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South Africa and Ghana square off for final Tokyo 2020 ticket

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South Africa Under-23 midfielder Kobamelo Kodisang has warned Ghana to brace themselves for the fight of their lives in Friday’s Afcon third-place playoff match at the Cairo Stadium in Egypt.

South Africa want ticket to Tokyo

The winners of the clash will secure the only remaining ticket to next year’s Tokyo Summer Olympic Games men’s football competition. Both sides would be disappointed by their failure to progress to the final and secure passage to the games.

Kodisang has already featured in three Fifa junior World Cup tournaments (2015 U-17 World Cup, 2017 & 2019 U-20 World Cup), but said qualifying for next year’s Olympics would be a dream come true for him and his teammates.

The under-23s are eager to reach the games where they hope to be able to recreate a moment like the famous win over Brazil in Australia in 2000.

The Sanjoanense FC midfielder says the team have set out their stall to reach the competition for the third time and the second games in a row.

“Qualifying for the Olympics will certainly be a dream come true,” Kodisang said. 

“Our captain, Tercious Malepe, is the only player in this current Under-23 squad who featured in the Rio Olympic Games. He has been instrumental in inspiring the team to fight for qualification for next year’s edition.

“Everyone in the team is just highly motivated to achieve that goal.”

Crunch time for the boys

The 20-year old added that the match against Ghana is not going to be easy. However, the lads will throw everything at it to come out with a win for all the supporters back home. Kodisang is one of many players in the squad who will be eligible to compete at the Olympics next year. Unlike the Women’s football competition at the Games, the men’s competition is restricted to under-23s although at the tournament proper they can bolster their ranks with up to three overage players.

The youngsters understand well the effort that has gone into the attempt to reach the Tokyo 2020 games and they are eager to give the best account of themselves against the emerging Black Stars.

“The coaching staff has been working hard for this matchup,” Kodisang said. “We all know what is at stake here and we will give it our utmost best.”

South Africa lost 3-0 to hosts Egypt in their semi-final date but need to pick themselves up for one last charge if they are to achieve their Olympic dream.

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Sonos CEO Apologizes For Confusion, Says Legacy Products Will Work ‘As Long As Possible’

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On Tuesday, Sonos announced that come May 2020, a number of its older products will no longer receive software updates. Naturally, this frustrated many longtime customers, prompting Sonos CEO Patrick Spence to issue a statement to try to clear up the confusion. The Verge reports: “We heard you,” is how Spence begins the letter to customers. “We did not get this right from the start.” Spence apologizes for any confusion and reiterates that the so-called legacy products will “continue to work as they do today.” “Many of you have invested heavily in your Sonos systems, and we intend to honor that investment for as long as possible.”

Similarly, Spence pledges that Sonos will deliver bug fixes and security patches to legacy products “for as long as possible” — without any hard timeline. Most interesting, he says “if we run into something core to the experience that can’t be addressed, we’ll work to offer an alternative solution and let you know about any changes you’ll see in your experience.” The letter from Sonos’ CEO doesn’t retract anything that the company announced earlier this week; Spence is just trying to be as clear as possible about what’s happening come May. Spence again confirms that Sonos is planning a way for customers to fork any legacy devices they might own off of their main Sonos system with more modern speakers. (Sonos architected its system so that all devices share the same software. Once one product is no longer eligible for updates, the whole setup stops receiving them. This workaround is designed to avoid that problem.)

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Tranmere shock Watford in FA Cup to set up Man Utd fourth-round tie

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Paul Mullin has twice come off the bench to score key goals for Tranmere in this tie

League One Tranmere shocked Premier League Watford in an FA Cup third-round replay to set up a tie against 12-time winners Manchester United.

In a game rescheduled from earlier in the month because of a waterlogged pitch, Rovers capitalised on a hugely under-strength Hornets and best navigated a dire, sand-covered Prenton Park surface to finally settle the tie in extra-time.

Substitute striker Paul Mullin, who came off the bench to score a late penalty at Vicarage Road and complete a remarkable Rovers comeback from 3-0 down to set up this replay, went one better with a headed winner 14 minutes into the extra 30.

The Hornets had come back themselves in normal time, with Kaylen Hinds firing in through a mass of players to level after Emmanuel Monthe had given the home side the lead.

The silver lining for Nigel Pearson’s side is that they will not have to play what would have been a fourth game in nine days in the fourth round on Sunday, and will instead be able to focus all their efforts on avoiding relegation from the top flight.

Tranmere, though, get to do this all over again at the weekend, hosting Manchester United with an even greater shock in mind and on a pitch unlike any other the Red Devils will have played on this campaign.

Rovers dig deep again

This FA Cup run has been something to savour in what has been an otherwise tough season back in League One for Tranmere.

The club have been on an upward trajectory over the past two campaigns, returning to the Football League in 2018-19 after three seasons in the National League and then following that up with a second successive promotion to the third tier.

But they have won just five of 25 league games since then and sit 21st in the League One table.

However, both the original tie and this replay have showcased the battling spirit that Micky Mellon has instilled in his players. And on a sandy, rapidly deteriorating surface such as this, that appetite for battle was key.

They won tackles, stuck a boot in where their opponents would not and remained alive to the opportunities that chaos can create in a minefield of a penalty area.

Blackett-Taylor and 37-year-old veteran midfielder Neil Danns both went close before defender Monthe – also a scorer in the original tie – struck his opener in the first half, and they did not wilt when Watford levelled in the second.

They could easily have won the tie in normal time, but Mullin hit the outside of the post from a tight angle and Danns fired just past the far post with seconds left.

They were not to be denied, though, as Mullin timed his run to perfection to meet a flicked on cross from Liam Ridehalgh and head his side into the fourth round.

More to follow.

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Jira Software Gets Better Roadmaps

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Atlassian today announced an update to Jira Software, its popular project and issue-tracking tool, that brings a number of major updates to the roadmapping feature it first introduced back in 2018. From a report: Back in 2018, Atlassian also launched its rebuilt version of Jira Software, which took some of its cues from Trello, and today’s release builds upon this. “When we launched that new Jira experience back in October 2018, I think we had a really good idea of what we were trying to do with it and where we were taking it,” said Jake Brereton, the head of marketing for Jira Software. “And I think if you fast-forward 14 months to where we are today, we just had some really strong validation in a number of areas that are over the target and that that investment we made was worth it.”

With this release then, Jira Software’s roadmapping tool is getting progress bars that show you the overall status of every roadmap item and that give you a lot more information about the overall state of the project at a glance. Also new here are hierarchy levels that let you unfold the roadmap item to get more in-depth information about the stories and tasks that are part of an item. You can also now map dependencies by simply dragging and dropping items, something that was missing from the first release but that was surely high on the list for many users. Atlassian is also introducing new filters and a number of UI enhancements.

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Sale of multimillion-rand City of Tshwane mayoral house to yield 40 houses for elderly, disabled

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The sale of the multimillion-rand City of Tshwane mayoral house is set to yield 40 houses for the elderly and disabled in Atteridgeville.

The houses are currently under construction.

The mayoral mansion was sold for R5m at an auction in 2017, which the City transferred to the City’s human settlements department to build houses for the needy.

City spokesperson Omogolo Taunyane said Acting Mayor Abel Tau had visited the project in Atteridgeville Extension 19.

“In 2017, the DA-led administration elected to auction the mayoral mansion for R5m in an effort to use resources effectively by targeting low-hanging fruit to accelerate service delivery and support the commitment to be financial prudent in the City’s affairs.

“As a result, 55 jobs have been created. Part of the project’s success in improving access to decent housing is the utilisation of alternative building technology that is reliable, durable, environmentally friendly and easy to maintain,” Taunyane said.

She added upon completion in April 2020, beneficiaries, who were currently on the National Housing Needs Register, would be given much-needed dignity by having a place to call home.

Tau said the selection criteria would be restricted to the elderly, people living with disabilities, child-headed households and the socio-economic circumstances of a family.

He added delays in completing the project was due to the handover process from the main contractor to a new one.

Tau said he would watch the project’s progress closely to avoid further delays.

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Amazon Prime Video Gives Amateur How-To’s, Conspiracy Theories a Stage

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Streaming service touts its large collection of titles, but a majority are uploads — and questionable films are in the mix [Editor’s note: the link may be paywalled; an alternative source wasn’t immediately available.]. From a report: When Walter Wilson, a construction worker from North Carolina, sat down to watch the blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame” on Amazon Prime Video, he ended up seeing something very different: a 2007 documentary, also titled “Endgame,” directed by far-right talk show host Alex Jones. Mr. Jones’s videos have been banned from many mainstream sites like Apple’s iTunes and Facebook for promoting outlandish conspiracy theories. “Endgame” purported to document a clandestine organization of bankers and politicians bent on establishing a “blueprint for global enslavement.” Its availability on Amazon.com’s streaming service highlighted a fact not widely known among subscribers: The e-commerce giant accepts nonprofessional and questionable content to offer a video library that in Amazon’s style can dominate the competition through sheer volume.

While the video service is known for original movies and shows that have won Oscars and Emmys — such as “Manchester By the Sea” and “Transparent” — the site also carries thousands of conspiracy-theory videos, amateur productions and short instructional clips. Similar to Alphabet’s YouTube, some videos are uploaded by individuals who made them or by others owning the rights to the content. Others Amazon bought in bulk as part of vast libraries of amateur content. An Amazon spokeswoman says the company has sought a broad selection of content, including videos from award winners and independent producers.

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Wuhan Coronavirus Is Spreading, but W.H.O. Says It Is Not an Emergency

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The World Health Organization on Thursday declined to declare a global emergency as a deadly respiratory virus spread from China to at least five other countries.

Less than a month after the first few cases of illness were reported in Wuhan, China, at least 600 people are known to have been infected, and at least 18 have died. Most who died had underlying health problems, and many were older than 60.

Carried by travelers, the virus has also reached Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States. Investigators in other countries, including Mexico, are evaluating suspected cases.

Officials in China has closed transportation links from and within Wuhan, and are imposing travel restrictions on other affected cities. These steps have significantly escalated the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the virus just days before the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions travel in and out of the country.

Only five global public health emergency declarations have been made in the past:

  • In 2009, for pandemic influenza;

  • In 2014, for a polio resurgence in several countries;

  • Again in 2014, for the Ebola epidemic in West Africa;

  • In 2016, for the Zika virus epidemic;

  • And in 2019, for an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The decisions are fraught. Health authorities do not want to cry wolf by raising alarms about an illness that turns out not to be severe — or to ignore a real threat. If they act relatively early in an outbreak, as in this case, they may lack key information about the severity and contagiousness of the disease.

There are political and economic considerations as well. Declaring an emergency signals to governments that the situation is serious and that international help and cooperation are needed to contain the outbreak.

Control measures may save not only lives, but money: the SARS epidemic, caused by a related coronavirus in 2002 and 2003, cost the global economy $30 billion to $100 billion, according to an article published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

But declaring an emergency may stigmatize the country struggling with an outbreak, and spur costly bans on travel and trade by other countries, even if health authorities discourage those actions.

“I think there is a general sense that we need to go back and revisit public health emergencies and what they mean,” said Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota. “I think it’s not clear, do they or do they not bring more resources, or more controversy?”

The new infection is caused by a coronavirus, from the same family that caused epidemics of SARS and MERS, which have killed hundreds of people in dozens of countries.

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