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Canada’s Sudan relief flights held up by mechanical difficulties, shooting incident involving Turkish plane

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Two Canadian evacuation flights made it safely out of Khartoum late Friday after two earlier airlifts to extract Canadians from the war zone were cancelled, said Global Affairs Canada and Defence Minister Anita Anand.

In a tweet, Anand said the Canadian military will remain “ready to conduct flights for as long as conditions allow.”

One of Canada’s planned evacuation flights to Sudan ran into mechanical problems early Friday in the nearby country of Djibouti and had to be scrubbed.

A second Canadian flight, involving a C-130J Hercules transport, was cancelled after a Turkish relief plane was fired on by one of the warring parties.

The problems emerged just one day after Canada began its long-anticipated humanitarian mission in the east African country, now in the midst of a precarious ceasefire between two warring factions.

Canada has been staging its evacuation flights out of Djibouti. Two aircraft are assigned to the mission.

Anand, who spoke publicly early on Friday, did not say where the C-130J encountered its mechanical issues, or what the nature of the problem was.

“We need to ensure that occurs safely and that’s the question on the table right now,” Anand told reporters at a media availability in Dartmouth, N.S.

 

Defence minister says about 250 Canadians evacuated from Sudan

 

Minister of National Defence Anita Anand says Canada has three aircrafts in the region and that flights will resume ‘as soon as possible.’

Canadians and other foreign nationals have been caught in the crossfire of Sudan’s civil conflict after violence broke out last week between the east African country’s army and a paramilitary force.

Canadians waiting at the airstrip on Friday said they were left outside most of the time with little water or food, and almost no information.

“The British Army are the ones that have been providing food, water and anything else that people need,” said Safia Mustafa, who grew up in St. Catharines, Ont., but now lives in Calgary. “They’ve been really, really helpful. They help people with their bags shuttling back and forth.”

Safia Mustafa of Calgary told CBC News Canadian military personnel assisting evacuation efforts in Sudan seem overwhelmed.
Safia Mustafa of Calgary told CBC News Canadian military personnel assisting evacuation efforts in Sudan seem overwhelmed. (CBC News)

Mustafa said a handful of Canadian military personnel on the ground have been “doing their best to … communicate with us,” but they seemed stressed.

“I think a lot of it is out of their control,” she said.

The fragility of Sudan’s truce was underscored Friday by reports that a Turkish evacuation plane came under fire at an airbase outside Sudan’s capital Khartoum as it was coming in to land.

The Turkish defence ministry said no one was injured and it landed safely at Wadi Seidna, where it was being checked.

The Sudanese army blamed paramilitary fighters with the Rapid Support Forces faction for the attack on the Turkish aircraft. The RSF denied the allegation, saying it was committed to the extended humanitarian truce.

The two sides agreed late Thursday to a three-day extension of their ceasefire, which had been set to expire.

Aside from concerns about security, Anand said the condition of the runway at the Sudanese military airport is an increasing source of concern for Canada and its allies.

“The terrain at the airport is very rough and it requires a continual assessment by our officials, together with our allies, that planes can safely take off,” she said.

Late Friday, a senior defence official in Ottawa said the window for air evacuation out of Sudan is closing rapidly and options are being developed for Global Affairs to get Canadians out overland to the port of Sudan — where a Canadian warship, a supply vessel and allied ships are waiting.

But that would involved a risky 800-kilometre journey during a ceasefire that is barely holding.

“The two militaries involved, the Sudanese military and the rapid support forces, are probably not under as tight control as we would like in terms of command and control,” said retired major-general Denis Thompson, a former special forces commander. “Even though there may be a ceasefire in place, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the soldiers on the ground get the message,”

Global Affairs Canada says over 300 Canadians have been evacuated so far.

 

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More evacuation orders in B.C. as heat wave aids lightning-triggered wildfires

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Several lightning-triggered wildfires have forced authorities in British Columbia to issue evacuation orders as the province’s southern and eastern regions swelter in a heat wave.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Island Pond fire about 17 kilometres south of Canal Flats, B.C., in the East Kootenay, was discovered Saturday and grew to 1.2 square kilometres overnight.

The Regional District of East Kootenay has declared a state of local emergency and issued an evacuation order for two addresses as a result, and has also warned another 65 properties to be prepared to leave on short notice.

Meanwhile, the Cariboo Regional District ordered residents on 29 parcels of land in the Kuyakuz Lake area covering 923 square kilometres to evacuate immediately, with five out-of-control wildfires burning nearby — four of which were confirmed to be lightning-caused.

The new evacuation orders come as the Shetland Creek fire about eight kilometres north of Spences Bridge, B.C., is holding at about 150 square kilometres in size.

The BC Wildfire Service dashboard says about 87 per cent of the more than 300 blazes burning in the province have been caused by lightning.

All evacuation orders and alerts linked to the Shetland Creek blaze in B.C.’s Thompson-Nicola region remain in place for communities such as Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Spences Bridge and the Ashcroft First Nation.

In the Central Kootenay, the community of Silverton, B.C., is on alert while 107 properties south of the village are under an evacuation order due to the nearby Aylwin Creek wildfire.

Aylwin Creek and nearby Komonko Creek remain at a combined size of 6.5 square kilometres, and Highway 6 south of Silverton remains closed due to wildfires burning nearby.

Environment Canada says the latest heat wave broke or matched the daily high-temperature records in 14 B.C. communities on Saturday, with Lytton reaching a high of 41.2 degrees — breaking a record of 40.6 degrees set in 1946.

Temperature records also fell in the B.C. communities of Cranbrook, Merritt, Princeton, Trail and Vernon, with all five communities reaching at least 36 degrees.

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

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Why Ontario Premier Doug Ford is at war with the LCBO – BBC.com

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Why Ontario Premier Doug Ford is at war with the LCBO  BBC.com

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U.S. President Joe Biden steps aside as Democratic candidate, ending re-election bid

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WASHINGTON – U.S. President Joe Biden is removing his name as the Democratic candidate in the November election following weeks of mounting pressure over the 81-year-old’s mental acuity and ability to win the faceoff with Republican rival Donald Trump.

Biden says it has been his greatest honour to serve but he believes it is in the best interest of his party to stand down and focus solely on fulfilling his duties as president for the rest of his term.

Growing numbers of Democrats were urging Biden to drop out following a disastrous debate performance against Trump and multiple missteps on the world stage during the recent NATO leaders’ summit in Washington.

Biden told supporters Friday he was ready to get back on the road this week after recovering from COVID-19, which he contracted during a critical time for his campaign.

Biden criticized Trump’s acceptance speech at last week’s Republican National Convention, saying it presented a dark vision for the future, and indicated he would forge ahead with his own campaign.

But he issued a social media post on Sunday afternoon saying he would not be running, adding he will speak to the nation and provide more detail later this week.

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

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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