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Man confesses to rape charge

A DUBLIN man has pleaded guilty, on the day his Central Criminal Court trial was due to begin, to raping a woman in the city nearly three years ago.

The man pleaded guilty to one count each of rape, anal rape and oral rape of the woman at a Dublin apartment on April 4, 2007.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy registered the man as a sex offender and adjourned his sentence till later this month.

Jury still out in sex attack case

A judge allowed a jury to go home after several hours deliberating in the trial of a man accused of raping his wife's niece 13 years ago.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy granted the jury's wish to go home and resume deliberations this morning.

The accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of sexually assaulting and one charge of raping the girl on dates between January 1, 1994 and December 31, 1997.

The trial continues.

TV send-off for adored pandas

Two giant pandas leaving the US for China were treated like pop stars -- except they were shipped in travel crates.

Adoring crowds and television viewers watched as American-born pandas Mei Lan and Tai Shan were loaded on to a special cargo jet for a flight to their new homes in China for breeding.

As zookeepers wiped away tears, police escorted Tai Shan to the airport and FedEx workers transporting the pair buzzed around in "Panda Team" jackets to go with the huge panda emblem painted on their Boeing 777 jet.

DNA test clears rape accused

A mentally ill New York man who spent nearly six years behind bars for a 1976 rape was cleared after DNA tests showed he was innocent.

The conviction of Freddie Peacock, now aged 60, was based on a false confession police attributed to him hours after a 24-year-old neighbour of his was raped.

A state judge quashed the conviction after the defence and prosecutors agreed that DNA evidence obtained from the victim's underwear proved Mr Peacock was not the rapist.