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Canada's new frigates could take part in ballistic missile defence – if Ottawa says yes – CBC.ca

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Canada’s new frigates are being designed with ballistic missile defence in mind, even though successive federal governments have avoided taking part in the U.S. program.

When they slip into the water some time in the mid-to-late 2020s, the new warships probably won’t have the direct capability to shoot down incoming intercontinental rockets.

But the decisions made in their design allow them to be converted to that role, should the federal government ever change course.

The warships are based upon the British Type 26 layout and are about to hit the drawing board. Their radar has been chosen and selected missile launchers have been configured to make them easy and cost-effective to upgrade.

Vice-Admiral Art McDonald said the Lockheed Martin-built AN/SPY-7 radar system to be installed on the new frigates is cutting-edge. It’s also being used on land now by the U.S. and Japan for detecting ballistic missiles.

“It’s a great piece and that is what we were looking for in terms of specification,” McDonald told CBC News in a year-end interview.

An artist’s rendering of the British Type 26 frigate. (BAE Systems Inc./Lockheed Martin Canada)

Selecting the radar system for the new frigates was seen as one of the more important decisions facing naval planners because it has to stay operational and relevant for decades to come — even as new military threats and technologies emerge.

McDonald said positive feedback from elsewhere in the defence industry convinced federal officials that they had made the right choice.

“Even from those that weren’t producing an advanced kind of radar, they said this is the capability you need,” he said.

The whole concept of ballistic missile defence (BMD) remains a politically touchy topic.

BMD — “Star Wars” to its critics — lies at the centre of a policy debate the Liberal government has tried to avoid at all costs. In 2017, Canada chose not to join the BMD program. That reluctance to embrace BMD dates back to the political bruising Paul Martin’s Liberal government suffered in 2004-05, when the administration of then-U.S. president George W. Bush leaned heavily on Ottawa to join the program.

In the years since, both the House of Commons and Senate defence committees have recommended the federal government relent and sign on to BMD — mostly because of the emerging missile threat posed by rogue nations such as North Korea.

Liberals reluctant to talk BMD

The question of whether to join BMD is expected to form part of the deliberations surrounding the renewal of NORAD — an undertaking the Liberal government has acknowledged but not costed out as part of its 2017 defence policy.

Missile defence continues to be a highly fraught concept within the federal government. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan made a point of downplaying a CBC News story last summer that revealed how the Canadian and U.S. militaries had laid down markers for what the new NORAD could look like, pending sign-off by both Washington and Ottawa.

Asked about Sajjan’s response, a former senior official in the minister’s office said it raised the spectre of “Star Wars” — not a topic the Liberal government was anxious to discuss ahead of last fall’s election.

The current government may not want to talk about it, but the Canadian navy and other NATO countries are grappling with the technology.

Practice makes perfect

Last spring, a Canadian patrol frigate, operating with 12 other alliance warships, tracked and shot down a supersonic target meant to simulate a ballistic missile. A French frigate also scored a separate hit.

For the last two years, NATO warships have practiced linking up electronically in defensive exercises to shoot down both mock ballistic and cruise missiles. A Canadian frigate in the 2017 iteration of the exercise destroyed a simulated cruise missile.

HMCS St. John’s conducts a replenishment at sea during NATO operation Formidable Shield on May 4, 2019. (Pte. Sarina McNeill/Department of National Defence)

At the recent Halifax Security Forum, there was a lot of talk about the proliferation of missile technology. One defence expert told the forum Canadian military planners have been paying attention to the issue for a long time.

The frigate design is an important example.

“I think what they’ve tried to do is keep the door open by some of the decisions they’ve made, recognizing that missile proliferation is a significant concern,” said Dave Perry, of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. “They haven’t shut the door on doing that and I think that is smart.”

Opponents of BMD, meanwhile, have long argued the fixation by the U.S. and NATO on ballistic missile defence is fuelling instability and giving Russia and China reasons to cooperate in air and missile defence.

Speaking before a Commons committee in 2017, Peggy Mason, president of the foreign and defence policy think-tank Rideau Institute, said the United States’s adversaries have concluded that building more offensive systems is cheaper than investing in defensive ones.

“The American BMD system also acts as a catalyst to nuclear weapons modernization, as Russia and China seek not only increased numbers of nuclear weapons but also increased manoeuvrability,” said Mason, Canada’s ambassador for disarmament from 1989 to 1994, testifying on Sept. 14, 2017.

She also warned that “there would be significant financial costs to Canadian participation” in the U.S. BMD program “given American demands” — even prior to Donald Trump’s presidency — “that allies pay their ‘fair share’ of the collective defence burden.”

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Beltré, Helton, Mauer and Leyland inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Adrian Beltré, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton were pegged as athletic phenoms from a young age and all three lived up to expectations with their induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were so sold on Beltré early on that they broke MLB rules to sign him before he turned 16.

Beltré reached the big leagues just after his 19th birthday and was quickly considered one of the best prospects in sports as a teenager.

In Beltré’s induction speech, he says he played for his first team at the age of 13 and was a second baseman because his dad told him that’s the position he should play.

After a teammate asked him to switch and play third base, Beltré obliged and the decision paid off.

Beltré played 21 years for the Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. He became a five-time Gold Glove winner and is the first third baseman with at least 450 home runs and 3,000 hits.

During his playing days, Beltré made it clear that he did not like anyone touching his head so of course, his teammates ignored the request and made a habit of touching his head anyways. At Sunday’s ceremony, fellow Hall of Famer David Ortiz continued the tradition by touching Beltré’s head prior to his speech.

“That never relaxes me,” Beltré said with a laugh. “(But) it was a little cute to go back to my playing days. …It’s just part of being in this fraternity. Even though I don’t love it, I don’t like it, but it felt like I’m open to people to be able to play around with me. I always like that.”

Mauer was a high school phenom in both football and baseball in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was named USA Today’s High School Player of the Year in football in 200 and baseball in 2001.

He was drafted by his hometown Twins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft.

“It was truly an honor to be a (Minnesota Twin) and represent my hometown team,” Mauer said.

The future six-time All-Star catcher spent just three years in the minors before spending all 15 years of his big league career with the Twins.

Mauer finished his career with one Most Valuable Player award, three batting titles and is the only catcher in history with at least 2,000 hits, a .300 batting average and a .380 on-base percentage.

Mauer noted the emotion he felt seeing all the Minnesota fans throughout the weekend.

“It’s not easy to get to Cooperstown and especially with the events that have happened this last week,” he said. “But to see that many Twins fans out there, I just felt the love and I was just hoping that I could deliver the speech that I wrote down.”

Helton was also a football and baseball star and played both sports at the University of Tennessee.

Despite his dominance in both sports at an early age, Helton never felt comfortable in the spotlight or felt like a Hall of Famer.

“Those of you who know me know I’d be more comfortable doing anything other than standing up here talking about myself,” Helton said to open his speech. “I’m just a ball player and anyone in the media can attest to that fact.”

Helton’s claim to fame could have been that he was the quarterback at the University of Tennessee between future first-round draft picks Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning, but he was destined for bigger things on the baseball diamond.

After a knee injury in 1994 paved the way for Manning to become Tennessee’s quarterback, Helton shifted all of his focus to baseball where he was named the winner of the Dick Howser Award by the American Baseball Coaches Association and named Player of the Year by Baseball America.

Helton was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the No. 8 overall pick in the 1995 amateur draft and never left the Mile High City.

After becoming the starting first baseman in 1995, Helton finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting and posted a .315 batting average with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs.

He went on to become one of just three players to record multiple seasons with 100-plus extra-base hits in his career and helped the Rockies reach the 2007 World Series.

While Helton began the weekend feeling out of place, the second Rockies Hall of Famer knows he is where he belongs now.

“Just standing back there waiting to go up onto the stage, the guys were so kind, but they all came by and offered me advice,” Helton said. “For me, that was the beginning of feeling that I belong. But we have a players-only dinner tonight and I’ll probably feel like I belong after that.”

Jim Leyland was elected by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee. He managed for 22 seasons, won three Manager of the Year awards, the 1997 World Series, had a 1,769-1,728 career record as a manager and was the manager of the U.S. Olympic team in 2017 when the Americans won their only World Baseball Classic.

Leyland made sure to acknowledge the importance of the fans to the game of baseball.

“No matter which Hall of Famer you’re here to support today, or which team you cheer for, your presence is always felt,” Leyland said. “On your feet in the ninth with the home team clinging to a one-run lead, turning on your television for the first game in the World Series and seeing 50,000 fans hoping and praying that this may be their year, or a little boy or girl getting their first autograph scurrying back to the stands to show mom and dad what they just did. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s you. That’s baseball. And this is the Hall of Fame.”

Beltré led this year’s class with 95.1% of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote in his first year on the ballot. Helton followed with 79.7% of the vote in his sixth year of eligibility and Mauer received 76.1% of the BBWAA vote in his first year.

Other players included on this year’s ballot who fell short of the 75% threshold were Billy Wagner (73.8%), Gary Sheffield (63.9%), Andruw Jones (61.6%), Carlos Beltrán (57.1%), Alex Rodriguez (34.8%), Manny Ramirez (32.5%), Chase Utley (28.8%), Omar Vizquel (17.7%), Bobby Abreu (14.8%), Jimmy Rollins (14.8%), Andy Pettitte (13.5%), Mark Buehrle (8.3%), Francisco Rodriguez (7.8%), Torii Hunter (7.3%), David Wright (6.2%), José Bautista (1.6%), Victor Martinez (1.6%), Bartolo Colon (1.3%), Matt Holliday (1%), Adrián González (0.8%), Brandon Phillips (0.3%), Jose Reyes (0%) and James Shields (0%).

Sheffield was on the ballot for the 10th time without reaching the 75% mark and is no longer eligible for BBWAA consideration. Bautista, Martinez, Colon, Holliday, González, Phillips, Reyes and Shields did not receive the minimum requirement of 5% of the vote and are also no longer eligible for BBWAA consideration.

Joe Castiglione and Gerry Fraley were also honored during Hall of Fame weekend. Castiglione has been the Boston Red Sox radio broadcaster for a record 42 seasons and received the Ford C. Frick Award. Fraley was posthumously honored with the BBWAA Career Excellence Award for his work as a writer. During his career, Fraley covered the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and worked as the national baseball writer for the Dallas Morning News.

___

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Baby Gourmet Foods recalls organic baby cereal over possible bacteria contamination

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CALGARY – A brand of baby cereal is being pulled from all in-store and online retailers in Canada due to possible Cronobacter contamination.

Calgary-based Baby Gourmet Foods has issued a product recall for its Banana Raisin Oatmeal Organic Whole Grain Cereal, which is sold in 227 g packages.

The bacteria can cause serious or fatal infections to the bloodstream, central nervous system and intestines.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall was triggered by agency test results.

The company says no other Baby Gourmet or Little Gourmet products are affected by the recall and no incidents related to the product have been reported to date.

It says anyone who purchased the cereal should dispose of it immediately or return to the location where it was purchased.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Springer homers twice as Jays down Tigers 5-4 to avoid series sweep at Rogers Centre

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TORONTO – In what has been a down-in-the-dumps season for the Toronto Blue Jays, George Springer has lifted the spirits of his teammates and manager in the past month.

Springer played the hero role again on Sunday, going 3-for-4, slamming two homers and three RBI to push the Blue Jays (45-54) to a 5-4 win and avoid a sweep against the Detroit Tigers (49-51) before 38,766 at Rogers Centre.

“You want to watch when George is up because you never know what you’re going to see,” Toronto starter Kevin Gausman (8-8) said.

What Gausman and the Blue Jays saw in the series finale was a lead-off homer from Springer and a one-out, two-run blast from the right fielder in the third inning for his 23rd multiple long ball outing.

He also hustled to make a running catch in foul territory in the fifth inning and hurried to force the issue and gain a double in the fifth inning to set up Spencer Horwitz’s game-tying single to centre.

This was critical because rookie Justyn-Henry Malloy had put the Tigers in front with his first grand slam in the top half of the inning.

“He’s been an aircraft carrier-type where he’s saying, ‘get on, I’m going to lead the way,” Toronto manager John Schneider said.

The 34-year-old Springer struggled mightly out of the gate this season. But he worked on changing the path of his swing and began to see productive results in late June.

In his last 21 games, Springer has batted .377 (29 for 77) with six doubles, a triple, eight home runs and 25 RBI.

Schneider also reported that during the difficult times, Springer still helped out his younger teammates like Horwitz and Ernie Clement, who came through with the game-winning hit in the sixth inning, knocking in Justin Turner from second with a single to centre.

“I’ll be an open book (for teammates),” Springer said.

“It’s my job to help anybody I can to make a smoother transition in their career.”

Former teammates Dexter Fowler and Michael Brantley helped a young Springer in his early seasons with the Houston Astros. In fact, Brantley is still on speed dial and pitched in to support Springer through the challenging part of this season.

“I still annoy him every day,” Springer said. “He claims he’s retired, but he’s meant the world to me.”

Daulton Varsho also contributed in a big way to the Blue Jays’ cause on Sunday. He made a game-saving catch, leaping up against the left-field wall to snag Carson Kelly’s long fly ball with two on and one out in the eighth inning off reliever Chad Green, who also pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

Gausman didn’t help his cause with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Gausman went 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and yielding four runs on five hits and three walks.

Detroit rookie starter Keider Montero (1-3) was replaced by Will Vest with one out in the fifth when Clement came through with his significant single. But Montero was responsible for Turner and took the loss.

Montero gave up five runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.

Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had this three-game homer streak stopped, but he did check in with a two-out double to right field in the seventh inning.

SPRINGING AHEAD

Springer’s leadoff homer on Sunday was the 58th of his career. He only trails former Blue Jays outfielder Ricky Henderson (81) on the all-time MLB list.

ON DECK

The Blue Jays have a day off before their three-game set against the Tampa Bays Rays begins at Rogers Centre on Tuesday. Jose Berrios (8-7) will start for Toronto. The Rays will counter with righty Ryan Pepiot (6-5).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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