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President lauds rugby squad

Ireland's rugby team will do the country proud in the World Cup and serve as great ambassadors for the sport, President Mary McAleese has said.

Hosting a reception at Aras an Uachtarain ahead of the squad's departure, Ms McAleese said the players will acquit themselves with honour and distinction in New Zealand.

She said the Irish Rugby Football Union deserved huge credit for what it had achieved over the past two decades.

Six children killed in fire

A house fire has killed 11 people, including six children, in the Australian east coast city of Logan.

Fourteen people were in the two-story house in suburban Kingston when the fire broke out, but only three managed to escape.

One man who escaped was taken to a hospital for treatment of facial burns, while a second man remained at the scene despite suffering shoulder injuries.

New words a sign of times

Concerns over climate change and financial matters have become sufficiently widespread to take words and phrases associated with them into the latest edition of a major dictionary.

Many new terms have entered in The Chambers Dictionary. On the environment, people keep an anxious eye on "season creep" -- the observed changes in the timing of the seasons, especially earlier indications of spring. The recession has also had an impact. Words such as "toxic assets", "double-dip" and "overleveraged" (having borrowed too much money and being unable to pay it back) have all entered the book.

Quake halts golfing Obama

President Barack Obama was just starting a round of golf when the US east coast earthquake rattled the ground around him.

He put the foursome on hold and, within the hour, was on the phone and getting updates, the White House said. Told there had been no major damage reported, Mr Obama resumed the game and stayed at the Farm Neck Golf Club for several more hours.