Canada police shift manhunt for teen slaying suspects

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) continue their search for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky, two teenage fugitives wanted in the murders of three people, near Gillam, Manitoba, Canada July 29, 2019. (REUTERS)
Updated 31 July 2019

Canada police shift manhunt for teen slaying suspects

  • There is a possibility the two already may have died from an animal attack, dehydration, a serious injury or other causes, Kong said

VANCOUVER, British Columbia: Canadian police said Tuesday they have pulled out of a remote northern town after an intensive search turned up no sign of two fugitive teenagers suspected of killing three people — a college professor, a North Carolina woman and her Australian boyfriend.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police used dogs and drones, helicopters, boats and even a military Hercules aircraft to scour the area around York Landing, Manitoba, but were unable to confirm a possible sighting of the two men reported by members of a neighborhood watch group.
The RCMP tweeted Monday that “the heavy police presence in York Landing has been withdrawn & policing resources in the community will return to normal.”
That shifts the hunt for Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky back toward another remote town, Gillam, where a vehicle that had been used by the suspects was found burned last week.
In a statement, police said a checkpoint on the lone road leading to Gillam had been removed. But it said authorities continued to search the area. “The search of remote areas is being conducted both on foot and in the air,” the statement said.
Nineteen-year-old McLeod and 18-year-old Schmegelsky have been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Leonard Dyck, a University of British Columbia professor whose body was found last week in British Columbia.
They are also suspects in the fatal shootings of Australian Lucas Fowler and Chynna Deese of Charlotte, North Carolina, whose bodies were found July 15 along the Alaska Highway about 300 miles (500 kilometers) from where Dyck was killed.
A manhunt for the pair has spread across three provinces.
Sherman Kong, whose Maple Leaf Survival company in Winnipeg teaches wilderness and extreme cold weather survival tactics, said the terrain around Gillam — 660 miles (1,100 kilometers) north of Winnipeg — is dense and swampy. It’s inhabited by wildlife like bears, as well as insects “that are relentless and quite abundant.”
There is a possibility the two already may have died from an animal attack, dehydration, a serious injury or other causes, Kong said.
But he said that every year, people without formal training survive being lost in the wilderness.
“If we expect these two gentlemen are motivated, and even if they have a certain level of survival skills, that coupled with their intent on not being captured, can often be enough to allow someone to remain at large in the bush and survive longer,” Kong said in an interview with The Associated Press.


Britain’s Johnson plays down Brexit breakthrough hopes

Updated 13 October 2019

Britain’s Johnson plays down Brexit breakthrough hopes

  • EU leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday for a summit held under the pressures of the October 31 Brexit deadline

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down hopes Sunday of a breakthrough in his last-ditch bid to strike an amicable divorce deal with the European Union.
Negotiators went behind closed doors for intensive talks in Brussels after Johnson outlined a new set of proposals to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Thursday.
They have very little time left to succeed.
EU leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday for a summit held under the pressures of the October 31 Brexit deadline just two weeks away.
The 27 would ideally like to have a full proposal to vote on by then.
But the sides are trying to achieve in a few days what they had failed to in the more than three years since Britons first voted to leave the European Union after nearly 50 years.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier called the weekend negotiations “constructive” enough to keep going for another day.
“A lot of work remains to be done,” Barnier stressed in a statement to EU ambassadors.
“Discussions at technical level will continue (Monday).”
Downing Street said Johnson also told his cabinet to brace for a cliff-hanger finish.
He reiterated “that a pathway to a deal could be seen but that there is still a significant amount of work to get there and we must remain prepared to leave on October 31,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
Johnson rose to power in July on a promise not to extend Brexit for a third time this year — even for a few weeks.
Breaking that pledge could come back to haunt him in an early general election that most predict for the coming months.
Johnson is under parliamentary orders to seek a extension until January 31 of next year if no deal emerges by Saturday.
He has promised to both follow the law and get Britain out by October 31 — a contradiction that might end up being settled in court.
Outgoing EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker said British politics were getting more difficult to decipher than the riddle of an “Egyptian sphinx.”
“If the British ask for more time, which they probably will not, it would in my view be a historical nonsense to refuse them,” Juncker told Austria’s Kurier newspaper.
Ireland’s Varadkar hinted on Thursday that he could support the talks running on up to the October 31 deadline if a deal seemed within reach.
The few details that have leaked out suggest a compromise around the contentious Irish border issue Britain’s Northern Ireland partially aligned with EU customs rules.
Whether such a fudge suits both Brussels and the more ardent Brexit backers in parliament who must still approve a deal should become clearer by the end of the week.
Britain will only avoid a chaotic breakup with its closest trading partners if the agreement is also passed by the UK parliament — something it has failed to do three times.
Johnson heads a minority government and must rely on the full backing of not only his own fractured Conservatives but also Northern Ireland’s small Democratic Unionist Party.
DUP’s parliamentary leader Nigel Dodds warned Johnson that “Northern Ireland must remain entirely in the customs union of the United Kingdom” and not the EU.
“And Boris Johnson knows it very well,” Dodds told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.
The comments do not necessarily rule out DUP support.
UK media are presenting Johnson’s mooted compromise as a “double customs” plan that could be interpreted to mean that Northern Ireland is leaving EU rules.
Yet details are still under discussion and the prime minister’s allies are urging lawmakers to give the British leader a chance.
Main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn signalled Sunday that he would wait for the outcome of the EU summit before trying to force an early election.
But he added that there was “a strong possibility” that those polls would come before the Christmas break.