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In Brief: Man's death after fire at his home not being treated as suspicious by gardai

A man living alone has died in a fire at his home in Co Kerry. Gardai said the fire was discovered at midday yesterday at his home in Blennerville, two miles from Tralee.

The man's neighbours on Church Road alerted the emergency services after seeing smoke coming from the man's home. His body was taken to Kerry General Hospital in Tralee where a post-mortem examination will be conducted later. The man has not yet been named.

Gardai are not treating the death as suspicious.

Trial for man accused of killing wife

The trial of a Dublin man accused of killing his wife, a former Bond girl, is due to start in the Central Criminal Court this week.

Eamonn Lillis, 51, denies murdering 46-year-old mother-of-one Celine Cawley on December 15, 2008. The former model, who had a minor part in the film A View to a Kill, was found with severe head injuries on the patio of her home on Windgate Road in Howth. She later died in hospital.

Ms Cawley was well known in Irish media circles through her film company Toytown Films. Her husband also worked for the award-winning company as a producer. The couple and their daughter were also well known locally in Howth.

The trial, the first murder trial to take place in the new Courts of Criminal Justice on Parkgate Street in Dublin, is due to start tomorrow.

No winner of €3.9m Lotto jackpot

THERE was no winner of last night's €3,932,254 Lotto jackpot. The numbers were 2, 13, 24, 29, 32, 42 (bonus 44). Wednesday's draw is now heading for €4.8m.

There was one match 5+bonus winner of €25,000; 48 match 5s (€1,756); 112 match 4+bonus (€188); 2,556 match 4 (€51); 2,700 match 3+bonus (€32); and 41,520 match 3s (€5 scratchcard). The Lotto Plus 1 numbers were 3, 4, 17, 20, 27, 35 (bonus 21) and the Lotto Plus 2 numbers were 20, 21, 29, 31, 34, 39 (bonus 22).

In the UK draw for stg£7m, the numbers were 20, 24, 33, 34, 37, 48 (bonus 25).

Cowen celebrates his 50th birthday

The Taoiseach Brian Cowen will celebrate his 50th birthday "quietly" today with his family in his home in Tullamore, Co Offaly. Mr Cowen, who was born on January 10, 1960, was brought up in Clara.

Council urges people to save water

Dublin City Council yesterday urged people to conserve water during the cold weather as treated drinking water is now at a critically low level. Many areas are experiencing a cut in supply due to burst pipes and low water pressure.

The city council is to further reduce water pressure throughout the system in order to conserve supplies.

Many shops are saying they will struggle to meet the demand for bottled water if the shortage lasts more than a few days.

Ice on lake smashed amid safety fears

CORK authorities dispatched a JCB to smash the ice on the perimeter of a frozen lake on Friday to stop people skating on it. The city council took the precaution after two teenagers had to be dramatically rescued from the Lough in the city on Friday.

An 18-year-old youth plunged into the freezing water when ice cracked on Friday. Another teenager fell through cracked ice in a separate incident on the lake a short time later. Both were rescued by the emergency services.

Gardai and water safety authorities have issued a warning in response to the large numbers of adults and children playing, skating, quad-biking and fishing on frozen lakes in what is regarded as a dangerous spin-off of the recent spate of icy weather.

Swine flu fall not linked to big freeze

THE HSE says there is no link between the icy weather and a significant drop in swine flu cases in the past week.

As Irish people stayed indoors in their droves in recent weeks to avoid the big chill, cases of the highly infectious virus dropped. However, the HSE said cases of the virus peaked late last year and have continued to decline ever since.

Infection rates dropped to 16.5 cases per 100,000 of the population last week, down from 21.2 cases per 100,000 the week before.

Clarification on reshuffle report

Last week, in our story 'Minister of national importance', we stated that a Cabinet reshuffle was ruled out on December 31 by a spokesman for the Taoiseach. The date was incorrect. The Taoiseach's spokesman did not make any comment about a reported reshuffle on this date.

RTE cuts funding for string quartet

The RTE Vanbrugh String Quartet, the only one of five performing groups based outside Dublin, has had its contract reduced and remuneration cut considerably.

While its two sister orchestras, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Concert Orchestra, and two choirs, the Philharmonic Choir and Cor na nOg, have suffered only a 5 per cent cut, the Vanbrugh String Quartet, which is based in Cork and has just four members, has had to endure a cut of 40 per cent.

Angela Rohan, of RTE Performing Arts, said: "RTE constantly reviews its various services. A report has been commissioned to assist RTE in its considerations around the provision of chamber music supports beyond 2010. Given that work on the report is still in progress, any further comment at this time would not be appropriate."

Council bans jet skis on scenic lake

A local authority in Co Monaghan has introduced a complete ban on visitors using jet skis in a top tourist lake near the border with the North.

Monaghan County Council has introduced the ban on scenic Lough Muckno, near Castleblayney. The councillors took the decision during the past week as a result of complaints from angling and pleasure boating enthusiasts about alleged hazardous activity by speedboats and jet-ski users on the lake.

Irish 'Elvis' is second at Graceland

Irish Elvis impersonator Cal Burns, 27, came second in a competition at the Elvis Presley 75th birthday celebration before an audience of 3,000 people in the Elvis home at Graceland, Memphis, in the US. Cal, from Gorey, Co Wexford, who is popular on the Irish circuit, was one of more 30 Elvis impersonators taking part in the competition to celebrate the singer's birthday.

Business leaders to begin fightback

Business leaders Bobby Kerr, Marc Coleman, David McKernan and others are about to declare war on pessimism. They say our country is under fire from prophets of doom and nay-sayers, so it's time to fight back.

This Thursday, in the Rochestown Park Hotel, Cork, a 'Confidence In Action' conference will take place in partnership with Cork Chamber of Commerce. It aims to muster up a determined group of business activists to help lead struggling businesses to success.

For more information go to www.confidenceinaction.ie.

Sunday Independent