Spain huffed and puffed, making hard work of their Euro 2016 opener before a late Gerard Pique goal blew away the Czech Republic resistance – yet it could not conceal further evidence that Vicente del Bosque’s champions may lack a killer instinct.Until defender Pique’s crucial late header, the holders were again largely ineffective in front of goal, just as they had been in their 1-0 loss to Georgia in their final warm-up game last week.Spain had three-quarters of the possession up until the interval and played most of the game in the Czech half, but still did not have the wit or invention to break down their more limited opponents.By the end, the champions had hit the target just five times in their 17 attempts, with Pique’s 87th-minute header from a superb Andres Iniesta cross eventually sparing their blushes.It left Spain coach Vicente del Bosque with an increasingly familiar headache. “It’s true that we dominate but we still struggle in front of goal,” he sighed afterwards.BETTER START THAN 2014 WORLD CUPThe most important thing for the coach was that this was at least an improvement on Spain’s last three opening games at major tournaments – a defeat in the 2014 World Cup by the Netherlands, a draw with Italy in Euro 2012 and a loss in the 2010 World Cup to Switzerland.They started with a sense of urgency and were most effective when they had David Silva and Jordi Alba stretching the Czech team on the flanks.That enabled them to create the first real opening of the game, with Silva’s cross from the right finding Alvaro Morata in the box but his first-touch shot was kept out by the ever-excellent Petr Cech.advertisementProblems started for Spain when that pair started drifting inside, flooding the central area of the pitch and making the champions too predictable.CECH HOLDS OFF SPANISH ATTACKStill, they should have gone into the break ahead but were denied by further terrific work from Cech, including two stops from Morata.”We would have seen a different game had one of our chances in the opening half gone in,” reckoned Spain captain Sergio Ramos.Morata was replaced by Aritz Aduriz in the 62nd minute but he could do little with Spain continuing to produce long spells of possession without any incisive intent or penetration.Eventually, though, one moment of sheer star quality told. Andres Iniesta, still a twinkle-toed Fred Astaire of the modern game at 32, unfurled one curling, inch-perfect cross that simply demanded a thumping Pique finish.”This is who we are,” the Barcelona maestro Iniesta declared afterwards. “We have achieved so much success because of our style of play.”We have played games like this one and it’s just a case of trying and trying, until the ball goes in.”The problem is that the wait for those goals is becoming increasingly a test of the Spain supporters’ nerves and patience.
The British Deputy High Commissioner to Kolkata, Bruce Bucknell joined a rally to mark the World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30. “We need everyone to come together to tackle the dangers from trafficking and protect the human rights of those affected,” he said.Bucknell participated in the rally organised by the NGO, Association for Social and Humanitarian Action (ASHA) at Minakhan, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. Prasun Bhowmick, member, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, West Bengal and Kamrul Islam, Block Development Officer also joined the rally. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe British Deputy High Commission is supporting projects in East and North East of India to tackle the issue of human trafficking. This includes project ‘Jagaran’, implemented by ASHA. “I am glad that we are working with local partners to tackle this problem,” Bucknell added. “Such projects can empower people to raise concerns, and work with authorities to address the dangers of human trafficking.” Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Secretary, ASHA said, “We have been trying to address trafficking in the vulnerable pockets along the Indo-Bangladesh border and the riverine belt in West Bengal. We are also working in the tribal community of Chhattisgarh and tea gardens of Assam. Poverty, ignorance, gender and caste based discrimination in the community and lack of political will are responsible for trafficking to flourish. We have initiated the process for sensitising the community on the various modus operandi of trafficking, empowering the adolescents, rejuvenating the block and village level Child Protection Committees and bridging the gaps between the community and the government machinery.” Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveA signature campaign and a street play on the causes and concerns related to human trafficking were also part of the event. Local panchayat representatives, community leaders, block and district level officials and police officers were also present at the rally. India-UK stand united in a force for good partnership and everyone needs to come together to tackle the dangers that trafficking poses and protect the human rights of all concerned. Improving the lives of girls and women is one of UK’s top priorities for development around the world – including India. UK activities include a number of projects focusing on empowering women; capacity building for marginalised women, women’s legal rights; combating sex trafficking, child labour and bonded labour. The plan builds on demonstrated expertise in working with the poor communities, law enforcement agencies, improving policies and implementation and encouraging ethical businesses.