In Brief: Man 'unaware of cousin's state'

A MARRIED man on trial for having sex with his mentally impaired cousin will say he did have sex with her but didn't know she was mentally impaired, a court has heard.

The 50-year-old Dubliner, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to eleven charges of having sexual intercourse with a mentally impaired woman between 1992 and 2003.

Opening the trial for the prosecution, Caroline Biggs SC told the jury that the accused accepts that sex took place but denies that his cousin is mentally impaired or that he knew this.

OAP rescued from house fire

AN ELDERLY person is recovering in hospital today after a fire in a house in Coolock.

The blaze broke out at 2.25am in Cromcastle Court in Coolock, where three units of Dublin Fire Brigade fought the fire and brought it under control.

At first it was thought that the house was empty, but fire crews found one person in the building who was then brought by ambulance to Beaumont Hospital suffering the effects of smoke inhalation.

Debt warning by French minister

FRENCH President Nicolas Sarkozy's finance minister says Europe's debt crisis isn't over and that countries across the continent have to do more to cut costs.

Sarkozy is fighting for his job ahead of a presidential election on May 6.

Polls suggest Socialist challenger Francois Hollande, who has railed against Sarkozy's budget cuts and wants state-sponsored growth programs instead, will win.

Jackson unveils Hobbit footage

PETER Jackson's The Hobbit is preparing to leave the Shire as the director of the Oscar-winning Lord Of The Rings trilogy previewed 10 minutes of assorted footage from his upcoming prequel.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was filmed in New Zealand using more frames per second than the Hollywood standard, Jackson said in a video introduction that uses 48 frames per second which produces a smoother image.

"The movement feels more real," Jackson said.