in brief: Burton firm on child payments
SOCIAL Protection Minister Joan Burton has scotched suggestions that individual child benefit payments could be scrapped to fund extra childcare places.
She was responding after Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald questioned the monthly payments given to every parent, suggesting the money would be better spent on childcare.
But Ms Burton's spokesman said the minister, while agreeing with Ms Fitzgerald that extra childcare places are needed, is committed to universal payments.
Rape victim fights for life
Doctors say an Indian woman who was gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi earlier this month has suffered "significant" brain injury and is fighting for her life.
The 23-year-old woman was flown to Singapore for treatment at Mount Elizabeth hospital, 10 days after she was brutally attacked by six men on December 16.
Hospital chief executive Dr Kelvin Loh said she also has infection of the lungs and abdomen. He said she "is struggling against the odds".
Man wakes up speaking Welsh
An Englishman has woken up after a stroke and started speaking Welsh.
Alun Morgan (81) was evacuated to Wales during the Second World War and during his time there he never picked up the native tongue.
His wife Yvonne was the only person who could understand him and had to translate for doctors. Doctors have diagnosed Mr Morgan, from Bathwick, Bath, Somerset, with aphasia, a form of brain damage that causes a shift in the brain's language centre.
Zappa friend Collins dies
Ray Collins, who invited guitarist Frank Zappa to join the band that eventually became the Mothers of Invention, has died aged 75.
Collins' friend Patrick Brayer told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that the musician from Claremont, California, died on Monday, five days after a heart attack.
Collins brought Zappa to R&B cover band the Soul Giants in 1964.
By 1966, they had become the Mothers of Invention.