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In Brief: Knox agony as verdict looms

The abuse of thousands of children in State and Church-run institutions in Ireland amounted to torture, a scathing report from Amnesty has found.

Amanda Knox can't sleep or eat properly as she waits to know if an appeals court in Italy will uphold or overturn her murder conviction, a friend of the jailed American student said.

A verdict is expected early next month.

Knox was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, her British roommate in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years. Knox's boyfriend at the time of the 2007 murder, Raffaele Sollecito was sentenced to 25 years.

Child abuse was 'torture'

Youngsters suffered decades of inhuman and degrading treatment by being brutalised, beaten and starved, the human rights watchdog said.

Colm O'Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: "The abuse of tens of thousands of Irish children is perhaps the greatest human rights failure in the history of the State.

"There has been little justice for these victims. Those who failed as guardians, civil servants, clergy, gardai and members of religious orders have avoided accountability."

Strictly's Nancy 'scares' men

Strictly Come Dancing star Nancy Dell'Olio says she scares men off -- because she is so popular.

The Italian believes her position in the public eye is too much for her suitors.

In an interview with Hello! magazine, she also confirms she has put her relationship with theatre director Trevor Nunn on hold. Dell'Olio will make for her first live dance in the ballroom contest later this week.

Lion King pips new Brad film

Brad Pitt was unable to put the cat out of first place at the US box office.

Walt Disney's The Lion King reissue was number one for the second-straight weekend with $22m, according to estimates.

That puts it just ahead of Pitt's baseball drama Moneyball. It opened at number two with $20.6m.