Dentist, patient agree: Alberta dental guide should take bigger bite out of fees

Dentist, patient agree: Alberta dental guide should take bigger bite out of fees

A dentist and a patient both agree that the new Alberta dental fee guide doesn't drill down deep enough to cut patient costs.

On Thursday, the Alberta Dental Association and College released the guide, which includes recommended fees for specific dental procedures. 

But some of the fees are nearly double those recommended in British Columbia.

Soon after its release, Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said she was "disappointed" with the fee guide and is examining "rather extreme measures" if the ADA&C doesn't make dental services more affordable.

'The public deserves better'

After moving to Alberta from B.C. two years ago, Leah Ettarh was floored when she received a $900 dental bill for a cleaning for her and her son.

At the time, she spoke with CBC about the bill in hopes that it would lead to a change.

"Even for people who are fortunate enough to have insurance, there's still a huge gap in what the insurance will pay and what they'll still be out of pocket for," Ettarh said Thursday. 

"So it hasn't really made it much more affordable, and I think Minister Hoffman has expressed that and I'm glad she's taking a hard stance on this and making the college re-evaluate what they've put out because the public deserves better than that."

Fee guide caught dentist off-guard

Red Deer dentist Michael Zuk said he was caught off-guard by Thursday's announcement and thinks more dentists should have been consulted.

He said his office's fees for checkups and X-rays are nearly half those recommended in the fee guide to ensure patients continue to book their appointments there.

"Simply because we work in the office from 8 in the morning until 9 at night, Monday to Friday — and even open weekends now — our overhead is lower per dentist because we don't have banker's hours."

Hoffman said that if the ADA&C doesn't meet her standards of affordable fees, as a last resort she is examining the possibility of separating the dental association from the regulatory college.

That's something Zuk said he would support.

"The dental association is like a dentist union — it's supposed to help dentists. The dental college is the side that is supposed to discipline dentists. Those are completely opposite interests," Zuk said.

"You can't have a group both being your friend and beating you up at the same time. Most provinces have separated [them] for a good reason."

  • Mexican president exits Trump embrace smiling, Democrats grumble
    Politics
    Reuters

    Mexican president exits Trump embrace smiling, Democrats grumble

    Defying warnings that to seek out Donald Trump was to court disaster, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador instead emerged from their first meeting as a "cherished friend" of his U.S. counterpart, even as some Democrats looked on uneasily. The spectacle of Lopez Obrador and Trump lavishing praise on each other on Wednesday was a far cry from the tension that has plagued bilateral ties since the American launched his bid for power in 2015 with repeated threats and jibes against Mexico. Meeting at the White House, the two leaders pledged to strengthen economic ties, and largely avoided the subject of immigration that Trump has used to extract concessions from Mexico on border security and trade since he took office in 2017.

  • Botswana gets first test results on elephant deaths
    News
    Reuters

    Botswana gets first test results on elephant deaths

    Botswana said on Friday it had received test results from samples sent to Zimbabwe to determine the cause of death of hundreds of elephants but is waiting for more results from South Africa next week before sharing findings with the public. Wildlife officials are trying to determine what is killing the elephants about two months after the first bodies were discovered. Officials told reporters near the Okavango Delta on Thursday that they had now verified 281 elephant carcasses and that the deaths were concentrated in an area of 8,000 square km that is home to about 18,000 elephants.

  • 'Go back to China and take your coronavirus with you': Anti-Asian racist tirade caught on camera in T&T supermarket
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    'Go back to China and take your coronavirus with you': Anti-Asian racist tirade caught on camera in T&T supermarket

    A racist tirade caught on camera in Mississauga, Ont. on Tuesday has gone viral after a white, non-mask wearing man berated staff at T&T Supermarket who told him he couldn’t shop at the store without a face covering. 

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Police apologize after 911 call where white woman reports Black man in a park

    Ottawa police have apologized for how they handled an incident where a white woman called 911 on a Black man in a park, leading the operator to tell the man he's intimidating the woman. The incident was posted on Twitter and shows a woman walking by a lone man while describing him on the phone to a 911 operator. In the video, the woman turns the call on to speakerphone and the operator talks directly to the man to tell him he's intimidating the woman.

  • Changes being made to make it easier for parents to pass on Canadian citizenship
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Changes being made to make it easier for parents to pass on Canadian citizenship

    OTTAWA — The Liberal government is updating a legal definition of "parent" to make it easier for some parents to pass their Canadian citizenship onto their children.Previously, children born to Canadians abroad automatically received citizenship only if there was a genetic link between the parent and the child or the parent gave birth to the child.Now, the government announced Thursday, the government will allow non-biological Canadian parents who are a child's legal parent at birth to pass down their citizenship.Laurence Caron, who is Canadian, and her partner Elsje van der Ven, who is Dutch, are responsible for the change after a long legal battle.When van der Van gave birth to their son four years ago while they were living in the Netherlands, the couple went to apply for his Canadian citizenship and found out he didn't get it automatically.The reason: Caron's biological material was not used for his conception."We were shocked, disappointed and very hurt," Caron said during a virtual news conference Thursday."In the discrimination that we sometimes face as a same-sex family, we always thought that Canada would have our back but the reality was different."While they could have sought a grant of citizenship for Benjamin, it is a cumbersome process, and didn't treat them equally under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino acknowledged Thursday.He applauded them for taking the step of challenging the system in court, leading to the new interpretation of the term "parent."The change will benefit LGBTQ communities and parents facing fertility challenges, he said."It makes a strong statement to recognize the diversity of Canadian families, a statement which demonstrates the government's commitment to strengthening diversity and fostering inclusion," he said.However, another commitment to make citizenship more inclusive — a promise in the Liberals' 2019 election platform to make citizenship applications free — appears to be on hold.Mendicino said Thursday the government does remain committed to reducing barriers to citizenship, but noted also the unprecedented situation of COVID-19 that is putting extreme pressure on government finances.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

  • Racist slurs during Conservative leadership debate not surprising: Lewis
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Racist slurs during Conservative leadership debate not surprising: Lewis

    OTTAWA — The litany of racial slurs inserted into the comments section of an online Conservative leadership debate Wednesday was not surprising, candidate Leslyn Lewis said the next day.Lewis, Erin O'Toole and Derek Sloan were debating B.C.-related issues when for nearly a minute, slurs started filling the chat box of the video conference program. Lewis, who is the first Black candidate to run for the Conservative party leadership, said she saw them and then closed the chat screen so she could focus on the event."The racist comments during last night's debate which were directed at me, Black people and Jewish people were sadly not surprising," she said in a statement Thursday. "This past week we saw much more blatant displays of antisemitism in Toronto, and it has not been an irregular occurrence for me to encounter racist individuals during this campaign."A transcript of the debate chat provided to The Canadian Press by organizers suggests the racist slurs were one of several attempts by to hijack the discussion, with the other interjections seemingly nonsensical.Debate organizer Angelo Isidorou called the incident "mortifying."He said as the comments were noticed, moderators booted the user from the chat, but then a new one would pop up. Eventually, they disabled the chat function altogether."We are thankful to the hundreds of members in the chat who alerted us to these terrible comments and demanded swift action, which we took," he said.Isidorou said some cursory research by the organizing team suggested there had been a plan prior to the event to disrupt it.The link to join the online debate was widely circulated as the event was backed by all 42 riding associations in the province.The racist comments weren't mentioned by the candidates or moderator during the event, but screenshots of them circulated online after they were removed.Peter MacKay, who skipped the debate, later condemned the incident on social media, calling it "disgusting and totally unacceptable."Hackers disrupting video conference calls have been a hazard as the software has exploded in use during the COVID-19 pandemic.But Lewis' campaign said though the team has held hundreds of online sessions, they've only experienced a single other instance of someone attempting to disrupt the event, and in that one, the commentator was attacking Lewis for her gender.Her campaign said her previous encounters with racism on the campaign trail have come in the form of social-media messages and direct correspondence.In her statement, Lewis said the response from fellow Conservatives to the events of Wednesday night prove to her that racist behaviour is not acceptable in the party."I truly believe that together we will continue to make Canada a welcoming and safe place for all."Voting is now underway in the race and the mail-in ballots are due back by Aug. 21, with a winner expected to be announced the week after.The debate Wednesday night covered a range of regional topics, including a rise in crimes against Chinese-Canadians since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is believed to have originated in China.Candidates were asked to address how they'd balance effective criticism of China while maintaining strong and positive outreach to the Chinese-Canadian community.All three said they knew they had to be careful and watch their words, ensuring their concerns with China don't get translated to racism in Canada.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

  • Meghan tries to prevent 'friends' being named in suit
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Meghan tries to prevent 'friends' being named in suit

    LONDON — The Duchess of Sussex asked a British court Thursday to prevent a newspaper from publishing the names of five friends who defended her while speaking to an American magazine under the shield of anonymity.The former Meghan Markle made the request in a witness statement for her lawsuit against the Daily Mail and its parent company over excerpts from a “private and confidential'' letter she wrote to her father that the newspaper published last year.Her statement, filed in Britain's High Court, claims the newspaper has threatened to publish the names of the five women who spoke to People Magazine anonymously but are named in confidential court documents as part of her lawsuit.“For the Mail on Sunday to expose them in the public domain for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain is vicious and poses a threat to their emotional and mental well-being,’’ Meghan said in the statement. “The Mail on Sunday is playing a media game with real lives.”Papers drawn up by lawyers for the newspaper argue that the publication of the letter to the duchess's father, Thomas Markle, was in response to a “one-sided” article in People Magazine in February 2019 featuring an interview with the “close friends.” The article referenced the letter, meaning it was in the public domain, the lawyers said.The newspaper said it has “no intention,’’ of publishing the names this weekend. But it said the court should decide on the confidentiality to which Meghan's friends are entitled.“Their evidence is at the heart of the case, and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret,? a newspaper statement said. “That is why we told the duchess’s lawyers last week that the question of their confidentiality should be properly considered by the Court.''The duchess said in her statement Thursday that the five friends made the choice on their own to speak to People. She accused the newspaper of trying to create a distraction.“These five women are not on trial, and nor am I,’’ the statement said. “The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case - that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter. “Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy.''Meghan's civil lawsuit accuses the newspaper and its published, Associated Newspapers, of copyright infringement, misuse of private information and violating the U.K.’s data protection law with the publication of the letter.The newspaper also argues there is “huge and legitimate public interest in the royal family and the activities, conduct and standards of behaviour of its members.?It argues this extends not merely to their public conduct, but “to their personal and family relationships because those are integral to the proper functioning of the monarchy.”Danica Kirka, The Associated Press

  • PHOTOS: How Walt Disney World will change for the COVID-19 pandemic
    Lifestyle
    Yahoo News Canada

    PHOTOS: How Walt Disney World will change for the COVID-19 pandemic

    After being closed for almost four month due to COVID-19, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will be welcoming guests again on Jul 11, beginning with Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.“Our deliberate and phased approach at Walt Disney World Resort emphasizes multiple layers of health and safety measures,” Dr. Pamela Hymel, chief medical officer, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, said in a statement. “We’re taking a multi-pronged approach to our reopening, after considering the guidance of various governmental authorities and health agencies, and recommendations from our team of health and safety experts.”Although the resort may be open, the experience for guests will look quite different to what a Walt Disney World trip was in the past. Some of the new rules that will be in place include:Limits on capacity in theme parks each dayTemperature screenings before entering a theme parkGround markings and physical barriers to promote physical distancingLimited capacity on transportation servicesAll guests, and cast members, over the age of two must wear a face covering at all times (excepting when eating and drinking)Cashless payment options are encouraged, including mobile ordering through the My Disney Experience app for diningWhile children, and adults, may love taking a photo with their favourite Disney character, traditional greeting and parades are still on hiatus. These beloved characters will still be around to wave at guests throughout the day, but they’ll be saying hello from a safe physical distance.EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow with reopening on Jul. 15. The Disney Skyliner also resume operation on that date, with on party per gondola.

  • WE details thousands in fees for Trudeaus as volunteers await revamped program
    News
    The Canadian Press

    WE details thousands in fees for Trudeaus as volunteers await revamped program

    OTTAWA — The WE organization has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees to members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's family, it acknowledged Thursday, as organizations that need volunteers awaited word of the future of a $900-million program WE was to run.The government says it is working on what to do with the Canada Student Services Grant after its agreement with WE was cancelled amid controversy over the Trudeau family's connections to the Toronto-based charity and its for-profit arm, ME to WE Social Enterprise.The WE organization said Thursday that it had paid Trudeau's mother Margaret about $250,000 for 28 speaking appearances at WE-related events between 2016 and 2020.His brother Alexandre has been paid $32,000 for eight events, according to WE. The organization that represents them as speakers was paid additional commissions, WE said.And Trudeau's wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau received $1,400 in 2012 for a single appearance that year.Most of the payments went from the for-profit component of the organization, which sponsors the charitable component, WE Charity said in a statement, though about $64,000 went from WE Charity to Margaret Trudeau's speaker's bureau because of "an error in billing / payment.""Justin Trudeau has never been paid by WE Charity or ME to WE Social Enterprise for any speeches or any other matters," WE Charity said.Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet said late Thursday that Trudeau should step aside until the matter is fully probed, turning power over to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.Trudeau is now under investigation by the ethics commissioner over allegations of a potential conflict of interest when the government awarded the sole-source contract to WE. Trudeau has acknowledged he did not recuse himself when cabinet approved the deal.Trudeau has maintained the non-partisan public service recommended WE to administer the deal, while his spokesman Alex Wellstead on Thursday said "the prime minister's relatives engage with a variety of organizations and support many personal causes on their own accord.""What is important to remember here is that this is about a charity supporting students. The Canada Student Service Grant program is about giving young people opportunities to contribute to their communities, not about benefits to anyone else."WE's sudden departure from the volunteering program has created confusion as the days tick past for young people to put in hours for which the government promises to pay them up to $5,000 toward schooling.Several non-profits say they and their volunteers are anxiously waiting for answers from the government, including whether the program is going to go ahead and the students they have already taken on will be compensated for their work."I have three or four students talk to me and they're anxious, and I get why they're anxious," said Emily Fern, mission co-ordinator for the Saint Andrew's Community Outreach and Support Program in Whitby, Ont. "And I've had a mom call me and she's anxious."I've got a few people who are volunteering in good faith right now and we are keeping track of their hours. And some of the families that use our program have been asking (to volunteer) and I can't tell them anything right now."The grant program promises to pay students up to $5,000 for their post-secondary educations if they volunteer the maximum 500 hours. WE said last week that around 35,000 applications had been received for the program.The Saint Andrew's program provides food assistance to local families in need, among other things. Fern said demand has increased by more than 25 per cent since the pandemic started in March even as the number of volunteers available has dramatically declined.It was for that reason that Fern asked for and was given approval to take on five student volunteers through the Canada Student Service Grant while WE was administering the program. But since WE left last week and the government took over, "it's kind of been radio silence.""It's not like I have a ton of time to deal with this," she said. Most of us are all volunteers too. And it's also such a stressful time that if I didn't need the help I wouldn't have asked for it. And I definitely didn't need more work."Michelle Porter, CEO of the Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Halifax, said she has also heard nothing from Ottawa since it took over the program from WE, which both she and Fern praised for their level of support."They were giving us frontline care," Porter said of WE. "'What do you need? What do you need them for?' So we thought this is great because we were getting great treatment. And then they kind of got pulled away and we haven't heard anything since."Porter doesn't know whether the five students she has now will be compensated as promised and she is reluctant to advertise the other 10 unfilled positions, which her organization needs to run the 17,000-square-foot thrift store that funds many of its other charitable operations."Students want to come here and I would like to see even more students if we could get them," Porter said. "That's the biggest thing, having to just put it on a hold because we don't know if there are going to be any changes or if they are going to pull it away."Youth Minister Bardish Chagger’s spokeswoman Danielle Keenan appeared to stand by the Canada Student Services Grant program this week even as she said government officials were "working right now to determine the next steps" and acknowledged the likelihood of a delay.The program itself has criticized since the details were rolled out at the end of June, with some questioning the blurry lines between volunteer and paid work. Others have blasted the government for compensating students $10 per hour worked, which is less than minimum wage.Canadian Federation of Students deputy chairperson Nicole Brayiannis echoed those criticisms Thursday as she urged Ottawa to pull the plug on any further positions and invest instead in more direct aid to students, noting the summer is already well underway.She also suggested keeping existing placements, but increasing their pay to at least minimum wage."Students do want to be able to contribute to their communities and they do want to build their resumes and gain that experience," she said."However, the volunteer program just doesn't seem to make sense in the way that it was laid out. It would make much more sense just to ensure that if compensation is received for work that is being done, it should be at the minimum-wage level."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

  • Police: Mother admits to starving daughter, dumping body
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Police: Mother admits to starving daughter, dumping body

    SILVER SPRING, Md. — A Maryland woman accused of starving her 15-month-old daughter for more than three weeks has been charged with first-degree murder in the toddler’s death, police said Thursday.Kiearra Tolson, 23, of Silver Spring, told investigators that she placed her daughter’s body in a plillowcase and trash bags after she died last month and discarded the chlld’s body in a dumpster at her apartment complex, the Montgomery County Police Department said in a news release.Tolson also told investigators that she had starved her daughter, Blair Niles, for approximately three-and-a-half weeks, police said.The child’s body hasn’t been recovered, but police said investigators found evidence in Tolson's apartment corroborating her account. A court filing says police found a pillow without a pillowcase in Tolson's apartment.Tolson was arrested Wednesday after an acquaintance called 911 to report that Tolson had told her that she killed her child, according to police.The child’s father told investigators that he last saw his daughter on April 17 and hadn’t had any contact with Tolson since then.State District Court Judge John Moffett ordered Tolson held without bond at a hearing Thursday, according to Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy. Korionoff said a public defender represented Tolson at the hearing. A message left with the public defender's office wasn't immediately returned. Tolson is due back in court on July 16 for a bond review hearing.The Associated Press

  • Ontario education minister confident there will be classroom learning this fall
    News
    CBC

    Ontario education minister confident there will be classroom learning this fall

    While not fully committing to it, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the government hopes to have conventional, five-day per week classroom learning this fall.

  • Wisconsin Supreme Court OKs GOP-authored lame-duck laws
    Politics
    The Canadian Press

    Wisconsin Supreme Court OKs GOP-authored lame-duck laws

    MADISON, Wis. — The conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Republican-authored lame-duck laws that stripped power from the incoming Democratic attorney general just before he took office in 2019.The justices rejected arguments that the laws were unconstitutional, handing another win to Republicans who have scored multiple high-profile victories before the court in recent years.The 5-2 ruling marks the second time that the court has upheld the lame-duck laws passed in December 2018, just weeks before Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats, took office. The actions in Wisconsin mirrored Republican moves after losing control of the governors' offices in Michigan in November 2018 and in North Carolina in 2016. Democrats decried the tactics as brazen attempts to hold onto power after losing elections.The Wisconsin laws curtailed the powers of both the governor and attorney general, but the case decided Thursday dealt primarily with powers taken from Kaul.The attorney general said in a statement that Republican legislators have demonstrated open hostility to him and Evers and made it harder for state government to function. Evers echoed that sentiment in a statement of his own, saying Republicans have been working against him “every chance they get, regardless of the consequences.”Thursday’s ruling involved a case filed by a coalition of labour unions led by the State Employees International Union. The coalition argued that the laws give the Legislature power over the attorney general’s office and that this violates the separation of powers doctrine in the state constitution.The laws prohibit Evers from ordering Kaul to withdraw from lawsuits, let legislators intervene in lawsuits using their own attorneys rather than Kaul’s state Department of Justice lawyers, and force Kaul to get permission from the Legislature’s Republican-controlled budget committee before settling lawsuits.Republicans designed the laws to prohibit Evers from pulling Wisconsin out of a multistate lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and to ensure that they have a say in court if Kaul chooses not to defend GOP-authored laws.Evers still pulled the state out of the health care lawsuit after a lower judge temporarily blocked the laws, but the restrictions on settlements have proven divisive. Kaul has said settlement discussions are confidential and has refused to share details of cases with the committee, putting tens of millions of dollars in potential settlement revenue in jeopardy. In recent months the committee has signed off on a handful of settlements after the litigants allowed Kaul to share details of the deals, but no formal process exists for how to handle settlements under the laws.The court ruled that the attorney general derives his powers from state statutes, not the constitution, and his role is not a core function of the executive branch. The Legislature clearly has an interest in joining lawsuits independently and signing off on settlements because it's responsible for spending the state's money, Justice Brian Hagedorn wrote for the majority."While representing the State in litigation is predominately an executive function, it is within those borderlands of shared powers, most notably in cases that implicate an institutional interest of the legislature," Hagedorn wrote.The Legislature's top Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, hailed the ruling as a victory.“A rogue attorney general can no longer unilaterally settle away laws already on the books,” Fitzgerald said.The court's two liberal justices, Rebecca Dallet and Ann Walsh Bradley, argued in dissent that the ruling blurs the lines between the executive and legislative branches.“The power of the purse cannot be understood so broadly as to permit substantial burdens on another branch’s intersecting power,” Dallet wrote. “The Wisconsin Constitution, like the United States Constitution, does not contemplate an active role for the legislature in executing or in supervising the executive officers charged with executing the laws it enacts.”The unions' attorneys didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment.The decision doesn't close the door to future legal challenges. Hagedorn wrote that the ruling doesn't address how the lame-duck laws are specifically applied, leaving open a potential line of attack. For example, a litigant looking to get a case settled with the state could sue if the budget committee simply won't address the matter, Evers' attorney Lester Pines said.Kaul said in a phone interview that he wasn't sure what his next steps would be, but he didn't rule out that he or his allies might file more challenges.“That (the court) didn't rule more broadly indicates we're going to have success in challenging applications of those laws,” he said.Democrats and liberal groups have been trying to push back against the laws since they were passed but have had little success.Liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now persuaded a federal judge in January 2019 to block language in the law that restricted in-person early voting to the two weeks before an election.The League of Women Voters and other groups filed a state lawsuit arguing the laws as a whole were invalid because Republican lawmakers passed them after the Legislature’s regular session had ended months earlier. The justices ruled last year that lawmakers can meet whenever they wish.The Supreme Court did deliver a partial win for Evers on Thursday, throwing out some of the rules the Legislature put in place that required his administration to rewrite thousands of government “guidance documents” and websites. The law also gave the Legislature more power to block rules written by the Evers administration.The court found the rules were overly broad and unconstitutional. Evers had argued that the new requirements to rewrite documents were so extensive it would make it impossible for the executive branch to get information to the public.The court is set to hand down another significant ruling Friday on whether Evers exceeded his authority with four partial budget vetoes he issued last year. That decision could further weaken his ability to rewrite proposals coming out of the Republican-led Legislature.___Associated Press writer Scott Bauer contributed to this report.Todd Richmond, The Associated Press

  • News
    The Canadian Press

    Alberta RCMP charge man with attempted murder after Mountie beaten with club

    RCMP say a man faces two dozen criminal charges, including attempted murder, after a Mountie was beaten with a club. Police say an officer was trying to make an arrest on Tuesday after a stolen vehicle was spotted in the parking lot of a Walmart store in Cold Lake, Alta. RCMP say someone then smashed the window of a nearby vehicle, threatened the driver with a knife and the baton, and drove away before being arrested later.

  • Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen back in federal prison
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen back in federal prison

    NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was returned to federal prison Thursday, after balking at certain conditions of the home confinement he was granted because of the coronavirus pandemic.Records obtained by The Associated Press said Cohen was ordered into custody after he “failed to agree to the terms of Federal Location Monitoring" in Manhattan.But Cohen's attorneys disputed that, saying Cohen took issue with a condition of his home confinement that forbid him from speaking with the media and publishing a tell-all book he began working on in federal prison. The rules also prohibited him from “posting on social media,” the records show.“The purpose is to avoid glamorizing or bringing publicity to your status as a sentenced inmate serving a custodial term in the community,” the document says.Cohen has written a tell-all book that he had been preparing to publish about his time working for the Trump Organization, his lawyers said.“Cohen was sure this was written just for him,” his attorney, Jeffrey Levine, said of the home confinement conditions. “I've never seen anything like this.”A Justice Department official pushed back on that characterization and said Cohen had refused to accept the terms of home confinement, specifically that he submit to wearing an ankle monitor. The official could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.Cohen legal adviser Lanny Davis called that “completely false,” adding that “at no time did Michael ever object to the ankle bracelet.”Cohen later agreed to accept all of the requirements of home confinement but was taken into custody nevertheless, Davis said. “He stands willing to sign the entire document if that’s what it takes” to be released.Cohen was being held late Thursday at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, Levine said. His legal team, meanwhile, was preparing an emergency appeal to spring him from custody.Cohen, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion, campaign finance fraud and lying to Congress, had been released May 21 on furlough as part of an attempt to slow the spread of the virus in federal prisons. Cohen, 53, began serving his sentence in May 2019 and had been scheduled to remain in prison until November 2021 but was permitted to serve the remainder of this three-year term at home.The conditions restricting the publication of his book would only extend through the end of his term.Cohen was once one of Trump’s closest advisers but became a loud critic after pleading guilty.Cohen’s convictions were related to crimes including dodging taxes on $4 million in income from his taxi business, lying during congressional testimony about the timing of discussions around an abandoned plan to build a Trump Tower in Russia, and orchestrating payments to two women to keep them from talking publicly about alleged affairs with Trump. Prosecutors said the payments amounted to illegal campaign contributions. Trump, who denied the affairs, said any payments were a personal matter.Roger Adler, one of Cohen's attorneys, told the AP that the FBI had agreed to return to Cohen two smartphones it seized as part of its investigation, adding Cohen had planned to pick them up Thursday after an appointment at the federal courthouse in Manhattan concerning his home confinement.Davis added the appointment with federal authorities was intended to finalize the conditions of Cohen’s home confinement. Cohen also had been expected to receive an ankle bracelet, he said.“It was nothing other than routine,” Davis said, adding the appointment with his probation officers had nothing to do with him being photographed dining out. Days before Cohen's return to prison, the New York Post had published photos of Cohen and his wife enjoying an outdoor meal with friends at a restaurant near his Manhattan home.“It’s not a crime to eat out and support local businesses,” Adler said, adding Cohen had been “thrown back into a petri dish of coronavirus.”A federal judge had denied Cohen’s attempt for an early release to home confinement after serving 10 months in prison and said in a May ruling that it “appears to be just another effort to inject himself into the news cycle.” But the Bureau of Prisons can move prisoners to home confinement without a judicial order.Prison advocates and congressional leaders had pressed the Justice Department to release at-risk inmates, arguing that the public health guidance to stay 6 feet (2 metres) away from other people is nearly impossible behind bars.Attorney General William Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons to increase the use of home confinement and expedite the release of eligible high-risk inmates, beginning at three prisons identified as coronavirus hot spots. Otisville, where Cohen was housed, was not one of those facilities.___Balsamo reported from Little Rock, Arkansas. AP investigative researcher Randy Herschaft contributed to this report.Jim Mustian And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press

  • COVID-19 in Canada: Social distancing won't stop until there's a vaccine, B.C. health officials say
    News
    Yahoo News Canada

    COVID-19 in Canada: Social distancing won't stop until there's a vaccine, B.C. health officials say

    As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread around the world, Canadians are concerned about their health and safety.

  • Comet streaking past Earth, providing spectacular show
    Science
    The Canadian Press

    Comet streaking past Earth, providing spectacular show

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A newly discovered comet is streaking past Earth, providing a stunning nighttime show after buzzing the sun and expanding its tail.Comet Neowise swept within Mercury’s orbit a week ago. Its close proximity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn off its surface and create an even bigger debris tail. Now the comet is headed our way, with closest approach in two weeks.NASA's Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March.Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about 3 miles (5 kilometres) across. Its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago.The comet will be visible around the world until mid-August, when it heads back toward the outer solar system. While it's visible with the naked eye in dark skies with little or no light pollution, binoculars are needed to see the long tail, according to NASA.Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have already caught a glimpse.NASA's Bob Behnken shared a spectacular photo of the comet on social media late Thursday, showing central Asia in the background and the space station in the foreground."Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet!" he tweeted from orbit.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press

  • Undeterred by coronavirus, China takes influence campaign online to win Taiwan hearts
    News
    Reuters

    Undeterred by coronavirus, China takes influence campaign online to win Taiwan hearts

    As the coronavirus pandemic all but halts travel across the Taiwan Strait, China is taking its campaign pushing for "reunification" with Taiwan to the virtual world of live broadcasts, online conferences and video-making competitions. The intensifying efforts to win hearts and minds in democratic Taiwan come amid widespread support on the island for anti-government protests in Hong Kong and opposition to a new Chinese-imposed security law for the city. Taiwan is China's most sensitive territorial issue, with Beijing claiming the self-ruled island as its own, to be brought under its control by force if needed.

  • Venezuela socialist party boss announces he has COVID-19
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Venezuela socialist party boss announces he has COVID-19

    CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello revealed Thursday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, making him the highest-ranking leader in the distressed South American nation thus far to come down with the virus.Cabello is considered the second-most powerful person in Venezuela after President Nicolás Maduro and made the announcement on Twitter, stating that he is isolated, getting treatment and will overcome the illness.“We will win!” he wrote in conclusion.Venezuela is considered one of the world’s least prepared countries to confront the pandemic. Hospitals are routinely short on basic supplies like water, electricity and medicine. The nation has registered considerably fewer COVID-19 cases than others in the region, though the number of infections has grown in recent weeks.As of Wednesday, officials had reported 8,010 confirmed cases and 75 deaths.Cabello was last seen Tuesday, when he met with South Africa’s ambassador, Joseph Nkosi. Photographs released by the government showed him standing alongside and bumping fists with the envoy while wearing a black mask.The 57-year-old politician is head of the National Constituent Assembly, an all-powerful legislative body created by Maduro’s government in 2017.He had missed his weekly television program Wednesday, stating at the time that he was “fighting against a strong allergy” and resting.Maduro said in a broadcast Thursday that Cabello’s diagnosis was confirmed with a molecular exam — a test that is usually conducted with a nasal swab sample. Venezuela has done far fewer of these tests than neighbouring countries, instead largely deploying rapid blood antibody tests. Some experts fear that relying so heavily on the rapid tests, which don’t detect signs of illness early in an infection, means cases are being missed.“Venezuela is with Diosdado,” Maduro said. “I am sure soon enough we will continue on in this fight.”The Associated Press

  • Woman charged in hit-and-run at Indiana protest
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Woman charged in hit-and-run at Indiana protest

    INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana woman was charged Thursday in a hit-and-run crash that sent one woman to the hospital and caused minor injuries to a man during a southern Indiana protest over the assault of a Black man by a group of white men.Prosecutors charged Christi Bennett, 66, with two counts of criminal recklessness, both felonies, and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident, one a felony and the other a misdemeanour, court records show. She was charged after being booked into the Monroe County Jail and released on $500 cash bond, Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy Barry Grooms said.Bennett's first court appearance is scheduled for July 17. She could not immediately be reached for comment.The confrontation happened near the Monroe County Courthouse in Bloomington, about 50 miles (80 kilometres) southwest of Indianapolis, on Monday evening.Twenty-nine-year-old Chasity Mottinger was injured when Bennett's red Toyota Corolla accelerated into her, launching her onto the hood, according to the probable cause affidavit. A 35-year-old man, Geoff Stewart, then grabbed the driver’s side of the car and held on as the vehicle accelerated. Both were eventually flung to the ground and the car drove off. Bennett never stopped, charging documents indicate.Authorities have not disclosed a motive for the attack.Mottinger was knocked unconscious and cut her head. She was hospitalized, police said, although no updates have been made about her condition. Stewart had scrapes to his arms.Stewart told The Associated Press he tried to speak with Bennett and navigate her car through traffic after the protest ended. Seconds after he approached her car, Bennett revved it forward, he said.“I’m really disappointed that she was released on such a small bond with her history of violence,” Stewart said. “This just adds to the concerns the community has had lately — but actually for a very long time — regarding violent white individuals not receiving proper attention from law enforcement, like the men last weekend.”Bennett, who is white, has previously been convicted of other felonies, including stalking, according to court records.Bloomington Police Department investigators determined Wednesday that Bennett, the woman the car was registered to, was staying at a motel in Scottsburg, Capt. Ryan Pedigo said in a news release. Investigators found her exiting a motel room and took her to Bloomington to be interviewed, he said. She and her lawyer declined to provide a statement to investigators, according to Pedigo.Police say her driver's license shows her as living in Greensburg, but that she has been living at the motel for at least a year.The protesters had gathered Monday to demand arrests in an assault on Vauhxx Booker, a civil rights activist and member of the Monroe County Human Rights Commission, by a group of white men at Monroe Lake near Bloomington over the Fourth of July weekend. Booker said the men pinned him against a tree, shouted racial slurs and one of them threatened to “get a noose.”The FBI has said it’s investigating the reported assault. Monroe County First Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Kehr said Thursday afternoon that the prosecutor's office is still reviewing the Booker case. No charges have been filed yet, he added, with none expected Thursday.___Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.___This story has been updated to clarify information about Bennett’s hometown.Casey Smith, The Associated Press

  • Bolivian president has COVID-19 as virus hits region's elite
    Politics
    The Canadian Press

    Bolivian president has COVID-19 as virus hits region's elite

    LA PAZ, Bolivia — Bolivia’s interim president and Venezuela’s No. 2 leader announced Thursday that they have been infected with the new coronavirus, just days after Brazil’s leader tested positive as the pandemic hits hard at some of Latin America’s political elite.Three Cabinet ministers in the administration of Bolivian leader Jeanine Áñez have also tested positive for the virus, including Health Minister Eidy Roca and Presidency Minister Yerko Nuñez, who is hospitalized.The infections in Venezuela, Brazil and Bolivia, which is seeing a spike in cases, come after Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández tested positive in June and was briefly hospitalized.Áñez said she will remain in isolation for 14 days when another test will be done, but she will continue to work remotely from the presidential residence.“I feel good, I feel strong,” she wrote on her Twitter account.Bolivia’s Health Ministry says the Andean country has 42,984 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,577 deaths, and is seeing a rebound in the number of new cases amid reports that hospitals are being overwhelmed in some regions. In the highland city of Cochabamba, scenes have emerged of bodies lying in the streets and coffins waiting for days in homes to be taken away.Bolivia is scheduled to hold a presidential election Sept. 6. Áñez is running third in opinion polls. Former Economy Minister Luis Arce, who represents the party of ousted President Evo Morales, is in front, with ex-President Carlos Mesa in second.In Venezuela, meanwhile, socialist party chief Diosdado Cabello revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19, making him the highest-ranking leader in the distressed South American nation thus far to come down with the virus.Cabello is considered the second-most powerful person in Venezuela after President Nicolás Maduro and made the announcement on Twitter, stating that he is isolated, getting treatment and will overcome the illness.“We will win!” he wrote in conclusion.Economically struggling Venezuela is considered one of the world’s least prepared countries to confront the pandemic. Hospitals are routinely short on basic supplies like water, electricity and medicine.The nation has registered considerably fewer COVID-19 cases than others in the region, but the number of infections has grown in recent weeks. As of Wednesday, the government had reported 8,010 confirmed cases and 75 deaths.Cabello was last seen Tuesday, when he met with South Africa’s ambassador, Joseph Nkosi. Photographs released by the government showed him standing alongside and bumping fists with the diplomat while wearing a black mask.The 57-year-old politician is head of the National Constituent Assembly, an all-powerful legislative body created by Maduro’s government in 2017. He had missed his weekly television program Wednesday, stating at the time that he was “fighting against a strong allergy” and resting.Maduro said in a broadcast Thursday that Cabello’s diagnosis was confirmed with a molecular exam — a test that is usually conducted with a nasal swab sample. Venezuela has done far fewer of these tests than neighbouring countries, instead largely deploying rapid blood antibody tests. Some experts fear that relying so heavily on the rapid tests, which don’t detect signs of illness early in an infection, means cases are being missed.“Venezuela is with Diosdado,” Maduro said. “I am sure soon enough we will continue on in this fight.”In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Tuesday.He appeared Thursday on an online broadcast from the presidential residence as defiant as on previous occasions. He coughed once, but did not show other symptoms of the disease that has killed more than 69,000 people in the South American nation.Bolsonaro repeated his view that the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic is more dangerous than the coronavirus itself. He insisted that mayors and governors need to reopen the country for business.“We need governors and mayors, within their responsibilities, to reopen commerce. Otherwise the consequences will be harmful for Brazil,” Bolsonaro said, wearing a gray shirt and sitting comfortably in front of two national flags.Paola Flores, The Associated Press

  • Sports
    The Canadian Press

    Tootoo says Edmonton team name discussion should centre on feelings of Inuk people

    Jordin Tootoo says he doesn't find the Edmonton Eskimos' team name objectionable, but that doesn't mean the CFL club should keep it. Edmonton promised to speed up a review of its name and provide an update at the end of the month after at least one of its sponsors announced it plans to cut ties with the  team unless it changes its name. The team has seen repeated calls for a name change in the past and faces renewed criticism as sports teams in Canada, the United States and elsewhere are urged to remove outdated and sometimes racist names and images.

  • Canada not ready for second wave of COVID-19, Senate committee says
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Canada not ready for second wave of COVID-19, Senate committee says

    OTTAWA — Canada is ill-prepared for a second wave of COVID-19, says a Senate committee, calling on the federal Liberals to deliver a plan by Labour Day to help people and communities hit hardest by the pandemic.Seniors, in particular, are a focus of the report from the Senate's social affairs committee, from those in long-term care homes to those with low incomes.Just this week, the Liberals rolled out one-time special payments of $300 to the more than six million people who receive old-age security, and $200 more for the 2.2 million who also receive the guaranteed income supplement.The income supports are meant to help seniors facing increased costs as a result of the pandemic, such as more frequent prescription fees and delivery charges for groceries.Senators on the committee wrote of evidence of "financial insecurity and increased vulnerability" for low-income seniors as a result of the first wave of the novel coronavirus.A potential second wave, which could coincide with the annual flu season that starts in the fall, would make the situation even worse for these seniors "without concrete and timely government action," the report says.Senators say the Liberals should deliver a plan to help low-income seniors, among other populations vulnerable to economic shocks like new immigrants, no later than the end of August, and contain short- and long-term options.The report also says the federal government needs to pay urgent attention to seniors in long-term care homes where outbreaks and deaths in the pandemic have been concentrated.The document made public Thursday morning is the committee's first set of observations on the government's response to the pandemic, with a final report expected later this year.Before then, the Liberals are planning to provide another economic update like the one delivered Wednesday, or possibly a full budget. The government shelved plans to deliver one at the end of March when the House of Commons went on extended hiatus due to the pandemic.The long-awaited economic "snapshot," as the Liberals styled it, said federal spending is closing in on $600 billion this fiscal year. That means a deficit of $343 billion, fuelled by emergency pandemic aid that the government budgets at over $230 billion.The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada said the spending figures demand a "full and transparent assessment" to see what worked, what didn't and what needs to change for an economic recovery.Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, said the Liberals should take back up their promise to create a national pharmacare system as the government considers its next steps.A federal advisory council last year calculated the cost of a program at over $15 billion annually, depending on its design."The last thing we want to have is Canadians in frail health as we're dealing with this pandemic and I think the government really needs to think of that," Yussuff said in an interview Wednesday."Had it not been for the health care system we have right now," he added later, "think of how this country would have fared in this pandemic."The Senate committee's report also notes the national emergency stockpile of personal protective gear like masks, gowns and gloves wasn't managed well over the years, nor sufficiently stocked when the pandemic struck.Committee members added concerns that military members could be deployed without sufficient personal protective equipment because of "inconsistencies from international procurement."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020.Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

  • Three more patients die from COVID-19 outbreak at Edmonton hospital
    Health
    The Canadian Press

    Three more patients die from COVID-19 outbreak at Edmonton hospital

    EDMONTON — Three more patients linked to a COVID-19 outbreak at an Edmonton hospital have died.Catholic health provider Covenant Health, which runs the Misericordia Community Hospital in the city's west end, says a total of six patients have now died due to the outbreak.It says 16 other patients have tested positive, along with 16 staff.Health officials declared a full outbreak at the facility on Wednesday and said it would not be admitting new patients.Health Minister Tyler Shandro says his thoughts are with the families of the patients who have died.He says his department is monitoring the outbreak and he has full confidence that measures are in place to prevent further spread of infections."Our hospitals remain safe, and this outbreak is being managed as safely and effectively as possible," he said Thursday in a statement posted on Twitter."I know the physicians, staff and volunteers at the Misericordia are working extremely hard in challenging circumstances, and I thank them for the care they're providing."The 312-bed hospital also closed its emergency department, is not allowing visitors, except in end-of-life situations, and is postponing day procedures.Dr. Owen Heisler, chief medical officer for Covenant Health, said in a release that the safety of everyone at the hospital is a priority."Covenant Health, Alberta Health Services and our teams continue to work tirelessly and collaboratively, taking every possible step to respond with compassion to this challenging situation and to ensure a safe environment for care."On Thursday, the province reported 37 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 8,519 infections in Alberta. There are 584 active cases and 46 people are in hospital. So far, 161 people have died.Alberta's privacy commissioner also released her report Thursday into the province's voluntary COVID-19 tracing smartphone app.Jill Clayton said the ABTraceTogether app collects among the least amount of personal information compared to similar technologies around the world. It tracks anyone the user is in close contact with and alerts them if they have been near someone who tests positive for COVID-19.But when it comes to Apple cellphones, Clayton said the app only runs on those devices when they are unlocked, which increases the risk of theft of personal information. The risk increases for employers in the public, health and private sectors that provide workers with Apple phones, she said.Clayton recommended the province publicly report on the use and effectiveness of the app and its plans to dismantle it when the pandemic is over.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 9, 2020The Canadian Press

  • Official: Feds feared Epstein confidant might kill herself
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Official: Feds feared Epstein confidant might kill herself

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Federal officials were so worried Jeffrey Epstein’s longtime confidant Ghislaine Maxwell might take her own life after her arrest that they took away her clothes and bedsheets and made her wear paper attire while in custody, an official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.The steps to ensure Maxwell’s safety while she’s locked up at a federal jail in New York City extend far beyond the measures federal officials took when they first arrested her in New Hampshire last week.The Justice Department has added extra security precautions and placed federal officials outside the Bureau of Prisons in charge of ensuring there is adequate protection for Maxwell. That's to help prevent other inmates from harming her and to stop her from harming herself, the official said.The concern comes in part because Epstein, 66, killed himself in a federal jail in Manhattan last summer while in custody on sex trafficking charges, spawning conspiracy theories over his death despite a medical examiner ruling it a suicide. The sprawling case against him ensnared British royalty and American elite who attended parties at his mansions. Whispers over who knew what and when about Epstein even reached the White House, after video surfaced of President Donald Trump and the financier chatting at a Mar-a-Lago party in 1992.The case appeared dormant until Maxwell was arrested last Thursday on charges she helped lure at least three girls — one as young as 14 — to be sexually abused by Epstein, who was accused of victimizing dozens of girls and women over many years.Maxwell, the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, was the former girlfriend and longtime close associate of Epstein. She is accused of facilitating his crimes and even joining him in sexually abusing the girls, according to the indictment against her. Several Epstein victims have described Maxwell as his chief enabler, recruiting and grooming girls for abuse. She has denied wrongdoing and called claims against her “absolute rubbish.”Maxwell was arrested by a team of federal agents last week at a $1 million estate she had purchased in New Hampshire. The investigators had been keeping an eye on Maxwell and knew she had been hiding out in various locations in New England.She had switched her email address, ordered packages under someone else’s name and registered at least one new phone number under an alias “G Max,” prosecutors have said.When the agents swooped in to arrest her, they weren’t sure that she was even at the home, the official said. Some investigators believed she may have already fled the United States to avoid prosecution, the official added.Maxwell was not sent to the same jail. Rather, she was taken to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, just over the Brooklyn Bridge from where Epstein was held.The other protocols put in place for Maxwell’s confinement include ensuring that she has a roommate in her cell, that she is monitored and that someone is always with her while she’s behind bars, the official said.The official could not discuss the ongoing investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.The Bureau of Prisons has been the subject of intense scrutiny since Epstein's death, with staff shakeups and leadership changes. Attorney General William Barr said his death was the result of the “perfect storm of screw ups.”The Bureau of Prisons has been plagued for years by serious misconduct, violence and staffing shortages so severe that guards often work overtime day after day or are forced to work mandatory double shifts. It has also struggled recently with an exploding number of coronavirus cases in prisons across the U.S.Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press

  • Mayor of South Korean capital found dead after 7-hour search
    News
    The Canadian Press

    Mayor of South Korean capital found dead after 7-hour search

    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The missing mayor of South Korea’s capital, reportedly embroiled in sexual harassment allegations, was found dead early Friday, more than half a day after giving his daughter a will-like message and then leaving home, police said.Police said they located Park Won-soon’s body near a traditional restaurant in wooded hills in northern Seoul, more than seven hours after they launched a massive search for him.There were no signs of foul play and no suicide note was found at the site or in Park’s residence, Choi Ik-su, an officer from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, told reporters. He refused to elaborate on the cause of Park’s death.Choi said rescue dogs found Park’s body, and police had recovered his bag, cellphone and business cards.His daughter called police on Thursday afternoon and said her father had given her “a will-like” verbal message in the morning before leaving home. She didn’t explain the contents of the message, said an officer at the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency who was responsible for the search operation.Police said they mobilized about 600 police and fire officers, drones and tracking dogs to search for Park in the hills where his cellphone signal was last detected. They said the phone was turned off when they tried to call him.His daughter called police after she couldn’t reach her father on the phone, the Seoul police officer said, requesting anonymity because she was not authorized to speak to the media about the matter.Kim Ji-hyeong, a Seoul Metropolitan Government official, said Park did not come to work on Thursday for unspecified reasons and had cancelled all of his schedule, including a meeting with a presidential official at his Seoul City Hall office.The reason for Park’s disappearance wasn’t clear. The Seoul-based SBS television network reported that one of Park’s secretaries had lodged a complaint with police on Wednesday night over alleged sexual harassment such as unwanted physical contact that began in 2017. The SBS report, which didn’t cite any source, said the secretary told police investigators that an unspecified number of other female employees at Seoul City Hall had suffered similar sexual harassment by Park.MBC television carried a similar report.Choi, the police officer, confirmed that a complaint was filed with police against Park on Wednesday. He refused to provide further details, citing privacy issues.Police officer Lee Byeong-seok told reporters that Park was identified by a security camera at 10:53 a.m. at the entrance to the hills, more than six hours before his daughter called police to report him missing.Fire officer Jeong Jin-hyang told reporters rescuers used dogs to search dangerous areas on the hills.Park, 64, a longtime civic activist and human rights lawyer, was elected Seoul mayor in 2011. He became the city’s first mayor to be voted to a third term in June 2018. A member of President Moon Jae-in’s liberal Democratic Party, he had been considered a potential presidential candidate in 2022 elections.Park had mostly maintained his activist colours as mayor, criticizing what he described as the country’s growing social and economic inequalities and corrupt ties between large businesses and politicians.As a lawyer, he was credited with winning the country’s first sexual harassment conviction. He has also been an outspoken critic of Japan’s colonial-era policies toward Korea, including the mobilization of Korean and other women as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers.Park also established himself as a fierce opponent of former conservative President Park Geun-hye and openly supported the millions of people who flooded the city’s streets in late 2016 and 2017 calling for her ouster over a corruption scandal.Park Geun-hye, a daughter of late authoritarian leader Park Chung-hee, was formally removed from office in March 2017 and is currently serving a decades-long prison term for convictions on bribery and other charges.Seoul, a city of 10 million people, has become a new centre of the coronavirus outbreak in South Korea since the country eased its rigid social distancing rules in early May. Authorities are struggling to trace contacts amid surges in cases linked to nightclubs, church services, a huge e-commerce warehouse and door-to-door sellers in Seoul.Park Won-soon led an aggressive anti-virus campaign, shutting down thousands of nightspots and banning rallies in major downtown streets.Hyung-Jin Kim And Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press