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Irish soldiers leave for Chad

Another 200 Irish soldiers are preparing for deployment to Chad tomorrow.

The first half of the 400-strong 102 Battalion travelled out to the on January 25.

The troops are in the troubled African state to protect 100,000 refugees who have fled the violent conflict in Darfur as well as 50,000 internally displaced people.

The tour of duty is expected to last four months despite Chad recently asking the United Nations not to renew the mandate of its mission next month.

Brookside star has baby boy

Actress Jennifer Ellison (pictured) has given birth to a son named Bobby.

The 26-year-old, who found fame on Brookside, and her husband, Rob Tickle, were said to be "delighted".

The couple's first child was born last night and weighed 9lb, a statement said.

Former Hell's Kitchen winner Ellison wed Tickle last autumn in Mauritius at a secret ceremony.

No verdict in hotel rape trial

A JURY has failed to reach a verdict in the trial of a man who is accused of raping a woman as her boyfriend slept beside her in a Tipperary hotel room.

The 27-year-old Tipperary accused had pleaded not guilty to raping the woman at the hotel on July 7, 2008.

The jury had been deliberating for over eight hours after a 10-day trial before they told the court they did not think they would agree on a verdict.

The judge remanded the man on bail to appear again at the end of the month.

70s idol on drugs charge

Former 1970s teen idol Leif Garrett has been charged possessing heroin after his arrest in a Los Angeles subway station.

The 48-year-old singer and actor was charged yesterday and is free on bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned on February 24.

Garrett had a handful of hit songs and was a constant cover boy on teen magazines in the 1970s.