When photographer Lincoln Clarkes began taking portraits of heroin-addicted women in a Vancouver drug ghetto, he realized many risked an untimely end. He did not know he was recording the last days of the victims of Canada's worst serial murders. \nFive of the women he hoped to have helped with his poignant portraits of femininity amid squalor are among scores still missing. \nHe expects many more to be named as police examine DNA evidence. \n"I just don't want to think about the final number," he said. \nPig farmer Robert "Willie" Pickton, 53, has pleaded not guilty to 15 murders, but is suspected in up to 65 cases of women who vanished from Vancouver's downtown eastside, known as Low Track. It is one of North America's worst areas for poverty, drugs, prostitution, Aids and crime. \nPickton was arrested last year and his committal hearing resumes on June 30 after a recess, while police continue excavating the grounds of his 4,5-hectare farm. He allegedly lured the women to the farm, 35km east of Vancouver's shiny skyscrapers and its seedy 10-block Low Track neighborhood. He is alleged to have entertained them in a building he called Piggy's Palace and then killed them. \nReports persist that he ground up the bodies and fed the remains to his pigs. \nClarkes, 45, once a fashion photographer in London and Paris, lives three blocks from Low Track. One summer day in 1997 he caught sight of Patricia Johnson, then a 20-year-old mother of two children she had abandoned, and a heroin addict and prostitute. They talked and Clarkes took her picture with two female friends. \nWhen he saw the prints, he wept. He was to spend Sunday afternoons for the next five years photographing what, in a new book of the portraits of beauty in a beastly place, he called Heroines. \nIn 1997, a Low Track prostitute told police she had been handcuffed and stabbed by Pickton, but he claimed self-defense and was never charged. \nA year later, police heard that bloody clothing, identity cards and handbags were seen at the farm. But officers were unconcerned by vanishing addicts -- even while the numbers increased each month. \nClarkes first heard of a missing woman in 1998, when he showed to her best friend a portrait of Sheila Egan, 19, who had disappeared a fortnight earlier. \n"She grabbed it and clasped it to herself, and burst into tears," he recalled. "She said she knew Sheila was dead because she hadn't called. That's when I realized something was happening, but I didn't know what." \nEgan never reached her twentieth birthday. With Johnson, she is among the 15 named in the murder charges. \nJohnson became Clarkes' friend and left him a phone message days before vanishing in 2001. Although addicted to heroin, Egan seemed to Clarkes "so fresh and young, she should have still been in school. But she was also a bit of a fashion plate and a party girl who didn't know when to stop partying, I guess." \nAnother Clarkes heroine was Julie Young, 31, last seen in October 1998. She was "heroin sick" when Clarkes first saw her. "She was hurting badly for a fix, but she still managed to pose." The women loved the portraits because, he said, "here was someone with a genuine interest in them, not for sex or drugs, but for art and photography."
Some say that the third time’s a charm. Not so for SpaceX, whose unmanned rocket on Wednesday exploded on the ground after carrying out what had seemed to be a successful flight and landing — fresh on the heels of two fiery crashes. It was yet another flub involving a prototype of the Starship rocket, which SpaceX hopes one day to send to Mars. “A beautiful soft landing,” a SpaceX commentator said on a live broadcast of the test flight, although flames were coming out at the bottom and crews were trying to put them out. The rocket exploded a few minutes later,
LEGAL ORDEAL: The heavy caseload involving 47 defendants and the vagaries of a Beijing-imposed security law made it difficult for the court to rule on bail requests Dozens of Hong Kong democracy advocates charged with subversion yesterday returned to court to complete a marathon bail hearing that was adjourned overnight when four defendants were rushed to hospital after hours of legal wrangling. Police on Sunday arrested 47 of the territory’s best-known dissidents for “conspiracy to commit subversion” in the broadest use yet of a sweeping National Security Law that Beijing imposed on the territory last year. The defendants represent a broad cross-section of Hong Kong’s opposition, from veteran former pro-democracy lawmakers to academics, lawyers, social workers and youth advocates. Hundreds of supporters gathered outside a courthouse on Monday for the
China, under growing global pressure over its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign to push back, including explicit attacks on women who have made claims of abuse. As allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang mount, with a growing number of Western lawmakers accusing China of genocide, Beijing is focusing on discrediting the female Uighur witnesses behind reports of abuse. Chinese officials have named women, disclosed medical data and information on their fertility, and accused some of having affairs and one of having a sexually transmitted disease. Officials said that the information was evidence of bad character,
The plane laden with vaccines had just rolled to a stop at Santiago’s airport in late January and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was beaming. “Today is a day of joy, emotion and hope,” he said. The source of that hope: China — a country that Chile and dozens of other nations are depending on to help rescue them from the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged about 500 million doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press (AP). With just four of China’s many