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Thousands Remain Stranded by Massive Floods in Western Canada

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Thousands Remain Stranded by Massive Floods in Western Canada

About 18,000 people remain stranded by flood waters in Canada’s westernmost province, after mudslides destroyed roads, houses, bridges and other key infrastructure in what may be the country’s costliest natural disaster.

Receding floodwaters on Thursday were helping rescue efforts, but the downpour blocked off entire towns in the province of British Columbia and cut access to the largest Canadian port in Vancouver, disrupting already strained global supply chains.

The flooding comes just months after massive wildfires ravaged several British Colombia communities after a “heat dome” brought record temperatures to the province this summer. Those blazes may have left hills devoid of vegetation, contributing to the flooding and mudslides, while experts have warned that the climate crisis is making weather events more extreme and frequent.

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Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of emergency preparedness, on Thursday said the federal government would assist British Colombia to rebuild and restore critical infrastructure in communities affected by the floods.

Earlier in the day, BC Premier John Horgan, who declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, said the death toll from the flooding, which currently stands at one, is most likely to rise.

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Iran Chief Negotiator Says Nuclear Proposals ‘Cannot Be Rejected’

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Iran Chief Negotiator Says Nuclear Proposals ‘Cannot Be Rejected’

Iran’s chief negotiator has said the draft proposals his country submitted during talks with world powers aimed at reviving a 2015 nuclear deal “cannot be rejected”.

Representatives of Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom convened this week in Vienna for the seventh round of talks to restore the landmark accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The United States, which unilaterally withdrew from the pact in 2018 when it also reimposed punishing sanctions against Iran, is only participating indirectly as Iran refuses to hold direct negotiations with it.

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In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera in the Austrian capital, Ali Bagheri Kani said on Friday Iran would deliver a third proposal once the first two it submitted the previous day were accepted.

On Thursday, the lead negotiator had said the two proposals were related to “the lifting of sanctions” and “Iran’s nuclear actions”, both main issues facing the JCPOA.

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UAE Buys Record 80 French Rafale Jets in $19bn Arms Deal

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UAE Buys Record 80 French Rafale Jets in $19bn Arms Deal

The United Arab Emirates and France have signed a $19bn arms deal that will see the Gulf state acquire 80 Rafale fighter jets and 12 military helicopters.

The largest-ever overseas sale of Rafale jets was sealed on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron began a two-day trip to the Gulf, during which he will also visit Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Macron’s visit comes at a time when Gulf Arab states have voiced uncertainty about the United States’s focus on the region even as they seek more weapons from their key security ally. The French leader has forged a good relationship with MBZ with investments flowing between the two countries.

The deal will directly support 7,000 jobs in France and guarantee the supply chain of the Dassault Aviation-made aircraft until the end of 2031, a French official told journalists.

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He also said the UAE contract, which follows deals in Greece, Egypt and Croatia this year, would lead to an increase of the monthly Rafale production. Shares in Dassault Aviation SA, the Rafale’s maker, rose more than 9 percent.

 

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EU Launches €300bn global plan to Challenge Chinese Influence

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EU Launches €300bn global plan to Challenge Chinese Influence

The EU has revealed details of a €300bn global investment plan, described as a “true alternative” to China’s Belt and Road strategy.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Global Gateway scheme should become a trusted brand.

China has funded rail, roads and ports but has been accused of leaving some countries saddled with debt.

The Commission chief said countries need “trusted partners” to design projects that were sustainable.

The EU is looking at how it can leverage billions of euros, drawn from member states, financial institutions and the private sector. This will largely take the form of guarantees or loans, rather than grants.

von der Leyen said the EU wanted to show that a different, democratic approach could deliver on projects that focused on tackling climate change as well as global health security and sustainable development for developing countries.

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Projects had to be of high quality, with a high level of transparency and good governance, and had to deliver tangible results for the countries involved, she explained. One EU official told the BBC that Africa would be a major focus of the scheme.

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