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World Cup 2026: US-Mexico-Canada bid chosen as host

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(CNN) — It has been a year of increased political tension between the United States, Mexico and Canada — but in eight years’ time the three countries will unite to host one of the world’s biggest sporting spectacles.

At a FIFA association member vote in Moscow Wednesday, the joint North American bid won the right to host the 2026 World Cup, comfortably beating rivals Morocco in the vote.

It will be the first time the World Cup will be shared by three host nations, but since the unified bid was announced in April 2017 political relationships between the US and its proposed co-hosts have been touchy at times.

US President Donald Trump called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “meek and mild” in a tweet over a tariff dispute following a G7 meeting earlier in June, while tariffs imposed on Mexico along with plans for a border wall have also ruffled feathers south of the border.

Soon after the result was announced, Trump tweeted: “The U.S., together with Mexico and Canada, just got the World Cup. Congratulations – a great deal of hard work!”

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The United Bid promises to bring all three nations closer together for what will be the largest edition of the tournament to date — 48 countries will compete — and the most lucrative. The North American bid’s revenue forecast was $14.3 billion, with a record profit of $11 billion for FIFA, the sport’s governing body.

“Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup is a rare and important moment to demonstrate that we are all truly united through sport,” said Carlos Cordeiro, President of US Soccer and Co-Chair of the United Bid, in Moscow.

The last time the US hosted a men’s World Cup was in 1994, and Mexico in 1986. Canada has never previously hosted World Cup matches, though it has staged a women’s World Cup.

READ: From headbutts to the ‘Hand of God’: 11 moments that shook the World Cup

Russia votes for North American bid

The vote, in which all FIFA associations were, for the first time, eligible to vote for the host, was cast at the 68th FIFA Congress on the eve of the 2018 edition of the tournament, which begins Thursday.

The United Bid won by a 134-65 margin, with one vote for “neither” host. Seven federations — the four bidding nations along with three US dependent territories — recused themselves.

After the controversial award of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar respectively, FIFA promised a “more open and transparent” vote this time.

Previous hosts had been decided by the FIFA Executive committee, now known as the FIFA Council.

Russia voted for the North American bid, as did South Africa — the only African nation to host a World Cup.

Football powerhouses Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands and France backed the losing bid, as did China, while Iran was the country that voted for “neither,” while Spain, Slovenia and Cuba abstained.

Under the North America proposal, 60 of the tournament’s matches will be held in the US, including everything from the quarterfinals onwards, while Mexico and Canada will host 10 games each.

Fraught relations

As well as trade tensions, there had also been worries that President Trump’s travel ban blocking immigration from several Muslim-majority countries — which is being challenged in the US Supreme Court — could affect fans, officials and players.

However, Trump has promised FIFA that foreign teams, officials and fans will be able to travel to the US.

The United bid shared with CNN Sport a letter sent to FIFA in March by the US government which said it “intends to issue visas, subject to eligibility under U.S. law, without regard to race, skin color, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, disability, wealth, birth or any other status, or sexual orientation.”

The statement said that the bid organizers were confident that “every eligible fan and member of our FIFA family will have unhindered access to our country to experience and celebrate the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”

And despite political differences, the World Cup bid has given the US, Canada and Mexico a common cause, with the North American bid having received the full support of their governments.

Indeed, Trump courted controversy in April with comments made about the vote.

“The US has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup,” Trump tweeted.

“It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid.

“Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?”

The tweet caused FIFA to direct attention to the organization’s ethics rules governing the bid process and “to the Bid Rules of Conduct incorporated therein,” a spokesman said.

READ: How Diego Maradona redefined football in the space of less than five minutes

One-sided race

The outcome of the vote had been expected, despite a tightening of the race in recent days.

Ahead of Wednesday’s ballot, the “United” bid from North America came out on top in a FIFA evaluation, with various aspects including stadiums, accommodation, transport and organizing costs factored in.

Out of five, the joint bid got a score of four, while the Moroccan bid scored just 2.7, with the North African bid deemed “high risk” in three areas because of a lack of infrastructure to host the 80-game tournament.

The United Bid also estimated double the profits that the Morocco bid had calculated — $10 billion to $5 billion for the North African nation.

Morocco had said it needed to spend almost $16 billion on infrastructure while the North American bid’s revenue forecast ($14.3bn) far outstripped what Morocco had to offer ($7.2bn).

Labor board: Taxpayers owe union workers $412 million in unpaid step increases

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SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Illinois News Network) — As early as this fall, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois’ lawmakers could see a $412 million hole added to a budget that many say was unbalanced to begin with.

The Illinois Labor Relations Board Tuesday evening denied Rauner’s request to send a ruling on $412 million in step increases that an Illinois court says is owed to 14,000 members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 to an administrative law judge for another hearing.

Rauner froze automatic compounding pay hikes when he took office in 2015, saying lawmakers never appropriated the money. After AFSCME challenged Rauner’s freeze, Illinois courts said those step increases were owed.

Rauner’s office estimates it will cost $412 million for just the four years of higher pay if the state is forced to pay all of the past years’ frozen step increases in the fiscal 2019 budget.

In a news release, AFSCME says it will petition for a “make-whole remedy” after the Labor Relations Board meets in July, when it is expected to refer the matter to a compliance officer. The officer then will have 75 days to act.

“Our union will keep doing everything possible to make sure that employees are placed on the correct step and made whole for the increases they’ve been denied,” AFSCME Executive Director Roberta Lynch said.

Step increases, an automatic pay increase not based on merit or performance but based on provisions of AFSCME’s contract with the state, are calculated as a percentage increase in each additional year of seniority up to a maximum of 11 years. In 2015, the cost of the raises was $38.7 million, but that balloons to more than $170 million by the coming fiscal year.

Illinois state workers are among the highest paid in the nation, averaging $63,000, not counting benefits.

Rauner’s office was not immediately available to respond to requests for comment.

Necker’s Gift of Giving salutes Children’s Therapy Center of the Quad Cities

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EAST MOLINE -

Round and round the school bus barn in East Moline, it's the simple joy of riding a bike.

For Rawley Sisson, 10, each lap builds a brighter smile.

"It has changed our life," said Rawley's mom, Jana Rose Summers.  "Amazing."

Hosted by the Children's Therapy Center of the Quad Cities, this is the annual iCan Shine Bike Camp.

"This completely conquered the fear for him and helped him get that bravery to do it," said Summers.

Born prematurely at just two pounds, Rawley knows what it's like to beat the odds.  Now, overcoming obstacles and gaining confidence at the Children's Therapy Center.

"My son went from a child who couldn't put on his own shoes and tie them or get dressed himself," Summers continued.  "He's doing all that now."

A portion of June sales at Necker's Jewelers will benefit the Children's Therapy Center in this Gift of Giving.

"We help kids that are referred to us by their doctors, regardless of their situation," said Chris VanSpeybroeck, vice president of development.

During the week-long camp, there are kids with all kinds of conditions.  Nearly all of them will master the art of riding.

"These poor volunteers are just sweating up a storm and working so hard for these kids," Summers said.

By Day Three, Rawley is off the training bike and pedalling like a pro.

"He's already on two wheels doing it," Summers said.

With each lap, there's more freedom.

"They have wonderful therapists that really help their lives," she said.

The outdoor course offers exercise, independence and a break from doctor's offices.  It's a chance to be a kid.

"He's getting so much more strength and confidence again just from being at Children's Therapy Center," Summers said.  "They do so many things to help our kids out."

Round and round, this ride comes full circle for Rawley Sisson.

"This will open up a whole new world of us being able to go places," Summers concluded.

For more information: http://www.ctcqc.org

Honor Flight plans 45th flight for veterans, receives $50,000 donation from Hy-Vee

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BETTENDORF, Iowa - In 10 years, Honor Flight of the Quad Cities has organized 45 honor flights for local veterans.

The flights carry veterans from the Quad City International Airport to Washington D.C. for one day.

While visiting the nation's capital the veterans, who spent part of their lives fighting for American freedom, tour military monuments and attend the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Each of the day trips costs about $90,000.

On June 13, grocery chain Hy-Vee announced that they would donate $50,000 to the organization to help sponsor the 45th flight.

This is not the first time Hy-Vee has donated such a large amount of money to this veteran focused organization.

In fact, over the years, Hy-Vee has sponsored 10 flights and has donated approximately $450,000.

The store also sponsors a pre-flight dinner for the veterans and their guests.

After the flight on August 30, the entire community is invited to head over to the Quad City International Airport in Moline.

There, they will welcome home the veterans. A moment that organizers say is one of the most emotional and meaningful parts of the trip.

Initiative to break California into 3 states to go on November ballot

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(CNN) — An initiative that would divide California into three separate states qualified Tuesday to appear on the ballot in November’s general election.

Californians will vote whether to separate into three states: California, Northern California and Southern California — subject to approval by US Congress.

The proposal by venture capitalist, Tim Draper to break up California in a campaign called “Cal 3,” received more than 402,468 valid signatures — surpassing the amount required by state law.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla will certify the initiative as qualified for the November 6th ballot on June 28.

The reasons for wanting to split California up?

Draper has said that partitioning California into three states would allow regional communities to make better and more sensible decisions for their citizens to address the state’s most pressing issues, including the school systems, high taxes, deteriorating infrastructure and strained government.

“The California state government isn’t too big to fail, because it is already failing its citizens in so many crucial ways,” Citizens for Cal 3 campaign spokeswoman Peggy Grande said in a Tuesday statement. “The reality is that for an overmatched, overstretched and overwrought state-government structure, it is too big to succeed. Californians deserve a better future.”

“It will simply divide the state into smaller, more manageable populations. Think of North Carolina and South Carolina; North Dakota and South Dakota; West Virginia and Virginia — California is already known for its Northern and Southern identities,” according to the Cal 3 website.

But critics have slammed the partition effort as a distraction and say that breaking up the state would cost billions of tax dollars.

Under the proposal, each state would have about 12.3 million to 13.9 million people.

California- This would include six counties: Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Benito counties.

Southern California- This would include 12 counties: San Diego, San Bernardino, Orange, Riverside, Mono, Madera, Inyo, Tulare, Fresno, Kings, Kern and Imperial counties.

Northern California- This would include 40 counties including the San Francisco Bay Area and the remaining counties north of Sacramento.

What are the chances of this happening?

If the measure is approved by voters, the governor will transfer the notice of state approval to Congress, which will vote to ratify the creation of the new three-state structure.

Constitutional lawyer and professor Jonathan Turley had told CNN that congressional approval is not impossible, but not likely to happen, as Democrats could feel they have too much to lose.

“Dems consider California to be a single golden empire, it would be hard for them to accept it as three golden empires.”

California gets 55 electors in the Electoral College — a powerful number that has been a huge unmovable bloc for the Democratic candidate. Three smaller states would change that equation, which could make a lot of Democrats just as nervous as the idea of four new senators would make Republicans nervous.

Cal 3 sees this as an advantage: “Electoral College votes will be divided among the new states based on population, roughly the same as they are apportioned today, but with the additional recognition that comes with more direct and proportional influence over the Electoral College totals.”

It says that the California states will have more of the region’s influence within the federal government with more seats in the US Senate.

A CNN analysis in April found that even if California split into three states, it would still be underrepresented in the Senate compared with most of the US.

California is rife with ideas on separation and secession

This isn’t the first time that Draper attempted to get an initiative to break apart the most populous state. He backed a proposal to turn California into six states in 2014 but it failed to get the required number of signatures to qualify and the measure was not presented to voters.

Last year, an effort dubbed Calexit sought to bring the question of whether California should secede from the US to this year’s ballot. But the Russia-based leader of that campaign backed off.

Plenty of ideas about splintering California into smaller states have popped up — including an effort by rural, more conservative northern counties that seek to break away to become “State of Jefferson.” Another group proposes the creation of another state called New California, comprising mostly inland counties, over grievances of high-state taxes, regulation and single party politics.

While proposals about separating California have been bandied about for years, Golden State voters will have their say on this particular initiative in November.

Two Indian Bluff golfers make back-to-back holes-in-one on the same hole, on the same day

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The odds are 17 million to 1, but two ladies beat those odds yesterday at Indian Bluff Golf Course in Milan, Illinois.

On Tuesday, June 12th, 2018, Sharon Kundel and Debby Wheeler pulled off a rare feat – each making a hole-in-one on the same hole within minutes of each other.

“Both aces came on the 5th hole, which is 126 yards for females and a par 3,” said a press release from Rock Island County Forest Preserve Director Jeff Craver. “Kundel was using a 7-iron and Wheeler a driver. Both had three witness with them.”

The holes-in-one were made as the women were golfing on Ladies’ Day, just one group apart.

According to the National Hole-in-One Registry, the odds of two amateur golfers getting aces on the same hole at the same golf course on the same day are about 17 million to 1. 16% of holes-in-one made are by women and the average hole-in-one length for females is 111 yards.

East Moline Police Officers to play basketball with community tonight

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On Wednesday, June 13th, East Moline Police Officers are trading in their uniforms for basketball jerseys.

The 3rd Annual Hoops 4 Hope takes place tonight at Hereford Park, 400 13th Street, East Moline. The goal of the event is to bring families in the Hereford Park community together with the police officers who serve them.

The event was created through a partnership with the East Moline Police Department and United We Ball, led by Kannon Burrage - an East Moline native and United Township graduate who played basketball overseas. It's sponsored by East Moline Main Street and will also include bounce houses, giveaways, free books, freed food, a cheer clinic, and new this year - kickball.

The event starts at 4pm and the main basketball game starts at 5pm.

One person injured in officer-involved shooting in Viola, Illinois Tuesday evening

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One person is hurt another person has been arrested after an officer-involved shooting in Viola, Illinois

It happened during the evening hours on Tuesday, June 12th when Mercer County Deputies were conducting an investigation involving illegal firearms and drugs in the rural Viola area, according to a press release from the Mercer County Sheriff's Department.

The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the hospital. The other person was taken into custody and was transported to the Mercer County Jail. Both people are facing several charges including felon in possession of a weapon, possession of stolen firearms, possession of methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The officer involved in the shooting is being investigated by the Mercer/Henry County Major Crime Task Force. This is an ongoing investigation and all names are being withheld pending the investigation. Mercer County Deputies were also assisted by first responders from both New Windsor and Viola.

A sweltering Father’s Day is still on track

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It’s going to be a perfect 10 today! Drier air moving in by the afternoon will help to drop the humidity, and highs will only make it to the low 80s. On top of that, we’ll see plenty of sunshine.

More cloud cover will move in from the west later tonight, but most of the rain looks to stay west of us. Lows will drop into the upper 50s.

We’ll warm back up into the low 80s on Thursday, and there is a chance for a few showers and storms late that night. The heat and humidity will begin to crank up on Friday with highs in the low 90s. A few more isolated showers and storms are possible as well.

Our Father’s Day Weekend will be sweltering! Highs will easily soar into the mid to upper 90s with plenty of sunshine on Saturday and Sunday. With the humidity in place, the heat index will surpass 100 at times. Be sure to take plenty of breaks and drink plenty of water if you plan on being outdoors this weekend!

Meteorologist Taylor Graham

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