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€100m prison delayed again

A €100m 'super-prison' is set to be stalled for a further five years despite mounting concern about overcrowding in Ireland's jails.

The facility earmarked for former Defence Forces lands in North Cork has already been stalled for three years due to the fiscal and economic crises.

The project -- aimed at replacing the ageing Cork and Limerick jails -- is under threat because of the financial crisis.

One Government source said it was "highly unlikely" anything would happen with the North Cork project while a review of a planned 'super prison' at Thornton Hall in Dublin was ongoing.

Japan nuclear fears calmed

Latvia's president, who as a young Red Army medic witnessed the horrors of the world's worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl, offered reassurance about the dangers posed to the US and Europe by Japanese radiation.

Valdis Zatlers said after the 1986 blast, the Soviet military dispatched him and other Latvians to the region against their will, usually with little or no protective gear.

But he stressed that the Japanese response following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami was in sharp contrast to the secrecy and public denial of Soviet leaders.

Painting breaks Chinese record

A three-panel painting by artist Zhang Xiaogang has been sold for a record auction price for Chinese contemporary art, fetching 79 million Hong Kong dollars (£7.1m).

Sotheby's, which ran the Hong Kong auction, did not identify the buyer, but said the price for the triptych, Forever Lasting Love, broke the previous record of £6.8m set by Zeng Fanzhi's Mask Series 1996 No 6, which was auctioned in Hong Kong in 2008.