| 16.2°C Dublin

Smaller firms get debt help

Measures to make it cheaper and easier for small private companies to restructure their debts through the courts have been revealed.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said viable businesses will be able to apply directly to the Circuit Court to have an examiner appointed.

He said small businesses employ over a third of all people in Ireland.

The changes will affect small private companies which employ fewer than 50 people, have a balance sheet not exceeding ¤4.4m, and a turnover under ¤8.8m.

Four held over

¤1m cars scam

US authorities are pursuing three fugitives and have arrested four other people for a $1.4m (¤1.08m) international fraud operation involving the sale of non-existent cars.

The criminal case, targeting seven people who used at least 20 aliases and five fictitious companies among them, involved advertising cars on websites such as eBay and Autotrader.

Once money was received, it was run through multiple bank accounts in Kentucky in different names and eventually overseas, but no car was ever produced for the buyer.

Family vigil for boxing legend

Family and friends of boxing legend Hector 'Macho' Camacho are keeping a vigil at the hospital in Puerto Rico where he remains on life support.

Doctors in San Juan say Camacho is clinically brain dead from a shooting earlier this week in his hometown of Bayamon.

But family members and friends have said they are still struggling over a decision on whether to remove him from life support. The former champion was shot on Tuesday night as he sat in a car with a friend. The friend was killed.

Spaniel saved after pit plunge

A two-year-old spaniel had a miraculous escape after falling 50 metres down a mine while chasing a cat.

Iso was let out of his owner's car but did not return after his chase, sparking a frantic search which ended 24 hours later when he was hauled out of the mine in Cornwall, England.