World

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New Delhi : A premises in Delhi’s Rohini was on Thursday raided, where a prostitution racket was running in the garb of a Unisex salon.

The operation was carried out on a tip-off receievd by the North Rohini Police Station.

A decoy customer was sent to make a deal and after completion of deal, Inspector Birendra Singh, along with other staff, arrested 10 women along with two sex racket operators, Sandeep Singh and Manjeet Singh.

Both have been arrested under Sections 3/4/5 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, according to the DCP, Rohini district.

The premises, reportedly, was taken on rent for the last two months.

The investigation is underway.

Further details are awaited. (ANI)

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UNITED NATIONS: India’s population could surpass that of China’s around 2024, two years later than previously estimated, and is projected to touch 1.5 billion in 2030, according to a UN forecast.

The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that currently China with 1.41 billion inhabitants and India with 1.34

billion remain the two most populous countries, comprising 19 and 18 per cent of the total global population. “In roughly seven years, or around 2024, the population of India is expected to

surpass that of China,” the report said.

The 2017 Revision of World Population Prospects is the 25th round of official UN population estimates and projections. In its 24th round of estimates released in 2015, it was projected that the population of India will surpass that of China’s by 2022.

The new estimates released here today said that in 2024, India and China are expected

to have roughly a population of 1.44 billion each. After that, India’s population is

projected to continue growing for several decades to around 1.5 billion in 2030 and

approaching 1.66 billion in 2050, while the population of China is projected to remain

stable until the 2030s, after which it may begin a slow decline.

India’s population may eventually see a decline in the half century after 2050 to 1.51

billion by 2100 but it will still be the most populous country in the world.

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — The first Saudi monarch to visit Indonesia in nearly half a century arrived Wednesday to an elaborate official welcome and crowds of thousands.

King Salman exited his plane at Halim airport in Jakarta using an escalator, with a portable lift carrying him the final meter or so to the ground.

He was met by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and the minority Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, who is fighting a tough election battle after being charged with blaspheming the Qur’an.

The king was whisked off in a heavily secured convoy to a presidential palace in Bogor, outside of Jakarta, where tens of thousands of people, many of them schoolchildren, lined the route.

According to reports in the Indonesian press, the Saudi royal is estimated to have brought 459 metric tonnes of cargo with him on his trip – including two Mercedes-Benz s600 limousines and two portable electric elevators.

Adji Gunawan of the airfreight company PT Jasa Angkasa Semesta (JAS) told the Antara news agency that his company had been appointed to handle the cargo, which had arrived in the country before the King. Adji said that his company was employing a total of 572 workers to deal with the Saudi King’s luggage.

The Jakarta Post reports that the Saudi group totals about 1,500 people, including 10 ministers, 25 princes and at least 100 security personnel

Local media reported that statues of naked men and women at the palace would be covered out of courtesy to the Saudi visitors. The same step was taken when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Indonesia in January.

Salman is on a tour of Asian countries to drum up business and improve ties. On his first stop in Malaysia, oil giant Saudi Aramco signed a $7 billion deal to take a 50 per cent stake in a Malaysian oil refinery. Salman will also visit Brunei, Japan, China and the Maldives, the official Saudi Press Agency has reported.

The government of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has said Salman’s entourage and related delegations number about 1,500 people. He will spend six of his nine days in Indonesia vacationing on the resort island of Bali, a predominantly Hindu part of the Indonesian archipelago.

Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are expected to sign 10 agreements during Salman’s visit, in areas from religion to education and science. Indonesia has said it hopes the visit will result in $25 billion of new investment.

Indonesia practices a moderate form of Islam and has a democratic secular government, but Saudi-funded institutes in the country are known to encourage adoption of a highly doctrinaire interpretation of the Qur’an.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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CALGARY — India has rejected a long-standing exemption on pest treatment for peas and lentils in a blow to Canada’s top export market for the crops.

Federal Agriculture Minister spokesman Guy Gallant confirmed the Indian government has not granted another six-month exemption that would have crops fumigated on arrival, rather than before export, as has been allowed for more than a decade.

The decision puts Canada’s pulse exports to the country, worth $1.1-billion in 2016 and $1.5-billion in 2015, in jeopardy because the required treatment of methyl bromide doesn’t work in the cold and also is being phased out because it’s damaging to the ozone layer.

“India’s our largest market for pulse crops for peas and lentils, so the importance of India can’t be overstated,” said Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.

“From a farmers’ perspective, ensuring we have ongoing, continual market access is a very important priority for us,” he said.

Some shippers have already stopped accepting pulses for export to India over fears they will be rejected on arrival, since the current exemption expires at the end of March.

Gord Kurbis, director of market access and trade at Pulse Canada, said officials at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and their Indian counterparts are working on a potential solution that could see Canada’s system of management practices and controls stand in for treatment before export.

But with the March deadline looming, he’s worried there’s not enough time for the scientists and regulators to approve the solution.

“The timing is definitely an issue,” said Kurbis.

He said he’s hoping officials will step in and keep the trade open until a longer-term agreement is reached.

“There needs to be awareness of this issue and intervention at the highest levels,” said Kurbis.

Gallant said the federal government is still working that long-term solution, and that the issue will come up when Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay visits India next week.

The trade issue comes after exports of peas and lentils to India grew by 20 per cent a year between 2010 and 2015 to account for about a third of all pulse exports for Canada’s 12,000 pulse farmers.

Pulse Canada says the fumigation treatment is not needed because the insects India is concerned about aren’t in Canada, and the cold winters help reduce the threat of other pests.

The issue carries some parallels to Canada’s dispute last year over canola exports to China, which had set restrictions on the amount of detritus allowed in shipments because of pest concerns.

The Canadian Press

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President Barack Obama addressed the press on Wednesday the day after Donald Trump secured a presidential election win.

 

President Obama said he was heartened by Donald Trump’s call for unity after his stunning victory and “we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.” The White House said the two men are due to meet Thursday to discuss the handover of power.

 and 

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Conceding Hillary Clinton’s staggering defeat, President Barack Obama urged the nation Wednesday to join him in rooting for President-elect Donald Trump’s success. He said he was heartened by Trump’s election night call for unity and hoped it wouldn’t fade.

Obama, in a post-election ritual meant to signal the peaceful transition of power, vowed to do all he could to ensure Trump would be well-positioned to run the country. He said he’d congratulated Trump by phone and invited him to sit down together at the White House.

Standing in the Rose Garden, with Vice President Joe Biden at his side, Obama spoke to more than a hundred of his White House staffers, who stood silently, dazed, some crying, before breaking out into a prolonged round of applause that continued long after Obama returned to the Oval Office.

Obama’s conciliatory reaction to the election marked an attempt to buck up Democrats reeling with disappointment, shock and uncertainty about the future. He said he’d told his staff to “keep their heads up” and be proud of the “remarkable work” they’d done.

Left unsaid was that Trump has vowed to aggressively undo most of what Obama has accomplished, leaving Obama’s supporters fearful that the last eight years may have been in vain.

But the president, standing in front of the Oval Office, downplayed the notion that Trump’s presidency would mean an about-face for the nation. He said the U.S. has a tendency to “zig and zag” rather than move in a straight line, and he added, “That’s OK.”

“That’s the way politics works sometimes,” Obama said. “We try really hard to persuade people that we’re right and then people vote. And then if we lose, we learn from our mistakes, we do some reflection, we lick our wounds, we brush ourselves off, we get back in the arena, we go at it. We try even harder the next time.”

Obama spoke just moments after Hillary Clinton formally conceded to Trump with a similar, though more emotional, appeal to give Trump a chance to succeed as president. The remarks were striking after a campaign in which the Democrats declared Trump was unfit to serve and told voters the future of democracy was riding on their choice.

The White House said Obama and Trump are expected to meet Thursday to discuss the handover of power and ongoing planning for the transition. Obama called the Republican in the early hours of the morning Wednesday to congratulate him on his stunning victory, which marked a forceful rebuke by voters to Obama’s eight years in office.

With Republican control of both chambers of Congress, Trump will be well positioned to make good on that promises.

Obama called Clinton after it became clear she’d lost the race. In his Rose Garden remarks, he paid tribute to her historic candidacy and said, “I could not be prouder of her.”

It was unclear how substantive Obama’s call was with Trump, or how long it lasted, although the White House noted that Obama placed the call from his residence in the White House, rather than from the West Wing.

 Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, described it as a “warm conversation” and a “gracious exchange.” She said Trump had missed the president’s original call as Trump was speaking to supporters in New York, then called him back after leaving the stage.

Like Clinton and other Democrats, Obama didn’t appear to see Trump’s victory coming. As he campaigned vigorously for Clinton in the race’s final days, Obama said he was confident that if Americans showed up to vote, they’d choose against electing the billionaire former reality TV star with no formal government experience.

He had also warned supporters in apocalyptic terms that “the fate of the republic” rested on Clinton defeating Trump on Election Day.

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Hillary Clinton
November 9 at 4:30 PM
Both Hillary Clinton and President Obama urged their backers Wednesday to accept President-elect Donald Trump’s victory and support his transition into power, as Democrats prepare to hand over control of the White House for the first time in eight years.The calls for a national political reconciliation underscored the seismic political realignment now underway in Washington after Clinton’s crushing loss to the New York businessman. Both the president and his former Secretary of State told their supporters not to despair as Republicans rejoiced at the idea that they will control both the legislative and executive branch in two and-a-half months.

Clinton said her loss exposed the nation’s deep and difficult divisions, but she urged her backers to give him “a chance to lead.”

In her first public statements since the stunning election results, Clinton also called on other women to take up where she left off and continue the push for the White House, suggesting she may not make another run in four years.

“We need you to keep up these fights,” Clinton said in New York, making special mention of the many women who hoped she was on her way to become the first female president.

“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it, too,” said Clinton, less than 24 hours after calling the president-elect to concede after his history-shaping run that defied pollsters and galvanized legions of aggrieved voters in a loud repudiation of the status quo. “This is painful, and it will be for a long time.”

Clinton, who was misty-eyed at times but composed throughout her remarks, said the long and bitter campaign against Trump showed that “our nation is more deeply divided that we thought.”

But she told her backers: “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.”

Clinton and her allies are now left to sort out how Trump upended her once-clear path to become America’s first female president. Clinton called Trump to concede as the results were clear.

Minutes after Clinton finished speaking, President Obama addressed reporters in the Rose Garden with Vice President Biden by his side, as more than a hundred White House staffers stood off to the side. Several of the aides were visibly emotional, with at least one crying before he began speaking.

“Now, everybody is sad when their side loses an election, but the day after we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage,” Obama said, vowing to work to ensure a smooth transition for the president-elect.

The president, who has invited Trump to the White House Thursday, added he was “heartened” by the tone of his victory speech and their private phone call, which took place around 3:30 am Wednesday.

“That’s what the country needs — a sense of unity, a sense of inclusion, a respect for our institutions, our way of life, rule of law, and respect for each other.”

Trump — who had used social media as a tool to court support and mock foes during the campaign — sent a tweet at 6:30 a.m.: “Such a beautiful and important evening! The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again. We will all come together as never before”.

But protests flared as dismay among Clinton supporters turned to anger. In Los Angeles, about 500 people chanted, “Not my president.” In Oregon, anti-Trump demonstrators blocked traffic and rail lines.

After running a divisive campaign, Trump sounded a magnanimous note of reconciliation as he claimed victory shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

He had portrayed his opponent as the embodiment of a rigged system that had failed the everyday American. Her credentials through a quarter-century on the national stage, which in another electoral climate would have been an asset, pegged her in his supporters’ view as the ultimate establishment insider.

Trump said that under his administration, “America will no longer settle for anything less than the best.” And he promised foreign countries that “while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone,” adding: “We will seek common ground, not hostility.”

Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Trump and Clinton “had a very gracious exchange” when she conceded the race.

Asked whether Trump would consider appointing a special prosecutor to probe Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state and her ties to the Clinton Foundation, Conway said: “We have not discussed that at all, and he certainly did not discuss that with Secretary Clinton on that call.”

With Trump’s ascension to the White House, the nationalist wave that has swept capitals around the world — including in Britain, which voted to break from the European Union this year — came crashing onto U.S. shores.

The prospect of an impulsive authoritarian in the Oval Office initially rattled investors around the world. But a panicked global sell-off Tuesday night transformed into a near-record high for Wall Street by the end of trading on Wednesday.

The blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average surged ahead about 250 points, or 1.4 percent, close to an all-time high — despite futures markets overnight signalling a decline of as much as 800 points. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq both gained about 1 percent.

Even the Mexican peso — which had fallen as the Republican nominee rose in the polls during his campaign — regained some ground after dropping to the lowest level since the 1990s.

World leaders congratulated Trump even as they grappled with the repercussions of his win. Britain, Germany and other U.S. allies stressed their close bonds with Washington. Russia, meanwhile, was quick to make overtures for better ties — something Trump encouraged as he campaigned.

In Mexico, the nation’s currency plunged and leaders weighed how to deal with a president-elect who has vowed to build a border wall and drive out undocumented workers.

The general election, which riveted the nation and produced a record television audience for a presidential debate, turned on the question of national identity.

While Clinton assembled a diverse coalition that she said reflected the nation’s future, it was no match for the powerful and impassioned movement built by fanning resentments over gender, race and religion.

Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again” inspired millions of Americans alienated by the forces of globalization and multiculturalism and deeply frustrated with the inability of Washington to address their needs.

Voters anxious about the economy, convinced that the system was stacked against them, fearful of terrorism and angry about the rising gap between rich and poor, gravitated toward Trump. In him, they saw a fearless champion who would re-create what they recalled as an America unchallenged in the world, unthreatened at home and unfettered by the elitist forces of “political correctness.”

Online, the distress of some of some of Clinton’s top advisers was palpable. David Plouffe, who had served as Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and helped guide Clinton’s campaign, had predicted in late September that the Democratic nominee had a 100 percent chance of winning the election.

“I’m sorry everyone,” he tweeted around 1 a.m. Wednesday. “Had to talk to my kids. Wrong and remarkably so. But the idea of our country has always been stronger than an election.”

Control of Congress was on the line as well, with Republicans maintaining their majority in the House and a string of hotly competitive Senate contests going their way as well.

Trump’s feuds with Republican leaders created deep fissures in his party, and his victory has set the GOP on a new path. But congressional leaders–including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who declined to campaign with Trump after a videotape surfaced of the real estate magnate talking in lewd terms about sexually accosting women–said they looked forward to collaborating on a conservative agenda together.

“This is the kind of unified Republican government that we set out to deliver,” he told reporters in his hometown of Janesville, Wis., adding Trump “earned a mandate” with his victory. “I think we are going to hit the ground running.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also called the election a rejection of Obama’s policies and said that “the American people have chosen a new direction for our nation.”

Obama campaigned vigorously for his former secretary of state — going so far as to label her opponent temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief — but his resurgent popularity did not rub off.

Trump had pledged to dismantle Obama’s achievements, starting with his signature law, the Affordable Care Act that became known as Obamacare. He also will be in position to fill the current vacancy on the Supreme Court.

A Trump presidency is certain to produce significant geopolitical repercussions. He has promised to transform U.S. foreign policy and take it in a more unilateralist direction.

He also has promised to build a wall on the border with Mexico and deport immigrants who are in this country illegally. Trump said he would “bomb the s—” out of the Islamic State and claimed he has a secret plan to annihilate the terrorist organization. He has also expressed admiration for strongmen such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he has promised to forge a closer relationship based on mutual respect.

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 CARACAS, Venezuela — Anti-government protesters filled the streets of Venezuela’s capital and other major cities in a show of force against Presidential Nicolas Maduro, whose allies enraged the opposition by blocking a recall referendum against the socialist leader.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators shut down Caracas’ main highway on Wednesday, many chanting “Democracy yes! Dictatorship no!” And police clashed with protesters in other cities in what opposition leaders called “the takeover of Venezuela.”

Nationwide at least 140 people were detained by police, according to the Foro Penal human rights group. A police officer was shot and killed, and two others injured, under unclear circumstances in central Miranda state.

Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP / Getty Images

Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP / Getty ImagesLilian Tintori, wife of prominent jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, waves a Venezuelan national flag during a rally against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas on October 26, 2016

“Maduro has shown how scared he is that the people will express themselves,” opposition leader Henrique Capriles said.

The protests come after electoral authorities blocked a recall campaign against Maduro last week. The faceoff escalated on Tuesday when the opposition-led legislature voted to put Maduro on trial, accusing him of effectively staging a coup.

Opposition legislators argued that Venezuela’s leader has effectively abandoned the presidency by neglecting his job. And many Venezuelans blame him for the country’s triple-digit inflation, free-falling economy and shortages of food, medicines and other basic goods.

Government supporters staged a much smaller rally attended by Maduro downtown.

Rodrigo Abd / Associated Press

Rodrigo Abd / Associated PressCarolina Moreno poses as “Lady Justice” during a protest against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro

Opposition leaders ended Wednesday’s national day of protest with call for a general strike on Friday. They also threatened to march on the presidential palace in the heart of the city on Nov. 3 if the government doesn’t reverse its decision to block the recall effort.

The opposition has not been allowed to protest in front of the presidential palace since a massive march there helped precipitate a short-lived coup against former President Hugo Chavez in 2002.

On Wednesday, police fired tear gas and clashes with police in provincial capitals that left several wounded. In the border state of Tachira, the windows of the heavily-guarded regional electoral office were broken and anti-government slogans spray-painted on the entrance. In a video widely circulating on social media, a young man shouted in the face of soldier in riot gear maintaining a line against a crowd of masked protester.

George Castellanos / AFP / Getty Images

George Castellanos / AFP / Getty ImagesOpposition activists clash with National Guard members during a protest in San Cristobal

“I’m going hungry! If you’re going to shoot me because I’m hungry, shoot me,” the protester said.

In Caracas, students casually sat on the country’s main highway. One protester dressed as Lady Justice, with a scale and white blindfold.

Victoria Rodriguez, 18, said she hopes to cast her first vote for the campaign to recall Maduro. A recent high school graduate, she said she feels like she’s living in an emptying country; 15 of her 25 classmates have already left since graduating in July.

She said she is frustrated that opposition leaders haven’t called for more dramatic action, like sleeping on the highway overnight or attempting to paralyze the capital for days at a time.

George Castellanos / AFP / Getty Images

George Castellanos / AFP / Getty ImagesOpposition activists clash with National Guard members during a protest in San Cristobal

“People are tired of going to the streets and then going home,” she said. “The opposition is letting the streets go cold. They are giving the government too much time to manoeuvr.”

Congress was expected to take up the issue of Maduro’s responsibility for the country’s worsening political and economic crisis Thursday. The result of that debate is unlikely to have much impact, however.

Frederico Parra / AFP / Getty Images

Frederico Parra / AFP / Getty ImagesPeople demonstrate against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas

Unlike other countries in Latin America such as Brazil, where Dilma Rousseff was removed from the presidency in August, Venezuela’s National Assembly can’t impeach the president. That power lies with the Supreme Court, which has never voted against Maduro.

The government and opposition have agreed on an attempt at dialogue to defuse the crisis.

Talks sponsored by the Vatican and other South American governments are set to begin Sunday in the Caribbean island of Margarita. Maduro, who met with Pope Francis privately at the Vatican on Monday, said he will travel to Margarita to personally launch the talks.

But the two sides have tried dialogue during previous crises, and the opposition has scant hope for a breakthrough. Although Venezuelans overwhelmingly blame Maduro for their economic woes the ruling party is in firm control of institutions like the military and has shown no interest in yielding to the opposition.

With files from Luz Dary Depablos

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WASHINGTON — His presidential dreams increasingly in question, Donald Trump pushed his business empire to the centre of his political campaign Wednesday. Taking a break from battleground states, he made the case at his newest hotel that all Americans should look to his corporate record for evidence of how well he’d run the country.

Hillary Clinton agreed, but not the way he meant it. She used campaign events in Florida to attack the GOP nominee for having “stiffed American workers,” saying he built his empire with Chinese-manufactured steel, overseas products and labour from immigrants in the country illegally.

“Donald Trump is the poster boy for everything wrong with our economy,” she told several thousand supporters in Tampa, Florida. “He refuses to pay workers and contractors.”

Trump’s political aspirations have long been deeply intertwined with promoting his corporate goals. He announced his campaign in the gilded lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan and has held dozens of campaign events at his own properties. His remarks at his new Washington hotel, which has struggled to fill rooms amid the controversy surrounding his presidential bid, followed a visit Tuesday to his Doral golf course outside Miami.

“Under budget and ahead of schedule. So important. We don’t hear those words so often, but you will,” said Trump, linking the hotel redevelopment — just blocks from the White House — to his promised performance as president. “Today is a metaphor for what we can accomplish for this country.”

Though the GOP nominee focused his remarks on his political message, the event was heavy with marketing, too. Standing under glittering chandeliers, top company executives, including his daughter, touted the hotel. And after his brief speech, Trump and his family headed to the hotel’s grand lobby where they cut a wide red ribbon with golden scissors before he flew to North Carolina for what his campaign billed as an urban policy speech.

In Charlotte, Trump unveiled what he billed a “New Deal for black America” in front of a mostly white crowd. Trump, who has struggled to earn the support of minority voters, bemoaned that “too many African-Americans have been left behind and unveiled a handful of new proposals aimed at revitalizing impoverished urban areas.

They included new tax incentives for inner cities, new micro-loans for African Americans to start companies and hire workers and reinvesting money from suspended refugee programs in inner cities.

He also wants cities to be able to seek federal disaster designations to help them rebuild infrastructure, demolish abandoned buildings and invest in law enforcement.

As Trump cut the ribbon, Clinton was slamming his business practices in Florida, a state he must win to have any chance on Nov. 8. In Tampa, she was introduced by restaurateur Jose Andres, a naturalized U.S. citizen who pulled out of the Washington hotel to protest Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric. Trump and Andres are currently locked in litigation over the deal.

Trump’s unusual travel schedule, coming amid signs that the controversy surrounding his campaign has hurt his corporate brand, raises questions about whether the GOP nominee has begun to turn some of his focus to postelection plans.

Rooms at the overhauled $212 million hotel that bears his name at Washington’s Old Post Office Pavilion have been heavily discounted and smartphone data suggest fewer people are visiting his properties compared to rival venues nearby. A new Facebook live show produced by his campaign has heightened speculation that he may try and offset any losses with advertising revenue from a new a media network — a plan he denies.

Trump supporters defended his strategy, blasting critics for not making as big a deal of Clinton’s decision to attend an Adele concert Tuesday night. Trump took a break from campaigning to see the singer perform during the GOP primaries.

“I can’t take one hour off to cut a ribbon at one of the great hotels of the world? I mean, I think I’m entitled to it,” he said, in an interview with ABC News. He was more defensive in a CNN interview in which he called questions about his time away from swing state campaigning “insulting” and “rude.”

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ROME (AP) — A pair of strong aftershocks shook central Italy late Wednesday, crumbling churches and buildings, knocking out power and sending panicked residents into the rain-drenched streets just two months after a powerful earthquake killed nearly 300 people.

But hours after the temblors hit, there were no reports of serious injuries or signs of people trapped in rubble, said the head of Italy’s civil protection agency, Fabrizio Curcio. A handful of people were treated for slight injuries or anxiety at area hospitals in the most affected regions of Umbria and Le Marche, he said.

“All told, the information so far is that it’s not as catastrophic” as it could have been, Curcio said.

The temblors were actually aftershocks to the Aug. 24 quake that struck a broad swath of central Italy, demolishing buildings in three towns and their hamlets, seismologists said. Several towns this time around also suffered serious damage, with homes in the epicenter of Visso spilling out into the street.

The first struck at 7:10 p.m. and carried a magnitude of 5.4. But the second one was eight times stronger at 6.1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Because many residents had already left their homes with plans to spend the night in their cars or elsewhere, they weren’t home when the second aftershock hit two hours later, possibly saving lives, officials said.

“It was an unheard-of violence. Many houses collapsed,” the mayor of hard-hit Ussita, Marco Rinaldi, told Sky TG24. “The facade of the church collapsed. By now I have felt many earthquakes. This is the strongest of my life. It was something terrible.”

Rinaldi said two elderly people were rescued from their home, where they were trapped, and appeared to be in good condition. Some 200 people in Ussita were planning to sleep in the streets, given the impossibility of putting up tents so late at night.

Calling it “apocalyptic,” he said the town and its hamlets were “finished.”

A church crumbled in the ancient Perugian town of Norcia, famed for its Benedictine monastery and its cured meats. A bell-tower damaged on Aug. 24 fell and crushed a building in Camerino, the ANSA news agency said. Elsewhere, buildings were damaged, though many were in zones that were declared off-limits after the Aug. 24 quake that flattened parts of three towns.

“We’re without power, waiting for emergency crews,” said Mauro Falcucci, the mayor of Castelsantangelo sul Nera, near the epicenter. Speaking to Sky TG24, he said: “We can’t see anything. It’s tough. Really tough.”

He said some buildings had collapsed, but that there were no immediate reports of injuries in his community. He added that darkness and a downpour were impeding a full accounting.

Schools were closed in several towns Thursday as a precaution and a handful of hospitals were evacuated after suffering damage.

Premier Matteo Renzi, who cut short a visit to southern Italy to monitor the quake response, tweeted “all of Italy is embracing those hit once again.”

Italy’s national vulcanology center said the first quake had an epicenter in the Macerata area, near Perugia in the quake-prone Apennine Mountain chain. The U.S. Geological Survey put the epicenter near Visso, 170 kilometers northeast of Rome, and said it had a depth of some 10 kilometers (six miles).

The second aftershock struck two hours later at 9:18 p.m. with a similar depth.

Experts say even relatively modest quakes that have shallow depths can cause significant damage because the seismic waves are closer to the surface. But seismologist Gianluca Valensise said a 10-kilometer depth is within the norm for an Apennine temblor.

The Aug. 24 quake that destroyed the hilltop village of Amatrice and other nearby towns had a depth of about 10 kilometers. Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi said residents felt Wednesday’s aftershocks but “We are thanking God that there are no dead and no injured.”

The original Aug. 24, 6.2-magnitude quake was still 41 percent stronger than even the second aftershock.

Wednesday’s temblors were felt from Perugia in Umbria to the capital Rome and as far north as Veneto. It also shook the central Italian city of L’Aquila, which was struck by a deadly quake in 2009. The mayor of L’Aquila, however, said there were no immediate reports of damage there.

 A section of a major state highway north of Rome, the Salaria, was closed near Arquata del Tronto as a precaution because of a quake-induced landslide, said a spokeswoman for the civil protection agency, Ornella De Luca.

The mayor of Arquata del Tronto, Aleandro Petrucci, said the aftershocks felt stronger than the August quake, which devastated parts of his town. But he said there were no reports of injuries to date and that the zone hardest hit by the last quake remained uninhabitable.

“We don’t worry because there is no one in the red zone, if something fell, walls fell,” he said.

In Rome, some 230 kilometers (145 miles) southwest from the epicenter, centuries-old palazzi shook and officials at the Foreign Ministry evacuated the building.

The quakes were actually aftershocks of the magnitude 6.2 earthquake from two months ago. Because they were so close to the surface, they have the potential to cause more shaking and more damage, “coupled with infrastructure that’s vulnerable to shaking,” said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle.

“They have a lot of old buildings that weren’t constructed at a time with modern seismic codes,” he said.

Given the size, depth and location of the quakes, the USGS estimates that about 24 million people likely felt at least weak shaking.

This original quake was about 20 kilometers (12 miles) northwest of the original shock, which puts it on the northern edge of the aftershock sequence and two months is normal for aftershocks, Earle said.

Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge greets a large crowd of admirers during the welcoming ceremony at the B.C. legislature on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016.   Photograph By DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, began their week-long tour of British Columbia and the Yukon in Victoria Saturday with a welcome ceremony that honoured Canadian military service, young people and First Nations in front of a lively crowd of thousands.

“Catherine and I have asked to meet as many people from as many walks of life as we can while we’re here,” he said in a speech at the legislature, where an estimated 25,000 people were in the crowd. “We’re very much looking forward to learning about how Canadians are tackling some of the biggest challenges of the day.”

The prince recalled his visit to B.C. as a teenager in the late 1990s, when he was a heartthrob greeted by screaming girls. “We feel very fortunate to have time to get to really know parts of this country that we did not get to visit in 2011 but of which I have very happy memories as a shy teenager,” he said, pausing and grinning. “A few of you remember it too well, I think.”

At the legislature, the crowd’s biggest screams came at the first sight of the royal couple’s children arriving at 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron at Victoria International airport, shown on a large screen. The Royal Family arrived 10 minutes ahead of schedule on a military plane carrying Prince William’s seal. They were greeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, Premier Christy Clark and her bowtie-sporting teenage son Hamish, Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife Sharon, and Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon.

The Prince William emerged from the plane holding the hand of three-year-old Prince George, dressed in a light blue sweater and shorts. Kate — wearing a blue maple leaf hat by British design house Lock and Co. and the Queen’s maple leaf brooch — carried 16-month-old Princess Charlotte. Prince George appeared more interested in a Sea King helicopter landing at the base than he did in the official receiving line, while Princess Charlotte waved goodbye to the plane.

This was the first of two public appearances the children will make during the visit. The second will be at their departure from Victoria at the downtown seaplane terminal on Oct. 1.

The family left in a motorcade of two dozen vehicles that stopped at Government House, where they will stay for the week, before heading to the legislature. People stood on the side of the highway from the airport to downtown Victoria cheering and taking photos as the royal motorcade passed. Overpasses were packed with waving people. The windows of the car carrying the royals were down so that they could wave back.

Some of the thousands waiting at the legislature lawn had staked out spots before dawn.

“We got here around 6:15 a.m. and a few other ladies were already here,” said Sarah Larson, who drove down from Courtenay with her mother Gloria Zimmer Friday night.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see them … I’ve been researching royal stuff all week,” said Larson, who sat on a blanket alongside the red carpet walkway with snacks, travel Boggle and enough crosswords to fill the day. Larson also prepared a bouquet with the Canadian and Union Jack flags and small picture of a friend who died. “She was a major royals fan. She would have loved this.”

Emily Emery and her mother Jill Boudreau drove from Mount Vernon, Washington, for the event. “I admire their work and how they use their celebrity for good. They’re big on children’s health and as a nurse, I admire them,” Emery said.

Patrick Wilson stood for nearly 12 hours at a metal gate along the red carpet to see the royal couple. He said as a First Nations person, from the north Island Kwakiutl First Nation, it is meaningful for him to see the Royal Family’s interest in B.C.’s Indigenous peoples. “I don’t have the words for it but it’s good,” said Wilson, wearing a cedar bark top hat.

The royal couple arrived at the legislature around 5:30 p.m., about a half hour behind schedule.

A solemn ceremony at the legislature cenotaph marked the start of the ceremony, featuring the skirl of bagpipes and a lone bugler.

The cheerful crowd grew silent as Kate and William placed a wreath at the cenotaph. Retired colonel Paul Paone, who was with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan, was happy to see a new plaque honouring Afghanistan veterans unveiled. “It’s absolutely wonderful,” he said. “It took long enough.”

William and Kate spoke at length with three veterans, including Gordon Quan, who served as a commando in Burma during the Second World War.

Also meeting the royal pair were Afghanistan veterans Cpl. Mireille Poulin and Petty Officer Wayne Clarke. Prince William, who flew helicopters in the Royal Air Force, asked Poulin what kind of helicopters were used in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The royal couple was welcomed to traditional Lekwungen territory by Esquimalt and Songhees dancers as they walked the red carpet to the stage with the prime minister and his wife, the Governor General and his wife, the lieutenant governor, and the premier and her son. They were met by a line of local politicians, including Mayor Lisa Helps, First Nations chiefs, Victoria MLA Carole James and federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

In his speech, the Governor General noted that the royal couple first came to Canada in 2011 as newlyweds of three months, “and now you’ve come back as a family. We couldn’t be happier for you,” he said. For Canada, the monarchy “represents a family and reminds us that people come first.”

Trudeau got a few laughs when he jested about travelling with kids. “As any parent who has travelled with children knows, it is a whole different experience when you bring your family with you. I want to commend you and thank you for introducing our part of the world to Prince George and Princess Charlotte,” he said.

“Though let me caution you from my own experience, if they’re anything like our kids, getting them back on a plane after a visit to our beautiful West Coast will really be a challenge.”

William and Kate rewarded many of the fans who’d spent hours waiting to see them with greetings as they walked along the red carpet after the ceremony.

“He said he liked my flower,” said Teresa Bell, who shook Prince William’s hand on the walkabout. Bell and her friend Kisha Cook, both from Nanaimo, wore black decorative fascinators. “I can’t believe it.”

Standing next to them, Lori Hitchcox said she was shaking after her encounter with the prince.

“He asked if I lived in Victoria. I said yes. And he said, ‘I see we’re taking up most of your city,’ ” said Hitchcox, wearing a maple leaf scarf. “I told him I loved his grandmother. He was so sincere. They really are as nice as they look.”

Monique Girard was surprised to be approached by the duchess while holding her six-month-old daughter Scarlett. “She told me that after this small stage, it only gets better,” Girard said. “I told her that she’s beautiful. It was like this goddess in front of me.”

Kate told Girard and Loreen Topping that she wished she had brought her children, particularly Prince George, so that they could enjoy the lights on the legislative buildings.

Dayna Mottishaw and her friend Courtney Simcoff were decked out in pearls, fascinators and tea cups.

“We’re both moms of young kids so it’s not easy to get out and do something like this,” said Mottishaw. It panned out. They saw the royal couple up close and shook the prince’s hand. “He really looks you in the eye.”

Mottishaw said it was a once in a lifetime chance to see the royals, then quipped, “Although I am off to see the Royals tonight. They’re playing Prince George,” she said, referring to the local hockey game.

After the one-hour ceremony, the duke and duchess returned to Government House, where they had private meetings with the prime minister and Governor General. They are scheduled to leave Victoria today at 10 a.m. by seaplane for a day of events in Vancouver.