Henderson fires winner as Liverpool beat Milan in thriller, Real edge past Inter

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson struck a rare Champions League goal to earn his side a 3-2 victory over AC Milan in a rip-roaring Group B opener at a rocking Anfield on Wednesday. Henderson rifled home in the 69th minute to settle an absorbing contest between the two European heavyweights whose only two previous meetings had been in finals.

With Anfield welcoming back fans for a Champions League night for the first time in 18 months, Liverpool had threatened to run riot when Fikayo Tomori’s own goal handed them an early lead in a barnstorming start. Remarkably, after weathering the storm which included a Mohamed Salah penalty miss, Milan struck twice in quick succession at the end of the first half with Ante Rebic and Brahim Diaz silencing the home crowd.

Milan then had a goal disallowed shortly after the break before Salah made amends for his penalty miss by equalising from close range in the 49th minute. The outcome was still in doubt until Henderson capped a memorable Anfield night with a thumping effort — only his second in the competition and first for seven years.

“First half an hour we blew them away,” Liverpool left back Andy Robertson said. “Then we got sloppy and stopped doing the things we were doing really well. We let them back into the game and walk in at halftime thinking ‘how have we let this happen?’”

Milan’s return to Europe’s top club competition for the first time in seven years began in torrid fashion as the seven-time champions were initially overwhelmed. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic unavailable and several players making their Champions League debut, Milan looked ill-equipped to compete and fell behind in the ninth minute when Trent Alexander-Arnold got in on the right side of the area and his cross struck former Chelsea player Tomori and beat Milan keeper Mike Maignan.

Before Milan could clear their heads they conceded a penalty when Ismael Bennacer blocked Robertson’s shot with his arm. But Maignan dived to his right to keep out Salah’s penalty. It was only the second time in 19 attempts that Salah had failed to convert a spot kick and it proved a turning point. Salah fired over and Joel Matip headed straight at Maignan as the chances kept coming but Liverpool were rocked on their heels as Milan turned the game on its head — Liverpool manager Klopp saying later that his team had got a bit “carried away”.

For the first time Liverpool’s high press relented and Milan worked the ball neatly forward before Franck Kessie’s pass played in Rebic to sweep a low shot past Alisson. Klopp wore a wry smile after that but one minute and 48 seconds later he looked as stunned as everyone else. Milan attacked down the left again with Kessie and Rebic combining to set up Alexis Saelemaekers whose shot was blocked on the line by Robertson only for Diaz to pounce and convert.

It could have got even worse for Liverpool a minute after the restart when Saelemaekers scored from close range following a corner but an offside flag spared Liverpool. The frantic pace continued and Liverpool were level in the 48th minute as Divock Origi, given his first action of the season, scooped a ball over Milan’s defence for Salah to dink a bouncing ball past Maignan for his 14th Champions League goal at Anfield, equalling former captain Steven Gerrard’s record. Milan did well to soak up Liverpool pressure but they finally cracked when a corner was cleared to the edge of the area and Henderson smashed the ball home.

Messi fails to provide spark as PSG disappoint

Lionel Messi failed to provide Paris St Germain with any sparkle as the Ligue 1 team’s potent attacking trio lacked inspiration in a disappointing 1-1 draw at Club Brugge in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

Making his first start for the French team, the Argentine forward hit the woodwork but was otherwise far from his brilliant best alongside the hugely disappointing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, who set up Ander Herrera for PSG’s first-half opener before being replaced injured after the break.

Brugge, who levelled before halftime through Hans Vanaken, were more aggressive and had the best chances against a PSG side lacking quality and defensive focus. The result left PSG and Brugge trailing Group A leaders Manchester City by two points after the Premier League champions crushed RB Leipzig 6-3.

“We didn’t play a fantastic game but to be fair we did enough to win, we deserved to win,” said Herrera. “Maybe they had opportunities at the beginning of the second half but I think we controlled the match, we had a lot of chances.”

Brugge keeper Simon Mignolet disagreed. “I didn’t have a lot of work, I just pulled a couple of saves. We played as a compact side, it was the right approach,” the Belgian said.

With Messi, Neymar and Mbappe together on the pitch for the first time, PSG made a confident start but Brugge responded well. Mbappe broke down the left flank and his low cross was met by Herrera, who opened the scoring in the 15th minute with a low finish for his fourth goal of the season – his third in his last two games. Messi set up Mbappe, who went close in the 23rd minute with an angled shot that was deflected by Mignolet but PSG were lulled into a false sense of security.

On a sharp attack, the visitors’ defence was overwhelmed on the right side and after a late run into the box, Vanaken connected with Eduard Sobol’s cutback to beat Keylor Navas after 27 minutes. Messi hit the woodwork with a fine curling shot from the edge of the box before Brugge threatened again as Vanaken forced Navas into a diving save with a low free kick.

The keeper was made to work again to tip Charles De Ketelaere’s rising shot over the bar before halftime. Danilo replaced Leandro Paredes as PSG’s holding midfielder while Julian Draxler took over from Georginio Wijnaldum as roving midfielder after the break. PSG suffered a blow six minutes into the second half when Mbappe limped off the pitch after taking a knock on his ankle and was substituted by Mauro Icardi. Messi had PSG’s first chance of the second half 20 minutes from time with an angled shot before picking up a yellow card, but Brugge did more than enough to claim a well-deserved point.

Nkunku hattrick can’t save Leipzig’s blushes as Grealish gets going for City

Manchester City, last season’s Champions League runners-up, crushed RB Leipzig 6-3 in a thrilling Group A game on Wednesday as Christopher Nkunku scored a hat-trick for the German side. It was a hugely entertaining match at the Etihad Stadium and although City manager Guardiola will be happy with the three points he will be concerned about the spaces his team left for the German side to exploit on the break.

Real democratic freedom is impossible without economic equality

Every functioning system needs regular corrections. Otherwise, it accumulates undesirable tendencies. This applies to the largest democracy, which is often praised for conducting “free and fair elections”. It is high time we asked whether we have imbibed the democratic spirit and if we exercise it without fear or favour.

Democracy is quintessentially about freedom. Rosa Luxemburg famously opined that real freedom is the freedom to disagree. In a functional sense, democracy means discussion, debate and dissent. But in India, these are fast disappearing. There is a deliberative deficit. Public space is shrinking. There are only some spaces provided by political parties wherein discussions are directed and controlled. It is a “give and take” exercise, leaders give and cadres take — but not in the sense we are familiar with. Structurally, democracy must mean equality; but equality is possible only in a non-hierarchical situation.

In India’s case, inequality is the very base of our culture, an unquestioning acceptance of a “culture of inequality.” Democracy is not an end in itself; it is a means to an end that should be socially defined and determined. For instance, development, in a democratic sense, must be inclusive, equitable and sustainable. People should be the primary agents in the formulation, implementation, overseeing and evaluation of programmes and projects. In the dirigiste era, people were regarded only as the objects of development. Development “occurred” intransitively: Roads were constructed for them and houses were built for them.

There is no gainsaying that India has an accommodative democracy. It accommodates socio-economic inequalities, regional and sectoral imbalances, and what not?

Under the much-acclaimed democratic decentralisation, what really happened was the devolution of certain centrally determined functions, responsibilities and resources to lower tiers of administration, without changing the power structures — social, economic, political, and religious.

Power , whether at the national, regional, local, corporate or family level, always tends towards centralisation. In this sense, power cannot be decentralised. In other words, centralisation of power is not the problem and its decentralisation is not the solution. Power itself is the problem, as it is always used by the powerful against the powerless, by the strong against the weak, by the rich against the poor. History testifies that in a class-divided society, the state, which epitomises power, protects the rich and powerful from or against the poor and the oppressed. Thus, the state is an instrument of oppression. The more unequal a society, the more authoritarian the state. Ideally, in an egalitarian system, state power has no place. Marx had said that in a classless society, state would wither away. In India, because economic inequalities are egregious and increasing, the state is becoming more and more authoritarian. It is even argued that India is becoming a democracy without freedom. Rulers fear freedom. Always and everywhere, rulers are enemies of freedom.

Leaders are a vanishing species. We have only rulers. We have efficient rulers, efficient administrators, and an efficient police force. Democracy means efficient administration, strengthening and maintaining the status quo, and not changing the system. Stability and continuity are preferred. Questioning inequities invites draconian laws, reminding us of the statement made in the Madras High Court by famous lawyer and human rights activist Kannabiran: “Crime is defined by law, but the criminal is determined by the state.” Recall how migrant workers were treated in the lockdown last year. Or the incident in 2018 in which a starving Adivasi in Attappadi, Kerala, was beaten to death for stealing some food.

Real democracy is economic democracy, as Ambedkar stressed. A starting point is ensuring economic security to all, not through an income transfer programme (universal basic income), but through the provision of universal property rights. The poor should be treated not as welfare scroungers, but as consumers, active producers, and potential entrepreneurs. This should be ensured by the new economic package being put in place by the Modi government.

MGNREGA allocation must be utilised not for creating wage-employment but for building the asset base of the poor, developing entrepreneurship (business as well as social) among them, building idea/incubation centres and helping undertake production/ business units, individually or on a group basis. Let them pursue and explore the fortunes on the margins, like C K Prahalad’s exhortation to explore the “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid”. The founder of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus describes the poor as “natural entrepreneurs”. Let’s treat the underclass not just as wage workers/passive recipients of welfare benefits, but as potential producers. Let’s trust them. And build a democracy of “freely associated producers.”

Madras HC upholds orders acquiring of land for road project in TN

The Madras High Court has upheld the orders of the authorities concerned to acquire lands owned by private persons and bodies in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu for laying an outer ring road and providing various amenities.

Justice G K Ilanthiraiyan upheld the acquisition orders on Tuesday, while dismissing a batch of writ petitions from Dr D Anand and others challenging the government move.

“Overall, the respondents had duly followed the procedures as contemplated under the Tamil Nadu Highways Act, 2001 and the Rules for acquiring lands for the purpose of the Chennai outer ring road development work including project facilities such as interchanges, bus bays, truck lay byes, junction improvements, wayside amenities, major and minor junction improvements etc. These facilities are only part and parcel of the project road amenities and it is one of the facilities provided for the outer ring road phase-I,” the judge said and dismissed the petitions as without merits.

The state government had earlier decided to form an outer ring road joining the southern, western and northern parts of Chennai city for a total length of 60.15 km road being constructed in two phases around the Chennai Metropolitan area.

Lands were subsequently acquired for the first phase and taken possession of to a length of 29.65 km in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts.

For this purpose, the Highways and Minor Ports (HH-2) department on December 4, 2012 had accorded administrative sanction for acquisition of private lands and transfer of government lands for providing project various facilities in Chennai outer ring road, phase-I under the provisions of the Act and the Tamil Nadu Highways Rules, 2003 framed thereunder and appointed the District Revenue Officer (LA), ORR, Chennai as the Land Acquisition Officer to perform the functions of the government/Collector.

Accordingly, the Special Tahsildar, Land Acquisition published notice under Section 15(2) of the Act on May 26, 2013 and also in the localities on May 29, 2013 as required under Rule 5 of the Rules. The entire acquisition proceedings have been challenged under these writ petitions on various grounds.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine produces lasting immune response, study finds

Immunity generated by the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine lasts for at least six months, and there is no indicator that vaccinated people will need a booster shot, according to a study.

The research, published in the journal Science, noted that this time point of six months is critical because that is when true immune memory has formed. While the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine led to strong immune and antibody responses for at least six months after clinical trial participants were fully vaccinated, it is likely that the immune response could last much longer, the researchers said.

They also show that this strong immune memory lasted in all age groups tested, including in people over age 70, a demographic especially vulnerable to severe COVID-19.

“The immune memory was stable, and that was impressive. That’s a good indicator of the durability of mRNA vaccines,” said Shane Crotty, a professor at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) in the US. The researchers compared recovered COVID-19 patients to vaccine trial participants who received a 25-microgramme dose of the Moderna vaccine during the phase 1 clinical trials.

“We wanted to see if a quarter of the dose is able to induce any immune response,” said study first author Jose Mateus Trivino, a postdoctoral fellow at LJI. “We had the opportunity to receive the samples from the original Moderna phase 1 trial participants who had received two 25-microgram injections of the vaccine, 28 days apart,” Trivino said.

This vaccine dose is a quarter of the 100-microgram Moderna dose given emergency authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While researchers don’t know whether this smaller dose is as effective as the standard dose, the study shows that the T cell and antibody response in the smaller dose group is still strong.

They found that the Moderna vaccine spurs an adaptive immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein nearly identical to the immune system’s response to a natural infection. The coronavirus uses the spike protein to enter and infect the cells.

“The response is comparable. It’s not higher and it’s not lower,” said LJI Research Assistant Professor Daniela Weiskopf. The study also shows the power of “cross-reactive” T cells, immune cells which trigger a faster and better antibody response. The researchers found that people with cross-reactive T cells had significantly stronger antibody responses to both doses of the vaccine. “If you have this immune reactivity, your immune system may kick in faster against the virus. And multiple studies have shown that how quickly the immune system reacts is key,” the researchers added.

Nick Jonas’ birthday: When Priyanka Chopra called herself a ‘mirchi’ and her husband a diplomat

From the time that Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas made their first public appearance at the Met Gala in 2017 to their fairytale wedding and a successful partnership after it, this couple makes staying in public spotlight feel like a cakewalk. On Nick Jonas’ 29th birthday today, we revisit their relationship and the hoopla that went with it.

Priyanka and Nick’s PDA is also quite famous. 

Very recently, at Times Literary Fest, Priyanka Chopra spoke in detail about her marriage and how husband Nick Jonas has added value to her personality

In her words, “He’s a diplomat, you know? Whereas, I’m just like a mirchi you know, if I go off, I go off.”

Alia Bhatt performs Sukhasana; here’s why you should too

欢Alia Bhatt’s love and dedication to fitness is not unknown. Time and again, she inspires her followers by sharing sneak peeks from her gym and yoga sessions. It was no different this time as the actor was seen performing yet another yoga asana, the Sukhasana.

Celebrity yoga trainer Anshuka Parwani took to Instagram to share a picture of the 28-year-old performing the pose. “Like Alia believes, ‘it’s a beautiful day to go after your dreams’.” she wrote.

According to Binda Kanayalkar, senior guide, GetSetUp, “‘Sukhasana’ is a posture which signifies a comfortable, steady and stable asan. Yogasutra describes this as ‘sthira sukham asanam’ ‘sthira’ means steady, ‘sukha’ means bliss, comfortable.”

“Sukhasana is very simple and can be performed by anyone who can sit on the floor or on a hard surface. Older adults with back or knee problems can also make an attempt to practice by folding one leg at a time with the support of a cushion under their thighs. Regular practice will show many benefits for physiological age-related ailments,” she added.