JOE Biden parried attack after attack from US liberal rivals on health care and immigration in a fiery Democratic debate.

The televised tussle showcased profound ideological divides between the Democratic Party’s moderate and progressive wings ahead of next year’s presidential election.

The prime-time debate also elevated several struggling candidates, giving them a chance to introduce themselves to millions of Americans who are just beginning to follow the race.

Biden dominated significant parts of the evening, responding strongly when the liberal senators who are his closet rivals – Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – condemned his strong policies.

Just 10 candidates qualified for Thursday’s affair, though more than that have qualified for next month’s round.

MEANWHILE, Pope Francis (pictured) will travel to Thailand and Japan in November for a visit expected to highlight his call for complete nuclear disarmament and honour the small Catholic communities in each country.

The Vatican confirmed the November 19-26 trip, and its diplomatic representative in Thailand, Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, announced the Thai stop.

Francis will be in Thailand on November 20-23 before heading to Japan, where government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the pope would meet with the emperor and prime minister Shinzo Abe.

The last pope to visit Japan was Saint Pope John Paul II in 1981.

ELSEWHERE, former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe will be buried at the national Heroes’ Acre site but it is not yet clear when.

Leo Mugabe, the former leader’s nephew, told reporters yesterday that the decision was made after consulting with traditional chiefs.

The nephew says it will be a private family burial and that details including the day are still being worked out.

Robert Mugabe’s body is on view at a local stadium for a second day.

A stampede on Thursday injured several people trying to view it.

Mugabe died last week in Singapore at the age of 95.

He led the southern African nation for 37 years before being forced to resign in late 2017.

FINALLY, a museum in Amsterdam is facing criticism for its decision to stop using the term Golden Age to describe the 17th century, when the Netherlands was a global mercantile, military and artistic superpower.

Amsterdam Museum curator Tom van der Molen said the term is strongly linked to national pride over prosperity and peace but “ignores the many negative sides of the 17th century, such as poverty, war, forced labour and human trafficking”.