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Sunken missing Indonesian submarine found broken into pieces

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(Last Updated On: April 26, 2021)

A missing Indonesian submarine has been found, broken into at least three parts, at the bottom of the Bali Sea, army and navy officials said on Sunday, as the president sent condolences to relatives of the 53 crew.

Rescuers also found new objects, including a life vest, that they believe belong to those aboard the 44-year old KRI Nanggala-402, which lost contact on Wednesday as it prepared to conduct a torpedo drill.

“Based on the evidence, it can be stated that the KRI Nanggala has sunk and all of its crew have died,” military chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto told reporters.

Navy chief of staff Yudo Margono said the crew were not to blame for the accident and that the submarine did not experience a blackout, blaming “forces of nature”.

“The KRI Nanggala is divided into three parts, the hull of the ship, the stern of the ship, and the main parts are all separated, with the main part found cracked,” he said. “There are scattered parts of the submarine and its interior in the water.”

President Joko Widodo earlier confirmed the discovery in the Bali Sea and sent the families of the victims his condolences.

“All of us Indonesians express our deep sorrow over this tragedy, especially to the families of the submarine crew.”

A sonar scan on Saturday detected the submarine at 850 metres (2,790 feet), far beyond the Nanggala’s diving range.

More than a dozen helicopters and ships are searching the area where contact was lost, with the United States, Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia providing assistance.

Navy officials said international help will be crucial in recovering the remains of the vessel.

Singapore Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean wrote on social media late on Sunday that a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) sent by the Singapore Navy was able to “recover a few critical items from the seabed at depth of more than 800 meters”.

“We hope that this will help the families find some closure and certainty on the fate of their loved ones,” he added.

Search teams said on Saturday they had found objects including prayer mat fragments near the submarine’s last known location, leading the navy to believe the vessel had cracked.

Indonesia police said it would deploy teams to Bali and the Java town of Banyuwangi, which hosts the naval base from where the main search and recovery operations are being conducted, to help identify the victims once the bodies are retrieved.

Residents of Banyuwangi joined nationwide calls to accelerate the modernisation of Indonesia’s defence forces.

“This can be a learning point for the government to advance its military technology and be careful in how it uses its (existing) technology because its people’s lives are at stake,” said 29-year old resident Hein Ferdy Sentoso.

Southeast Asia’s most-populous country has sought to revamp its military capability, yet some equipment is still old and there have been fatal accidents in recent years.

Indonesia had five submarines before the latest accident: two German-built Type 209s including Nanggala and three newer South Korean vessels.

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Russia’s Lavrov says Finland, Sweden joining NATO makes ‘no big difference’

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Finland and Sweden joining NATO would probably make “not much difference” as the two countries had long participated in the alliance’s military drills, Reuters reported.

“Finland and Sweden, as well as other neutral countries, have been participating in NATO military exercises for many years,” Lavrov said.

“NATO takes their territory into account when planning military advances to the East. So in this sense there is probably not much difference. Let’s see how their territory is used in practice in the North Atlantic alliance.”

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Big cross-border tunnel found linking Tijuana to San Diego

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(Last Updated On: May 17, 2022)

U.S. authorities on Monday announced the discovery of a major drug smuggling tunnel – running about the length of a six football fields – from Mexico to a warehouse in an industrial area in the U.S.

The secret passage from Tijuana to San Diego featured rail and ventilation systems, electricity and reinforced walls, The Associated Press reported.

It was discovered near San Diego’s Otay Mesa border crossing in an area where more than a dozen other sophisticated tunnels have been found in the last two decades.

U.S. authorities said it was unknown how long the tunnel had been operating and what amount of drugs, if any, got through undetected. They seized 799 kg of cocaine, 75 kg of meth and 1.6 kg of heroin in connection with the investigation, AP reported.

The tunnel is in one of the most fortified stretches of the border, illustrating the limitations of border walls. While considered effective against small, crudely built tunnels called “gopher holes,” walls are no match for more sophisticated passages that run deeper underground.

After staking out a home that was recently used to stash drugs, officials began making traffic stops of vehicles that had been there or at a warehouse near the border, turning up boxes full of cocaine, according to a federal criminal complaint filed in San Diego.

They raided the properties — finding no other drugs at the warehouse, but a tunnel opening carved into the cement floor, federal prosecutors said.

Authorities have found about 15 sophisticated tunnels on California’s border with Mexico since 2006.

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NATO’s Stoltenberg says Russia’s Ukraine offensive not going to plan

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(Last Updated On: May 16, 2022)

Russia’s offensive in Ukraine is failing and its operation in the Donbass region has stalled, NATO’s secretary general said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine is not going as Moscow had planned. They failed to take Kyiv,” Jens Stoltenberg told reporters by video link. “They are pulling back from Kharkiv and their major offensive in Donbass has stalled.”

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