100 gargoyles (including one of the “Star Wars” baddie Darth Vader) and more than 200 stained-glass windows, one of which contains a piece of lunar rock.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony in 1990, President George H.W. Bush noted that the cathedral, which does not receive direct funding from the federal government, was built with the gifts of “the people who were its congregation: the millions across America.”


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