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Martin defends Canada spend

The Foreign Affairs minister today defended a multimillion-euro revamp at the residence of the Irish ambassador to Canada.

The taxpayer is understood to have forked out €4.4m to refurbish the luxurious home in Ottawa. Fine Gael said the figure was outrageous and unjustifiable, and said work on the 24,000 sq ft building included a whirlpool, sauna and a chandelier that cost €20,000.

Minister Micheal Martin said it was important Ireland be properly represented overseas.

Ex-Argentine leader has op

Former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner has undergone successful emergency surgery after showing symptoms of carotid artery disease.

The operation took about an hour. Kirchner's wife, current president Cristina Fernandez, was in hospital with him reports said.

Kirchner (59) was president from 2003-2007 and has all but declared his candidacy to succeed his wife in 2011.

Jedward miss No 1 spot

JeDward, whose quirky dance moves and off-key singing proved a surprise hit on this year's X Factor, have narrowly missed out on their first number one with their debut single.

The 18-year-olds, entered the top 10 at number two with Under Pressure (Ice Ice Baby), a version of American rapper Vanilla Ice's 1990 hit. However, American pop group Owl City held on to the number one position with Fireflies.

ITV fined for Celebrity rat

ITV was fined for animal cruelty after contestants on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! killed and ate a rat, the Australian RSPCA said today.

Celebrity chef Gino D'Acampo and Hollyoaks actor Stuart Manning killed the animal with a knife when they were left without meat during the reality series.

Chief Inspector David Oshannessy, from the RSPCA, said ITV was fined 3,000 Australian dollars (€1,900).