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“I don’t think the National Anthem should be played before the films. You are not in school where you start the day with the National Anthem.”

FOOTBALL// England swaggered their way into the FIFA U-17 World Cup triumph and the invigorating final against Spain was as much a celebration of attacking football as it was about an incredible turnaround on Saturday, October 29.

The Three Lions colts hammered The La Rojas juniors 5-2 in the highest-scoring final in the history of this age-group tournament. England were two goal down just before the half time with Spain winger Sergio Gomez scoring in the 10th and 31st minutes, but the Three Lions rallied to pump in five goals, including four in the second half, through Phil Foden (69th and 88th), Rhian Brewster (44th), Morgan Gibbs White (58th) and Marc Guehi (84th).

The spectacle took place in front of a capacity crowd of 66,684 at the Salt Lake Stadium. It was a treat to watch for the packed-to-the-rafters stadium as there were never a dull moment during the frantically fast-paced match with end-to-end action.

England had never gone beyond the quarterfinal stage in their earlier attempts but they conquered the world this year and also avenged their loss to Spain in penalty shootouts in the European Championships in Croatia in May.

Their striker Rhian Brewster also ended as the tournament's highest scorer with eight goals to get the Golden Boot.

Spain finished runners-up for the fourth time after 1991, 2003 and 2007.

The summit clash was a fitting finale for a tournament which has set the record of most attendance in its history. It has also become the highest scoring event with 177 goals from 52 matches

The match started at a frantic pace and England had a chance as early as the first minute. Morgan Gibbs-White had a one-two with Brewster, before firing in a fierce low shot from just inside the penalty area, which Spain goalie Alvaro Fernandez palmed away.

Spain hit back on the counter and took the lead in the 10th minute through Gomez. Off a fine pass from Abel Ruiz from the center, Juan Miranda sent a cross from the left which Gelabert managed to squeeze himself between two England defenders and flipped it in front for Gomez to do the rest.

The England defence had an average show and captain Joel Latibeaudiere, who has not put a foot wrong in this tournament till today, was outsmarted by his opposite number Abel Ruiz on occasions. Ruiz once again came up with a brilliant show, leading the Spain attack quite well.

Just after the cooling break, Spain doubled the lead against the run of play. Assist master Cesar Gelabert worked some space on the right side of the penalty area and sent in a cross. It fell on Gomez's path and he controlled it smartly and drilled in a thunderous strike with his left foot.

The incredibly fast-paced first half, which saw action from one end to the other, gave promise of an even better second session when Brewster scored just a minute before the breather.

An overlapping right full back Sessegnon was able to send in a cross for Brewster to finish with a fierce header that went in after touching the goalie's fingers.

England had more possession and equal number of four shots on target in the first half and they regrouped and scored soon after resumption in the 58th minute through Morgan Gibbs-White.

It was the spadework of Foden, the other outstanding England player of the day besides Hudson Odoi, that resulted in the equaliser. The Manchester City youth team player gave a wonderful defence splitting pass on the right and an overlapping Sessegnon sent in a first-time low cross for Gibbs-White to easily slot the ball home. As the match progressed, England began to take control of the proceedings with Spain rarely threatening the opposition goal.

KIDAMBI SRIKANTH: THE COMEBACK KIDBADMINTON// Indian badminton player Kidambi Srikanth made history by winning the Denmark Open, his third Super series title of the year. He is the first Indian player after Saina Nehwal to win three Super Series tournaments in a year. And, with four more tournaments left before the end of 2017, he has a chance to break her record.

Winning the Denmark Open was also special-Srikanth is the first Indian in 30 years to lift that trophy. The last Indian player to win in Denmark was Prakash Padukone. What made the victory sweeter was beating world #1 Viktor Axelson in the path to the final. Axelson has beaten Srikanth several times earlier so beating the Dane in front of his home crowd was sweet revenge for the Indian.

The Super Series is one of the highest rated tournaments in world badminton. In 2017, only Srikanth and Viktor Axelsen, have won three Super Series titles each. Earlier this year Srikanth won the Indonesia and Australian Super Series. Srikanth is certainly thrilled about his form-“2017 has been fantastic so far. I can't even say it was a dream come true because I never dreamt of winning three titles this year. I am looking forward to continuing the good form in the coming tournaments,” he told a newspaper.

Kidambi Srikanth has indeed proved himself to be the comeback kid. In 2014, when he beat the famous Chinese player Lin Dan, everyone celebrated the arrival of a major new badminton star. But injuries soon struck and Srikanth spent much of the last year getting better. 2017 has truly been his comeback year.


DEATH// A terrible accident took place at a railway station in the heart of Mumbai city recently. People crowded a foot over-bridge at the Elphinstone Railway Station, causing a stampede which killed 22 people and injured 37 others. The accident took place on the morning of September 29th when there was a tremendous rush at the station as many people were heading to work. It was also raining heavily. The bridge is used by passengers crossing over the tracks from one part of the station to the other. Around 10.30 am, those near the bridge heard a loud noise. This caused panic as people thought the bridge was collapsing. So, while many rushed to get off, they ran into those who were climbing up the bridge. In the rush that followed, 22 people were simply crushed to death


CITY// The nine day Durga Puja celebrations ended in the country last Saturday. Sadly the celebrations ended with a lot of waste and puja idols being dumped in the River Yamuna in cities like Delhi. Traditionally, Durga Puja celebrations end with the idols of the goddess being immersed in a river. With many idols being made of materials like Plaster of Paris and decorated with chemical paints, immersion causes pollution of river water. The National Green Tribunal, which hears court cases related to the environment, had said in 2015 that idols that are to be immersed in rivers and seas should be made only of clay and should not contain harmful paints. But the NGT’s orders are being disobeyed-a day after the immersion, the Yamuna was full of PoP idols as well as plastic bags containing flowers, bangles and other puja materials.


ENVIRONMENT// 2016 was one of the worst Diwalis for Delhi in recent times. For 26 days after the festival, the air stayed unclean. In 2017, the city seems to have made a lucky escape. The city’s air quality improved from severe to poor in just three days after Diwali and it seems that it will get better.

What went right? Well for one, Diwali occurred earlier this year, as a result of which the weather is a lot warmer. Cold air, being dense and heavy, traps the pollutants and prevents them from moving out. Plus, Delhi has been lucky in getting wind that has blown some of the pollutants away.

What led to the pollution in the first place? Inspite of many people speaking of the need to stay away from crackers, the citizens of Delhi continued to burst them, leading to the air turning smoky over the capital on Diwali. Also October is the time of the year when farmers in Haryana and Punjab clear their fields by burning down the remains of the old crop. The smoke adds to the pollution in the capital. This year, the northern states made a greater effort to stop the burning-while the problem didn’t go away entirely, the steps taken did help reduce pollution to an extent.

Just before Diwali, the Supreme Court stepped in banning the sale of crackers in Delhi and areas nearby that make up the National Capital Region. While that didn’t wholly prevent those shopkeepers who had stocked up on crackers from selling them, it helped reduce the use of crackers to some extent. HOCKEY


HOCKEY// The Indian hockey team defeated Malaysia in the finals of the Asia Cup played at Dhaka, Bangladesh last Sunday. India last won the Asia Cup ten years ago in 2007. The victory makes it the third Asia Cup Victory for India with wins in 2003, 2007 and 2017. India beat Malaysia 2-1 with goals scored by Ramandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay. Earlier, the team had defeated arch-rival Pakistan to make it to the finals. Pakistan had to settle for bronze after pushing South Korea into fourth position. Top-ranked India finished unbeaten in the tournament, having won all its matches except for the 1-1 draw against Korea in the Super 4 stage. It was a perfect start for India’s new chief coach Marijne Sjoerd as this was his maiden tournament in charge of the senior national side. India is the top ranked team in Asia. The team holds all major continental trophies-the Asian Games, Asia Cup and the Asian Champions Trophy. However the Asia Cup win is especially important to India. As captain Manpreet Singh told a newspaper, “Asia Cup is very important in the run-up to the World Cup next year. So, we are very happy to have achieved what we aimed for.”


DRILL// Indian military jets landed on the expressway between Agra and Lucknow recently as part of regular training exercise. The military practices this maneuver so that it can use highways when airports are not available during an emergency. During the exercise, transport planes that carry soldiers as well as fighter jets landed and took off one by one. Last year, fighter jets made practice landings on the expressway that connects Delhi to Greater Noida. DELHI


INDEPENDENCE// After several weeks of bluster and brinkmanship between Spain’s central government and the secessionist government of the region of Catalonia, things came to a head on Friday October 27, when Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy asked parliament to vote in favor of a drastic measure, known as Article 155, that would give his government extraordinary powers to intervene in Catalonia. Article 155 would allow Rajoy to take over the province’s government, which now enjoys a degree of autonomy, in retaliation for its refusal to back away from a bid for independence. In his speech, Rajoy said, “The thing that Catalans need protecting from is not what they’re calling Spanish imperialism but a minority who, in an intolerant way, declare themselves the owners of Catalonia and consider as exclusive a history, culture, and feelings that are the heritage of the community.” The members then cast their votes. Article 155 was approved: two hundred and fourteen in favor, forty-seven against, and one abstention.

Not long before, in Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, the province’s President, Carles Puigdemont, had asked his parliament for a yes or no vote on a unilateral declaration of independence: the result was seventy in favor, ten against, and two blank votes cast. A sizable group of opposition politicians angrily boycotted the vote. As news of the vote spread, pro-independence Catalans cheered and sang in the streets of Barcelona, and the Spanish flag was removed from public buildings across the province. But the announcement of the birth of the Catalan Republic — the name chosen for the new nation — is almost certain to remain a symbolic exercise for now, because Spanish authorities are expected to move quickly to dismantle the Catalan government, and the Catalans have little means, other than civil disobedience, to slow them down.

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