Fans behind banner showing player's decapitation face five-year ban

The Standard Liege fan banner. The depiction of Steven Defour has been obscured.

The beautiful game turned ugly.

Anderlecht midfielder Steven Defour was sent off on his return to former club Standard Liege in Belgium on Sunday.

The reason? He kicked the ball at Standard Liege fans after they unveiled a huge banner depicting the decapitation of the Belgium international.

Defour spent five years with Standard and was team captain before signing for Portuguese side Porto in 2011. There is a bitter rivalry between Anderlecht and Standard and Standard fans saw his move to Anderlecht in August 2014 as a betrayal.

The giant banner, unfurled before kick off and large enough to cover three tiers of the stand, showed the Jason Voorhees character from the FRiday the 13th horror movies, brandishing a machete and holding Defour's head. The banner read "RED OR DEAD". 

Defour was already on a yellow card when he kicked the ball during Anderlecht’s 2-0 defeat at the Stade Maurice Dufrasne.

Half an hour into the match, Defour kicked the ball high into the home crowd stands.

Early into the second half he again booted the ball, a straighter more powerful shot toward Standard fans.

Guardian reported that Defour claimed the second kick was to put the ball out of play to allow Standard player Martin Milec to receive treatment.

The 26-year-old Belgium international apologised for his actions on Instagram and Facebook saying: “Apologies to my fans... although I do not understand the red card – you can not see or hear the referee.”

Anderlecht's Steven Defour being sent off during the match against Standard Liege. Photo: AFP

Now Standard Liege fans can expect heavy sanctions for the banner.

 “We’re working together with police to catch as many of the authors of this banner as possible,” a spokeswoman for the interior ministry said on Monday.

She added that individuals faced fines of up to 5,000 euros (S$ 75,500) and could be banned from the stadium for up to five years.

Politicians also voiced their anger over the banner. “(It) was in bad taste, it was stupid and unacceptable,” Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders tweeted.

Fellow Standard supporter and former prime minister Yves Leterme also expressed his disappointment on Twitter: “Standard-Anderlecht has been ruined by a minority of supporters. I remain a supporter but feel ashamed by the banner tonight.”

A cartoon was posted on the Facebook page of Standard fan group Ultras Inferno 1996 with the caption “I’m sorry” and a Jason figure holding a board saying “or not”.

Standard Liege were not immediately available for comment.

Source: Reuters, Guardian

Former City Harvest Church fund manager sensed something was wrong in 2010

Former City Harvest Church fund manager Chew Eng Han

Former City Harvest Church (CHC) fund manger, Chew Eng Han, told the court today he sensed something was wrong in 2010, just before the Commercial Affairs Department raid.

Chew said he had then asked CHC deputy senior pastor and co-accused, Tan Ye Peng, if all the board members knew about the Xtron and Firna bonds.

Said Chew: "He kept silent and that's when my antenna went up. I know his style. When there's silence, it's usually not a good answer."

Chew, who is unrepresented and who broke away from the church in 2013, also told the court the church was a high risk taker when it came to investments.

Chew, Kong, Tan and three others are accused of misusing millions of church money.

First, $24 million was allegedly used to fund the music career of singer Ho Yeow Sun; then $26.6 million to cover up the initial amount. 

Read the full report in our print edition on Jan 28.
Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop.

Singapore, do you want this? Mexico City gives free train rides in return for squats

Mexico City is offering free rides to commuters willing to do 10 squats - part of an initiative in trying to tackle obesity in the country.

Are you game to do 10 squats - in exchange for a free train ride?

Well, that's what the government of Mexico City is offering train commuters.

They are introducing a new initiative, where Mexicans will get a token for a free subway ride in exchange for chalking up 10 squats in front of a ticket-dispensing motion sensor.

The "health station" also tell passengers how many calories they have burned.

This is one of the ways that the Central American country is trying to combat and tackle obesity - "the number one health issue" - according to Health Minister Jose Armando Ahued.

About 70 per cent of adults and nearly a third of children are overweight or obese in the country – a higher rate than the United States and Australia.

Squat machines at 15 train stations 

Public officials are eager to pitch in and do their part in tackling the problem

The city is looking to install 30 squat machines in 15 train stations that see the most traffic.

On top of that, the first 80,000 people to join the program will be handed pedometers.

The price of a ride is about 5 pesos ($0.46).

And a free ride is certainly welcome in a country where minimum wage is 70 pesos.

Hmm, wonder if Singaporeans will take to something like this.

Sources: ABC News Australia, Fusion.net

Single mother sells pineapple tarts to pay for son's cancer treatment

Ms Liu Chun Yue, 27, quit her job to care for her six-year-old son after he was diagnosed with Wilm's tumour, a rare type of kidney cancer, in October.

To pay for her son's medical fees, a single mother has turned to selling homemade pineapple tarts.

Ms Liu Chun Yue (Hanyu Pinyin name) quit her job last year to care for her six-year-old son after he was diagnosed with Wilm's tumour (a rare type of kidney cancer) in October.

To cope with the medical fees and make ends meet, Shin Min Daily News reported that she started making and selling biscuits in December.

As Chinese New Year is approaching, she switched to making pineapple tarts.

The 27-year-old woman, who has separated from her husband and is in the middle of divorce proceedings, has two other sons, ages seven and 11.

Her estranged spouse is jobless and recently had a major operation.

He does not contribute financially to the children's upkeep, the Chinese daily added.

Overwhelming response

Ms Liu has been selling the pineapple tarts at $32 for a container with 50 pieces.

She said:

"I have to care for my son 24 hours a day, so I can't get a job.
"To earn some money, I started making pineapple tarts."

Since Shin Min Daily News reported on her plight, the public response has been overwhelming.

Ms Liu has received orders for around 200 containers of pineapple tarts.

Marine Parade MP Tin Pei Ling told the paper on Monday that she was concerned after hearing about the woman's plight.

She said she will learn more about the family's situation before discussing how to offer them assistance.

Source: Shin Min Daily News

Father can only donate liver to one of his two dying daughters

He is faced with a heartwrenching dilemma - which twin daughter to save? 

Michael Wagner and his wife are running short of time.

The couple from Ontario, Canada, are looking to find a suitable liver donor for one of their two ailing twin daughters suffering from Alagille syndrome.  

Their two girls - Binh and Phuoc - were adopted from Vietnam when they were 18 months old.  

Mrs Wagner said they knew of the twins' liver conditions but not the full extent of it.

"When we saw them at the orphanage we were shocked, really," she said.

Only one

So far, doctors have found only one suitable donor - their father.      

If they are unable to find another donor, the family said they will leave the excruciating decision to doctors to decide which of their daughters will be the best candidate to receive their father's liver.   

The operation is scheduled to take place in two weeks. 

In the mean time, Mr Wagner's family has created a Facebook page and blog to assist in their search. 

Source: Metro, NY Daily News, CTV Ottawa News

Lance Armstrong: If I could go back, I would probably dope again

Lance Armstrong admitted that if he could do it all over again, he would probably not change his decision to dope in the late '90s.

The BBC interviewer asked banned cyclist Lance Armstrong: "When it comes to the doping, would you do it again?"

His answer?

"If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to do it again.
"If you take me back to 1995, when (doping) was completely and totally pervasive, I would probably do it again.
And people don't like to hear that."

Admitting it was a bad decision, 43-year-old Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and banned for life from racing in 2012 by the US Anti-Doping Agency - after it accused him in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

But when asked about his titles, he said: "I feel like I won those tours."

When asked about reports of him bullying other teammates, the cancer survivor and fallen hero said:

"I would want to change the man that did those things, maybe not the decision, but the way he acted.
"The way he treated people, the way he couldn't stop fighting. It was unacceptable, inexcusable."

The doping fallout, he admitted, was "pretty brutal".

The interview comes as the Texan considers re-engaging with the cancer charity that he stepped away from at the height of the scandal.

He is still lobbying to have his ban decreased so he can compete in sports like triathlon.

Asked if people were ready for his return to public life, he said: “Selfishly, I would say ‘yeah, we’re getting close to that time'."

Sources: BBC, AFP

Blatter taunts Uefa for lacking courage to challenge him

Sepp Blatter has taunted Uefa for not having the courage to challenge him for the Fifa presidency.
Sepp Blatter has taunted Uefa for not having the courage to challenge him for the Fifa presidency.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has accused Uefa of lacking the “courage” to provide a challenge to his leadership, and called on the European governing body to be “respectful” of his wish to continue in the role.

Blatter will be bidding for a fifth term in office at the election in May, with so far only three candidates — French former Fifa executive Jerome Champagne, Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan and former Tottenham winger David Ginola — having declared their intention to stand against him.

Speaking in an interview with CNN World Sport, the 78-year-old said: “I have been asked by the national associations to be our candidate again because nobody that is strong was in. So I go there.

“All those who want to get rid of me should come. All this opposition is coming now, it’s unfortunate to say — but it’s true — it’s coming from Nyon, from Uefa. They don’t have the courage to come in. So let me go (on) — be respectful.”

Uefa president Michel Platini ruled out joining the Fifa leadership battle last August.

Challenge

Blatter said: “Football is a team sport. Let’s go together with the team. I invite the confederation of Uefa and especially the leaders of Uefa that are so bitterly attacking me: Join! Join! Football is a unity.”

The world governing body has been engulfed by controversy since awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

American lawyer Michael Garcia produced a 430-page report into the bidding for the tournaments but quit as Fifa’s ethics investigator after losing his appeal against the findings which cleared Russia and Qatar to host the World Cups.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke and England’s Uefa vice-president David Gill were last June at the forefront of a European rebellion against Blatter — saying he should not commit a U-turn on his 2011 pledge to stand down in 2015 — despite the incumbent president appearing to have huge support in other continental confederations.

Fair criticism

Asked if he was nervous about the upcoming election, Blatter said: “No, no. Definitely not. It is impossible to make everybody happy. If I would have only positive press, then it would not be good. And I like criticism as long as the criticism is... I would say fair criticism.”

Despite stating his firm intention to continue in his current role, Blatter also outlined plans for his life after Fifa.

“The day I’m going to retire, the first thing I’m going to do is radio,” he said.

“I always said I will do radio. Because radio is even more popular than television, than all electronics. I said one day — this was my boy’s wish — to be a radio reporter.”

Source: PA Sport

Venus' star shines on

Veteran battles past Radwanska to keep alive prospects of an all-Williams semi-final

SIBLING RIVALRY: Venus Williams (above) last faced her sister Serena at a Grand Slam in the 2009 Wimbledon final.
Madison Keys.
Premium content not available

King James for SEA Games... really!

Premium content not available

Young Lions thrashed by Hamburg

Premium content not available

Pages