Australia says France knew of ‘grave’ submarine concerns
CANBERRA, Australia — France would have known Australia had “deep and grave concerns” that a submarine fleet the French were building would not meet Australian needs, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sunday after the contract’s cancellation set off a diplomatic crisis.
France accused Australia of concealing its intentions to back out of the $66 billion contract for French majority state-owned Naval Group to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.
President Joe Biden revealed last week a new alliance including Australia and Britain that would deliver an Australian fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.
Morrison blamed the switch on a deteriorating strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific. He has not specifically referred to China’s massive military buildup, which has gained pace in recent years.
“The capability that the Attack class submarines were going to provide was not what Australia needed to protect our sovereign interests,” Morrison said.
France responded to the contract cancellation, which Morrison has said will cost his government at least $1.7 billion, by recalling its ambassadors from Australia and the United States.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Saturday denounced what he called the “duplicity, disdain and lies” surrounding the sudden end of the contract and said France was now questioning the strength of the alliance.
On Sunday, the French government spokesman said President Emmanuel Macron will speak in the coming days with Biden in what will be their first contact since the crisis erupted.
Indonesia militants killed: The bodies of Indonesia’s most wanted militant with ties to the Islamic State group and a follower, who were killed in a jungle shootout with security forces, were evacuated early Sunday to a police hospital for further investigation, police said.
The military earlier said the militants killed late Saturday were Ali Kalora, leader of the East Indonesia Mujahideen network that has claimed several killings of police officers and minority Christians, and another suspected extremist, Jaka Ramadan, also known as Ikrima.
The two men were fatally shot by a joint team of military and police officers in Central Sulawesi province’s mountainous Parigi Moutong district. It borders Poso district, considered an extremist hotbed in the province.
Several pictures obtained by The Associated Press from authorities showed an M16 rifle and backpacks laid near their bloodied bodies. The Central Sulawesi Police Chief Rudy Sufahriadi told a news conference on Sunday that security forces also seized two ready-to-use bombs from their backpacks, which also contained food and camping tools. Western wildfires: Hot, dry weather on Sunday added to the challenges facing California firefighters who are battling to keep flames from driving further into a grove of ancient sequoias, where the base of the world’s tallest tree has been wrapped in protective foil.
Fire officials warned that stronger winds were also contributing to “critical fire
conditions” in the area of the KNP Complex, two lightning-sparked blazes that merged on the western side of Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning through Sunday, saying gusts and lower humidity could create conditions for rapid wildfire spread.
More than 34 square miles of forest land have been blackened.
Pacquiao puts hat in ring: Philippine boxing icon and senator Manny Pacquiao says he will run for president in the 2022 elections.
Pacquiao accepted the nomination of his PDP-Laban party at its national convention on Sunday, saying that the Filipino people have been waiting for a change of government.
“I am a fighter, and I will always be a fighter inside and outside the ring,” Pacquiao, 42, said in his speech.
Pacquiao is the president of the PDP-Laban faction led by him and Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
Another faction of the same party earlier this month nominated President Rodrigo Duterte to be its vice presidential candidate, and Duterte’s former aide, Sen. Bong Go, as its presidential nominee.
Duterte, who is forbidden by the constitution from seeking a second six-year term, has accepted the nomination, but Go has declined to run for president.
Israel prison escape: Israeli forces on Sunday arrested the last two of six Palestinian prisoners who escaped a maximum-security Israeli prison two weeks ago, closing an intense, embarrassing episode that exposed deep security flaws in Israel and turned the fugitives into Palestinian heroes.
The Israeli military said the two men surrendered in Jenin, their hometown
in the occupied West Bank, after they were surrounded at a hideout that had been located with the help of “accurate intelligence.” It said the men, along with two others who allegedly assisted them, were taken for questioning.
Palestinian media reported that clashes erupted in Jenin when Israeli troops entered the city. But a spokesman for Israeli police, said the two escapees, Munadil Nafayat and Iham Kamamji, were arrested without resistance.
The prisoners all managed to tunnel out of a maximum-security prison in northern Israel on Sept. 6. The bold escape sparked heavy criticism of Israel’s prison service. A massive pursuit operation followed, and the first four inmates, who also are from Jenin, were captured in two separate operations.
Spain volcano: A volcano on Spain’s Atlantic Ocean island of La Palma erupted
Sunday after a weeklong buildup of seismic activity, prompting authorities to step up plans for evacuating thousands as lava flows destroyed isolated houses and threatened to reach the coast. New eruptions continued into the night.
The Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported the initial eruption near the southern end of the island, which saw its last eruption in 1971. Huge red plumes topped with black-andwhite smoke shot out along the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge, which scientists had been closely watching following the accumulation of molten lava below the surface and days of small earthquakes.
Authorities immediately evacuated over 1,000 people, but Spain’s Civil Guard said it might need to evacuate up to 10,000 residents.
La Palma, with a population of 85,000, is one of eight volcanic islands in Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago off Africa’s western coast.