Staff gathered on the newsroom floor atAustralian Associated Press’ headquarters in Sydney were told a drop-off insubscribers in the face of free online content meant the company was “nolonger viable.” “This decision’s been made withvery heavy hearts. It’s been made on an economic and financial basis,”chief executive Bruce Davidson said following the announcement. The newswire will close at the end ofJune while its subediting business Pagemasters is set to close at the end ofAugust. (AFP) Staff at Australian Associated Press’ headquarters were told a drop-off in subscribers in the face of free online content meant the company was “no longer viable”. AFP CANBERRA – Australia’s only nationalnewswire will be shuttered after 85 years of operation, with around 180 stafftold Tuesday their jobs will end in June.
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(REUTERS) – England captain Joe Root has said he would miss the first home test match against the West Indies in July if it clashes with the birth of his child, but backed vice-captain Ben Stokes to take the reins in his absence.West Indies’ tour of England, which was pushed back by a month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to begin on July 8 in Southampton behind closed doors, subject to government approval.However, Root’s wife Carrie is due to give birth to their second child in early July and the top order batsman said he is in discussions over whether he would be able to leave the on-site hotel and return to the bio-secure venue.“The due date complicates things slightly. In terms of the bubble and the pregnancy, it’s always an evolving thing,” Root told reporters. “It’s being discussed with the medical team and we’re always trying to stay updated with it. How it will finally look I’m not exactly sure right now.“It will have to come down to government guidelines and we have to make sure we follow those protocols and do whatever is right by that.”Root said Stokes would make a “fantastic” captain in his absence as the all-rounder leads by example. “One of his great qualities as vice-captain is the example he sets — the way he goes about his training, how he wants the ball in difficult circumstances, the way he stands up in difficult scenarios with the bat,” Root added.“He drags people with him, gets the best out of players around him and gives the whole team a lift. People will always follow him, look up to him and want to play for him whether he is captain or not.“Those are great qualities to have as leader and something he could definitely take into captaincy. I love having him as vice-captain and could see him doing a very good job as captain.”
The women’s soccer team heads to San Jose this week for the start of the College Cup, the final two rounds of the NCAA tournament. The No. 7 Women of Troy are among the final four teams standing — winning at home against Eastern Washington, Utah, Texas A&M and Auburn in their earlier ties — and they will face No. 5 Georgetown on Friday for a berth in the championship game.The semifinal against the Hoyas will mark just the second time in program history that USC has competed in the College Cup. The first time came in 2007, when the Women of Troy defeated Florida State in the final to win the National Championship, which remains their only title to date. Finally back in the Cup now, USC will look to make it two-for-two this weekend.The Women of Troy played their final home game of the season last Friday, edging Auburn 1-0 in the quarterfinals. But after playing to a stellar 10-1-1 mark at McAlister Field in 2016, they will now have to leave their friendly confines for their final match (or matches) of the season. Thankfully for them, Avaya Stadium is only a 350-mile-or-so trip from the USC campus. The Hoyas, on the other hand, will have to fly cross-country to attend the Final Four.The Women of Troy will certainly hope the travel slows Georgetown down. Head coach Keidane McAlpine praised the Hoyas’ sharpness on both offense and defense, calling them “the best of both worlds.”“We’re going to have to be on our game for sure,” he said. “They’re on a great run. They bought in and made history, so their energy is way up.”Indeed, Georgetown is in the midst of a very impressive year, having earned its first-ever appearance in the College Cup. Key matches during the regular season included the double-overtime victory over current No. 1 West Virginia in Morgantown in September, but also the Hoyas’ 0-3 loss to Stanford in August (USC beat the Cardinal 3-0 a month later. In the NCAA tournament, Georgetown edged St. Francis, Rutgers, Virginia and Santa Clara — who beat USC in its season opener three months ago.Given the Hoyas’ impressive list of wins this fall, McAlpine expects a significant challenge for his side on Friday.“They are very, very good in the pressure that they bring to you,” he said. “Their attacking players can beat you by themselves, [and] they can beat you in combinations.”No matter what happens, however, the marathon 2016 season will soon come to an end. So close to the finish line, McAlpine said coaches and players alike were taking time to appreciate the support around them.“As long as the season is sometimes … We enjoy playing and getting back to the root of it all — and that’s each other,” he said. “[We’re] enjoying the ride we’re on.”USC-Georgetown is the second of Friday’s semifinal games and will kick off at 4:30 p.m. After No. 1 West Virginia faces No. 6 North Carolina at 2 p.m. Both matches will be televised on ESPNU. Two sides will then play for the National Championship on Sunday, and the Women of Troy will hope to be there, gunning for their second title.