Highlights of 2019 Spanish Day

For anyone interested in Spanish and the vibrant cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, the annual Spanish Day is a real feast that certainly cannot be missed.

As a traditional open day of the Beijing arm of the Cervantes Institute, a Spanish cultural center, the Spanish Day is celebrated to honor learners, lovers and promoters of Spanish, the world’s second most spoken native language.

Held on June 22 this year, the event featured young soccer players and Spanish learners who staged a medley of sports and artistic performances. In addition, as a prelude to the exhibition Writer Picasso, those young participants also created a mega-sized mosaic artwork as a tribute to the Spanish master.

Supported by the embassies of Spanish-speaking countries such as Uruguay, Mexico and Argentina, the 12-hour-long open day showcased how diverse and intriguing the Spanish culture is through dance performances, film screenings, concerts, foods and more.

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A time of dramatic changes

For the Derung people, they seem to have entered a different era with seven decades of New China

Seventy years are just a blip in human history. But for the Derung people, they seem to have entered a different era with seven decades of New China. In the past 70 years they have bid farewell to seclusion and backwardness and have embraced modern civilization.

Recently, they announced that the Derung people have been lifted out of poverty and achieved the “millennium leap”.

The Derung people live in extreme remote places.

The Gaoligong Mountain, where they live, stands beside Lika Mountain, and the Derung River rushes to the south, forming an alpine valley with two mountains and one river.

There are only about 7,000 Derung people in the country, and more than 4,200 of them live in the Derung River Grand Canyon.

Due to long-term isolation, the Derung are not well known to the outside world.

The ancestors of this ancient and mysterious people may be a part of the ancient Chinese tribe “Qiang”.

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And after a long migration, the Derung ancestors moved to the Derung River basin in northwestern Yunnan.

In today’s Derung Museum, the first photo of the Derung comes from 1923.

In the photo, the Derung man has disheveled hair, bare feet, and is dressed in two pieces of linen, with a machete hanging from his waist.

The image is not far from some of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) history books that describe them as the people of the ancient times.

According to A Brief History of the Derung compiled by the National Ethnic Affairs Commission, prior to the founding of New China, the Derung people still lived as a primitive society.

Striking the right chord

The theater lights dim, leaving only the spotlight on the stage. The whispering crowd falls silent as they train their eyes on the artist, collectively holding their breath in anticipation.

Gently and deftly, Chin Kim picks up his violin, an instrument he’s known for more than 55 years. A melody pours mellifluously from its vibrating strings, switching from major to minor, with several deceptive cadences thrown in between, followed by a bravura flourish and a series of extraordinary trills that celebrate the 15-minute sonata’s charged theme.

“It’s the Violin Sonata in G minor, or the Devil’s Trill, by Giuseppe Tartini,” Kim told China Daily during a rehearsal in Wuxi, Jiangsu province in May. He stretches out two fingers to imitate the tiptoeing demon that reputedly appeared at the composer’s bedside, inspiring the composition.

The Korean-born American classical violinist, who has been actively performing in North America, Asia and Europe for over three decades, has recently completed his debut China tour. He traveled to 18 cities across the mainland in the span of a month.

“I love giving concerts. And I want to spread classical music as far around the world as possible. So when a tour of China was suggested, I said yes,” he says.

Kim managed to take time out from his hectic schedule to experience the city.

” (China has) beautiful towns and nice people. I was told to be careful with the street food, but I just had to try it,” he says. “Chongqing hotpot is really good.”

Kim’s way of repaying the courtesy he has found in China is to deliver magnificent recitals, performing some of the most dazzling works in his repertoire such as pieces by Tartini, Johann Sebastian Bach and Jascha Heifetz.

At the age of 62, Kim believes his musicality and virtuosity are still in their ascendancy, and that he continues to gain a deeper understanding of each master work he plays on a daily basis.

“Every time you pick up a piece you have played before, you have to look at it like you have never seen it before, and make it into something new,” he says.

“So, for every concert I like to try something new. It might be a change to the fingering, phrasing or tempo, but I keep experimenting with different things to see if I can find a better way to do it.”

The Wuxi stop of his tour turned out to be major success, especially since Kim managed to enchant the audience of some 500 people with his deft mastery of the instrument in a two-hour feast for the ears.

“It was well worth it. He’s got such an expressive tone. He gave us a fantastic solo,” says Du Jiehua, a 40-something accountant and music lover.

As much as Kim is satisfied with his personal achievements, he frets about the shrinking fan base for classical music in North America these days. The teacher at Mannes College of Music in New York attributes the predicament to the general decline in educational and cultural awareness and values.

“Classical music is in danger of shrinking,” he says.

“In America, younger children’s exposure to classical music is not enough. In Paris if you walk down a street you’ll hear Mozart. But you don’t get that in New York, maybe only in some fancy cafe.”

Compared with the US market, the relatively nascent Chinese market is showing every sign of being robust, especially when it comes to teaching music. At least 40 million Chinese children play the piano alone, according to a report in the March edition of Gramophone, the influential London-based music magazine, which concluded that China holds the key to the future of classical music.

That sentiment is echoed by Chinese musical cognoscenti.

“More and more families let their children study classical music,” says Cui Jianbin, director of operations at the Wuxi Grand Theater.

“And an increasing number of world-class symphony orchestras and musicians come to China every year, as they see it as the world’s largest market for classical music,” Cui adds.

This self-evident phenomenon has not been lost on Kim.

“In the US most of the audience has gray hair. Here in China I’ve seen a lot of children, which is a very good sign,” he says.

“Many people think you have to know something about classical music to appreciate it and that’s simply not true. You don’t have to know anything about it-just come and feel it.”

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USMNT youngster Weah joins Lille on a five-year deal

The forward, who has eight caps for the national team, made the move for a fee reported to be €10 million, after finding his chances limited at PSG

United States international Timothy Weah has made the move from Paris Saint-Germain to Lille, his new French club announced on Saturday.

Weah has signed a five-year deal with the club that finished second in the Ligue 1 table last season, albeit 16 points behind the club he’s leaving.

He spent the second-half of last season playing for Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, where the 19-year-old made 13 appearances, scoring three goals.

The son of former Ballon d’Or winner, and current Liberia president, George Weah, Timothy has made eight appearances for the U.S. men’s national team, scoring once.

Lille announced the move on Twitter on Saturday, with a statement: “Welcome Timothy Weah!

“LOSC have reached an agreement with PSG for the services of the USMNT international forward, who arrives at the StadePM on a five-year deal,” the tweet read.

The club has not released a fee for the transfer but L’Equipe report that Lille paid €10 million (£9m/$11m) to secure Weah’s services.


As a result, the exciting talent will have the opportunity to play Champions League football next year, without being behind PSG’s fearsome front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edison Cavani.

“For me LOSC is the best choice to progress and earn playing time,” Weah said in a statement.

“It’s a young and ambitious team, I know that [head coach] Christophe Galtier and his staff are very professional and appreciated by the players.

“Joining LOSC is a big deal, this team had a great season last year, finishing second is a great performance, playing in the Champions League is also a dream that I will be able to achieve.

“I want to score goals in my new colors and help this club to win games and trophies.”

For their part Lille welcomed Weah and said they were delighted he’d chosen them over the other clubs that were circling the New York-born phenom.

“We are really pleased to have signed Timothy Weah,” said club official Marc Ingla.

“Many great clubs were courting him and Timothy chose our proposal and the LOSC project.

“We thank he and his family for his decision.

“He has impressive technical and mental qualities for his young age. He’s a very promising striker, very mature also, with a lot of experience already and an interesting track record.

“We feel that our project corresponds to his characteristics and his personality,” Ingla concluded.

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'It's what the fans want' – Henry says Liverpool will focus on Premier League title next season

The Reds’ owner is delighted with his club’s Champions League trophy, but says next year they’ll try to end a 30-year drought in the league

Liverpool owner John Henry has said the club’s attention will be firmly on winning the Premier League next season, as the league title is what he believes the fans want.

The Reds earned their sixth European triumph last season, downing fellow English club Tottenham by a 2-0 scoreline in the final in Madrid.

It completed a memorable season for the Reds, which saw them defeat the champions of Spain, France and Germany during the competition and rack up 97 points domestically.

However that Premier League haul, despite being the third-highest ever, saw them fall one point short of Manchester City in the title hunt.

And while Henry admitted the Champions League trophy is what mattered most to him, he claims the club will concentrate on winning England’s top-flight next season, and ending a 30-year drought.

He would not be drawn on transfer speculation though, stating his belief that the return of key players from injury would give his team a boost.

“To me winning in Europe is bigger than winning in England but I think it’s true the fans want it,” the American tycoon told PA.

“I know we’re going to be focused on winning the Premier League next year.

“We need to get healthy. We need AOC [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] back, we need a healthy [Adam] Lallana.

“It’s not up to me, but I would guess we’ll see more of Divock [Origi] next year. I think he brings something special, he comes with power and speed and brings in scoring.

“I feel really good about next year.”

Henry is in London to watch the baseball team he also owns, the Boston Red Sox, play the New York Yankees in the first regular season baseball game played in the UK.

Despite Premier League disappointment, Henry was fulsome in his praise of Jurgen Klopp’s men for their 2018-19 efforts, believing Champions League success was a reward for their hard work.

“Our guys gave their all from the first day of the season to the last,” he continued.

“It’s a long season, they played up to their capabilities and just gave it so much effort.

“It didn’t matter who the opponent was, they out-ran every opponent and I felt they deserved to walk away with a trophy.

“We walked away with the biggest one so I’m very happy.”

Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web.

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Haiti melding well in Gold Cup despite linguistic, cultural differences

With players born in the U.S., Canada, Haiti and France – among other places – Les Grenadiers had to gel quickly to make the quarterfinals

Blocks from Houston’s Chinatown, it’s the French language filling the air on a training ground Friday morning.

Well, mostly.

The pitch at a private school just off one of the city’s immensely wide and still immensely traffic-choked major throughways is being used by the Haitian national team, leading to a mix of language flying around the field. Coach Marc Collat mainly instructs in French on the steamy morning, but there’s also a strong Haitian Creole influence. As the session ends, a number of players chat with each other in English. It’s a window into a Haitian team that has members from all over the globe but has come together for the common cause of Haitian soccer.

And they’ve come together well, earning a spot in the Gold Cup quarterfinals where they’ll take on Canada on Saturday at NRG Stadium.

“I know some fans question how we communicate,” defender Andrew Jean-Baptiste told Goal. “Some guys know Creole, some guys don’t. Some guys know French, some guys don’t. Some guys know Spanish. Some guys know Portuguese. But we’re able to bring it all together and communicate very well with each other on the field.

“Maybe our jokes off the field are not as good because of the language barrier, but at the end of the day we all know football. My French is not so good, but when it comes down to football, I’m quite fluent.”

So too are the rest of the Haitians, who rolled through the group stage with three victories, including an eyebrow-raising rally to beat Costa Rica 2-1 and land in Saturday’s quarterfinal. Maybe we shouldn’t admit to raising our eyebrows, though. Haiti topped the entire Concacaf Nations League qualification table and internally set their sights on winning the group when the draw was revealed back in April. They’re not surprised, though, to read about what an upset story winning the group has been.

“It’s the same old, same old. When you’re a Caribbean team there are certain things that are thought about you and the way that you play,” forward Derrick Etienne Jr. told Goal. “I’m not surprised that people overlooked us. We take that as fuel and wanted to go out there and show that stigma is incorrect. To be honest, we didn’t care what people were saying. We knew in the group that we could do something special, and we were able to do it.”

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The internal belief is critical to Haiti’s success story. “Whenever we get together we try to be as much of a family as we can,” said midfielder Steeven Saba, who was born in Haiti and currently plays his club football there but was involved in a United States youth camp and played with several U.S.-based clubs. 

While Les Grenadiers made the World Cup back in the 70s, further footballing success has been hard to come by. During Collat’s first stint coaching the team, he decided to look abroad. Between 1990 and 2015, the Haitian population in the U.S. tripled, according to the Migration Policy Institute. And Haiti-eligible players aren’t just born in the U.S. Forward Duckens Nazon was born in France, forward Mikael Cantave in Canada, midfielder Zachary Herivaux in Japan. The influence of foreign-born players or players who developed in other nations’ youth setups has been immensely helpful.

“Well, it’s my second time as Haiti coach, and during my first experience in 2015, I realized that several Haitian players were playing in Europe or in the States, and to lower the age of the squad and integrate them, we recruited these players,” Collat said through a translator at a news conference Friday. “Today the team is very, I would say, it’s far from what we could do with other squads.

“That being said, all the players, whether they’re from Haiti or were born in other countries, when they put the colors on, they defend Haiti’s colors and we’re very proud of that.”

Even so, Jean-Baptiste said he felt like a bit of an outsider in the 2015 Gold Cup squad, with his teammates still getting accustomed to players born outside of Haiti or who didn’t speak Creole or French as a first language. Progress hasn’t come in a straight line, either. Haiti missed out on the 2017 Gold Cup after falling short in the Caribbean Championships. Those difficult experiences have paved the way for players like the 22-year-old Etienne, one of 11 players on the 23-man squad who is 23 or younger.

“It’s a great group of guys. A lot of guys speak English, so it was easy for guys to translate,” Etienne said. “When you’re winning, everything is fine. We were able to get past that hump of not getting to the last Gold Cup. We came in here, we had one goal in mind: To make the Gold Cup. Then the next goal was to get out of our group, we saw the draw, the goal was to win the group. We set little goals for ourselves and the goal was to conquer them and hopefully we can continue.”

The next goal is not so little. It is to beat an upstart Canada team and get to the semifinal for the first time in Gold Cup history. The Haitians respect Canada and know it won’t be easy to get through. They also are well-aware they’ve lost the element of surprise they were able to deploy against unsuspecting teams in the group stage.

“Obviously the image around us has changed now,” Jean-Baptiste said. “Nobody is going to be looking at us as the little country in the Caribbean any more. Now I’d like to say we’re a threat, and with the players that we have – we are.”

Rapinoe happy to score for USWNT during pride month

The U.S. forward netted both of her teams goals against France, clinching a place in the World Cup semifinal

Megan Rapinoe has said her two-goal performance against France carries extra meaning for her because it was during LGBTQ pride month. 

Rapinoe hit France for a pair of goals in a 2-1 World Cup quarterfinal win, taking the U.S. into the competition’s last four. 

The 33-year-old came through under intense scrutiny, as her feud with U.S. President Donald Trump has dominated headlines this week. 

Rapinoe, an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights, has said that Trump’s administration “doesn’t fight for the same things that we fight for.”

The USWNT star delivered the perfect riposte to Trump on Friday and after the game, she emphasized that her performance meant even more having come in June. 

“Go gays!” Rapinoe exclaimed while flashing a peace sign. “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team, it’s pretty much never been done before ever. Science, right there,” she said with a laugh.

Rapinoe insisted that her feud with Trump didn’t give her extra motivation, but fighting for those who are on her side did. 

“I’m motivated by people like me and people who are fighting for the same things,” she said. “I take more energy from that than trying to prove everyone wrong all the time. That’s sort of draining to me.

“So yeah, to be gay and fabulous during pride month at the World Cup is nice.”

Rapinoe’s manager Jill Ellis was full of admiration for her team’s star and unlike Rapinoe, Ellis believes that the forward was indeed extra motivated by the controversy surrounding her spat with Trump.

“She’s a very experienced, eloquent person,” Ellis said of Rapinoe. “I would just point to the performance tonight and say if anything this stuff just … pushes her forward.”

Throughout the entire controversy, Rapinoe has continued to have the backing of her teammates. After a performance like Friday’s, it’s easy to see why. 

“Megan is an absolute baller,” defender Kelley O’Hara said. “She does all she needs to do, she gets the job done and she rises to the occasion every time.”


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'The ball was like a rabbit' – Messi slams 'shameful' Copa America pitches

While recognising that he has been far from his best in Brazil, the Barcelona star believes the grounds-keeping has also been sub-par

Argentina captain Lionel Messi took aim at the state of the pitches at the 2019 Copa America after helping his team through to a semi-final clash with Brazil. 

Goals from Lautaro Martinez and Giovani Lo Celso saw the Albiceleste soar past Venezuela in a 2-0 victory on Friday in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium. 

Messi, however, once more failed to reproduce his best form, with a penalty against Paraguay his only goal in four matches so far in the tournament. 

Leo recognises that he has been far from his strongest; although according to the Barcelona star the Copa’s groundsmen are also at fault. 

“I am not having my best Copa America,” he told reporters at the final whistle in Rio. 

“In truth, the pitches are shameful. It is hard to control the ball and carry it. 

“The ball looked like a rabbit, it goes all over the place with this pitch. All we can do is adapt.

“The pitches are awful. That doesn’t help keep possession, you need a second longer, it bounces poorly, you cannot lead. 

“But we played a complete game and we were able to win.”

Martinez, who with two goals is Argentina’s top scorer to date in the Copa, added that the Albiceleste will start as underdogs against Brazil – but he is relishing the challenge. 

“We have our own players,” he pointed out. 

“We know it will be difficult because they are the home side and they will be in front of their fans.

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“We are showing that we give our all in every game. Luckily things are going well.”

Argentina meet Brazil in Belo Horizonte’s Estadio Mineirao on Tuesday, their first meeting in a major finals since the 2007 Copa America final.

'It was hard to be happy' – Norwich loanee Passlack reflects on difficult Canaries season

The Borussia Dortmund defender spent last campaign with the Canaries but found himself unable to push through with just one league appearance

Former Norwich City loanee Felix Passlack has admitted that “it was hard to be happy” about his marginalised role at the club during their successful Championship-winning season.

The Borussia Dortmund defender did add however that he was elated for both the team and their supporters after they secured a Premier League return following three seasons in the second tier.

Passlack spent the 2018-19 campaign on loan with the Canaries from the Bundesliga outfit after cutting short a two-year temporary stay with Hoffenheim to join Daniel Farke’s side.

However, he found himself restricted to just the one league appearance as the Norfolk club soared to the top of the Championship and sealed promotion back to the top flight.

The 21-year-old found himself hard-pressed for chances due to both Norwich captain Ivo Pinto and breakthrough talent Max Aarons both filling his preferred right-back position, with the pair remaining staunchly higher in the pecking order.

Speaking to Goal, Passlack stated that his limited opportunities had made his spell in England difficult , though he stressed that he was pleased for the team’s wider success.

“Of course it was hard to be happy,” he stated. “If you are only used in a few cup games in such an exceptional season, then you can not be satisfied with it.

“I left for Norwich with the clear goal of becoming a regular but Max Aarons got his chance early in the season and overtook me. My opportunity never came because he continued to perform so well.

“However, I was very happy for the team and the entire club. I know what we have achieved means a lot to the fans across the region.

Passlack also praised Farke as a coach, despite being fielded on very few occasions by the former Dortmund reserve boss, and also contested the idea that he considered cutting short his stay, after previously aborting his spell with Hoffenheim.

“My exchanges with him were good,” he added. “I think I got on his nerves though! I was often asking what I could do better, but he would tell me I was already training well enough.

“I wanted to not give up. I knew that in this league I was able to improve both physically and as a player. I have matured this season, as weird as that may sound. I think that is very important.”

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'P*ssed-off' Gabriel Jesus delighted to bounce back with decisive Brazil penalty

The Manchester City forward erred against Peru but made no mistake this time to put his side in the Copa semis for the first time since 2007

Brazil’s Gabriel Jesus has revealed that he insisted on taking the final penalty in his side’s Copa America shoot-out victory over Paraguay to atone for a previous mishap from the spot.

Gabriel and his team-mates dominated in Porto Alegre during Thursday’s quarter-final, but found no way past a resolute Guarani side. 

Willian hit the post and Alex Sandro forced a stunning save from Roberto Fernandez late in the clash, while the Selecao also saw a penalty decision reversed by VAR early in the second half for a foul that also earned Fabian Balbuena a red card.

Even with 10 men, Paraguay refused to budge, sending the game to penalties after a 0-0 draw at 90 minutes. 

It was an identical situation to quarter-final matches in 2011 and 2015, both won by Paraguay, but this time fortune was on Brazil’s side as Derlis Gonzalez missed the decisive last kick before Gabriel slotted past Fernandez to seal a 4-3 win for the hosts. 

The Manchester City man had erred from the spot in his side’s previous meeting with Peru, and he admitted that the memory of that mistake gave him extra motivation. 

“I couldn’t convert the penalty. I left annoyed, sad, p*ssed off with myself because I didn’t take it my way,” he confided to SporTV at the final whistle. 

“We all agreed I didn’t take it as I should have. I think I was a bit anxious. 

“Today, after [Brazil assistant coach] Clebinho watched, I said I was going to take it, I was confident. I took it my way and I scored. 

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“In the game before I didn’t look at the keeper and I went for goal. This time, looking at the keeper, calm, collected, I saw him moving for the left and sent it the other way.”

Brazil’s win sets up a mouth-watering potential clash in the semi-finals against arch-rivals Argentina. 

The team captained by Lionel Messi, however, will have to get past Venezuela in Friday’s clash in order to book their place in the last four.

The Selecao are out for their first Copa win since 2007, having failed to get past the quarter-final stage once in the previous three editions of the South American tournament.