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Canada preparing for Sudan evacuations, 2 military ships off coast: Trudeau

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A Canadian effort is underway to conduct airlifts out of Sudan and two military vessels have arrived off its coast, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday, as the government looked for a fragile ceasefire to help evacuation efforts in the embattled East African country.

Trudeau said the federal government is co-ordinating with its allies to get Canadian citizens out of Sudan, where fighting between the military and a rival paramilitary group erupted earlier this month, with hundreds killed and thousands more injured.

“It’s an extremely difficult situation,” Trudeau said. “There’s very limited places where those airlifts can happen from.”

One Canadian in Sudan, 29-year-old Waddaha Medani, said she made the trip to an airbase on the outskirts of the battle-torn capital of Khartoum Tuesday morning after she learned of an apparent evacuation flight.

She told The Canadian Press in messages exchanged Tuesday that she boarded a German plane set to depart for Jordan, where she was told she would then be able to get on a flight home to Ottawa.

Trudeau had said on Monday that 58 Canadians departed the country on a German flight and that a C-17 transport plane was in the region.

A spokesperson for the Defence Department said the frigate HMCS Montreal and the supply ship MV Asterix were re-tasked to the Red Sea to support the effort in Sudan, adding that the region was part of its sail plan.

A press release from March 26, when the vessels were deployed, says they were headed to the Indo-Pacific region as part of Operation Projection. It was heralded as the first deployment of an East Coast crew to the Indo-Pacific, part of Canada’s plan to boost its presence there from two frigates to three.

A CH-148 Cyclone helicopter is part of the deployment on the frigate.

On Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said more than 100 Canadians had by then made it out of Sudan.

She thanked Germany, France, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for “helping evacuate” the Canadians.

Global Affairs Canada said they were among 1,703 Canadians registered with the government and being contacted by federal authorities. Of that number, 573 people have asked for assistance, it said.

The federal government is also providing information to people who are attempting to leave the country on their own, Joly said, and safe passage for Canadians has already been negotiated with several other countries in the region, including Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt.

While she said the situation was “still fragile,” Joly said a three-day ceasefire announced Monday night was helping evacuation efforts.

“We are working on making sure that we do our own civilian evacuation, but we’re not losing time. And we’re making sure that this is happening as we speak,” she said.

But fighting continued, despite the generals heading the Sudanese military and the rival Rapid Support Forces pledging Tuesday to observe the truce.

Explosions, gunfire and the roar of warplanes were heard around the capital region on Tuesday.

Residents reported escalating clashes in West Darfur province, where the RSF has its roots, born from the Janjaweed militias accused of widespread atrocities in putting down a rebellion in the early 2000s.

A number of short ceasefires over the past week have failed or brought only small breaks in the battles raging since April 15 between rival forces led by the country’s two top generals.

While the lulls have led to evacuations of hundreds of foreigners, they have brought little relief to millions of Sudanese people who are struggling to find food, shelter and medical care in a country where a third of the population of 46 million already needed humanitarian aid.

Civilians are among the at least 459 people killed and 4,070 wounded since fighting began, the UN World Health Organization said, citing Sudan’s health ministry.

Trudeau said he spoke with the chairperson of the African Union to offer Canada’s support.

Defence Minister Anita Anand said Canada is trying to help anyone who is requesting assistance but called the situation “extremely volatile and extremely intense.”

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Wildfire reaches outskirts of Jasper, Alta., as first responders ordered to leave

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EDMONTON – Parks officials say one of two wildfires bearing down on the Jasper, Alta., townsite has reached the southern outskirts of the community.

All first responders have been ordered out of Jasper National Park for their safety and to give fire crews more room to operate.

Two fires whipped by strong winds are bearing down on the town, from the north and the south.

Katie Ellsworth, with Parks Canada, said the southern one reached the outskirts of the townsite just before 6 p.m.

A last-ditch effort to reroute the fire to natural barriers like Highway 16 and the Athabasca River failed.

About 5,000 live in Jasper, and they, along with about 20,000 visitors, had to flee at a moment’s notice Monday night when the fires flared up.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Severe Thunderstorms Cause Significant Damage and Power Outages in Ontario

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A series of severe thunderstorms swept across the region on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 24, leaving a trail of damage and widespread power outages. The day began with Environment Canada issuing a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, which escalated to a Severe Thunderstorm Warning by the afternoon. Additionally, a Tornado Warning was issued, and there were numerous reports of a tornado forming in the sky, although no official confirmation of a touchdown has been made yet.

Damage and Disruptions

L’Orignal and Surrounding Areas:

  • The severe weather caused extensive damage to trees and properties in and around L’Orignal.
  • Highway 17 experienced a closure for several hours between Cassburn Road and Blue Corner Road due to storm-related debris and hazards.

Hawkesbury:

  • The heavy rainfall led to at least one storm sewer overflow, resulting in flooding in a parking lot and along Hamilton Street near the Main Street intersection.

Power Outages

Hydro One:

  • Over 2,800 customers were reported without electricity, predominantly affecting areas within Champlain Township, Alfred and Plantagenet, The Nation Municipality, and North Glengarry.

Hydro-Québec:

  • Nine localized outages were reported, impacting an unspecified number of customers in Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Brownsburg-Chatham, Harrington, Wentworth, and Gore.

Meteorological Impact

Severe Weather Alerts:

  • The day began with a Severe Thunderstorm Watch, which escalated to a Severe Thunderstorm Warning as conditions worsened.
  • A Tornado Warning was also issued, raising significant concern among residents and prompting safety measures.

Sightings and Warnings:

  • Residents reported sightings of a tornado forming in the sky, but there has yet to be any official confirmation of it touching down.

Response and Recovery

Road and Infrastructure:

  • Efforts are underway to clear debris and repair damage caused by the severe weather, particularly along major routes like Highway 17.
  • Local authorities and emergency services are working to manage the aftermath and restore normalcy.

Utilities:

  • Hydro One and Hydro-Québec crews are actively working to restore power to affected areas, prioritizing regions with the highest impact.

Community Impact

The severe thunderstorms have had a profound impact on the communities within the affected regions. The storm’s intensity and the resulting damage have underscored the importance of preparedness and swift response in the face of extreme weather events. Local authorities are urging residents to stay informed about weather updates and to take necessary precautions during such events.

Safety Measures:

  • Environment Canada continues to monitor the situation and provide updates.
  • Residents are advised to remain indoors during severe weather and avoid flooded areas.

The recent storms serve as a reminder of the power of nature and the necessity of community resilience and preparedness. As recovery efforts continue, the focus remains on ensuring the safety and well-being of all affected residents.

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Aecon reports $123.9 million loss in second quarter, revenue down

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TORONTO – Aecon Group Inc. says it lost $123.9 million in the second quarter, down from a profit of $28.2 million a year earlier.

The Toronto-based company says revenue totalled $853.8 million, down from $1.2 billion during the same quarter last year.

Diluted loss per share was $1.99, down from a gain of 38 cents last year.

Aecon says much of the decline in revenue can be attributed to its construction segment, which was $288 million lower than a year earlier.

Aecon says it recorded a charge of $127 million in the second quarter related to its settlement with TC Energy Corp. over delays and cost increases that took place during the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, for which Aecon was one of the prime contractors.

The company says it also recorded an aggregate charge of $110 million related to three other joint venture legacy projects which also encountered delays and mounting costs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:ARE)

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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