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GAA lotto 'con' trial collapses

THE trial of a man accused of stealing from his local GAA in a lotto scam has collapsed.

Judge Desmond Hogan directed the jury at Dublin Criminal Court to return a not guilty verdict.

He said that the prosecution's evidence "fell short of the standard that must be met".

Michael Kirk (49) of Tullyallen, Carrickmacross, had pleaded not guilty to theft from Magheracloone GFC, and falsely representing that Thomas McGuinness and P Kelly had genuinely won the club's lotto in 2005.

Airport drugs mule is jailed

A CONGOLESE national has received a five-year sentence with three suspended for importing €17,800 of cannabis herb to Ireland.

Bonza Chigeragere (28) of Nicholas Avenue, Dublin 7, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to importation and possessing the drugs in his luggage at Dublin Airport in May 2009.

The accused told gardai that third parties in Belgium had been violent with him and promised him €500 so he would carry out the job.

Customs officers searched Chigeragere's bags after a tip-off and found the cache in two foil packages covered in coffee paste.

Now big quake rocks Taiwan

A powerful 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked southern Taiwan today, causing widespread damage and disrupting communications around the island.

News reports said several people were injured.

The quake was centred in Kaohsiung and struck at a depth of about 3.1 miles. Kaohsiung is about 249 miles south of the capital Taipei. No tsunami alert was issued.

Taliban leader was in Gitmo

A man freed from Guantanamo Bay has been revealed as a senior Taliban commander, Afghan intelligence officials say.

Abdul Qayyum is now seen as a leading candidate to be the next number two in the Afghan Taliban hierarchy, say the officials.

He told US authorities two years ago that just wanted to go home and be with his family. The US says 20pc of released terror suspects have returned to the fight.