In Brief: Pet lover beats animal ban

A WOMAN has won a Supreme Court appeal over an order prohibiting her keeping "animals" for 10 years.

Dona Sfar, of Oaklawns, Dundalk, was fined €6,000 and prohibited keeping any animals for 10 years by Judge Flann Brennan at Dundalk District Court in February 2008, after he was told of the condition of 17 dogs found on her premises at Balbriggan, Kilcurry.

The Control of Dogs Act does not allow the District Court to make an order prohibiting the keeping of "animals", as opposed to "dogs", the three judge Supreme Court found.

An animal welfare inspector who visited Ms Sfar's premises said the dogs were "living in absolute filth". Their coats were matted, some had sores and there was no food or water.

Mum gets $1m for dead son

The mother of a mentally ill homeless man who died after a violent confrontation with California police has accepted a $1m settlement with the city of Fullerton.

In exchange, Cathy Thomas agreed not to pursue any further lawsuits seeking damages for the death of her 37-year-old son Kelly.

A judge earlier this month ordered two officers to stand trial on criminal charges. Their next court appearance is scheduled for May 22.

Warren Buffett buys into GM

INVESTOR Warren Buffett is apparently bullish on the US car industry.

His company, Berkshire Hathaway, took a new stake of $10m (¤7.9m) in shares in GM in the first quarter.

The investment comes as the Detroit carmaker continues to rebound from bankruptcy three years ago.

Birth control row splits US

US Catholic bishops are rejecting the Obama administration's plan to accommodate faith groups that object to the birth control mandate.

The bishops said the new rules would not do enough to protect religious liberty.

The mandate requires employers to provide health insurance that includes birth control for workers. The plan sparked protests from faith leaders because it included religious non-profit organisations such as hospitals and colleges.