Ramos in spotlight again but Madrid need him more than ever

first_imgMadrid, Nov 26 (AFP) More than hour after the final whistle had sounded on Real Madrid’s 3-0 humiliation by Eibar on Saturday, Sergio Ramos began to let rip.Deep in the belly of the tiny 7,083-capacity Ipurua stadium, Ramos said his side’s attitude had been off, their intensity lacking.”When you don’t match your opponent, you become a vulgar team,” he said.It was not the result Real wanted before they travel to Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday, when the winner is likely to go through top of Group G.Then Ramos moved onto the anti-doping allegations published on Friday by German magazine Der Spiegel.The most damaging among them claimed Ramos tested positive for dexamethasone after the 2017 Champions League final and failed to declare it, as is required according to World Anti-Doping Authority regulations.Responding for the first time, Ramos said: “You can tell a lie many times over but it is still a lie.” He added: “These types of people try to stain my reputation and my professional career.” The issue may have been exceptional but the sharpness of tongue and apparent readiness for confrontation has become a vivid part of Ramos’ football persona.In September, Antoine Griezmann was in the firing line when Ramos used a Champions League press conference to slap down the Frenchman’s pinings for the Ballon d’Or.”Ignorance is bold,” Ramos said, poker-faced.More recently, he turned Antonio Conte from favourite to no-hoper in the running to replace Julen Lopetegui as Real coach.advertisement”Respect is earned, not imposed”, Ramos said, supposedly a dig at Conte, a renowned disciplinarian.This pugnacious Ramos off the pitch chimes so perfectly with his demonic reputation on it and so it seems possible that one of the game’s most reviled characters has begun to revel in the noise that surrounds him.He is loved by Real Madrid, their captain and winner of four Champions League titles, as well as another four in La Liga. He is liked too at the Benito Villamarin, where Real Betis fans still appreciate him leaving their rivals, Sevilla.But there are few stadiums where the sound of screeching whistles are not heard as soon as Ramos leaves an opposition striker in a heap.- Red-card villain -====================Lionel Messi knows the feeling. In 2010, Ramos lashed him to the ground with a swinging left boot and in 2017, clattered him again, sliding in as Barca threatened a counter-attack.Both times, Ramos was sent off, two of his 19 La Liga red cards, the most of any player still playing by quite a distance.There would be more if referees had interpreted differently all flailing arms, charging shoulders and misplaced feet too ambiguous to be deemed deliberate.Mohamed Salah missed most of the World Cup finals after one such tussle in the Champions League final. More than 530,000 Liverpool fans signed a petition demanding retrospective action against Ramos.”No one’s nose is more fractured than Ramos’,” Santiago Solari said this month.”There is no bad intention, he always plays fair. This is a contact sport.” Ramos has long been a colossus for Real Madrid and, over the past decade, arguably the finest central defender in the world.The concern, however, is that this season, for club and country, he has been nowhere close to those standards.His increasingly error-ridden partnership with Raphael Varane at the back became as much a problem for Lopetegui as a lack of firepower up front. Sevilla and Barcelona each took advantage, to the tune of eight goals between them.England capitalised too, winning 3-2 in Seville, and then Croatia did, by the same scoreline in Zagreb.While Ramos is far from solely culpable, some are beginning to wonder if he has become too eager to pick a fight. His focus might have wavered.Ramos admitted on Saturday he had been aware for months of the anti-doping allegations and it is possible angst has taken its toll.It is also true the 32-year-old has often underperformed at this stage of the season, only to become faultless around the time the trophies are handed out in May.With a new coach, the Champions League group stage getting tight and six points to make up in La Liga, Madrid could do with that upswing to come early.They need Ramos now more than ever, not the brawler or the bravado, but the player. (AFP) APAAPAlast_img read more

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Senate Approves SERP Resolution

first_img Piloting the Resolution, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said of the 829 applications received, a total of 430 have so far been approved. Special incentives have been included in the programme, such as two weeks’ salary for each year of service up to a maximum of one year’s salary and payment for accumulated vacation leave. The Senate on Friday (March 23) approved the Pensions Public Service Special Early Retirement Programme Order 2018 Resolution. The Senate on Friday (March 23) approved the Pensions Public Service Special Early Retirement Programme Order 2018 Resolution.The Special Early Retirement Programme (SERP) is a voluntary separation initiative that allows public sector employees, aged 50 to 59, under the non-contributory Government pension scheme, to take up early retirement through an incentivised package.Special incentives have been included in the programme, such as two weeks’ salary for each year of service up to a maximum of one year’s salary and payment for accumulated vacation leave.The SERP, which is being undertaken through the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, was opened on January 2, 2018.Piloting the Resolution, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, said of the 829 applications received, a total of 430 have so far been approved.“I would like to remind members that the programme has a dual process for consideration of applications. First, it goes to the Permanent Secretary to ensure that there is an impact assessment in respect of the relevant Ministry, Department or Agency. Where it is not a Ministry that is being impacted, the Permanent Secretary is to consult with the management or leadership of theparticular agencies in order to ensure that approval of the person’s application will not result in a prejudicial impact on the functions of the organisation,” she explained.Senator Johnson Smith said the process continues for the remaining applications.She pointed out that the effective date for persons who are approved will be May 1, for their retirement to actually take place.Senator Johnson Smith said although the target of 1,600 was not attained, “829 is not a bad record to have achieved.”She expressed gratitude to the persons who have been integral to the process, including Permanent Secretaries and the staff at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.Responding to questions posed by Opposition Senator, Lambert Brown, regarding the demographics and category of applicants, Senator Johnson Smith said a report is expected to be presented once completed.The SERP was offered in light of the recently passed Pensions (Public Service) Act 2017, which adjusts the terms under which public sector workers will retire.The new Act will gradually increase the retirement age from 60 to 65 years; facilitate mandatory contributions by all pensionable officers towards their pension; and harmonise the legislation governing public sector pensions in a single statute. Story Highlightslast_img read more

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Alphaliner HMM to Add 34 Ships to THE Alliances Network

first_imgzoomIllustration; Source: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license South Korean container shipping major Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is expected to add some 34 ships to THE Alliance’s network in 2020, according to data provided by Alphaliner.Citing deployment plans revealed earlier by HMM, the shipping analyst said that the company would add up to 519,000 TEU to the network once it joins THE Alliance as a full member on April 1, 2020.Although the alliance members have not yet disclosed their new network plans for the next year, Alphaliner noted that the Korean carrier’s ships are expected to be deployed on the following routes:– Asia – North Europe route, where twelve 23,000 TEU newbuildings are scheduled for deployment from the second quarter of 2020;– Asia – Med or Asia – US East Coast route would feature ten of the company’s 13,000 TEU ships, including three vessels currently chartered out to the 2M alliance;– Asia – Pacific Southwest (USWC) route, where HMM would send six 10,000 TEU units, all of which are currently chartered out to the 2M;– Asia – Pacific Northwest (USWC) route, where the company would deploy eight of its 8,600 TEU vessels.Additionally, another eight HMM 15,000 TEU newbuildings are expected to be deployed on the Asia – US East Coast route from the second quarter of 2021.Alphaliner further said that HMM is expected to cooperate with THE Alliance partners on the Far East – Middle East routes, although its participation in the trade is to be downgraded from the 13,000 TEU scale to tonnage of 5,000 to 6,600 TEU.Apart from the newbuildings that the South Korean major would receive in 2020 and 2021, its fleet will be strengthened in April 2020 by redeliveries of nine 10,000 – 13,000 TEU ships currently (sub-)chartered out to Maersk and MSC.The charters were among the conditions set for the 2M-HMM agreement that was signed in March 2017. It resulted in the withdrawal of HMM tonnage from the Far East – North Europe, Far East – Med and Far East – USEC routes.The new arrangement with THE Alliance will allow HMM ships to return to the Far East – Med and Far East – USEC routes. At the same time, the carrier will be able to gradually replace the 5,000 TEU classic panamax ships that it started to send onto the Far East – North Europe route in 2018, with 23,000 TEU giants as of April 2020.last_img read more

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