Syrian children forced to eat animal feed to survive: Report

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'Spurs play like a german team'

Dortmund coach Tuchel not underestimating Pochettino's young guns

DERBY DELIGHT: Tottenham players celebrating a goal against arch-rivals Arsenal.
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I'm no bad boy, says Madhu

Suspension over, surgery done, lanky defender is all set for action tomorrow

MARCHING ORDERS: Warriors' Madhu Mohana (far right) was sent off for allegedly swinging an arm at Home United forward Irfan Fandi last month.

BALESTIER KHALSA v WARRIORS FC

(Tomorrow, 7.45pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)

Neither a broken nose nor a dented reputation is going to stop Madhu Mohana from giving it his all when it comes to stopping opponents.

The Warriors FC centre back turned 25 last Sunday and one of his birthday wishes was to have a successful Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League season.

The defender, who made his name with the LionsXII in the Malaysian Super League, will get the chance to help his new team when he returns from a two-match suspension following a red card in the 2-2 draw against Home United on Feb 14.

Remarkably, the dismissal was his second consecutive red card in a competitive game after he was also given his marching orders in Singapore's 2-1 defeat by Syria last November.

But the man with an uncompromising tackle and a bullet throw insisted he is far from a dirty player.

He said: "This latest red card was really unlucky.

"I got tangled with Irfan Fandi and we both turned to get away from each other. He fell and it looked like I caught him, but I didn't.

"It was nothing, really. In fact, I told him to get up and get on with it and he was smiling.

"Take these two red cards away and I have only one more, against Terengganu for the LionsXII.

"I don't think it's a terrible record for a centre back so I'm not worried about a bad reputation.

"I don't go into matches looking for a red card, but I will continue playing with the same passion and aggression."

It is this desire that will see Madhu return to the pitch one month ahead of schedule after going for corrective surgery to fix a nose that was knocked out of place by Hougang United's Yusiskandar Yusop during a pre-season friendly.

"I can't wait to get back on the pitch," said the fearless defender.

PROTECTIVE MASK

"I'm supposed to wear a protective mask, but it's really uncomfortable so we'll see.

"If I have to put my head in where it hurts, I'll still do it, no problem.

"The crowd is coming back to the S.League and every player has a responsibility to give 100 per cent.

"We want the fans to keep coming back so we must not hold back."

The Warriors will take on Balestier Khalsa at the Jalan Besar Stadium tomorrow with both teams desperate for a win - the Warriors to narrow the three-point gap with league leaders Albirex Niigata while the Tigers are desperate for a first league victory to move off the bottom.

Despite Balestier's struggles in front of goal - the Tigers have scored just once in three league games - Madhu is not taking a win for granted.

"There's no easy meat in the S.League this season," he said.

"Games are decided over 90 minutes and not how teams have fared in the last three games.

"Miroslav Kristic scored 16 goals last season so he's definitely a threat. The biggest mistake we can make is to underestimate Balestier.

"We have a relatively new team but we are gelling well and doing better than in pre-season. We created plenty of chances in our three games so far, so it's a matter of being more clinical."

Besides doing well in the S.League, Madhu is also looking to keep his place in the national team as he aims to play in his first Suzuki Cup campaign this year and add to his 13 caps.

The Lions lifted their fourth Asean title in 2012 but were embarrassed on home soil two years later when their defence of the crown ended at the group stage.

Said Madhu: "I'm thankful to be part of the national team last year, but I'm not taking it for granted."

Solar flair

Singaporeans were out in force yesterday to view the partial solar eclipse

ASTRONOMICAL SPECTACLE: As the solar eclipse peaked at 8.23am, passing clouds create a natural filter that allows the camera to capture the eclipse without using any form of filters.
SOLAR ATTRACTION: A partial solar eclipse attracted over 3,000 people to the Science Centre Singapore. People used the solar glasses given by Science Centre to view the eclipse and protect their eyes at the same time.
SOLAR ATTRACTION: A partial solar eclipse attracted over 3,000 people to the Science Centre Singapore. People used the solar glasses given by Science Centre to view the eclipse and protect their eyes at the same time.
SOLAR ATTRACTION: A partial solar eclipse attracted over 3,000 people to the Science Centre Singapore. People used the solar glasses given by Science Centre to view the eclipse and protect their eyes at the same time.
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Brown gets plum ride in Sydney

DOWN UNDER: Corey Brown will be astride the likely favourite Ghisoni in the Coolmore Classic in Sydney on Saturday.
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Safely through

Chinese stars Chen and Lin make winning starts at All-England

ONE MORE TIME: Chen Long is confident of defending his All-England title this year.
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Girl power or publicity stunt?

Netizens and celebs divided over Kim Kardashian's latest nude selfie

RISQUE: Kim Kardashian bares it all in the selfie, except for two strategically placed black strips, which we have made thicker in this picture.

For the umpteenth time, US reality TV star Kim Kardashian has decided against keeping her clothes on.

On Monday, she posted on Instagram a nude selfie that was reportedly taken around March last year, about the same time she became pregnant with her second child, Saint West.

In it, she bares it all. Well, nearly. She did use two black strips to cover her naughty bits.

It was accompanied by a cheeky caption: "When you're like I have nothing to wear LOL".

The photo, which has raked in 1.4 million likes, did not leave a lot to the imagination, but is not ground-breaking by Kardashian's standards.

Yet, somehow, her post has ignited a social media storm, with a string of celebrities chastising her for her actions. 

In response to the backlash, the 35-year-old mother of two, who has 62.9 million followers on Instagram,defended herself in a lengthy note posted on her website yesterday.

Titled #StraightUp Happy International Women's Day, referring to the event that took place on Tuesday, she wrote: "In all seriousness, I never understand why people get so bothered by what other people choose to do with their lives.

"I don't do drugs, I hardly drink, I've never committed a crime - and yet I'm a bad role model for being proud of my body?

"I am empowered by my body. I am empowered by my sexuality. I am empowered by feeling comfortable in my skin.

"I am empowered by showing the world my flaws and not being afraid of what anyone is going to say about me.

"And I hope that through this platform I have been given, I can encourage the same empowerment for girls and women all over the world."

RISQUE: Kim Kardashian bares it all in the selfie, except for two strategically placed black strips, which we have made thicker in this picture. PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/KIMKARDASHIAN 

Kardashian then asked that critics allow her to be herself, writing: "It's 2016. The body-shaming and slut-shaming - it's like, enough is enough.

"I will not live my life dictated by the issues you have with my sexuality. You be you and let me be me."

Undaunted, she went on to post yet another nude photo of herself, this time with her hands protecting her modesty and with the caption "#liberated".

As netizens continue to take sides over this debacle, it raises the question of whether nude selfies are the right way to promote female empowerment.

Ms Jolene Tan, programmes and communications senior manager at the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), told The New Paper: "We hope for a world in which society does not invest so much energy into judging or worrying about what individual women wear or don't wear, which is a matter for them to decide for themselves."

LOCAL CELEBS

Local celebrities were divided over Kardashian's latest antics.

Actress Oon Shu An, 30, felt that how Kardashian uses and portrays her body is her prerogative.

She said: "At the end of the day, it's her body. Empowerment is a very personal thing and if that's what empowerment means to her, then that's her call.

"I think the naked body is beautiful but the question is - naked in what context? Some use nudity to glorify, others to objectify."

Singer Maia Lee, 33, felt that Kardashian's intention in posting the nude selfie is important.

The mother of three said: "If her aim was to draw attention towards her body and portray herself as a sex bomb, then I'm not for that.

"But if it's about feeling positive about your body, even after pregnancy, then that's cool with me.

"I'm on her side because she embraces her body and how she looks. Then again, it's easier when you're that hot."

But radio personality and host Jamie Yeo, 38, believes that Kardashian's photo is not all she makes it out to be.

Yeo, who has a five-year-old daughter, said: "She should just call her photo what it is - a publicity stunt.

"To call this female empowerment is wrong because she's been said to have had work done to her body, so it means she doesn't accept her body for what it is.

"Flaunt her body all she wants because I respect that's her way of making a living as a celebrity, but don't pass it off as a call for empowerment because it's not her original intention in the first place."

Yeo added: "I don't want to judge. I would never do a photo like that.

"But then again, someone would not have posed in a bikini like I have in the past. People have different standards. "


Celebrity reactions

ANTI-KARDASHIAN

CHLOE GRACE MORETZ

On Twitter, the 19-year-old US actress addressed Kim Kardashian: "I truly hope you realize how important setting goals are for young women, teaching them we have so much more to offer than just our bodies."

BETTE MIDLER

The veteran actress and singer said in a tongue-in-cheek Twitter post: "Kim Kardashian tweeted a nude selfie today. If Kim wants us to see a part of her we've never seen, she's gonna have to swallow the camera."

Kardashian responded by jokingly asking her to "send nudes" even though "it's past (her) bedtime".

Midler, 70, hit back at her for being able to take a selfie but not a joke.

PINK

No names were mentioned, but it seemed like the 36-year-old US singer was throwing shade at Kardashian by posting a "shout-out" on Twitter to women who use their "brains, strength, work ethic, talent, 'magic' they were born with and only they possess" in light of International Women's Day.

"It may not ever bring you as much 'attention' or bank notes as using your body, your sex, your tits and asses but women like you don't need that kind of 'attention'. In the quiet moments, you will feel something deeper than the fleeting excitement resulting from the attention, you will feel something called pride and self-respect."

PIERS MORGAN

The caustic British TV personality tweeted: "I know the old man's (referring to Kardashian's US rapper-hubby, Kanye West) $50 million in debt, Kim - but this is absurd. Want me to buy you some clothes?"

In a scathing column for Daily Mail Online, Morgan, 50, also voiced his suspicion that Kardashian was trying hard to outdo her younger half-sisters, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, who have been "grabbing all the scantily-clad attention recently".


PRO-KARDASHIAN

ABIGAIL BRESLIN

The 19-year-old US actress defended Kardashian, saying in a series of tweets: "Anybody who tries to say how a woman chooses to display their OWN body is wrong, is severely misinformed and misguided. If a guy posts a shirtless picture, people say how 'steamy' and 'hot' it is. But if a woman chooses to do that, it's setting a bad example?"

ARIEL WINTER

The US actress also pointed out society's double standards - that nobody was body-shaming Canadian pop star Justin Bieber when a photo of him standing naked behind his guitar was published by TMZ in 2013.

Winter, 18, tweeted: "I think everyone, men and women, should have the right to choose what they do with their bodies - and not be criticized."

ROWAN BLANCHARD

The 14-year-old US actress said in a Twitter post: "I think that it is an awesome thing to teach girls: to be accepting of yourself and use the selfie to choose how you want to be viewed and to try and gain control of your own image."


AND SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN...

PHOTOS: AFP, REUTERS

MILEY CYRUS, 23

Enough is enough for the equally provocative and frequently nude 23-year-old US pop star who voiced her disgust at everyone.

She posted on Instagram: "Dear women, you ALL are acting tacky! Why don't we overly (myself included) fortunate women come together and try to create and bring jobs to other women in desperate need of them so they can support not only THEMSELVES but their families! #happyinternationalwomensday can we all put the (expletive) aside for one (expletive) day and love / celebrate one another!"


I don't do drugs, I hardly drink, I've never committed a crime - and yet I'm a bad role model for being proud of my body?

- Kim Kardashian responding to the backlash on her website

Slingers' key to ABL Finals: harmony and foreign signings

Squad harmony and impact of foreign signings key to team's success

GAME PLAN: Coach Neo Beng Siang says his team's (above) defence is the key to beating the Malaysia Dragons.
GAME PLAN: Coach Neo Beng Siang (above) says his team's defence is the key to beating the Malaysia Dragons.

FINALS, GAME ONE

WESTPORTS MALAYSIA DRAGONS v 
SINGAPORE SLINGERS

(Tomorrow, 8.45pm, MABA Stadium, 
Kuala Lumpur)

Four days ago, they overcame a massive hurdle when they defeated Hi-Tech Bangkok City in the play-off semi-finals of the Asean Basketball League (ABL).

The Singapore Slingers were understandably ecstatic after coming unstuck at the same stage last year.

Forty-eight hours later, the players were already on the court preparing what for many of them will be the biggest game of their lives.

For the first time since the tournament's inception in 2009, the Slingers will have a shot at the big prize, when they take on top seeds Westports Malaysia Dragons in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow in the best-of-five ABL Finals.

Desmond Oh, Slingers captain and one of the team's pioneer members, credits much of their success this season to how well the foreign signings have blended in.

"The imports have bonded with us really well," the 29-year-old told The New Paper, before a training session at the OCBC Arena on Tuesday.

"They give us what we need - we need a big centre (Justin Howard) and a strong guy who drives to the basket (Xavier Alexander)."

For point guard Wong Wei Long, the Americans, along with Filipino Kris Rosales, have proven to be the final pieces in the offensive puzzle.

Against Hi-Tech on Sunday, Alexander topped the Slingers' scoring charts with 29 points, while Howard came in second with 15 points.

"This is the year that we found the right imports who fit the system, what coach Neo (Beng Siang) has been building for the past six years," Wong, 27, said.

"Xavier plays a very important role, not only in terms of scoring, but also on the defensive end as well as the rebounds.

"He's been crucial to the team."

While the imports have been bright sparks this season, Slingers coach Neo also paid tribute to the Singaporean core.

"From recent results, the locals have really stepped up as a whole," he said.

"In Game Two of the semi-finals especially, our local boys put in a combined score of 66 points to win the game. I'm really pleased with that."

Oh pointed to two-metre tall forward Delvin Goh as a 20-year-old who has "stepped up big time".

"We really need him in the paint as he is someone who works very well," Oh said. "It's credit to him that we beat the Thai club."

Besides encouraging performances from the players, Oh thinks the Slingers have also benefited from a slight tweak in tactics.

"We're focusing more on our defence this year," he explained.

"The lack of individual defence cost us a lot in the last few years."

Neo believes his charges have to put in another series of solid performances in defence to stand a chance of clinching their maiden title, especially when the first two games of the finals will be in KL (tomorrow and Sunday).

"Everybody knows our defence can win the championship," he said.

"But how you are going to handle that individually and as a team (is another question)."

The veteran coach added that it was crucial for his side to grab at least one win out of the opening two games on the road.

IMPORTANT

"If we can secure at least one of those games, of course we will feel more confident," he said. "It's definitely important because we are coming back with two home games."

To do that, Neo wants his side to nullify the Dragons' imports, especially towering centre Reginald Johnson, who posted 32 points and 13 rebounds in their second semi-final play-off against Saigon Heat.

"We must work on how we are going to shut them out from scoring," Neo said.

"Of course, we're not neglecting the locals as well, who can give them something they need."

Wong added: "I will read how Jason (Brickman, Dragons guard) is going to play. If we do not know our opponents well, it'll be pretty tough to play defence on him.

"It's going to be a tough game for everyone, because this is the Finals.

"We both have the same head-to-head record (in the regular season), so we're just trying to see who comes out on top."

2015/
2016 
ABL Finals

WESTPORTS MALAYSIA DRAGONS

  • Total games: 22
  • Home wins: 9
  • Home losses: 2
  • Away wins: 9
  • Away losses: 2

Average per game

  • Points: 93.2
  • Offensive rebounds: 12.9
  • Defensive rebounds: 28.6
  • Total rebounds: 41.5
  • Assists: 21
  • Turnovers: 15.5
  • Steals: 9.9
  • Blocks: 3

Percentage per game

  • Two-point field goals: 50.8
  • Three-point field goals: 35.1
  • Free-throws: 69.7

SINGAPORE SLINGERS

  • Total games: 23
  • Home wins: 9
  • Home losses: 3
  • Away wins: 9
  • Away losses: 2

Average per game

  • Points: 80
  • Offensive rebounds: 12.3
  • Defensive rebounds: 28.7
  • Total rebounds: 41
  • Assists: 16.8
  • Turnovers: 12.7
  • Steals: 8.8
  • Blocks: 3.6

Percentage per game

  • Two-point field goals: 46.2
  • Three-point field goals: 29.6
  • Free-throws: 60.9

KNOW THE SLINGERS

2. DESMOND OH

  • Position: Guard
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 1.78m
  • Weight: 77kg

Oh is captain of the Slingers and is usually tasked with keeping the most dangerous opponents at bay. He has been around since the inaugural ABL season in 2009.

5. WONG WEI LONG

  • Position: Guard
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 1.74m
  • Weight: 77kg

Another long-time member of the squad, Wong was named last season's local Most Valuable Player and has caught the eye of many with his dribbling ability and passing this year.

7. WU QINGDE

  • Position: Forward
  • Age: 23
  • Height: 1.83m
  • Weight: 83kg

Still fulfilling his full-time National Service commitments, Wu has a knack for scoring three-pointers when it matters, hauling the Slingers out of trouble on numerous occasions.

8. TOH QING HUANG

  • Position: Forward
  • Age: 21
  • Height: 1.83m
  • Weight: 73kg

Toh is just one of the few promising local youngsters the Slingers are grooming this season.

9. JOHN NG

  • Position: Guard
  • Age: 21
  • Height: 1.9m
  • Weight: 82kg

Another one for the future, Ng usually comes off the bench.

10. LEON KWEK

  • Position: Forward
  • Age: 19
  • Height: 1.88m
  • Weight: 76kg

Kwek is the youngest member of the squad and a talented player.

17. NG HAN BIN

  • Position: Guard/Forward
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 1.95m
  • Weight: 86kg

Ng adds steel to the Slingers' line-up.

23. DELVIN GOH

  • Position: Forward/Centre
  • Age: 20
  • Height: 2.02m
  • Weight: 95kg

The tallest member of the squad, Goh is usually given the arduous task of marking the opposing big men.

83. TAN CHIN HONG

  • Position: Forward
  • Age: 25
  • Height: 1.86m
  • Weight: 75kg

Chase Tan, as he is known in showbiz circles, has appeared in a China and Singapore co-produced film shown in cinemas here. He also does some modelling work.

11. KRIS ROSALES

(PHILIPPINES)

  • Position: Guard
  • Age: 25
  • Height: 1.83m
  • Weight: 75kg

Rosales is an agile player with the ability to squeeze out of tight situations. He is also calm under pressure, scoring a number of crucial points for the Slingers.

15. XAVIER ALEXANDER

(UNITED STATES)

  • Position: Guard/Forward
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 1.95m
  • Weight: 102kg

X, as he is affectionately known, is important at both ends of the court. Powerful, penetrative runs are his trademark.

55. JUSTIN HOWARD

(UNITED STATES)

  • Position: Centre
  • Age: 33
  • Height: 2.01m
  • Weight: 125kg

An imposing presence for the Slingers, Howard is a handful even for the strongest centres in the league.

22. KELVIN LIM

  • Position: Forward
  • Age: 20
  • Height: 1.9m
  • Weight: 76kg

He was not in the 12-man squad for Game Three against Hi-Tech, but may get a recall depending how he trains.

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