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In brief: Horror stories at Bales hearing

THE US soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians watched as child after child described the bloodbath that left their parents and other loved ones dead.

Whatever reaction Staff Sergeant Robert Bales might have had, he kept hidden behind a calm face.

Three sessions of nighttime testimony in Bales' preliminary hearing, scheduled to accommodate witnesses participating by video link from Afghanistan, wrapped up late yesterday.

After the hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the investigating officer will decide whether to court-martial Bales, who could be sentenced to death if convicted.

Panic as second earthquake hits

A 6.5-magnitude earthquake shook Guatemala's Pacific coastline, just four days after a major quake killed dozens and left thousands without homes in the region.

People fled buildings and homes in panic in cities along Guatemala's coast near its border with Mexico, but there were no reports of deaths or major damage. They were further panicked by four aftershocks,.

Child abuse service in crisis

IRELAND'S over-stretched

child protection service faces

the threat of collapse -- with

mandatory abuse reporting

expected to generate a 1,000pc

surge in cases over 10 years.

The warning came as one of

Ireland's most senior forensic

psychologists said the

Government urgently had to

re-think its proposal to

introduce mandatory

reporting legislation in 2013.

Jeanine de Volder, of the

Forensic Psychology Services, said hard questions now had to be asked about how an under-funded, overstretched

service could cope.