Expats experience Chinese cultural heritage in Beijing

To further introduce China’s natural scenery and cultural heritage to foreign visitors, a cultural salon was organized in Beijing’s Haidian district on Saturday.

Visitors could choose from a variety of activities, such as a tour to Cuihu Lake National Wetland Park, an art exhibition or a dance drama based on the life of Nalan Xingde, a renowned poet from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Representatives from foreign embassies, members of foreign chambers of commerce, academics and foreign students attended the event.

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Since its first launch in 2013, the cultural salon has promoted cultural heritage in China, including Peking Opera, Qunqu Opera, Chinese kung fu, folk dance and imperial cuisine.

Dazed by glaze

China and Portugal are jointly hosting a show of azulejo art in Beijing as part of a diplomatic anniversary, Wang Kaihao reports.

Chinese palatial architecture suffused in splendor and mixed with the sights of city streets bathing in the sunshine of southern Europe is what this exhibition gives visitors at first glance.

The Land of the Glazed Cities: 500 Years of Azulejo in Portugal was unveiled on June 11 at the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, in Beijing.

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In Portuguese, azulejo refers to artworks on glazed ceramic tiles. The exhibits also tell how porcelain, which is rooted in China, grew into another medium of artistic expression on the other side of the Eurasian landmass, thanks to cultural communication over half a millennium.

China-Russia Expo exhibit boosts cultural bonds

The International Oil Painting Exhibition of Harbin opened at the capital city of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang province last Saturday. As one of the major events at this year’s China-Russia Expo, it aims to bring people together through art. Featuring over 1,000 paintings and sculptures, the exhibit builds a journey through the artistic landscape from China to countries like Russia and DPRK.

Having served as an important platform for trade and economic cooperation since its launch in 2014, this year’s China-Russia Expo focuses on promoting China-Russia collaboration at local levels, organizers said.

The exhibition will run through June 20.

Chinese film ‘The Climbers’ holds news conference in Shanghai

The 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival, one of Asia’s largest, opened Saturday, presenting more than 3,900 films from 112 countries and regions.

The Chinese movie The Climbers, starring Zhang Ziyi, Wu Jing, Zhang Yi and Jing Boran, tells the story of China’s first national mountaineering team to conquer Qomolangma, known in the West as Mount Everest.

According to the film’s news conference held on June 16, it relies on a great number of records and information to recreate this epic event. The film is scheduled to hit the big screen on Sept 30.

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How Man Utd selling Pogba will undermine Solskjaer

The Frenchman has spoken of needing a new challenge, but the United boss’ vision will be publicly shattered if the club agree to sell their star man

Manchester United are adamant that Paul Pogba remains central to their plans for the 2019-20 season despite the Frenchman talking of a need for a new challenge, and the fallout could decide whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Old Trafford reign will end in success or failure.

Pogba appeared to be laying the groundwork for a summer transfer to either Real Madrid or Juventus when speaking at a sponsor’s event on Sunday in Tokyo.

“After everything that happened this season, with what was my best season as well, I think for me it can be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else,” said the 26-year-old. “I’m thinking of this, to have a new challenge somewhere else.”

But as far as United sources are concerned it is business as usual, with Pogba considered a key piece in their rebuilding mission following a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Premier League last season.

And while Pogba is now expected to ramp up his quest to force a move before the new campaign begins, Solskjaer’s own future could hinge on exactly how the midfielder’s summer mission plays out.

Even four months before becoming United boss, Solskjaer was speaking at length about his desire to build a team around Pogba. “Paul is a fantastic kid, so hopefully we can build the team around him and keep him,” said the Norwegian ahead of a Europa League qualifier for Molde at Hibernian last August, and one imagines he is saying almost exactly the same behind closed doors at United’s Carrington training ground right now.

Having said time and again that he wants the 2018 World Cup winner to be the focal point of his masterplan for United, Solskjaer’s credibility would take a monumental hit if Pogba is sold from under him. Already characterised as a sentimental choice as United manager, the legendary striker’s paltry return towards the end of last season – the Red Devils lost eight and won just two of their last 12 games – threw his entire reign under the spotlight.

So with a lack of managerial pedigree and a shortage of results, the one thing Solskjaer has had going for him has been his vision for what he expects from the new United beyond the planned rebuild over the next 12 months. Yet the loss of Pogba would rip the heart out of his project.

United cannot afford to have a disgruntled star player in the camp going forward, and as such it is arguable that the sale of Pogba must be completed in as speedy and effective a fashion as possible. The club are reportedly extremely unimpressed with the player’s decision to openly pursue a move through the media, and there has to be an expectation that he and his agent Mino Raiola will continue to badger for a transfer until they get their way.

But the big loser if that is to happen will surely be Solskjaer. Where do his plans sit if his centrepiece is gone? The Norwegian will need to construct a whole new midfield this summer given that Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain-bound Ander Herrera made up two-thirds of his first-choice engine-room last term, and Nemanja Matic shows increasing signs of ageing at a time when the manager is seeking to make United a faster, slicker outfit in the opposition half.

Perhaps more than that, Solskjaer potentially becomes manager in name only if his constant crowing about his plans for Pogba falls on deaf ears in the boardroom. Which is worse? Holding on to a player who desperately wants to leave, or so obviously leaving your manager with no credibility?

United need to back the boss and do everything possible to keep Pogba at the club if Solskjaer is to have any hope of succeeding, otherwise the Baby-Faced Assassin has no hope of commanding respect when push comes to shove on the training ground. In a day and age during which player power rules, Pogba’s sale will ensure that every member of the United squad knows their manager is not calling the tune. Moreover, which major transfer targets are seriously going to consider coming to Old Trafford and playing under a manager who apparently has so little say in the future direction of the club?

Keep Pogba, and the possibility for friction within your squad is raised a level. But if he is sold, Solskjaer is left with one of the most threadbare United squads in generations and could become nothing more than a lame-duck manager counting down the months until his lack of public authority eventually leads to his demise.

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To a large extent, United are left in a no-win situation.

Diskerud: U.S. Soccer sacking Klinsmann was 'rather immature'

The former national team midfielder believes the squad could have qualified for the 2018 World Cup had it stuck with the German head coach

Former United States international Mix Diskerud believes the nation might have continued on an upswing if Jurgen Klinsmann had not been fired in 2016.

Klinsmann enjoyed a successful first World Cup cycle with the USMNT, guiding it through a difficult group in 2014, finishing second behind eventual champions Germany and ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal along with Ghana.

The USMNT then fell in extra-time to Belgium in the last-16, though it relied on a 17-save Tim Howard performance to survive a Belgium onslaught.

However, Klinsmann’s fortunes declined in the following years, with a disappointing elimination to Jamaica in the 2015 Gold Cup, and despite a solid fourth place finish at the 2016 Copa America Centenario, there were a pair of losses to open the final stage of 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Those losses cost Klinsmann his job, but successor Bruce Arena’s eight games in charge ultimately saw them fail to qualify for Russia, with a 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago on the last day of qualifying sealing their fate.

And Ulsan Hyundai midfielder Diskerud, who has not had a USMNT cap since March 2016, believes things might have gone differently for the nation had they stuck with the German head coach.

“Well, [in between 2013-2016], the USMNT played a fantastic World Cup in Brazil,” Diskerud told Goal. “Getting through the group of death as they called it, and also coming close to beating a top-ranked Belgium side in the knockout stages.

“That was an achievement that should be counted among the many positive achievements. So, good things happened, and could have continued to happen if we didn’t switch coaches in the middle of the qualifying cycle.

“Klinsmann was fired before the CONCACAF qualification was completed, and while the betting markets still had their odds strongly pointing toward a USMNT participation in Russia. In retrospect it is easy to say that that sacking was rather immature.”

The USMNT has since attempted to right their ship with the hire of former Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter to lead the national team.

Berhalter is set to lead the USMNT in his first tournament at the 2019 Gold Cup and Diskerud, who nearly joined the Crew in years past, believes the coach has plenty of quality.

“[Coach] Berhalter, he carries credibility with me, but I have never played for him,” Diskerud said.

“My agents came close to signing me for his Columbus Crew a few years back. The talks I had with him back then revealed a coach with clear thoughts as well as definite strategies for how modern soccer should be played.

“It left me with the view of him that I still carry today – an extremely analytical coach and yet very much a ‘player’s coach’. I have had friends playing under him; and at club level, it is no doubt that he lifted their potential considerably as well as instilling valuable confidence in them.”

Berhalter has endured a rough couple of matches in the lead up to the Gold Cup, with the USMNT suffering back-to-back friendly defeats to Jamaica and Venezuela.

However, Diskerud still expects the USMNT to be in the mix for the final, and is hoping they can engineer a showdown with rivals Mexico.

“USA are always favorites,” Diskerud added. “At least in our mindset. That is, and should always be, the American mentality, and I love it.

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“A final showing Mexico vs USA is always a crowd-pleaser! And especially since I’m told just to be a part of that supporting crowd for now.”

Departing Totti reveals Conte had agreed to take Roma job

The Giallorossi legend confirms he held talks with the former Chelsea boss who agreed to move to the Italian capital before having a change of heart

Antonio Conte agreed to become Roma’s new coach before instead taking charge of Inter, according to Francesco Totti.

Giallorossi icon Totti announced his departure from the club, ending a 30-year association, at an explosive news conference on Monday.

The former Italy star, regarded among the greatest players in Roma history, fired a broadside at controversial club president James Pallotta as he stepped down as a director.

The 42-year-old says Pallotta has been looking to sideline established Roma figures during his time in the Italian capital and claims he was “stabbed in the back,” prompting his controversial departure.

Totti follows former teammate and fellow club legend Daniele De Rossi out of the Stadio Olimpico, the midfielder having been released at the end of his contract after 18 seasons in the Italian capital.

Earlier this month Roma confirmed Shakhtar Donetsk boss Paulo Fonseca as their new head coach. The 46-year-old succeeded Claudio Ranieri, who returned to the club to replace Eusebio Di Francesco on a short-term deal in May.

But Totti revealed Roma had sealed a deal with former Chelsea boss Conte to take over, only for the Italian to then choose Serie A rivals Inter instead.

“I spoke with Antonio Conte: he had given his ‘okay’ to become Roma coach,” Totti told reporters.  “Then, he went to Inter.”

Maurizio Sarri was also linked with Roma, with the Italian having since taken charge of Juventus after spending just one season in the Premier League with Chelsea.

But Totti denied having held talks with the 60-year-old, whose Napoli side finished second behind Juve in 2017-18.

“I never contacted Maurizio Sarri. I don’t know what his objectives or evaluations were, just that Sarri was a favourite of Baldini,” Totti added.

“Of course, he’s a great coach who would have done well here, but he was under contract with Chelsea. Anyway, this is irrelevant. We should talk about the present.

“Fonseca has to find an environment that is relaxed, with a clear path ahead of him.

“From what I’ve seen, he is a fine coach who can do well and was very impressive at Shakhtar.”


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India to impose retaliatory duties on US products: media

MUMBAI — The Indian government has decided to impose retaliatory duties worth over 200 million US dollars on 29 products from the United States to counter the penal duties imposed on Indian aluminum and steel, local media reported Saturday.

The decision, to be officially notified on Sunday, came a few days ahead of the scheduled visit of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to India to discuss defense and trade issues, the Hindu Business Line quoting an unnamed government official as saying.

In June last year, India announced retaliatory tariffs worth 230 million US dollars on 29 US goods. However, India has since been postponing implementation of the duties in a bid to address trade concerns.

The trade concerns including the proposed withdrawal of the Generalized System of Preferences by the United States on India taking effect on June 5, may have prompted New Delhi to finally put the duties in place, the report said.

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'The whole team is having fun with this' – USWNT responds to controversy with golf clap celebration

Carli Lloyd celebrated her goals with a polite applause after her side was roundly criticized for its celebrations against Thailand

The U.S. women’s national team likes to claim that it is in a bubble at this World Cup, but it’s clear that they’ve heard the controversy about their celebrations against Thailand loud and clear.

The USWNT faced withering criticism for its exuberant celebrations in the latter portion of its 13-0 win over Thailand on Tuesday in its World Cup opener.

On Sunday the U.S. had a chance to answer its critics on the field, and it did so in cheeky fashion in its second game of the World Cup.

Carli Lloyd scored her team’s opener against Chile at Parc des Princes in Paris and after briefly celebrating with her teammates, she turned toward the bench and offered a calm, refined golf clap.

The golf clap was returned from the bench.

“I can’t take credit for it,” Lloyd said after the game, a 3-0 victory for her team that saw it through to the last 16.

“I’m not sure if Lindsey [Horan] is taking credit for it, she had told me if we score that’s what we’re going to do so I just went along with it after I did my little celebration.

“But it was fun, I think it made a statement on the sideline there so it was cool.”

Though many members of the team claim to not concern themselves with media coverage during the tournament, Megan Rapinoe admitted her team was more than aware of the controversy.

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“I was trying to articulate to the team how during this tournament, you have these days in between, like [the media] have to talk about something new,” Rapinoe said.

“I don’t think it really honestly bothered anyone,” Rapinoe added. “We know our intentions and we felt OK about it, but we want to have fun with everything of course.”

Striker Alex Morgan also didn’t seem especially bothered by some of the vitriol surrounding the USWNT.

“The whole team is having fun with this,” Morgan said.

Though Lloyd said that Horan was involved in the planning of the celebration, Rapinoe wanted to also make sure she got a bit of credit as well.

“I’m always in the mix of course,” Rapinoe said with a smile.

The veteran admitted that her team wanted to respond in some way to the controversy. They just weren’t sure how.

“I thought it would be funny,” Rapinoe said. “Everyone was kind of talking about, ‘Oh what if we did nothing?’ It was kind of hard through, we were holding back a smile for sure.”

U.S. head coach Jill Ellis was also asked about the celebrations, and the manager offered a different, if slightly less plausible explanation.

“If it was Carli I’m guessing it was a shout-out to her husband,” Ellis said. “He’s a big-time golfer in case you didn’t know.”

Ribery targets managerial role with Bayern Munich: I’ll always have a winning mentality

After more than 400 appearances and 120 goals for the Bundesliga giants, the winger believes his goodbye will only be temporary

Franck Ribery will end a 12-year stint as a player with Bayern Munich when his contract expires with the Bundesliga champions on June 30, though the former France international has said that he hopes to one day return to the Allianz Arena in a different capacity.

Ribery has not yet hung up his boots, indicating that he will go on playing for the time being, but at 36 he is already looking to his career once his days on the field are over.

Having enjoyed a period of unparalleled success in Bavaria, where he won nine Bundesliga titles and also lifted the Champions League, he believes that one day he can help the team in a sporting coordinator role.

Speaking to L’Equipe Mag, he said: “I’ll always have a winning mentality in me, and I want to transmit that. I equally feel what the players are feeling and I know them as men… One day I’ll know what it’s like to be a manager.”

While the player’s future is uncertain, he envisages signing for a significant club as a free agent this summer.

“I’m still hungry and I still think I’ve got something to give,” he said. “As long as I feel that I have the high level in the legs and in the head, I will go and get it. I can still play at a big club … I think. I have this experience that often makes the difference.

“I have always been very professional and worked a lot. All this effort and discipline has paid for this longevity.

“I knew this season was my last in Bayern but I have never played ‘cool’. When the locker room needing shaking up, I did it. I remained myself, a leader, until the end.”

Ribery became an iconic figure in Bavaria after being prised away from Marseille for a German record fee of €26 million (£17m/$35m) plus a €4m bonus in 2007.

He would go on to feature 425 times for FCB, scoring 124 goals in the process, with his work in tandem with Arjen Robben down the opposite flank legendary.