Xinhua world news summary at 1530 GMT, Oct. 12

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WASHINGTON -- The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday began a four-day confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, as Republicans push for a final floor vote amidst a raging partisan battle over the open seat at the high court before November 3 Election Day.

Trump nominated the conservative federal appellate judge last month to replace late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a leading liberal voice on the Supreme Court. (US-Senate Hearing-Barrett)

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LONDON -- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a new local lockdown rules across swathes of northern England as he sets out a new three-tiered coronavirus strategy.

Under the new rules, the country is divided into medium, high or very high risk categories. (UK-Coronavirus)

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MOSCOW -- Russia declared two staff members of the Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow personae non grata, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday.

"Bulgarian Ambassador Atanas Krystin was invited to the Russian Foreign Ministry, where he was given the ministry's note about declaring two employees of the Bulgarian Embassy in Moscow personae non grata," the ministry said in a statement. (Russia-Bulgaria-Diplomats)

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JAKARTA -- Flash floods submerged more than 900 houses in 12 villages in Garut district of West Java province on Monday, according to official sources.

Around 800 families had to evacuate due to the flash floods, Imam Imrania, the logistics head of the Disaster Management Agency of Garut district, told Xinhua by phone on Monday. (Indonesia-Flash Floods)

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LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan -- Several members of the government security forces and at least 70 Taliban militants have been killed during the ongoing clashes in the Lashkar Gah city, southern Afghanistan, authorities said on Monday.

Fighting resumed early Monday after scores of Taliban militants launched a massive attack on security checkpoints in the surrounding area of the city, capital of Helmand province, a local source told Xinhua. (Afghanistan-Taliban) Enditem

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