A breeze for Muru

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Win a durian feast for four

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Blatter steps down as Fifa president

Swiss steps down from Fifa top post, says extraordinary congress for a 
new president 
will be held soon

BYE BYE, BLATTER: Fifa president Sepp Blatter says that the scandal-tainted Fifa needs "profound reconstruction" and that he had "thoroughly reconsidered" his presidency since his re-election.

Sepp Blatter resigned as president of Fifa this morning (Singapore time) as a mounting corruption scandal engulfed world football’s governing body. 

According to The New York Times, officials say he is "under investigation". 

The 79-year-old Swiss official, Fifa president for 17 years and only re-elected last Friday, said a special congress would be called as soon as possible to elect a successor.  

Blatter said that the scandal-tainted Fifa needs “profound reconstruction” and that he had “thoroughly reconsidered” his presidency since his re-election. 

He added that the vote “does not seem to be supported by everybody in the world of football”.

His resignation came less than a week after Swiss police arrested seven Fifa officials, including two vice presidents, at a Zurich hotel. 

Read the full report in our print edition on June 3. 

Subscribe to The New Paper, now available in print and digital, at http://bit.ly/tnpeshop

Luck strikes five, jackpot now $8,000

WINNERS: Mr Jumaat Osman congratulates Madam Tan Chin Choo, both 60, after winning yesterday's The New Paper Bonus Challenge draw. They and three others won $100 each.
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Thais aim to be No. 1 nation at SEA Games, again

Chef de mission Chaiprasit believes team can win more than 90 golds

Thana Chaiprasit

While chef de mission Thana Chaiprasit emphasised the importance of fostering friendship between the 11 nations at this year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games here in Singapore, Thailand are still setting their sights on retaining top spot in the medal standings.

"We hope to be No. 1," the 61-year-old (photo) told The New Paper at the team's welcome ceremony yesterday at the Kallang Wave Mall.

The Thai contingent brought home 107 gold medals out of a total haul of 282 at the last SEA Games in 2013 in Myanmar, 49 more than the hosts, in second place.

This year, the Thais, armed with 800 athletes - along with 300 officials, the biggest contingent at this year's SEA Games - are aiming to win upwards of 90 gold medals, according to Chaiprasit, which will see the kingdom easily extend their dominance at the Games.

Out of the 36 sports that the Thais will be competing in, sepak takraw, football, boxing, athletics and swimming are the big ones Chaiprasit expects they will do well in.

The chef de mission also highlighted several star members of his contingent, including 29-year-old swimmer Natthanan Junkrajang.

She grabbed gold medals in the 100m and 200m freestyle and was part of the winning 4×100m freestyle relay team at the previous SEA Games.

Other athletes to look out for are sprinter Jirapong Meenapra, 22, and the Thai volleyball team, who are ranked 12th in the world and are the hot favourites for the tournament.

After recording two wins in their group matches, including a 6-0 drubbing of Laos, the Thai football team are also expected to defend their Under-23 title here.

Chaiprasit said: "Football is really popular in Thailand. All of Thailand hope that we get gold for football."

Despite Thailand's powerhouse status, Chaiprasit was keen to emphasise the softer aspects of the Games.

"We come here for the friendship and see our friends together in South-east Asia," he said.

He also praised the organisation of this year's Games.

"From when we arrived, the system set up for the transportation, for the hotel, for the hotel to the (competition) venue and back... I think the system is very good," Chaiprasit added.

"Our contingent and our officials are very happy being in Singapore."

Indonesia set conservative gold target

SMILES: Officials from the Indonesian contingent posing at the SEA Games welcome ceremony outside Kallang Wave Mall yesterday.

Indonesia is the biggest nation in the region, but it is not expecting great things from its 748-strong contingent of 522 athletes and 226 officials at the 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Singapore.

Indonesia finished fourth in the medal standings at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar with 65 gold medals, behind Thailand (107), the hosts (86) and Vietnam (73).

"Last time, we got 65. Out of 65, we have already lost 30 gold medals because the (sports) in Myanmar will not be competed here in Singapore," said assistant chef de mission Tubagus Ade Lukman yesterday.

Sports like karate and weightlifting, traditional strong suits of Indonesia, will be missing from this year's Games.

"We are expecting more than 40 golds," said Lukman, at the SEA Games welcome ceremony for Indonesia.

The number is a far cry from the 72-gold medal target set by the Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) chairman Rita Subowo, as reported by CNN Indonesia last month.

Which could mean Lukman is playing down expectations.

Lukman admitted there could be some surprises from the Indonesian athletes and added: "They have a big spirit. Hopefully, they can show their performance for the country."

The men's football team were silver medallists in both the 2011 and 2013 SEA Games and they've been drawn in Group A with the likes of hosts Singapore and Myanmar, who beat the Indonesians 4-2 last night.

The badminton team are another force to look out for and Lukman said that former Olympic and world champion, Taufik Hidayat, will have a special interest in their performance.

Ivana Lie, a former badminton world champion, said: "I believe our team are strong. Competitors from other countries are getting better and the difference in standard is small today, but we still have chance."

From kid to kabuki

J-drama 90s teen heart-throb Hideaki Takizawa now a kabuki leading star and director

ARTY: Hideaki Takizawa, who starred in Terms For A Witch (above), returns with his own kabuki production.
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Don't Americanise

K-pop stars should stick to their roots when venturing into US market

DEBUT: Korean-American rapper Jay Park in a scene from his raunchy new music video, Mommae.
DEBUT: The cover of 2NE1 leader CL's new solo English single, Doctor Pepper.
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