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75pc of us use credit unions

Credit unions in Ireland boast the largest number of members in Europe, new figures reveal.

Three million people are members of the savings and loans unions across the country, which represents 75pc of the population. Irish League of Credit Unions chief executive Kieron Brennan said this was testament to the loyalty of its members.

"As many people in this country feel the pressure of increased bills and living expenses, it is important that they have alternatives to the high-cost services of moneylenders which often trap households into a cycle of debt," he said.

Voice coaches sing together

Coaches on BBC1's The Voice show the contestants how it is done as they give an all-star performance to launch the series.

Tom Jones, Jessie J, will.i.am and The Script's Danny O'Donoghue give it their all as they perform together for the first time for the series debut on Saturday.

The Voice is being launched on Saturday at 7pm, as ITV1 also starts its latest series of Britain's Got Talent, with both shows vying for ratings.

Charges against soldier on way

Charges against an American soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians are expected to be filed within a week and if the case goes to court the trial will be held in the United States, a legal expert with the US military familiar with the investigation said.

Army Staff Sgt Robert Bales is suspected of leaving a US base in southern Afghanistan, entering homes and gunning down nine children, four men and three women before dawn on March 11.

Bales, a 38-year-old married father-of-two from Lake Tapps, Washington, is currently being held at a US military prison.