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  • Sinead O’Connor dies aged 56
  • Matildas trio face former roommate in Nigeria showdown
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Taxpayers to fund councils’ axed Commonwealth Games jobs

Taxpayers are on the hook to pay millions of dollars in six-figure salaries for specially appointed Commonwealth Games directors at councils for the next three to five years, even though the Games have been cancelled.

Councils in the former Commonwealth Games hubs of Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Gippsland had each already appointed executives to fixed-term roles before the shock announcement by Premier Daniel Andrews last week the event would not be going ahead.

Ballarat Council is one of four councils to have appointed high-paid executives for Commonwealth Games-related jobs on fixed-term contracts.Credit: Eddie Jim

The Age has confirmed two of the jobs are paid at least $200,000 a year, and council sources expected the other roles to be within that range.

The state government has announced a $25 million “support package” for Commonwealth Games-related costs already outlaid by local councils, which includes covering the salaries of the executive roles for years to come.

Read more here.

Sinead O’Connor dies aged 56

Sinead O’Connor, the gifted Irish singer-songwriter who became a superstar in her mid-20s but was known as much for her private struggles and provocative actions as for her fierce and expressive music, has died at 56.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinead. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time,” the singer’s family said in a statement reported on Wednesday, local time, by the BBC and RTE.

Sinead O Connor in Sydney’s Swiss Hotel in 2007.Credit: Lisa Wiltse

Recognisable by her shaved head and elfin features, O’Connor began her career singing on the streets of Dublin and soon rose to international fame. She was a star from her 1987 debut album The Lion and the Cobra and became a sensation in 1990 with her cover of Prince’s ballad Nothing Compares 2 U, a seething, shattering performance that topped charts from Europe to Australia and was heightened by a promotional video featuring the gray-eyed O’Connor in intense close-up.

Nothing Compares 2 U received three Grammy nominations and was the featured track off her acclaimed album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, which helped lead Rolling Stone to name her Artist of the Year in 1991.

Read the full article here.

Matildas trio face former roommate in Nigeria showdown

Football is the world’s biggest sport, but the world within it is a fishbowl.

Just ask Nigeria boss Randy Waldrum, who used to spend his days scouting half of the Matildas team when they were playing in the US Women’s National Soccer League and he was coaching in it.

Aivi Luik (left) and Clare Polkinghorne.Credit: Getty

Or ask Super Falcons midfielder Rasheedat Ajibade, who not only shared a dressing room with Australia stars Katrina Gorry, Clare Polkinghorne and Aivi Luik during her time at Norwegian club Avaldsnes IL, but also an apartment, too.

On Thursday night, with World Cup fortunes on the line, any advantage could be crucial in what Waldrum believes is probably the tightest group in the tournament.

Read the full article here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning, and thanks for your company.

It’s Thursday, July 27. I’m Alex Crowe, and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started:

  • Chris Jones, a senior doctor at Australia’s Nauru offshore processing centre, has spoken out about how Home Affairs contracts, marred by suspect payments to entities linked to senior Nauruan politicians, acted as incentive to keep suffering people on the island.
  • The future of the first home owner grant is under scrutiny in Victoria as it becomes the first state to consider axing the long-standing scheme.
  • Irish singer-songwriter, Sinead O’Connor, who became a superstar in her mid-20s and was known for her provocative actions has died at 56.
  • Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson has defended a decision to take a gamble on an unfit Kyah Simon, as the Matildas gear up for their second World Cup match in Brisbane.
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