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Mortgages in arrears doubles

THE NUMBER of Irish people who have fallen behind on their mortgage repayments came close to doubling in the 12 months to last March.

Ratings agency Moody's released figures yesterday showing that the rate of delinquency -- repayments more than 90 days in arrears -- rose to 3.8pc in March from 2.1pc during the same month in 2009.

They also predicted that house prices have far from bottomed out and forecasted a further 18pc drop and said that the market would not begin to recover until 2013.

Mystery return for war cross

Officials said a cross honouring America's war dead that was stolen earlier this month from a US federal park in the Mojave Desert was mysteriously replaced or returned.

Linda Slater, spokeswoman for the Mojave National Preserve, said a maintenance worker spotted the cross on Sunrise Rock, the same place a seven-foot metal cross stood for decades.

Ms Slater said the cross apparently was put up during the night, but it was unclear whether it was the original or a replica.

Drug giant's ex in coke arrest

The ex-wife of a convicted heroin dealer who inspired the movie American Gangster was arrested in Puerto Rico after police said she tried to sell cocaine at a hotel.

Julianna Farrait appeared in court and did not say anything except to request that the judge speak to her in Spanish.

A judge will decide whether to grant her bail at an upcoming hearing.

Scientist jailed for bomb parts

A SCIENCE graduate has been sentenced to five years by the Special Criminal Court for possessing parts for pipe bombs in Dublin last year.

The three-judge court suspended half of the jail term imposed on Ciaran Cahill (36) of Glenville Drive, Castleknock. Cahill said he has "serious regrets" over the "ridiculous" incident, which has "destroyed" his life.

He pleaded guilty on February 12 to unlawfully possessing explosive substances, namely five pipe bomb casings, at a property on Ulster Street, Phibsboro in Dublin on March 26, 2009.