Netanyahu's U.S. visit overshadowed by developments in corruption probe
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■Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's U.S. visit overshadowed by developments in ongoing bribery and corruption probe
■Toronto Police say they have recovered the remains of a seventh person in their investigation of Bruce McArthur, and they've released a disturbing photo of a man whom they believe is an unidentified victim
■Donald Trump's off-the-cuff decision last week to slap tariffs on foreign-produced steel and aluminum isn't yet final, but it looks like Canada isn't going to get a pass
Netanyahu packs his troubles
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington for a five-day U.S. visit. But his mini-summit with President Donald Trump, and a planned effort to relaunch an American-backed Middle East peace process, have now been overshadowed by troubles back home.
Today, Israeli police confirmed that Nir Hefetz, a longtime Netanyahu media advisor and confidant, has reached a deal to testify against the prime minister and his wife in an ongoing bribery and corruption investigation, and will reportedly provide audio recordings
The so-called Case 4000 revolves around still-unproven allegations that Netanyahu's government gave assistance to Israeli telecom giant Bezeq in exchange for favourable coverage on its popular news website Walla.
Hefetz, described by the Haaretz newspaper as Netanyahu's "all-round Rasputin-Haldeman-Stephen Miller kind of guy," is said to be the man who brokered the alleged arrangement.
Israeli media were quick to speculate that the former spin doctor might have information to share about three other ongoing police investigations into the prime minister's dealings while in office — two of which have now been sent to prosecutors for a decision on charges.
Netanyahu maintains that he has done nothing wrong, and says that the probes are politically motivated.
But all the same, the news cannot be welcome. Hefetz is the third advisor to strike a deal with police, following agreements with his former chief of staff, Ari Harrow, and the former director of the communications ministry, Shlomo Filber.
Netanyahu has now been questioned by police eight times over the past year, most recently on Friday.
And there may be more to come, with Israel's Channel 10 network reporting that Hefetz is cooperating on other investigations that have not yet been publicly disclosed.
The hunt for a victim's name
(Note: This story contains an image some may find disturbing.)
Toronto Police say they have recovered the remains of a seventh person in their ongoing investigation of Bruce McArthur, and they have released a disturbing photo of a man whom they believe is an unidentified victim of the alleged serial killer.
"I do not want to release this photo, but I am doing so as a last resort," Det.-Sgt Hank Idsinga, the lead investigator in the case, told a press conference this morning. "I have never done this, and I do this with great hesitation. It's obviously a key piece of evidence.
"We believe this is a photo of a deceased person."
The picture shows a heavyset, dark-haired, bearded man with what appears to be a facial injury on his left cheek. His eyes are partially closed.
Idsinga did not disclose how the police obtained the photo or the circumstances under which it was taken, but its release appears to answer the question at the heart of the case — how investigators were able to lay murder charges before they had recovered and identified the remains.
To date, McArthur, 66, has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder in the disappearances of Andrew Kinsman, Majeed Kayhan, Selim Esen, Dean Lisowick, Soroush Mahmudi and Skanda Navaratnam
Although police have now recovered seven sets of human remains from large planters that the landscaper had stashed at a midtown Toronto home, they have so far identified only three of them. The bodies of 49-year-old Kinsman and Mahmudi, 50, were identified via fingerprints, and 40-year-old Navaratnam via dental records.
It was only in Navaratnam's case that investigators waited for the forensic identification before laying a murder charge.
The obvious inference has always been that there was other undisclosed evidence that led police to conclude the men were dead and McArthur was their alleged killer. Something the release of the apparent post-mortem photo now seems to confirm.
"Trophies" are often thought to be a hallmark of serial murderers. Although some research suggests that the patterns aren't as clear-cut as books, movies and television pretend.
Idsinga today reiterated that his investigation is far from complete, and that police are examining cold cases that go back decades for possible links to McArthur.
And it will likely be some time before DNA results are available for the four as-yet-unidentified sets of remains.
In the meantime, police are asking for the public's help to identify the man in the photo.
"We need to put a name to this face," Idsinga told reporters.
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How northern health care is failing patients
The National sent Nick Purdon to northern Ontario to follow a doctor and speak to patients to find out how people in Ontario's far North are being served by the health care system:
"I'm here trying to express some feelings," is the first thing Christian Sakakeesic said to me.
I did expect that. In fact, I was a little intimidated by him. He looked tough, with his hoodie up and his earbuds in. But when I asked him why he was staying at the medical hostel in Sioux Lookout, Ont., he just started to talk — as honestly and bravely as anyone I've ever met.
"I couldn't express any feelings back in my reserve, because I just lost my friend — he got killed over there, and my uncle too. That's why I am here, trying to express my feelings."
Christian told me how his best friend and his uncle died of gunshot wounds. He knew he needed help, but there was nobody in Cat Lake, the tiny First Nation where he's from, who he could trust.
So Christian flew out to Sioux Lookout for a few days to stay at the Jeremiah McKay Kabayshewekamik hostel.
The 100-bed hostel is one of the most remarkable places in the country. It's where patients who live in the small indigenous communities that dot the northernmost part of Ontario stay when they fly out to get health care.
These are people who have to leave their homes to access what most Canadians would consider basic services — things like a mental health appointment.
Tonight on The National, watch Nick Purdon and Leonardo Palleja's feature about the Sioux Lookout hostel, and how health workers say the system is failing northern residents.
■READ: Health system neglects northern patients by design, doctor says
Trade war a go-go
Donald Trump's off-the-cuff decision last week to slap tariffs on foreign-produced steel and aluminum isn't yet final, but it looks like Canada isn't going to get a neighbourly pass.
The last U.S. president to try this sort of thing — George W. Bush in 2002 — exempted his NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico, as well as most developing nations, tightly targeting steel makers in China and Europe.
But yesterday, senior Trump advisors signalled that the new duties — 25 per cent on steel, and 10 per cent on aluminum — will be one-size-fits-all