A missing Indonesian submarine with 53 crew members has been found, broken into at least three parts, in the Bali Sea, army and navy officials said on Sunday.
A missing Indonesian submarine with 53 crew members has been found, broken into at least three parts, in the Bali Sea, army and navy officials said on Sunday.
WASHINGTON — The top U.S general for Africa is warning that a growing threat from China may come not just from the waters of the Pacific but from the Atlantic as well. U.S. Gen. Stephen Townsend, in an interview with The Associated Press, said Beijing is looking to establish a large navy port capable of hosting submarines or aircraft carriers on Africa’s western coast. Townsend said China has approached countries stretching from Mauritania to south of Namibia, intent on establishing a naval facility. If realized, that prospect would enable China to base warships in its expanding Navy in the Atlantic as well as Pacific oceans. “They’re looking for a place where they can rearm and repair warships. That becomes militarily useful in conflict,” said Townsend, who heads U.S. Africa Command. “They’re a long way toward establishing that in Djibouti. Now they’re casting their gaze to the Atlantic coast and wanting to get such a base there.” Townsend's warnings come as the Pentagon shifts its focus from the counterterrorism wars of the last two decades to the Indo-Pacific region and threats from great power adversaries like China and Russia. The Biden administration views China's rapidly expanding economic influence and military might as America's primary long-term security challenge. U.S. military commanders around the globe, including several who may lose troops and resources to bolster growth in the Pacific, caution that China's growing assertiveness isn't simply happening in Asia. And they argue that Beijing is aggressively asserting economic influence over countries in Africa, South America and the Middle East, and is pursuing bases and footholds there. “The Chinese are outmanoeuvring the U.S. in select countries in Africa," said Townsend. “Port projects, economic endeavours, infrastructure and their agreements and contracts will lead to greater access in the future. They are hedging their bets and making big bets on Africa.” China's first overseas naval base was built years ago in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa and it is steadily increasing its capacity. Townsend said as many as 2,000 military personnel are at the base, including hundreds of Marines who handle security there. “They have arms and munitions for sure. They have armoured combat vehicles. We think they will soon be basing helicopters there to potentially include attack helicopters,” said Townsend. For some time, many have thought that China was working to establish a Navy base in Tanzania, a country on Africa's eastern coast, that has had a strong, longstanding military relationship with Beijing. But Townsend said it appears there's been no decision on that yet. He said that while China has been trying hard to get a base in Tanzania, it's not the location he's most concern about. “It's on the Indian Ocean side," he said. “I want it to be in Tanzania instead of on the Atlantic coast. The Atlantic coast concerns me greatly," he said, pointing to the relatively shorter distance from Africa's west coast to the U.S. In nautical miles, a base on Africa's northern Atlantic coast could be substantially closer to the U.S. than military facilities in China are to America's western coast. More specifically, other U.S. officials say the Chinese have been eyeing locations for a port in the Gulf of Guinea. The Defence Department's 2020 report on China's military power, said China has likely considered adding military facilities to support its naval, air and ground forces in Angola, among other locations. And it noted that the large amount of oil and liquefied natural gas imported from Africa and the Middle East, make those regions a high priority for China over the next 15 years. Henry Tugendhat, a senior policy analyst with the United States Institute of Peace, said China has a lot of economic interests on Africa's west coast, including fishing and oil. China also has helped finance and build a large commercial port in Cameroon. He said that any effort by Beijing to get a naval port on the Atlantic coast would be an expansion of China's military presence. But the desire for ocean access, he said, may be primarily for economic gain, rather than military capabilities. Townsend and other regional military commanders laid out their concerns about China during recent congressional hearings. He, along with Adm. Craig Faller, head of U.S. Southern Command, and Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, are battling to retain their military forces, aircraft and surveillance assets as the Pentagon continues to review the shift to great power competition. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin is conducting a global posture review to determine if America's military might is positioned where it needs to be, and in the right numbers, around the world to best maintain global dominance. That review is expected to be finished in late summer. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
The Canadian dollar hit its highest level in almost four years on Thursday, buoyed by high commodity prices The loonie was changing hands at 82.08 cents US early in the afternoon, its highest level since September 2017. Two broad trends are combining to push the loonie higher. First, the improving outlook for the global economy coming out of COVID-19 has pushed up prices for commodities that Canada has a lot of. Lumber prices have hit record highs due to a construction boom, and the price of a barrel of the North American oil benchmark, known as West Texas Intermediate, topped $65 US this week, its highest level since the pandemic started. The price of wheat has hit its highest price since 2013, and copper prices are at a nine-year high, too. An index of commodity prices has risen by 37 per cent in the past six months alone Bank of Canada economist Doug Porter noted recently. "This six-month run rivals anything we have seen in the past 50 years," he said. Booming commodity prices are a boon for Canada's economy, which is pushing up the value of the country's currency. Potential of higher rates That commodity boom is happening as Canada's central bank shows signs of hiking its benchmark interest rate far sooner than most other countries. At its policy meeting last week, the Bank of Canada said it would slow its pace of bond buying, a sign it thinks the economy may soon need less stimulus. Trading in financial instruments known as swaps, that bet on rate decisions, implies the market thinks the Bank of Canada may hike rates as many as two times by the end of next year. "Meanwhile, you have the U.S. Federal Reserve showing no inclination to go down that route," said David Doyle, economist and market strategist with Macquarie Group, in an interview with CBC News. If Canada raises its rate while other countries do not, that makes Canada look more attractive for investors as a place to put their money to work. So money would pour into the country, and by extension, push up the value of the currency. "The Canadian dollar tends to respond positively to those circumstances," Doyle said. Audrey Childe-Freeman, a foreign exchange strategist with Bloomberg Intelligence, thinks Canada's currency could be poised for further gains. "In a … currency market that's gone back to being mainly driven by yields and growth prospects, and providing … commodity prices consolidate or push up more, we believe the loonie may continue to outperform," she said in a recent note to clients.
Recent developments: What's the latest? Millions of non-essential workers have been doing their jobs from home since the early days of the pandemic. But with vaccinations spreading among Canadians many may now wonder — when will that come to an end? Think you're having trouble finding a new bicycle this spring? Bike shops across Ottawa say they can't get their hands on new stock either. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) reported 106 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and two more deaths. WATCH | Bikes are a hot commodity in Ottawa: How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining contact tracing and pushing hospitals past their limits. As of Tuesday, 24,998 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 1,622 known active cases, 22,859 resolved cases and 519 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 45,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 42,200 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 178 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 201. Akwesasne has had more than 660 residents test positive and 10 deaths between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 34 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. Pikwakanagan hasn't had any. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. The transfer of COVID-19 patients from other regions to Ottawa hospitals continues. As of the most recent update Tuesday, there were about 35 COVID-19 patients from other communities in Ottawa ICUs. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order until at least May 20. People should only leave home for essential reasons like getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They should stay within their immediate area and province unless it's absolutely necessary to leave. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited. Exceptions include small activities with households and small religious services. Tulip bulbs in Ottawa on May 5, 2021, ahead of the official start of the Canadian Tulip Festival.(Andrew Lee/CBC) Golf courses and tennis and basketball courts are among the closed recreation venues. Police checkpoints between Ontario and Quebec are not running 24/7. Officers in Ontario have the power to stop and question people if they believe they've gathered illegally. Ontario has indefinitely moved to online learning. Daycares remain open. Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted and big-box stores can only sell essential items. WATCH | Not everyone wants to work remotely: Gyms and personal care services are closed, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Ottawa's is doing around playgrounds, Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until Monday across the Outaouais. Some rules start to loosen that day. WATCH | Ontario must reach very low case numbers to ensure a successful reopening: Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. People are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are taking over. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 845,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 381,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 165,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is vaccinating people age 50 and older at its clinics. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. The province has opened up appointments for people age 18 and up in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes. Ottawans in the city's priority neighbourhoods above age 18 and Indigenous people above age 16 can check their eligibility online with the city. People who are 40 or will be this year can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Pharmacies can offer walk-in vaccines if they wish. Ontario has a staggered rollout plan to expand its vaccination campaign week-by-week, allowing everyone over age 18 to make an appointment starting the week of May 24. The province expects to have given a first dose to about two-thirds of adults by the end of May. Next week, people as young as age 40 can book through the province. Eligibility is also expected to include a wider range of health conditions and job types, such as transit and grocery store employees. Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. Some have said they won't have the vaccine supply to cover everyone who becomes eligible right away. Western Quebec Quebec's vaccination plan covers people age 35 and older in the Outaouais, along with essential workers and people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, including pregnancy. It's also doing a staggered expansion, reaching down to children as young as 12 in June. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Check with your health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms, their contacts and people who have been told to get tested. Outaouais residents can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Tyendinaga's council is asking people not to travel there to camp or fish. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
MILAN — Juventus’ fall from grace was starkly highlighted last weekend as bitter rival Inter Milan wrested the Serie A title from its grip while the Bianconeri struggled to beat lowly Udinese. Only two late Cristiano Ronaldo goals rescued a 2-1 win and kept Juve’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League from fading dramatically. A couple of hours earlier, Juventus had seen Inter clinch the league title, ending its nine-year reign at the top of Italian soccer. “An era is over, but we gave our all,” Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci said. “Inter was the most consistent team and showed it is the strongest side this year. “Today, however, another chapter begins and we must have the strength and hunger to take back what we held for nine years. We did something epic, difficult to emulate, so congratulations to Inter but Juve always rises again and we will continue to do so.” The last four matches will be crucial not just for Juve’s pride but also for its chances of reaching Europe’s elite club competition, with the Bianconeri in real danger of missing out. Juventus on Sunday faces a main rival for a top-four finish and Champions League berth as it hosts AC Milan, which had title hopes of its own until a downturn in form and results. The two teams are level on 69 points, along with second-place Atalanta. Napoli is only two points further back, while sixth-place Lazio has 64 points but also has a game in hand. “We know that we have to qualify for the Champions League at all costs,” Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo said. “We’ve got a team here — they’re strong and want to fight to reach their targets. “They’re united ... but this has to be a starting point because we have several important games still to play.” After the Milan match, Juventus travels to Sassuolo midweek before welcoming the team that ended its nine-year dominance of Serie A. The match against Inter will be even more of a bitter pill for Juve to swallow as the visitors are coached by Antonio Conte — the coach who steered the Bianconeri to the first three of their nine recent titles. The man currently in the Juventus dugout knows that his time could be coming to an end despite assurances from Fabio Paratici, the club's managing director of football. “Will Pirlo stay if we qualify for the Champions League? Yes, certainly,” Paratici said recently. “But we’re not even thinking of not qualifying, we have great confidence in what we are doing, players and coaches. “That’s our only thought.” Juventus took a gamble in the off-season when it sacked Maurizio Sarri and surprisingly appointed Pirlo, who had never coached at any level. The Serie A title was the minimum Pirlo was expected to deliver, but he was also tasked with turning Juventus into a more attractive side and ending the club’s quarter-century wait for Champions League success, and he talked about wanting his players to have the same spirit and desire as the Juventus team he played in under Conte. The gamble has not paid off. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Daniella Matar, The Associated Press
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is pledging a 20 per cent foreign home buyers' tax and a $14-billion housing plan. The election campaign-style promise, which Singh says would foster 500,000 homes in four years, aims to drive down home and rental costs and create more supply amid a white-hot real estate market.
Soldiers participating in large-scale exercises at CFB Wainwright say Canadian Armed Forces members who have tested positive for COVID-19 are isolating in small, unheated tents with limited ability to wash themselves. Up to 2,500 soldiers, mostly from Edmonton, are participating in Maple Resolve and Agile Ram in a training area at Canadian Forces Base Wainwright in eastern Alberta. The exercises are expected to wrap up in June. Two soldiers who spoke to CBC in late April said members of their unit have tested positive for COVID-19 and are spending isolation in small tents. They said some tents are unheated, and sick soldiers haven't been able to properly wash themselves. They said they were concerned that the isolating soldiers were being checked on infrequently. CBC has agreed to grant to the soldiers confidentiality. A spokesperson for the armed forces confirmed that a "small number" of exercise participants have tested positive for COVID-19. Capt. Derek Reid said exact case numbers can't be disclosed because of a policy to not reveal specifics about particular groups. The armed forces does report the number of active cases across its entire population. As of Wednesday there were 41 active cases — down from 61 the previous week. There have been 1,647 total cases since the beginning of the pandemic. 'Austere conditions' Reid said isolating soldiers are checked on daily by medical staff, and could be moved to a medical isolation facility if necessary. Soldiers who test positive isolate for 10 days or until their symptoms are gone — whichever is longer, Reid said. Reid said learning to survive and thrive in "austere conditions" is a fundamental part of military field training. He said he has confirmed isolating personnel have regular access to shower facilities, but that heating is only available for tents large enough to fit a stove. "However, our soldiers are well equipped and accustomed to dealing with cold conditions (and temperatures lower than those seen recently in Wainwright)," he said in an email. He said close contacts of positive cases are placed in quarantine for 14 days, but in some cases are retested at 10 days to allow for a "restricted return" to training. Cohorts and testing In an interview last month, Col. Wade Rutland, commander of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade, outlined plans for testing on arrival and cohorting until results came back. But the soldiers who spoke to CBC said cohorting didn't really happen in practice. "The safety concerns this brigade has regarding [covid] are purely optics for the outside world, because every single opportunity where they want to accomplish something that negates a rule they just change the rule," one of them said. In his emailed statement, Reid said the medical policy is to maintain cohorts until test results are received, "except for extremely limited situations which required cohorts to interact for operational reasons." He said the maximum size of a cohort is about 30 people, but the goal is to keep them as small as possible. Rutland told CBC last month that four soldiers would sleep in each 10-person tent. The soldiers CBC spoke with said they are sleeping with at least 7 people in 10-person tents. Reid confirmed the number Rutland gave. He said it's up to the chain of command to enforce the policy and they have had no internal reports of problems. Soldiers offered vaccine Reid said the armed forces ran a vaccine clinic for Maple Resolve participants from April 26-29 and more than 1,700 doses were administered, which is about 90 per cent uptake. He said 150 members chose not to get the vaccine. He said getting a vaccine is strongly encouraged but voluntary for CAF members, but failure to be immunized can affect a member's ability to do their job or participate in operations.
FREDERICTON — Two more North Atlantic right whales have been spotted in Canadian waters, prompting the first season-long closure of a specific fishing area. Two of the endangered whales were detected on Tuesday by a Fisheries Department aircraft that was conducting right whale aerial surveillance in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As a result, an area east of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine is closed to fishing activities until Nov. 15, while some surrounding areas will close at 5 p.m. on Saturday until further notice. DFO provided a 72-hour notice because of the weather forecast and to allow time for fishing gear to be removed. The crab fishing area known as 12F, east of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine, remains under a 15-day closure that began after the first whale of the year was spotted in late April. There are an estimated 366 North Atlantic right whales in existence. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 6, 2021. The Canadian Press