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In brief: Energy bills cut by €450

HOUSEHOLDERS who took State grants to make their homes warmer saved an average of €450 a year on their energy bills, new research shows.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) said that more than 100,000 families have upgraded their heating systems and installed insulation since 2008.

And it was receiving 1,200 applications a week from people keen to make improvements. An analysis of the Home Energy Scheme found that €170m has been invested in upgrading properties, or retrofitting, in the past three years.

3 fisherman die in hurricane

Hurricane Hilary moved away from Mexico's south western coast in the Pacific as a powerful Category Four storm, and search teams recovered the bodies of three fishermen caught in the storm.

The hurricane was not forecast to make landfall, but Mexico's coast has been being affected by wind, rain and heavy surf from Hilary, the US National Hurricane Centre said. The three fishermen, aged 27 to 50, went out to sea on Thursday night despite a hurricane warning advising against it, Guerrero state's Public Safety Department said.

Boy survived attack by lion

Wildlife managers in the US state of Idaho said a 10-year-old boy who encountered a mountain lion in rural Boise County escaped with minor scratches.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said the mountain lion was tracked down and killed after the encounter.

Senior Conservation Officer Matt O'Connell said the boy came across the mountain lion while searching for a missing hunting dog with his father near their home about 15 to 20 miles north east of Boise.