Semi collides with bus carrying high school basketball team

DOWNS, Ill. — Authorities say a semitrailer in Illinois has collided with a school bus carrying members of a high school basketball team.

The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports that several people were taken to hospitals after the crash Wednesday night on Interstate 74 near Downs in central Illinois. Details about their conditions were not immediately known.

A school district spokeswoman, Dayna Brown, told the newspaper there were 11 people on the bus. They included students who play on the Normal West High School girls’ basketball team.

Normal West athletic director Stan Lewis said the team was returning from a game at a high school in Champaign.

Brown said Normal West will be open as usual Thursday, with counselors on hand.

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Lomachenko vs Pedraza: TV channel, live stream, start time and undercard for world title showdown in New York

Hi-Tech is the WBA lightweight and Ring Magazine champion after a masterclass against Jorge Linares in May and is looking to unify world titles against WBO king Jose Pedraza.

New York is the venue as Loma looks to continue his rise up the ranks and cement his reputation as one of the finest boxers on the planet.

But Pedraza, who has a career record of 25-1, will be no pushover after he won the WBO crown again Ray Beltran back in August.

When is Lomachenko vs Pedraza?

THIS world title clash is set for Sunday, December 9.

Get the coffee ready as the bout is expected around 3am UK time.

Loma turned pro in 2013 but has fought just twelve times, with his only defeat a split-decision loss against Mexican Orlando Salido.

Which TV channel is it on and can I live stream?

YOU can watch all the action unfold on BoxNation.

On air from 1.30am, you can enjoy the undercard before the main event at the Hulu Theater.

The channel is included with BT Sport subscriptions, whilst it can be bought for £12-per-month on Sky (427), Freeview (268), Virgin Media (546), BT TV (415) and Talktalk (415).

If you want to stream, head to the Boxnation website and use their web player or download the app on your mobile or tablet.

What they said

Lomachencko: “I am ready to fight an excellent opponent like Jose Pedraza. My goal has always been to unify the titles, and Pedraza is standing in my way.

"There is something special about fighting in New York City and at Madison Square Garden. The fans in New York City are true boxing fans, and I can’t wait to put on another spectacular performance for them.”

Pedraza: "I am grateful to have this opportunity, since I didn’t get the chance to unify titles when I was champion in the junior lightweight division.

“In this division, I will achieve my goal, and I will do it against one of the best boxers in the world. There will be a surprise on December 8!” 

Who is on the undercard?

  • Vasyl Lomachenko vs Jose Pedraza (WBO, WBA (Super) and The Ring lightweight world titles)
  • Isaac Dogboe vs Emanuel Navarrete (WBO super-bantamweight world title)
  • Teofimo Lopez vs Mason Menard (vacant NABF lightweight title)
  • Brian Cabello vs Daniel Calzada (welterweight bout)

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Free horse racing tips for today: Market Rasen, Wincanton, Leicester and Chelmsford – The Wizard of Odds' betting preview for Thursday, December 6

His trainer has been in great form this season.

Magic dust

EACH-WAY DOUBLE: BARON DU PLESSIS (3.10 Wincanton) has been called a few names in his time but he has ability and in-form Ian Williams has fitted cheekpieces for the first time, which could make the difference.

Pair him with DYLIEV (3.20 Leicester) who didn’t stay when fourth last time and takes a welcome drop in trip today.


MONEY TALKS: SAAHEQ (8.30 Chelmsford) has been a beaten favourite on his past two starts and the money could be down again today.


IN-FORM: Tom Lacey has had six wins from his past 12 runners so watch his SNAPDRAGON FIRE (2.05) and DIMMESDALE (3.40) at Wincanton today.

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Sky Views: The significance of China's toilet revolution

Tom Cheshire, Asia correspondent

The must-have Christmas present this year, The Guardian reports, is “the squatty potty”.

This is a small plastic stool which sits at the base of your loo. Sit down, prop your legs up, and thus adopt a semi-squat position. The tagline: “Poop better.”

Here in China, they have known the benefit of the squat all along.

The first encounter with a proper public toilet here in Beijing can be bracing, especially some of the older ones. These are simple holes in the ground. Many are open-plan.

Fellow occupants also tend to view smoking while on the job as one of the great pleasures in life.

So when you assume the position and make eye contact across the room with an elderly Chinese man – cigarette in mouth, mobile phone in hand, trousers around ankles – it’s natural to feel homesick for Western convenience.

But that soon passes and you’ll wonder how you ever sat down for a number two.

Despite this rich scatological heritage, China’s crappers are changing.

President Xi Jinping himself declared a “toilet revolution”.

For a long time, China’s public bathrooms have suffered from a deserved reputation. As state media has noted, too often they are merely “two bricks, one hole, breeding insects, and a fiery stink”.

So China came up with a “three-year toilet plan”, starting in 2015. It’s now on its second three-year toilet plan.

More than 70,000 have been built; another 64,000 will be completed by 2020.

Some officials have been especially zealous in raising the (bog) standard, pledging vast amount of cash to extremely luxurious lavs.

One in Chongqing, in southwest China, featured mobile phone charging points, TV, wifi access and water fountains, and cost around £100,000 to build.

In Beijing and Nanjing, toilets feature facial recognition (to stop people thieving or wasting loo roll).

Local government has been told to rein in such extravagance.

But China’s revolution is about more than lazy toilet humour: it sheds light on how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) governs, and about its concerns and priorities.

As Neil Thomas, a researcher at think tank Macro Polo, puts it: “The Toilet Revolution should not be trivialised. It is a serious policy platform that enjoys strong backing from the central government.”

Or take it from Xi Jinping himself: “Toilet problems are not trivial, but something significant in the construction of urban and rural civilisation.”

There are several useful lessons. First, that China remains a developing country.

Officials in Beijing often insist on this phrase, to the bemusement of foreigners who see a hyper modern, wealthy capital and the world’s second biggest economy.

But China’s GDP per capita is still about the same level as Kazakhstan. According to state media, around 30 million people still live in poverty – defined as an annual income of less than roughly £260.

Despite China’s rapid economic progress, and the hundreds of millions of people already lifted out of poverty, there is still a long way to go. And most of those poor live in rural areas, where proper sanitation could improve lives the most.

By 2020, the government wants 85% of rural areas to have modern toilets. By 2030, it wants 100%.

Second, as Mr Thomas argues, the focus on toilets reveals the changing priorities of the Chinese government.

For a long time, the deal offered by the CCP to Chinese citizens was a simple one: accept the rule of the party, stay out of politics and we’ll make you rich.

Increasingly, though, Chinese people are asking for more: for better healthcare, education and pensions. Getting rich is not enough.

As Mr Xi noted when he started his second five-year-term as president, the public now wants “a better life”.

That’s where toilets come in.

As imperious and geopolitically ambitious as China has been under President Xi, the toilet revolution is a clear sign that the CCP wants to be seen to address its citizens’ welfare.

For instance, in Xian, home of the terracotta warriors, the hygiene of toilets overseen by party officials is a factor in their “political performance and promotion opportunities”, according to the South China Morning Post.

Put simply, the government wants people to know it gives a crap.

A lot of the new public toilets feature Western-style cisterns, especially near tourist sites. That doesn’t mean abandoning the past entirely, though. The squat bog is still supreme – it’s just getting an upgrade.

Sky Views is a series of comment pieces by Sky News editors and correspondents, published every morning.

Previously on Sky Views: Beth Rigby – Is May’s deal becoming the Brexiteers’ best option?

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Snowbirds to soar at Peterborough Airport’s 50th anniversary celebrations

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerial demonstration team will soar over Peterborough as part of the Peterborough Airport’s 50th anniversary celebrations throughout 2019.

Airport officials on Wednesday morning announced the Snowbirds will be the main attraction during a two-day weekend air show Sept. 21 and 22. It marks the first time in 15 years the Snowbirds have performed in Peterborough.

The air show will also include other aerial demonstrations, aircraft displays, food vendors and kids’ activities.

“We are excited to mark the 50th anniversary by presenting the CF Snowbirds to the public that have supported the airport over the past half century,” said airport general manager Trent Gervais. “About 16,000 people visited the Peterborough Airport during the Air Legends event in 2018 and we look forward to building on those numbers.”

Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien says the airport remains a key area for economic growth.

“The 50th anniversary of the Peterborough Airport is a celebration of the city’s connection to the aviation sector and a tribute to the many people who have contributed to the airport’s success,” she said. “The city’s investment in the airport over the past decade has delivered significant economic growth for our region and this will be a great opportunity for the community to experience it.”

Stay tuned for more details including the air show schedule, static aircraft display information and tickets sales, which will be made available in 2019.

You can learn more about the CF Snowbirds online.


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NBA Rumors: Coach Steve Kerr Talks About Facing LeBron James-less Cavaliers, ‘It’s Just Different’

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers built one of the most intense rivalries in the NBA history. Both teams have ruled their respective conferences in the last four years where the Warriors beat the Cavaliers thrice in the NBA Finals and succeeded to establish a dynasty. However, this year is expected to be different, especially after LeBron James left the Cavaliers in the recent free agency.

Without James, most people believe that the Eastern Conference will have a new representative in the NBA Finals 2019. On Wednesday night, the Warriors faced the Cavaliers for the first time in the 2018-19 NBA season. The Cavaliers established an impressive performance earlier in the game and finished the first half with a six-point lead. Unfortunately, the Warriors exploded in the second half and defeated the Cavaliers, 129-105, in their own house.

In a post-game interview, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr was asked how he felt returning to the Quicken Loans Arena playing against the LeBron James-less Cavaliers.

“It’s just different walking into the building,” Kerr said, via Yahoo Sports. “There’s still a ton of great memories, some of the best basketball I’ve ever seen in my life played between these two teams over the last four seasons. Obviously, they have a new team, so you move on. Part of me is a little nostalgic for that. I’ll miss that.”

The departure of LeBron James didn’t only take away the Cavaliers’ status as a legitimate title contender, but they may even have a hard time earning a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference this season. Without James, the Cavaliers struggled in the 2018-19 NBA season and are currently sitting in the No. 13 spot in the Eastern Conference with a 5-19 record. After realizing that they don’t have the capability to contend for the NBA championship title, the Cavaliers decided to move some of their veterans to focus on the development of their young players.

While the Cavaliers lost the best basketball player on the planet, the Warriors have managed to make a huge upgrade on their roster with the acquisition of All-Star DeMarcus Cousins in the recent free agency. Though Cousins remains sideline due to injury, he is expected to rejoin the Warriors when the real battle begins in the Western Conference Playoffs.

The Warriors may no longer need to worry about the Cavaliers this season, but LeBron James will still be trying to block their way on their road to the NBA Finals 2019. As of now, James and the Los Angeles Lakers are starting to build a good chemistry and expected to be one of the major threats to the Warriors in the postseason.

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2 killed, 3 injured when school bus collides with semi-truck in Illinois

A truck driver in Illinois was going the wrong way on a highway when he slammed headfirst into a school bus on Wednesday night, killing himself and a volunteer school worker, police said.

The 34-year-old semitrailer driver was traveling east in the westbound lane of Interstate 74 in Downs, Illinois, around 8:30 p.m. when he collided with a yellow bus carrying a group of Normal West High School athletes, according to authorities.

The students survived, but a volunteer school worker on the bus, 72-year-old Charles Crabtree, was killed, according to the McClean County Unit District No. 5. Three adults, including two from the bus, were airlifted to local hospitals. Their conditions were unknown as of early Thursday morning.

Authorities said they were withholding the truck driver’s identity, pending next-of-kin notifications.

The students, including JV girls basketball players, were taken to local hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries, the school district said in a Facebook post. It plans to have staff on hand to provide support for those affected by the crash.

“There were 11 people on the bus. All of our students on the bus have been transported to local hospitals with non life-threatening injuries,” the post said. “Please keep the Crabtree family and the entire Normal West Community in your thoughts,” it added in a separate post.

The school said parents of the players involved should come to the campus.

Illinois State Police are investigating the crash.

ABC News’ Andrew Evans contributed to this report.

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Provincial men’s curling championship coming back to Winnipeg

The provincial men’s curling championship is returning to the Manitoba capital.

Curl Manitoba announced on Wednesday the 2020 Viterra Championship will be hosted by the Charleswood Curling Club at the nearby Eric Coy Arena in Winnipeg.

“It is exciting for us to be hosting a provincial championship once again,” the President of the Charleswood Curling Club Scott Barenz said in a media release.

“Our committee of hardworking volunteers are prepared to put on a great event in Winnipeg.”

It’ll be the first time the Charleswood Curling Club hosts the men’s championship after they ran the Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts for the women’s provincial championship in 2017.

“The Charleswood Curling Club did a fantastic job of hosting the 2017 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts,” CurlManitoba Executive Director Craig Baker said. “We know the committee will create another memorable event for all fans and curlers in the province.”

The provincial men’s curling championship was originally held in Winnipeg every year. In the 1960’s they started to move the event around the province and it’s only been contested in Winnipeg once in the last 23 years.

The bonspiel was last played in Winnipeg in 2014 at Bell MTS Iceplex, when it was won by Jeff Stoughton.

RELATED: Strong start for Manitoba’s new curling dream team

The city of Virden will host the 2019 Viterra Championship starting on Feb. 6.

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Possessive boyfriend used sleeping lover’s thumb to unlock her phone and spy

A possessive boyfriend who used his sleeping girlfriend’s thumb to unlock her iPhone and check if she was dating other men now has a criminal record.

Alexander Heavens, 24, pressed Stacey Booth’s thumb against the phone sensor to bypass its Touch ID security system.

He would then wake her up to interrogate her about any names he found.

Heavens, who was paranoid due to cocaine use, had violent rows with Stacey and punched, bit and trampled on her, and also bent back her fingers causing her agony.

At Manchester Crown Court he admitted engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship.

Prosecutor Rob Smith said: “He would grab her finger and use it to unlock her phone as it had her fingerprint ID code.

“He would wake her, ask who everyone was and keep her up all night. She became sleep deprived.”

The court also heard that when Stacey herself suspected Heavens was seeing someone else and asked him about it, he held a kitchen knife to his stomach and screeched at her.

Mr Smith added: “She was worried he would use the knife on her or himself.”

Deferring sentence for six months, Judge Martin Rudland said: “This is extremely serious. You have been given a chance to address your issues.”

Heavens, from Failsworth, near Oldham, was also banned from contacting Miss Booth.

The Serious Crime Act 2015 created the offence of ­controlling or coercive ­behaviour. It can carry a 12-month jail sentence.

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Albanian drug smuggler held in a British jail in Skype TV interview

Albanian drug smuggler, 34, held in a British jail on remand takes part in a 25-minute television interview via Skype from his prison cell

  • Afrim Imeraj, 34, appeared on an Albanian television show from a UK prison cell 
  • He used a smuggled phone to talk on Without Trace to try and find his daughters 
  • Imeraj said he came to the UK illegally and wife disappeared with their children 

A jailed Albanian took part in a television interview from his UK prison cell using a smuggled phone, it has emerged.

Afrim Imeraj, 35, chatted with the presenter of Without Trace in his homeland.

Imeraj is currently on remand and is due to be sentenced for drug smuggling, The Sun reports.

During the twenty-five minute show the father-of-two told presenter Odeta Dume he was looking to find his two daughters, Larissa and Clea, who he had been separated from.

Odeta Dume spoke with Afrim Imeraj, 35, from his prison cell in London – via Skype

Imeraj told Pa Gjurmë on Report TV he came to the UK illegally but his wife disappeared with their children soon after. 

According to Imeraj, their relationship deteriorated shortly after the daughters were born and he was arrested in London on March 23, 2017.

‘After six months the conflicts began, that we were not together and that I had the sentence,’ he said.

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It is believed he is in HMP Pentonville. 

The Skype chat was broadcast on the crime show which has millions of fans.

The host finished with: ‘Thank you for joining us via Skype. I know it must be hard for you.

‘In London it is illegal to have a telephone in jail. So, I would suggest that you switch off your telephone now because you could get punished heavily.’ 

Imeraj is awaiting sentence in HMP Pentonville in London, according to reports. He was looking for his two daughters 

The prisoner said he expects to be released between May and March, next year. 

She claimed his mother-in-law had called in to say his girls were in Germany.

The problem of phones in prison has sparked a major crackdown by the government as videos mocking the system appear online weekly.

The Ministry of Justice is to recruit and train 100 new staff for squads to combat gangs and organised crime inside prisons. 

Figures show there were 32,559 assaults in the last year to Ocotber – on average one every 20 minutes. It is claimed this is fulled by organised gangs in prisons using mobile phones to smuggle drugs and other contraband. 

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