O'Keeffe plans Saudi mission

A week-long trip to the Middle East will help Irish companies land export deals and secure new jobs at home, Trade Minister Batt O'Keeffe said today.

Mr O'Keeffe will lead the visit of 45 homegrown firms and banking representatives to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates today.

Mr O'Keeffe said the trip would also help develop political and economic ties between Ireland and Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Representatives from Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank will be on the trip to see the challenges faced by Irish firms there, according to the minister.

Telly becomes social highlight

More than one in four people believe that spending time in front of the television at home is one of the most important ways to socialise with loved ones, new figures suggest today.

A survey found that 26pc of people believe watching television, DVDs and Blu-rays is an important social interaction with friends and family.

The survey found 50pc of people have invested in entertainment technology for their living room in the past two years and have bought HDTVs, video game consoles, Blu-ray players and cable, satellite and HD services.

Fitness helps to fight colds

People who are fit and active are less likely to get colds than their less active counterparts, new research suggests today.

When physically fit people do get colds they will be milder and not last as long, the study found.

Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests the severity of common cold symptoms fell by 41pc in those who were the fittest and by 31pc among those who were the most active.