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In Brief: Youth escapes ban over crash

A YOUTH who knocked over an ESB pole when he took his new car for a drive without a licence or motor insurance has been spared a criminal conviction and a road ban.

The then 17-year-old pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to driving without a licence or insurance, in Celbridge, Co Kildare, on April 3 last year.

The court heard the teen, now aged 18, is currently awaiting trial over an assault.

He would need to be able to drive for work and hoped to travel to Australia, Judge Bryan Smyth was told.

The judge applied the Probation Act.

Snake on plane forces landing

A pilot on a cargo run found a snake loose in his light plane and turned back to his north Australian base.

In a scene reminiscent of the 2006 movie Snakes on a Plane, pilot Braden Blennerhassett saw the snake's head pop out from under the dashboard of his twin-engine Beechcraft Baron G58 shortly after take-off from Darwin airport.

The snake's species is not known as the reptile escaped after the plane landed.

Jamaica party plans slashed

Jamaica's government said it will spend only about $8m on celebrations marking the island's 50th year of independence in August -- a sharp cut from what the previous administration planned to spend.

Before suffering a strong defeat in December elections, the previously governing Jamaica Labour Party had set a budget of $30m.

Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna said the new budget is in keeping with what Jamaica can afford.

TV pranks led by Betty (90)

Betty White is turning a team of ageing pranksters loose on the younger generation.

The 90-year-old is the host and executive producer of Betty White's Off Their Rockers, a new NBC show in the tradition of Candid Camera.

The show's performers, a group of older actors known as White's "posse", set out against stereotype to play tricks on young people.