BENAULIM, India (AP) — India and Russia renewed their long-standing close ties during annual talks on Saturday, signing a slew of cooperation agreements and discussing misgivings about recent irritants in their decades-long relationship.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meeting in the beach resort state of Goa in western India, discussed regional security issues and the threats posed by global terrorism. But they also spent considerable time on talks to stem the drift in their ties as India engages more closely with the United States.
Putin and Modi jointly unveiled an e-plaque to mark a ceremony to lay the foundation stone of the next phase of a nuclear power plant that Russia has built in the southeastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. This would be the third and fourth phases of the Kudankulam nuclear power station, part of 12 nuclear plants that Russia is building in India. The two leaders pressed a button to remotely unveil by video link the plaque, which will be erected at the site of the nuclear plant.
The two leaders also witnessed the signing of nearly 20 agreements relating to the joint production of military hardware, space exploration, energy cooperation and the upgrading of India’s aging railway network.
India and Russia have shared a close relationship that dates back to the days of the Cold War, when the United States tilted toward Pakistan, India’s neighbor and archrival. India had to depend on Russia for political support as well as the supply of billions of dollars’ worth of military hardware. Even today, nearly 70 percent of India’s defense equipment has been procured from Russia, according to India’s Defense Ministry.
But as India’s economic clout has grown, it has also diversified its defense shopping, with major purchases of military hardware from the United States, Israel and France.
India is one of the world’s biggest arms importers, with an economic boom that has enabled it to modernize its military. New Delhi needs everything from fighter aircraft to submarines, as part of a $100 billion modernization of its military hardware.
Russia’s concerns that India was looking elsewhere to upgrade its defense forces were assuaged by several deals that were concluded on Saturday.
Putin and Modi looked on as officials from the two sides signed several agreements, including a deal to set up a facility in India for the joint production of 200 Kamov helicopters. In another deal, India agreed to buy four frigates for its navy.
India and Russia also signed a multibillion-dollar agreement for a Russian-made anti-missile air defense system that can track around 300 targets and shoot down up to three dozen incoming missiles simultaneously, providing a security cover that stretches several hundred kilometers (miles).
But the talks also served to clear the air on what was widely seen as a cooling in ties between the sides. The two leaders used the occasion to overcome differences that have cropped up between them in the past few years. Russia has been wary of India’s growing engagement with the United States. A recent military logistics agreement signed by New Delhi and Washington has caused significant concern in Moscow, as it sees its long-standing partner moving closer to the West.
India raised its concerns about Russia’s growing ties with Pakistan. Russia and Pakistan recently conducted joint military exercises, something that would have been unthinkable for Indians to imagine even a short while ago.
India also has worries about Russia’s deepening ties with China. Moscow, hit by Western sanctions, has in the past year drawn closer to Beijing — a development that New Delhi has watched with dismay.
India assured Russia that its ties with Moscow remained as strong as ever. “An old friend is better than two new friends,” Modi told Putin at the end of the talks.
Modi described the talks as highly productive and meaningful, and said they reinforced the “special and privileged nature of India-Russia ties.”
Putin and Modi were meeting on the sidelines of a summit bringing together the leaders of the five BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
NEW DELHI (AP) — He claims to have 50 million followers and runs a spiritual empire that promotes vegetarianism and campaigns against drug addiction. But the self-styled God-man from the north Indian state of Haryana has another passion: Bollywood.
The leader of a quasi-religious sect — who calls himself Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan — has launched a film franchise in which he stars as a Messenger of God, or MSG for short, with divine powers to save the world.
Critics say the films serve as propaganda for his followers, which Insan doesn’t dispute. Speaking recently with reporters, the flamboyant spiritual guru said he was not trying to become a movie star but instead wanted to spread Indian culture along with his message of humanity to the masses.
“You will see in this film that our culture was so powerful that the technology that the aliens are bringing, it had already been used by our ancestors. That is why the scenes appear larger than life. We should also show India’s greatness,” said Insan, whose surname means “human” in Hindi and is adopted by all in his sect, which describes itself as a nonprofit spiritual and welfare organization.
With a guaranteed audience among his followers, Insan said he’s had little trouble getting his films released commercially in cinemas. Two earlier films featured Insan as a gravity-defying superhero fighting drug addiction and gender issues.
In his third film, released last week and titled “MSG — The Warrior Lion Heart,” Insan plays a secret agent armed with a twirled moustache and an assortment of swords to fight the aliens and UFOs.
“In my first two films, I appeared as a guru. In this film, I am playing a character,” he said. “I play a warrior who is also India’s top secret agent. If you see his background, he is a warrior who fights with aliens to save the honor of our mothers and sisters, and the honor of our Mother Earth.”
Insan maintains complete control over his film productions. In the latest, he is credited in 30 categories of the film, including dialogue writer, choreographer, props, stunts, film editor and makeup artist.
He dismissed detractors who say his outlandish costumes and self-glorifying antics on screen run counter to his spiritual mission.
“I have researched the scriptures, the religious texts — there is no dress code given for holy men,” Insan said. “Nowhere does it say that the saints have to wear anything specific. If your thoughts are pure, you can be one with God even in a trouser and shirt.”
Associated Press videojournalist Manish Mehta in Mumbai contributed to this report.
Film trailer for “MSG — The Warrior Lion Heart:” https://youtu.be/2z—T5ZLD7AI
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Battered by sordid new accusations of sexual misbehavior, Donald Trump fought back in ever-more-remarkable fashion Friday, acting out one woman’s allegation onstage and suggesting another was not attractive enough to merit his attention. He defiantly denied a week’s worth of accusations that have all but consumed his presidential bid just over three weeks before the election.
“She would not be my first choice, that I can tell you,” Trump said of one woman in a rambling attack on his female accusers as he campaigned in battleground North Carolina.
The New York businessman said his staff wanted him to avoid the topic altogether but that he couldn’t resist defending himself. He blamed the growing story on his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton and an international media conspiracy, describing his female accusers as “sick” people seeking fame or money.
“The only thing I can say is hopefully, hopefully, our patriotic movement will overcome this terrible deception,” he declared.
Trump assailed The New York Times in particular, noting its connection to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, who is a major shareholder in the media company.
Spokesman Arturo Elias Ayub later said Slim doesn’t know Trump at all “and is not the least bit interested in his personal life.”
Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, promised Friday morning the campaign would soon release evidence against the women that would show Trump’s innocence. More than 12 hours later, the Trump campaign released a statement in which an accuser’s cousin said he was “shocked and bewildered” by her account.
John Barry of Mission Viejo, California, said in the statement that Summer Zervos, a former contestant on NBC’s “The Apprentice,” ”wishes she could still be on reality TV, and in an effort to get that back she’s saying all of these negative things about Mr. Trump.”
Zervos said during a Friday news conference that the former reality television star became sexually aggressive at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2007.
Pence remarked at “the enormous coverage of these, of these really unfounded allegations, unestablished allegations, compared to an avalanche of emails coming out of Hillary Clinton’s years as secretary of state.”
Indeed, Friday marked another day on which WikiLeaks released thousands of emails that had been stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal account.
The new batch showed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign asked former President Bill Clinton to cancel a speech to an investment firm last year because of concerns that the Clintons might appear to be too cozy with Wall Street just as she was about to announce her candidacy.
Clinton aides say in the emails that Hillary Clinton did not want her husband to cancel the speech but was eventually convinced. The Clintons’ paid speeches have been an issue throughout the campaign, particularly lucrative speeches to Wall Street.
The Clinton campaign, citing information it says is from the FBI, says the hacks are being investigated as part of a broader attack on Democratic Party leaders that may involve Russia.
Clinton herself spoke Friday of a need for national healing.
“I take no satisfaction in seeing what Trump does and says because it hurts — it hurts me and it hurts our country,” she said in a speech at a fundraiser.
Polls suggest Trump has fallen further behind Clinton nationally and in most battleground states. Early in-person voting is underway in 20 states, including Ohio, where President Barack Obama railed against Trump a day after first lady Michelle Obama declared in a passionate speech, “Enough is enough.”
The Obamas both seized on Trump’s words, captured in a video released last week, bragging about kissing and groping women without their permission. The 70-year-old billionaire has apologized, but also repeatedly dismissed his comments as “locker room talk.”
“You don’t have to be a husband or a father to know that that kind of language, those kinds of thoughts, those kinds of actions are unacceptable. They’re not right. You just have to be a decent human being,” President Obama charged in Columbus, Ohio.
Two more women, meanwhile, came forward Friday with allegations against Trump.
Zervos, appearing at a news conference with attorney Gloria Allred, said Trump kissed her open-mouthed and touched her breasts in a private room.
And in a story published online Friday, Kristin Anderson told The Washington Post that she was sitting on a couch with friends at a New York nightclub in the early 1990s when a hand reached up her skirt and touched her through her underwear.
Anderson, then in her early 20s, said she pushed the hand away, turned around and recognized Trump as the man who had groped her.
Trump mocked Anderson’s claim onstage as he campaigned in North Carolina, pausing to reach out his hand to touch an imaginary woman as his accuser described. “I just heard this one. It’s like, it’s like unbelievable,” he said.
Even before the mounting allegations, there was evidence that Trump’s troubles were hurting the Republican Party’s ability to raise money.
The Republican National Committee has raised about 25 percent less over the past three months than it did over the same period four years ago, when Mitt Romney was atop the ticket.
The RNC said Friday that it raised $39.4 million last month, compared to $48.4 million in September 2012. It says it has raised $262.3 million since January 2015, about $20 million more than it had by this time in 2012.
Friday’s accusations against Trump are in line with similar allegations by women in articles by The New York Times and the Palm Beach Post. Separately, a People magazine reporter offered a first-person account accusing Trump of attacking her in 2005 while she was in Florida to interview him and his pregnant wife.
He specifically rejected the People magazine accuser’s claim at the North Carolina rally. “She is a liar. She is a liar,” Trump said. “These people are sick.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan delivered a high-profile speech on Friday criticizing Clinton and promoting Republicans in next month’s elections.
The nation’s top elected Republican did not, however, say the words “Donald Trump.”
Peoples reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Josh Lederman in Columbus, Ohio, Julie Bykowicz and Hope Yen in Washington and Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.a
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two more women came forward Friday to accuse Donald Trump of unwanted sexual touching, including a former contestant from a reality show that starred the Republican presidential nominee.
The latest accounts come after several women reported in recent days that Trump groped or kissed them without their consent.
At a campaign rally in North Carolina on Friday, Trump sought to discredit his accusers. He said because there were no witnesses to the interactions, the allegations were not credible.
“Right now I am being viciously attacked with lies and smears,” Trump said at an outdoor amphitheater. “It’s a phony deal. I have no idea who these women are.”
Trump also suggested the women who have come forward to accuse him were not physically attractive enough to merit his attention. “Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you,” he said when speaking of one of the women.
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on “The Apprentice,” said Trump made unwanted sexual advances toward her at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2007, while photographer Kristin Anderson alleged Trump sexually assaulted her in a New York nightclub in the early 1990s.
Zervos, 41, appeared at a news conference Friday with Gloria Allred, a well-known Los Angeles attorney. Zervos was a contestant on “The Apprentice” in 2006 and said she later contacted Trump to inquire about a job with one of his businesses.
Zervos said she had an initial meeting with Trump, where he discussed a potential job with her. When they parted, he kissed her on the lips and asked for her phone number, she said.
She said weeks later Trump called to invite her to meet him at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where she said she was expecting to have dinner with the New York billionaire. Instead, she described a series of unwanted kisses and touching by Trump, which she said she repeatedly rejected.
“He tried to kiss me again … and I said, ‘Dude, you’re tripping right now,’ attempting to make it clear I was not interested,” she said.
Zervos said Trump eventually stopped and began talking as if they were in a job interview. She said she was later offered a low-paying job at a Trump-owned golf course.
At the time, Trump had recently married his third and current wife, Melania Trump, and the couple had an infant son.
Zervos said she is a Republican and has no political agenda in coming forward. Allred said her client told her parents and others about the incident shortly after it occurred.
In a statement released by his campaign, Trump denied he was ever alone in a hotel room with Zervos and claimed to have only a vague recollection of meeting her. He lashed out at the media for creating “a theater of absurdity that threatens to tear our democratic process apart and poison the minds of the American public.”
Late Friday, the Trump campaign released a statement in which a cousin of Servos said he was “shocked and bewildered” by her account.
John Barry of Mission Viejo, California, said in the statement that Zervos “wishes she could still be on reality TV, and in an effort to get that back she’s saying all of these negative things about Mr. Trump.”
In a story published online Friday, Anderson told The Washington Post that she was sitting on a couch with friends at a New York nightclub in the early 1990s when someone’s hand reached up her skirt and touched her through her underwear.
Anderson, then in her early 20s, said she pushed the hand away, turned around and recognized Trump as the man who had groped her. Then recently divorced, Trump was then a frequent presence in the New York tabloids, and he was regular presence on the Manhattan club scene.
“He was so distinctive looking — with the hair and the eyebrows. I mean, nobody else has those eyebrows,” Anderson, 46, told the newspaper. She said the assault was random and occurred with “zero conversation.”
Anderson did not respond to a phone message from The Associated Press. She told the newspaper said she does not back Trump or Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.
The Post said it contacted Anderson after a friend she had told about the incident recounted it to a reporter. Other friends also told the Post that Anderson recounted the same story to them years ago.
Zervos’ and Anderson’s decisions to speak publicly about her experience follows last week’s disclosure by the Post of a 2005 video in which Trump boasted that his celebrity gave him the ability to grab women “by the p—-. You can do anything.” Trump apologized for those remarks, but also dismissed them as “locker-room talk.”
Also Friday, Melinda McGillivray, 36, of Palm Springs, Florida, told the AP that Trump’s denial in last Sunday’s presidential debate that he had ever groped women prompted her to come forward after years of brushing off an incident from 2003.
She told The Palm Beach Post for a story published on Thursday that while she was backstage at a concert at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, when he grabbed her buttocks.
“I wanted to do this so I can be a role model for my daughter,” McGillivray said. “I wanted to be that courageous woman that she sees every day, but in that moment she saw vulnerability and she saw a scared little girl.”
Biesecker reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Kelli Kennedy in Lake Worth, Florida, contributed to this report.
Follow Michael Biesecker and Michael R. Blood on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/mbieseck and https://twitter.com/MichaelRBloodAP
SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a powerful storm in the Pacific Northwest (all times local):
The National Weather Service in Portland, Oregon, is urging people to stay off roads as multiple streets in the city were flooded and impassable after heavy rains hit the area Friday evening.
News outlets reported cars were stranded at flooded intersections and on roads throughout the city. Two eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 downtown were closed due to high water, the light rail system was experiencing delays and all streetcar service was suspended.
The weather service in Portland also said anyone living near small creeks and streams that typically flood need to pay extra attention through Friday.
Coast Guard officials say a rescue is underway for 40 teenagers and six adults who became stranded at an outdoor recreation camp on the Olympic Peninsula west of Port Angeles.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Ali Flockerzi says the group called for help Friday afternoon saying they had lost power at Camp David Jr. County Park and that trees were blocking the way out.
Flockerzi says the Coast Guard trailered a boat to another location on the same lake as the camp and was using it as a ferry to bring campers out in groups. She estimated it would take about six trips and nearly six hours, to get everyone out of the camp and to a waiting bus.
No injuries have been reported.
Officials say a 4-year-old boy and his father have been injured by a falling tree branch in West Seattle.
The injuries came amid a storm that brought heavy rains and high winds to the Northwest, including a tornado in Manzanita, Oregon.
Thousands of people are without power in the region.
The Seattle Fire Department posted Friday on Twitter that the child suffered serious injuries and the father minor injuries. They were being taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The department said it didn’t immediately have further information about the injuries or circumstances.
The mayor of Manzanita, Oregon, has declared a state of emergency in the wake of a tornado that tore through downtown.
The declaration by Mayor Garry Bullard is necessary for the beach town to be eligible for federal disaster money. The inventory of damage from Friday’s tornado is incomplete, but photos and videos show toppled trees, downed power poles, a mangled deck and some wrecked downtown businesses.
Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long says two businesses are confirmed destroyed and one home is uninhabitable. He says other homes have roof damage.
The Red Cross opened a shelter for victims at Calvary Bible Church.
Thousands of people were without power in Seattle as heavy rains and winds moved through the Pacific Northwest.
Seattle City Light reported Friday that more than 15,000 customers were affected by an outage, most in the Queen Anne neighborhood north of downtown.
Extreme weather is moving through the Pacific Northwest. A tornado was reported in Manzanita, Oregon, along the coast.
A gallery owner in Manzanita, Oregon, says what started as a typical beach storm instantly became much more.
Debbie Harmon of the Amanita Gallery says out of nowhere the wind suddenly made a “whoooo” sound.
The whole sky filled with debris as a tornado touched down in the small coastal city. Harmon says “it was just crazy and then it just stopped.”
Next thing, she saw trees scattered in the road and emergency vehicles headed toward the beach area.
A tornado has been reported on the northern Oregon coast.
Tillamook County Sheriff Andy Long says it touched down in the city of Manzanita about 8:20 a.m. He says there are no reports of injuries, but there have been several calls about damage, including one from a woman who says all the windows in her house were blown out.
Long says the county is sending an additional ambulance to Manzanita, just in case it’s needed. He says volunteer firefighters are also being activated.
The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings for southwest Washington and northwest Oregon.
The warnings issued early Friday were in response to a strong thunderstorm that moved through the area. The National Weather Service said there were reports of tornado damage in Manzanita, Oregon, on the coast. No other information was immediately available.
The heavy rain created dangerous conditions for the morning commute, as drivers tried to see out rain-pounded windshields and navigate through standing water on the roads.
Several school districts across the region delayed start times because of the weather.
Strong winds and heavy rain walloped the Pacific Northwest, leaving thousands without power as utility crews prepare for what’s expected to be a rougher storm on Saturday.
In Oregon, Portland General Electric reported that more than 4,000 customers were without power at 5 a.m. Friday. Pacific Power reported that 2,800 customers in coastal communities had no lights, down from a peak of more than 15,000.
Portland had the rainiest Oct. 13 in its history. The National Weather Service says a 103-mph wind gust was recorded at Cape Meares.
In Washington, Puget Sound Energy responded to scattered outages, reporting early Friday that more than 2,800 customers were still affected. Lightning strikes hit the southwest Washington coast Friday morning, and a tornado warning was briefly in effect for Pacific County.
Meteorologists expect a breezy Friday before the remnants of a typhoon hit the region Saturday. Forecasters say wind gusts as high as 70 mph could sweep through Seattle.
SEATTLE (AP) — With Donald Trump on the defensive, Hillary Clinton says she is taking “no satisfaction” in his actions and promising to repair the damage and project a message of unity during the campaign’s final weeks.
Hours after her Republican rival furiously defended himself against multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, Clinton spoke Friday of the need for national healing in a Seattle fundraising speech that also saw her call upon Americans to help her govern if she’s elected president.
“This election is incredibly painful. I take absolutely no satisfaction in what is happening on the other side with my opponent,” Clinton said while visiting a Seattle campaign field office. “I am not at all happy about that because it hurts our country, it hurts our democracy, it sends terrible messages to so many people here at home and around the world.”
The Democratic presidential nominee said earlier at a Seattle fundraiser that while she understands many voters want to “turn away,” her supporters need to help her win the election to “demonstrate the positive, optimistic, confident, unifying vision of America that I believe in and that I think, together, we can demonstrate America’s best days are still ahead of us.”
While President Barack Obama is ending his two terms with high approval ratings, Clinton’s struggles with high unfavorability ratings and questions about her honesty could undermine any electoral mandate she might achieve in November.
So as Trump has dealt with a firestorm that started last week with the release of an 11-year-old videotape of him bragging about kissing and groping women, Clinton is increasingly aiming her message not only at Democrats but at disaffected Republicans and independents turned off by the spectacle.
At her fundraiser at the Paramount Theatre, where Trump backers gathered outside on a blustery day, one bearing a sign that read, “Hillary for Prison 2016,” Clinton struck a tone of conciliation. She said she wanted people “to start looking after each other again,” and that while she would aim to pass laws and seek “some real national commitments,” people needed to support each other at the end of an acrimonious campaign season.
“I will be asking for your help. I need your help not just to win this election but to govern and to heal the divides that exist in our country right now,” Clinton said. “I do believe there isn’t anything we can’t do once we make up our minds to do it.”
The former secretary of state said those challenges extend across the globe, saying she had talked to many foreign leaders who complained about Trump’s praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin or her opponent’s calls for a temporary ban on foreign Muslims entering the country.
“So make no mistake, we do have to repair the damage which he has done, which we will do. But on both domestic and national security grounds, repudiating his candidacy sends exactly the right message,” she said.
Leading in many battleground state polls, Clinton’s team is assessing the possibility of expanding the map to compete in traditional Republican states like Utah, Georgia and Arizona. She is preparing for next week’s final debate in Las Vegas and then an intense stretch of campaigning. While she continues to call Trump unqualified to be president, much of her message appears aimed beyond November — and into a possible first term.
“Bringing people together to solve problems is key to our democracy. There’s no question about it,” Clinton said. “And I want us to do that in a spirit of mutual respect, listening to one another, having each other’s backs.”
On Twitter follow Ken Thomas at @kthomasDC.