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Aug 16

LEADING OFF: Braves-Marlins melee, Cards soaring, Lester up

A look at what’s happening around the majors Thursday:

HOT TEMPERS

Suspensions could be on deck after Wednesday night’s melee between the Braves and Marlins. Ronald Acuna’s chance to extend his home run streak was put on hold when Miami pitcher Jose Urena hit the rookie slugger in the left elbow with his first pitch, a 97 mph fastball that left Acuna in obvious pain. The benches and bullpens for both teams emptied twice. Urena and Atlanta manager Brian Snitker were ejected, and Snitker had angry words for the pitcher. The 20-year-old Acuna exited in the second inning — the Braves said X-rays were negative and results of further tests would be announced Thursday. Atlanta won 5-2 to complete a four-game sweep.

REDBIRDS SOARING

Marcell Ozuna and the Cardinals try to extend their season-best winning streak to nine games when they go for a four-game sweep of fading Washington. St. Louis, which is 18-9 since the All-Star break, hopes to have Matt Carpenter back in the lineup. On a major tear at the plate, Carpenter was removed from Wednesday night’s game as a precaution after being hit on the hand by a pitch in the seventh inning. X-rays were negative, and Carpenter doesn’t expect to miss any time. “The pain and swelling started to go down a bit,” he said. “I definitely dodged a bullet there.” Before leaving, Carpenter extended his on-base streak to 33 games. He has 17 homers and 30 RBIs during the run.

TRYING TO FIND IT

Struggling lefty Jon Lester and the first-place Cubs visit Pittsburgh in the opener of a four-game series between NL Central rivals. Lester (12-5, 3.89 ERA) is 0-3 with a 10.32 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. Ivan Nova (7-6, 4.42) gets the ball for the Pirates.

LET’S PLAY FIVE

Philadelphia hosts the New York Mets in an odd five-game series that begins with a single-admission doubleheader and ends with a “home” game about 180 miles northeast of Citizens Bank Park. The doubleheader Thursday includes the makeup of a May 12 rainout. Aaron Nola (13-3, 2.28 ERA) starts the opener for the Phillies, who trail first-place Atlanta by two games in the NL East. Steven Matz is set to come off the disabled list for New York. Zach Eflin opposes Mets rookie Corey Oswalt in the nightcap. The teams then have a 6:05 p.m. start time Friday because of a postgame concert. They play a late-afternoon game Saturday before traveling to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for Sunday’s Little League Classic.

IF YOU CAN MAKE IT THERE …

Tampa Bay has lost 12 consecutive series at Yankee Stadium dating to September 2014, but Blake Snell and the Rays can end that dubious streak in the finale of a three-game set. Snell (13-5, 2.18 ERA) makes his second start after a stint on the disabled list because of left shoulder fatigue. He faced Toronto in his previous outing and was perfect through five innings before being pulled. Masahiro Tanaka (9-3, 4.08) pitches for New York.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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Aug 16

The Latest: Indonesia envoy shocked by Malaysia trial ruling

The Latest on the murder trial of two Southeast Asian women in the assassination of the North Korean leader’s half brother (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Indonesia’s ambassador to Malaysia says he was shocked by a judge’s ruling that evidence presented so far warranted continuing the murder trial of an Indonesian suspect in the assassination of the North Korean leader’s half brother.

Indonesian Ambassador Rusdi Kirana told reporters that his government will abide by the ruling.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face last year. They have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show.

A judge ruled Thursday the women should begin entering their defense. He could have acquitted them.

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12:30 p.m.

A Malaysian judge has ruled the two women charged with murdering the North Korean leader’s half brother should begin entering their defense.

High Court Judge Azmi Ariffin said Thursday it can be inferred from evidence presented in court that there was a “well-planned conspiracy” between the two women and four North Korean suspects at large to kill Kim “systemically.”

He said he “cannot rule out that this could be a political assassination” but noted there was no concrete evidence to support this. He called for them to enter their defense after reading his ruling for more than two hours. The defense phase of the trial is expected to last months.

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8 a.m.

Two women on trial for the brazen assassination of the North Korean leader’s half brother have arrived at a Malaysian court for a key ruling.

The judge is to decide Thursday whether to acquit the women of murder or to call them to enter their defense, which could take several months.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face in an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur. The women have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show.

They are the only two suspects in custody and face the death penalty if convicted. If they are acquitted, they may not be freed as prosecutors could appeal or push charges of overstaying their visas..

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Aug 16

Indonesian president urges tolerance in annual speech

Indonesia’s president urged his country to embrace its founding spirit of tolerance in an annual national address just days after choosing a divisive cleric as his running mate in elections next year.

Joko “Jokowi” Widodo told parliament on Thursday that independence fighters were able to throw off Dutch colonial rule by not being divided by political, ethnic, religious or class differences.

“It depends on the people itself whether the nation wants to unite or whether the nation is easily divided,” he said in the speech on the eve of a national holiday marking the 73rd anniversary of independence.

Indonesia’s image as a moderate Muslim nation has been undermined by flaring intolerance in the past several years, from the imprisonment of Jakarta’s Christian governor for blasphemy to the canings of gay men in Aceh, a province that practices Shariah law.

Originally elected on a moderate platform, Jokowi last week chose a conservative cleric, Ma’ruf Amin, who rails against secularism, liberalism, homosexuality and minority religions as his running mate in the presidential election set for April.

“I am sure if the Indonesian people want to remain united, tolerant and care for their fellow children of the nation, then Indonesia is no longer just a name or picture of a chain of islands on a world map, but rather a force respected by other nations in the world,” Jokowi said.

U.N. Human Rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein warned earlier this year that “strains of intolerance” once thought foreign to Indonesia are making inroads in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

In particular, he criticized a push to criminalize LGBT Indonesians, who’ve suffered an onslaught of inflammatory rhetoric from officials for the past two years and attacks by vigilantes.

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Aug 15

Golden Alert issued for missing Warren County man

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WTVQ) — Warren County Sheriff’s Deputies are searching for 26-year-old Ryan King, of Bowling Green, who they say is missing and mentally challenged.

The Sheriff’s Office says they were first notified last Sunday that King was missing, after he had gotten out of a car around 7:30 p.m. at the intersection of Morgantown Road and Veterans Memorial Highway, near the Wal-Mart.

They say King was last seen wearing a blue shirt, white gym shorts, and flip-flops. He is white, with short brown hair and a goatee. He is 5’7″, 150 pounds, with green eyes.

A Golden Alert has been issued because police say King has ADHD and is mentally challenged.

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Aug 15

Storm forecast to become hurricane far out in east Pacific

A strengthening tropical storm is swirling out in the eastern Pacific, while another named storm is moving across the open Atlantic. Neither Tropical storm Lane in the Pacific nor Subtropical storm Ernesto in the Atlantic poses any immediate threat to land.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said late Wednesday that Lane had winds of 50 mph (85 kph) and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane Thursday and a major hurricane by Saturday. Its center was 1,350 miles (2,170 kilometers) southwest of the southern tip of Mexico‘s Baja California Peninsula and heading west at 13 mph (20 kph).

Ernesto had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph (65 kph). It was centered about 630 miles (1,010 kilometers) southeast of Canada‘s Cape Race, Newfoundland, and moving north-northeast at 10 mph (17 kph).

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Aug 15

2018 36 Blitz: Henry Clay Blue Devils

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Henry Clay started 0-3 in 2017, then closed strong winning 6 of its last 9.

What will it take for the Blue Devils to fire on all cylinders out of the gate in 2018?  And do it against Tates Creek this Friday?

Alex Risen has the season preview in the video.

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Aug 15

Search on for missing Laurel Co. teen

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- The Laurel County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a teenage girl.

Deputies say 15-year-old Ivy Casteel was last seen off Walter Eversole Road in East Bernstadt around 9 p.m. on August 13.

The sheriff’s office describes her as 5’2″, medium build, and blonde hair. They say she may be with her boyfriend at an undetermined location.

If you know the whereabouts of Casteel, you are asked to call the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office at 606-864-6600 or 606-878-7000.

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Aug 15

Cambodia's ruling party swept seats, official results show

Final results showed Cambodia’s ruling party swept elections last month for the National Assembly, ensuring long-ruling Prime Minister Hun Sen another term but reinforcing skepticism of the vote’s legitimacy.

The National Election Committee confirmed Wednesday the Cambodian People’s Party won all 125 seats in the National Assembly in the July 29 vote. The only credible opposition force, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, was disbanded last year by the courts, seen as aligned with Hun Sen, and the 19 parties that did compete in the vote were almost all vanity vehicles or meant to give the illusion of democracy.

The vote itself also has been questioned since the CNRP had called for a voter boycott, but the official turnout was a high 83 percent. Hun Sen’s party also won more than two-thirds of the vote in every province.

The new parliament is to convene on Sept. 5, and the next government is to be installed on Sept. 6. Hun Sen, who has held power for 33 years, will receive another five-year term.

“This result shows that our compatriots fully believed in the right leadership of the Cambodian People’s Party which is led by Prime Minister Hun Sen,” Hun Sen said on his Facebook page after the announcement of the official results, adding that voting for his party meant voting for peace and development for the entire country.

He called the July 29 election free and fair and said it was conducted according to the principle of democracy.

In a speech to garment workers Wednesday, Hun Sen said he wanted to offer prominent government posts to the leaders of the 19 other parties that contested the elections.

Sam Rainsy, the self-exiled founder of the opposition CNRP and Hun Sen’s chief political nemesis, said the official voting results were fraudulent.

On his Facebook page, he said the vote totals were inflated by 2 million — purportedly cast in the names of non-voters but counted for the ruling party.

He said the National Election Committee was able to play tricks because the election body is under the ruling party’s control.

Several established poll-watching groups — as well as national contingents from the United States and the European Union — declined to take part because they felt the polls were not legitimate. One of the bigger Cambodian groups participating in poll-watching was led by one of Hun Sen’s sons.

Hun Sen’s party was alarmed by the results of the last general election in 2013, when the race was close enough for the opposition to claim that it would have won had it not been for manipulation of the voter registration process.

Cambodia’s Supreme Court last November ordered the opposition CNRP dissolved on the pretext that it had conspired with the United States to overthrow the government. It banned its leaders from holding office for five years and expelled its members from the elective positions they held. Sam Rainsy already was in exile and the other party founder, Kem Sokha, was in jail awaiting trial on the treason charge.

Hun Sen’s government also silenced critical voices in the media. Over the past year, about 30 radio stations shut down and two English-language newspapers that provided serious reporting were gutted, one forced to close and the other put under ownership friendly to the government.

The United States in December imposed visa restrictions on top Cambodian officials because of the anti-democratic actions taken in the lead-up to the elections, and it said after the vote it was disappointed by the “flawed elections.”

On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. would expand those visa restrictions and in certain cases apply them to immediate family members of the individuals the U.S. had deemed responsible for undermining Cambodian democracy. More details weren’t given.

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Aug 15

Middle school choir teacher accused of sexually abusing child

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A choir teacher at Winburn Middle School in Lexington was arrested Tuesday and charged with sexually abusing a child in his home.

Lexington Police say 32-year old Thomas Steuart committed at least three acts of sexual abuse against a child during the period of April 2015 to July 2017, while multiple underage children spent time at his home.

Investigators say Steuart is charged with three counts of sexual abuse against a child younger than 12 years old.

Police say Steuart would have groups of children at his home often, to go swimming and watch movies.

They say during the course of those events, Steuart sexually abused a young boy at least three times, reaching into his pants while they watched movies.

Steuart is due in court Wednesday morning to answer to the charges.

He was jailed in the Fayette County Detention Center.

Steuart has been placed on leave by Fayette County Public Schools.  The school district’s spokesperson released the following statement:

“We take any allegations of this nature very seriously and would never tolerate the kind of behavior that is alleged in these charges. We will take any and all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our students. The employee in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the case.”

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Aug 15

Clark Co. courthouse gets a new addition

CLARK COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ)- A new cupola is finally being put back on the Clark County Courthouse. The old tower was removed last year because of rotted wood that was causing leaks into the courthouse when it rained.

Campbellsville Industries installed the new clock tower Wednesday. The new cupola is fabricated from a structural steel and aluminum angle inner framework, and clad in a heavy aluminum with a baked-on finish for years of maintenance-free service. The gold leafing on the dome and final was donated anonymously by a local supporter of the clock tower project.

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