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Elderly suffer web nightmare

Older consumers are routinely forced to struggle with automated helplines and internet-based support systems when accessing services and information, equality campaigners said today.

Minister for older people Aine Brady said mature customers were left feeling excluded and less valued by the increasingly high-tech communication methods used by organisations.

She was speaking at the launch of the Equality Authority's annual Say No to Ageism Week.

White House gay ban deal

A compromise plan to speed up the repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the US military, but allowing the Pentagon time to implement the new policies, has won White House backing.

But implementing the policy for gays serving openly would still require the approval of President Barack Obama, defence secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen.

Dramatic fall in US crime

Crime in the US dropped dramatically last year, bucking a historical trend that links rising crime rates to economic woes.

Property crimes and violent offences each declined about 5pc, the FBI said,