World-class Man City star Bernardo Silva the future of Portugal

first_imgInspecting the Portugal squad at training the day before their opening UEFA Nations League finals match, a semi-final against outsiders Switzerland, you could see at least three generations of talent, past; present and future.The last of those to emerge from the dressing room was the first to emerge on the world stage. Captain, top scorer, national icon and the man Portugal’s hopes have been pinned on for a decade and a half, Cristiano Ronaldo.Slipping out onto the Estadio do Bessa field before him, the home of Boavista in Porto’s western district, was Joao Felix. The Benfica prospect looks, in the flesh, even younger than he does on the television. His boyish face frames a mouth full of braces, and belies the preternatural talent contained in his legs and in his head. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? And the first to step into the boxy, claustrophobic ground, with its chessboard seating on all four sides, was the Manchester City playmaker Bernardo Silva. Here in Portugal he once carried the nickname “Bubblegum” for the way the ball stuck to his first touch.Watching him mess about with Goncalo Guedes before training started was to be given the impression that balls move with different gravity when they come into his orbit. He leans forward to chest a ball and controls so delicately that you feel if someone threw an egg at him he’d trap it the same way and keep its shell intact.The Portugal players all come out of the tunnel in dribs and drabs and take their place in the warm-up; a couple of kick-ups and then a volley across an ever-expanding group. They take it in turns to batter the ball at Bernardo, in the hope that he’ll drop it and they’ll have something to giggle about. Not a chance.They drill it hard, they drill it high, they drill it at his chest and at his shins and every time they do so he brings it under his command. You are left with an impression of a man who treats the football like a well-trained dog.Later when the rondo exercises start, Joao Felix will aim a playful kick at his elder team-mate, whose unquenchable competitive desire took him into a sliding tackle at the feet of the 19-year-old.Bernardo Silva Manchester CityPortugal are as they ever were, well-stocked with players of both established and emerging class. But Ronaldo remains the only one of this trio with a medal to his name at international level.This is a Portugal group now in the final stages of moving on from Euro 2016 success. Ronaldo, of course, remains irreproachable. But other attacking players likes Ricardo Quaresma and Nani have taken their leave.Bernardo was still at Monaco in 2016 but a hamstring injury in one of the last games of the season condemned him to a summer away from the national team, delaying his breakout to a wider audience. He was beginning to make a name for himself in the colours of the Seleccao but Portugal not only survived but thrived without him.Now, three years on and with a World Cup under his belt, Bernardo is ready. His form in the intervening years has been imperious and he can be regarded as one of the very best playmakers in the world.”Of course, the season with City gives me the confidence and inspiration to try to do my best for the national team,” the 25-year-old said on Tuesday. “That’s what I’m going to try to do, finish the season in the best way, with a title for our national team.”He has reeled off three consecutive league titles – one for Monaco and two under Pep Guardiola at City – and added the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup to his collection this season for good measure. The honour of Player of the Season was also bestowed upon Bernardo, no mean feat in a team which swept all before them on the domestic front.“Maybe this season he’s been [number] one or two of the best players in the Premier League,” Guardiola said in February. “Portugal is fortunate to have him. I love him, it’s simple like that.”Bernardo was the man for the big occasion, contributing a man of the match performance in the January clash against Liverpool which ultimately played a huge part in deciding the fate of the Premier League title. He scored in the vital derby win against Manchester United at Old Trafford as the season drew in.His effect has been such that Guardiola is already describing him as a more important player for his country than Ronaldo. “He can do absolutely everything,” said Pep. “He’s one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen in my career as a manager or a player.”The difference is that Ronaldo has delivered that elusive trophy for the national team, while Bernardo has had to bide his time. But the Nations League gives him the chance to show his country that there will be life beyond CR7 as he moves into his peak years. And Joao Felix, wherever he goes, won’t be far behind.last_img read more

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BW LPG Positive about Market Outlook for 2015

first_imgzoom Very large gas carrier (VLGC) owner and operator BW LPG is reaping the fruits of historically high rates on VLGC market during 2014, driven by continuing expansion of US export volumes of LPG mainly to Asia.The company’s business results for the third quarter show that time Charter Equivalent (TCE) earnings increased to USD 159.2 million in Q3 2014 (USD400.5 million YTD September 2014), from USD 75.9 million in Q3 2013 (USD187.0 million YTD September 2013).According to BW LPG, the growth in global supplies of LPG are driven mainly by US shale-gas projects. New outlets of retail and industrial demand are developing as buyers seek to benefit from the expectation that LPG grows as an abundant and competitively priced fuel and petrochemical feedstock.In addition, Asian import growth has been particularly beneficial to the VLGC market due to long transport distances.The company’s net profit after tax reached USD 87.5 million in Q3 2014 (USD190.7 million YTD September 2014) compared with USD 68.9 million in the same period last year, mainly due to stronger TCE earnings, additions to fleet and a write-back of previously recognised impairment charges of USD42.9 million in Q3 2013.“We have not yet seen corresponding increases in VLGC tonnage availability, so the market has been tight through most of 2014, and seems likely to continue to remain tight until significant new VLGC deliveries arrive in late 2015,” the company said.Speaking of the outlook, BW LPG said that the resultant increase in shipping tonnage required is gradually being met by a large orderbook of newbuild VLGCs, many of which will deliver by late 2015.“This expansion in VLGC tonnage creates the prospect of oversupply, albeit potentially temporary, during which time some reduction in rates would be natural. Therefore the market outlook for 2015 remains positive, with potential for rates to retreat somewhat due to oversupply in 2016. Beyond 2016, expanding US production and export capacity provide potential for continued export growth. New demand is essential to realizing these exports which would help to absorb excess tonnage. There is always the prospect of additional newbuild ordering, however, in particular for delivery from early 2017, which could extend or worsen an over-supply situation.”BW added that the market for ethane transportation remains interesting, and forecasting that a small fleet of Very Large Ethane Carriers (‘VLECs’) is likely to be built in the coming years.Press Releaselast_img read more

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US Report on Religious Freedom Cites Moroccos Efforts to Promote Interfaith

Rabat – The US State Department released its 2018 report on religious freedom. The report cites Morocco’s efforts in promoting peace and interfaith dialogue between all citizens of the three Abrahamic religions.Coexistence and interfaith dialogue aim to promote tolerance among all religions for unity and prosperity.The report starts by outlining how the Moroccan constitution guarantees all citizens the freedom to “practice” their religious affairs. The report also explores the challenges that face religious minorities in the North African country whose constitution stipulates that Islam is the religion of the state.The US State Department quotes Christian citizens, community leaders, and activists who claimed that they face pressure from “non-Christian family and friends to convert to Islam or renounce their Christian faith.”Constitutionally, Morocco only recognizes Sunni Islam and Judaismas native religions. Moroccan law does not tolerate conversion to Christianity from Islam.Read Also: Figures of Islam, Judaism and Christianity Celebrate Tolerance and Peace in RabatThe US religious freedom report emphasizes that Morocco’s law “penalizes anyone who ‘employs enticements to undermine the faith’ or convert a Muslim to another faith.”Conversion to  Christianity is criminalized within Moroccan law. Those charged face a sentence ranging between six months to three years in prison, in addition to fine of MAD 200 to 500 ($21 to $52).The law also  provides the right to try in court suspects accused of incitement to undermine someone’s faith.  “Voluntary conversion is not a crime under the law,” says the report, adding that the law “permits the government to expel summarily any noncitizen resident it determines to be ‘a threat to public order,’ and the government has used this clause on occasion to expel foreigners suspected of proselytizing.”Extremism, a red lineThe  report also explains Morocco’s efforts to counter extremism, recalling that the country issued textbooks aiming to fight extremism.“The Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (MEIA) continued to guide and monitor the content of sermons in mosques, Islamic religious education, and the dissemination of Islamic religious material by broadcast media, actions it said were intended to combat violent extremism,” according to the report.A global and regional counterterrorism leader, Morocco has been involved in several international bodies to fight extremism and religion-based violence.Coexistence Morocco has continued to prove its commitment towards peace and prosperity among all citizens of every faith.The US report recalls King Mohammed VI’s speeches  in which the monarch emphasized his approach of coexistence between all religions in Morocco.The State Department’s report highlights King Mohammed VI’s speech during the second International Conference on Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue, held in Fez from September 10 to 12, 2018.“King Mohammed VI delivered remarks underscoring the tradition of coexistence in Morocco between Muslims and Jews and openness to other religions,” according to the report.“My country is sending a strong signal, reflecting its determination to set off a new dynamic – one that would enable us to pave the way, together, for innovative pathways to ensure respect for cultural and religious diversity as well as a common commitment to the virtues of dialogue and respect for others,” King Mohammed VI said in his speech.The US department reports that there are currently a significant number of Jews and Christians living in Morocco.The  report estimates that between 3,000 to 3,500  Jews live in Morocco, and between 2,000 and 6, 000 Christians are spread across the country.The Moroccan Association of Human Rights Report for 2017-2018, however estimates that there are 25,000 Christians across the country.The report also quotes Moroccan Shia Muslim leaders, emphasizing that there are an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 foreign-resident Shia from Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.Shia citizens claim that they face pressure from the government, according to the report.“Local Christian and Shia leaders reported the government detained and questioned some Christian and Shia citizens about their beliefs and contacts with other Christians and Shias.  Christian and Shia Muslim citizens also stated their fear of government and societal harassment led to their decision to practice their faiths discreetly.” Morocco promotes interfaith dialogueThe text recalls how the Moroccan government allows  Jewish and Christian schools, run by private institutions, the choice to either include or exclude Sunni Islam, or even to entirely exclude religious instruction. It also explains that private Jewish schools may teach Judaism.The report also comments on the signing of a cooperation in May 2018 between the Archives of Morocco and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) to facilitate the sharing of documentation on Jewish history in Morocco.The US Statement Department makes mention of King Mohammed VI’s message to the UN roundtable on the “Power of Education in Preventing Racism and Discrimination: The Case of Anti-Semitism” held on September 26, 2018.During the event, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani conveyed King Mohammed VI’s message to the participants, underscoring Morocco’s preservation of synagogues.“Anti-semitism is the antithesis of freedom of expression. It implies a denial of the other and is an admission of failure, inadequacy and an inability to coexist,” said King Mohammed VI. read more

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