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Hold carbon tax rise – FF

Fianna Fail has called on the Government to postpone the introduction of carbon tax rises due from today.

Spokesperson Willie O'Dea said the extra taxes would cause undue hardship to thousands of elderly and vulnerable people as they struggle to deal with cooler than usual temperatures.

Over the next 12 months, the cost of a bag of coal will increase by almost €3 while peat briquettes will go up by an average of 26c a bale.

Damascus bomb kills 13

A bomb blast in Damascus killed 13 people yesterday, state television said.

Residents described scenes of carnage in Marjeh Square, in the capital's commercial district, with dozens of cars and buildings damaged.

Syria Television said 70 people were wounded in what it said was an attack by "terrorists".

Lusitania dives meeting held

ARTS Minister Jimmy Deenihan has met the owner of the wreck of the Lusitania to discuss plans for future dives.

The Minister also discussed Gregg Bemis's offer to present a number of artefacts from the wreck to the State in the context of the forthcoming 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915.

Wanted: polar bear spotter

The governor's office on the remote Norwegian islands of Svalbard is seeking a polar bear spotter to warn researchers in the region.

The job starts on July 8 and requires previous experience with the outdoors, good polar bear spotting skills and a competence with firearms.

There are an estimated 3,000 polar bears in the Svalbard archipelago.

Earthquake hits Azores

An earthquake of magnitude 6.0 struck in the Atlantic 60km east of Ponta Delgada in the Azores yesterday, said the US Geological Survey, but local authorities reported no immediate damage.

The quake was at a depth of 9.4 miles, the survey said.