Illinois man arrested in bomb threats made to southern Alberta schools


Police in a southern Alberta town say a man in the U.S. has been charged in connection with bomb threats made to schools and a business in the community last week.

Taber Police announced in a statement from Chief Graham Abela late Saturday that a man in Illinois faces 10 counts of felony bomb threats.

The Horizon School Division said last week in a letter sent home to parents that two schools were the focus of bomb threats in anonymous voicemail messages early Friday.

Police said they investigated and determined the threats to be hoaxes.

Abela thanked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Jackson County Sheriffs Department in Illinois, as well as the Medicine Hat Police Service.

He says the investigation is ongoing and police will be releasing more info on Tuesday.


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2 arrested in RCMP raids in Kingston, Ont., related to anti-terrorism probe


The RCMP have arrested two people following raids on two homes in Kingston, Ont., in what officials are calling an anti-terrorism investigation involving multiple police forces.

CBC News has learned the arrests included a minor and involved both Kingston police and the help of the FBI in the U.S.

The RCMP will hold a news conference Friday in Kingston to update the public on their investigation. 

There’s no word yet on charges or what prompted the investigation. 

In a statement, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said police took action « based on credible information, to ensure public safety. »

« The government of Canada constantly monitors all potential threats and has robust measures in place to address them, » he wrote.

« Canadians can be confident that whenever credible information is obtained about a potential threat, the RCMP, CSIS and other police and security agencies take the appropriate steps to ensure the security of this country and the safety of its citizens. »

A man who lives at one of the homes spoke to CBC News by phone shortly after 7 p.m. ET as he stood outside his residence in the northwest part of the city.

He said he arrived home from Ottawa late Thursday afternoon and was « surprised » to find RCMP at his house. As he spoke, he said the RCMP were inside questioning his wife and children, adding he had not been questioned by police himself. 

Police officers carry evidence from one of the homes. (Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

« I don’t know why they’re at my home, » he told CBC News, as police officers stood next to him. « The police haven’t told me anything. »

He said that as far as he knew his wife and children were not under arrest, but he hadn’t been able to reach them as their cellphones were off.

Asked if it would surprise him to hear police were conducting a national security investigation, he said « yes. »

The man said he did not know anyone at the other address.

Canadian officials told CBC News the investigation, which included raids on two properties in Kingston, was conducted in co-operation with U.S. authorities. (Frederic Pepin/CBC)

Canadian officials speaking on background told CBC News there was no imminent threat to public safety, and that the situation is contained.

Goodale said the operation has not changed the country’s threat level. It remains at « medium, » where it has hovered since late 2014.

However, the threat was considered serious enough to involve months of investigation, thousands of hours of police work and the use of a Pilatus PC-12 RCMP surveillance plane which has been circling over Kingston at low altitudes in recent weeks for hours on end, creating a great deal of interest from residents due to the noise.

Spokespeople for both the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice referred all questions to the RCMP.

The investigation involved a Pilatus PC-12 RCMP surveillance plane that made headlines recently after it was seen circling over Kingston at low altitudes. (Neil Aird)


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Two Ivory Coast men arrested in Clement sexting scandal: report


OTTAWA—Two Ivory Coast men have been reportedly been arrested in relation to the sexting and extortion attempts that brought down former Conservative MP Tony Clement.

An Ivory Coast police report said two men, identified only as CH and DML, have been charged with attempted fraud and threatening to publish sexual images of a Canadian national.

Then-Conservative MP Tony Clement asks a question in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2017.
Then-Conservative MP Tony Clement asks a question in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa in 2017.  (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

While Clement is not named in the report, the descriptions of the alleged crime match his description of the sexting and extortion scandal that cost the longtime MP his place in the Conservative Party.

CTV, citing sources, reported Friday night that the two men in question attempted to blackmail Clement after he sent them sexually explicit images, believing them to be a young woman. The Star has not independently confirmed the connection.

“We have no comment,” wrote Clement’s lawyer, Joseph Neuberger, in an email to the Star Saturday morning.

Clement shocked Ottawa watchers in November by revealing he had sent sexually explicit images to a person he believed was a consenting adult. Clement said the person or people behind that account then demanded the married MP hand over 50,000 Euros ($75,000).

Clement announced he would step back from his committee duties, and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer stood by the longtime MP and former leadership rival.

But two days later, the Star revealed that Clement had carried on relationships with two other women — one online, one in person — and had known about the extortion attempts for months while serving on Parliament’s sensitive national security committee.

Scheer requested Clement resign from caucus.

The Ivory Coast police report said the two men posed as a young woman named “Brianna Dounia,” chatting with a Canadian and a French national.

“Like any relationship that lives behind a screen, erotic photos and videos are exchanged for the happiness of lovebirds,” a translation of the Ivorian police report read.

“Except that, in fact, (a cyber criminal) hid behind the pseudonym Brianna Dounia who will require shortly after their interactions a ransom of 50,000 Euro from (the Canadian).”

Clement, who now sits as an independent MP, has not responded to multiple interview requests. The RCMP, who had been investigating Clement’s allegations of blackmail, did not immediately respond to the Star’s request for information.

Alex Boutilier is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @alexboutilier


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Winnipeg man arrested after Ontario police find $800K worth of cocaine during traffic stop


The cocaine was found during a traffic stop on Highway 17 near Dryden, Ont., Friday, police said.

Officers found 8 kg of drug after vehicle pulled over on Highway 17 near Dryden, police say

Ontario police have arrested a Winnipeg man after officers found eight kilograms of cocaine during a traffic stop near Dryden, Ont., Friday. (CBC)

A Winnipeg man is facing drug charges after police say they found hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cocaine during a traffic stop in northwestern Ontario Friday.

Ontario Provincial Police say they pulled the vehicle over around 11 a.m. on Highway 17, east of Dryden, for Highway Traffic Act offences.

During the stop, police found eight kilograms of cocaine, with an approximate street value of $800,000.

A 29-year-old Winnipeg man is charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking cocaine and trafficking cocaine.

He remains in police custody.

More from CBC Manitoba:


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Woman arrested after shots fired at first responders following N.B. traffic accident


A woman has been arrested after she allegedly opened fire on emergency workers responding to a motor vehicle crash in Dieppe, N.B., on Saturday afternoon, police said.

According to an RCMP news release, a car went off the road on Adélard-Savoie Boulevard, about a half kilometre from the Moncton airport at approximately 2:30 p.m.  

When firefighters, paramedics and police responded to the scene, the woman fired shots at them, according to the RCMP.

None of the emergency workers were injured. Several streets were then closed to traffic to « ensure the safety of first responders. » 

After about 45 minutes, the woman was taken into police custody and taken to hospital for treatment of injuries sustained during her arrest. Police have not released any details about the extent of the woman’s injuries, or whether she’s still in hospital. 

Police would not say how many shots were fired during the incident on Saturday. (Submitted)

Police declined to provide any additional information when contacted by CBC News on Saturday evening.  

Several roads in the area remain closed as the investigation continues. 

Ron Legere of the Serious Investigative Response Team confirmed to CBC News that SIRT has received a request to investigate the incident. 

SIRT is a Nova Scotia-based independent police oversight body. They can be called in to investigate matters that involve death, serious injury, sexual assault and domestic violence or other issues of significant public interest that may have arisen from the actions of any police officer.


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Canadian man arrested at Amsterdam airport for alleged bomb threat


A 51-year-old Canadian man has been arrested at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport after authorities say he claimed he had a bomb.

Joanna Helmonds, a spokesperson for the border police agency in the Netherlands, says the incident occurred Monday evening in one of the airport’s departure halls.

Helmonds says the hall was evacuated as a precaution.

She says police are continuing to investigate and that more information will be available on Tuesday.

Tweets by the border police say no explosives were found and the man was held in custody.

The terminal was reopened after the arrest.

A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told CBC News that consular officials were aware of the situation and were liaising with local authorities, but no further information could be disclosed due to the provisions of the Privacy Act.


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1 arrested after reports of armed robbery at Markville mall


York Regional Police say that one person has been arrested after reports of an armed robbery at CF Markville in Markham, Ont., on Sunday evening. 

Police were called to the scene at 6:25 p.m., less than an hour before the mall was scheduled to close at 7 p.m.

Paramedics said they were also called to the scene, but did not transport anyone to hospital. 

Video footage of the robbery shows multiple people in safety vests cleaning out display cases at Lukfook Jewellery.

Police say that there were also reports of shots fired but that is yet to be confirmed. 

Sgt. Clint Whitney told CBC Toronto that the mall was open and quite busy at the time of the incident.

Police didn’t request a lockdown, but some of the stores and businesses made their own decision to follow their own security protocols, Whitney added.

The suspects fled through the parking lot, he said. 

There is no longer a security concern for the mall and the suspects are no longer on scene, Whitney added. 


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Sarah McIver was arrested in China due to employer’s error, her aunt believes


DRUMHELLER, Alta. –The aunt of an Alberta woman who has been released from custody in China says she believes it was a mistake by her niece’s employer that resulted in her arrest.

Sarah McIver was detained earlier this month over a work-permit issue related to her teaching job, but her aunt Rhona McIver says Sarah is now on her way back to her hometown of Drumheller, Alta.

Canadian teacher Sarah McIver who was detained in China has been released

Rhona McIver said she believes her niece arrived in China to learn that the school she’d planned to teach at no longer had a job for her, so officials gave her work at another school.

“That’s where the mistake got made,” McIver said from Drumheller in an interview Saturday.

“She probably didn’t even think about it.”

WATCH: China travellers face new rules

McIver’s arrest followed those of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians living and working in China, on allegations they were harming China’s national security.

China arrested Kovrig and Spavor separately after Canadian authorities detained a Chinese technology executive in Vancouver. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of electronics giant Huawei Technologies, is wanted in the United States on allegations she lied to American banks as part of an effort to get around sanctions on Iran.

China and Canada both insisted McIver’s case was different from Kovrig’s and Spavor’s.

WATCH: Travel Alberta suspends marketing in China amid the country’s ongoing tensions with Canada

Rhona McIver said Sarah’s mother and sister have driven to B.C. to pick her up. She explained that while in China, McIver adopted a puppy, and even though she was able to fly from China to Canada with the dog, there was a problem flying it to Calgary.

“One morning she was going to school and somebody threw out some pups, so she rescued one,” McIver said, adding they could be back in Drumheller by Saturday evening.

READ MORE: Alberta teacher Sarah McIver detained in China because she was working illegally, spokeswoman says

McIver said her niece like to travel and had been to China before, but only as a tourist.

A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said last week that a Canadian woman had received an administrative penalty for illegal employment but did not provide further details.

A spokesman with Global Affairs Canada confirmed Friday that a Canadian citizen who was detained in China this month was released and has returned to Canada, but would not release further information due to provisions under the Privacy Act.


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3 people hospitalized, 8 arrested on drug charges at electronic dance music party in Edmonton – Edmonton


Three people were taken to hospital — one in life-threatening condition — from an electronic dance music concert in downtown Edmonton on Thursday while several other people were arrested on drug-related charges at the same event.

A spokesperson for Alberta Health Services confirmed Friday that all three people taken to hospital were men in their 20s, however, the reason for their treatment was not disclosed. Two of them were listed in serious condition.

Electronic music fans gathered at the downtown venue for a show called Get Together, which featured a number of performers, including Diplo and Illesium.

The Edmonton Police Service confirmed to Global News on Friday that their officers made eight drug-related arrests at the event. Police said their officers seized 400 MDMA pills and “a quantity of cocaine” in connection with the arrests.

It is not clear how many of the people arrested would be charged, however, police confirmed a 20-year-old man was charged with seven drug-related offences, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. Police did not disclose his name and it was not immediately clear why.

“EPS, together with AHS (EMS) and the City of Edmonton, sits on the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) Internal Working Committee, and works with event organizers to improve the safety of electronic dance music events in our city,” police said in an email.

A spokesperson for the Shaw Conference Centre issued a statement to Global News about what transpired on Thursday night, and said its “goal is to provide a safe environment for guests to enjoy electronic dance music events.”

“We work with event promoters to adopt industry-leading, harm-reduction strategies that include proactive and onsite engagement with Indigo Harm Reduction and onsite medical services provided by Alberta Paramedical Services,” the statement said. “We are committed to continued collaboration with our industry partners, harm-reduction agencies, Edmonton Police Service, Alberta Health Services and the City of Edmonton to ensure patrons can safely enjoy EDM events at our venue.”

According to the Shaw Conference Centre, the two-day event was provided with an emergency physician, three registered nurse practitioners, two paramedics, five emergency medical technicians and five emergency medical responders.

Global News has made attempts to contact the organizers of the event. On the Get Together website, organizers say visitors will be searched by security upon entry and people who leave the event are not to be allowed back in. The site lists illegal substances and drug paraphernalia among the items prohibited from the event.

Earlier this year, a city committee voted against a proposed moratorium on electronic dance parties or raves in Edmonton.

READ MORE: Edmonton committee votes against moratorium on raves

Watch below: (From June 2018) Police and city administration recommended a moratorium on raves until safety concerns were addressed but Edmonton councillors instead chose to work with industry to find solutions. Fletcher Kent reports.

A city report had recommended a ban on raves, noting that electronic music parties are linked with “widespread consumption of drugs” and “drug-facilitated sexual assaults” that tie up emergency services. The proposed ban on raves was dismissed by some councillors because it could lead to a loss of income or jobs while others believed such a ban would drive the events underground, making them more dangerous.

In October, six people were taken to hospital, some in life-threatening condition, after attending an electronic dance music party at the World Waterpark at West Edmonton Mall.

READ MORE: 6 taken to hospital from electronic dance music party at Edmonton mall

Watch below: Changes made ahead of the 2018 edition of Calgary’s Chasing Summer Festival are aimed at making the event safer for everyone. Bindu Suri filed this report in August 2018.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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My friend Michael Kovrig was arrested in China. Please, pay attention


VANCOUVER—This morning, when I heard that former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig had been arrested in China, I hoped it was one of those brief detentions officials routinely use to intimidate foreign researchers, charity workers and journalists.

I rushed to the Star’s Vancouver newsroom and got on the phone to see if I could find out anything more about my friend. It was past midnight in Beijing, and none of our mutual friends and acquaintances were getting back to me. I was starting to panic.

Finally, I reached the previous Canadian ambassador to China, Guy Saint-Jacques. He was Michael’s boss when he worked in Canada’s Beijing embassy from 2014 to 2016.

When Saint-Jacques told me he feared Michael could be charged with espionage, my heart sank.

It would not be unprecedented. In 2014, Canadian Christian aid workers Julia and Kevin Garratt were arrested by Chinese officials and accused of spying. Many believed it was retaliation for the arrest in Canada that same year of Chinese citizen Su Bin, who was accused of hacking U.S. military databases.

“In my view, this is part of China’s efforts to put pressure on Canada on the Huawei case,” he said, referencing the Dec. 1 arrest of the telecom company’s CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, which my newsroom has been busy covering.

In a state of shock, I filed the former ambassador’s quotes to our story as messages started pouring in from friends who had also learned about Michael’s detention. The Canadian government has since confirmed it.

Michael was one of the first people I met in Beijing four years ago when I worked as a foreign correspondent for European news agencies. A group of Western diplomats invited me to join them at a Chinese folk concert in one of the ancient “hutong” alleyways of the capital city.

We were all new to working in mainland China, though some of us (like me and Michael) had worked in Hong Kong. We were excited to explore Beijing’s night life and cultural offerings.

Michael reached out to me to grab lunch because both of us were interested in politics and human rights in China. We wanted to trade notes on these complex and overwhelming subjects.

After that, he always tried to make it to my gatherings, and he invited me to the fabulous bashes he threw in his apartment — including one party where he even hired a swing band and bartender.

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Despite the wonderful friends I made in my years covering human rights in China, it was depressing to write about the arrests or mysterious disappearances of lawyers, writers and activists.

It was exciting to run with Chinese human-rights lawyers down back streets to evade the police watching their every move — but also crushing to hear when yet another advocate had been arrested.

One attorney, Wang Quanzhang, has not been heard from since he was detained in 2015 during a police sweep on hundreds of lawyers and advocates. I sat with his wife as she cried in a restaurant. She, too, had been put under house arrest.

Last summer, I travelled to the northeastern city of Shenyang to try to find pro-democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo as he lay dying of liver cancer. He remained locked away in a hospital and was the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in state custody since the days of Nazi Germany.

I moved back to Vancouver this July, where I soon got a job with the Star.

I last heard from Michael in the spring, when he told me he was loving his job as senior adviser on northeast Asia for the International Crisis Group, an internationally respected NGO that examines ways to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.

The job allowed him to travel widely, speak with many people and write for a wider audience to promote peace.

Michael is emotionally very open. Many in his social circle knew that he struggled with his decision to take a leave of absence from work as a diplomat in 2016. He chose to do so because he didn’t want another posting somewhere else. He wanted to stay in China and keep learning more about the country.

In short, he was a China nerd and eager to keep learning.

“He loved China,” said Saint-Jacques. “I told him you can take a leave of absence from the government and try to find something, and good luck with your plans. And that’s why he decided to stay and enjoy living and working in China.”

Michael could not have foreseen what would happen to him. I am still hopeful that he won’t be detained for long, even though I know that the outcome could be awful.

A foreign passport can provide little protection. Just look at the case of B.C. winery owners John Chang and Allison Lu, who have been detained in Shanghai since 2016, accused of failing to pay sufficient taxes on wine shipments.

Those who track human-rights cases in China worry that people around the world are becoming numb to their concerns.

Please, pay attention to what is happening with Michael’s case.

Joanna Chiu is assistant managing editor of StarMetro Vancouver. Follow her on Twitter: @joannachiu


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