VAT hike 'will hit small firms'
The new year VAT hike has been branded a kick in the teeth for smaller businesses as it will further hit consumer confidence.
Michael McGrath, Fianna Fail's finance spokesman, said the increase -- which takes effect at midnight tonight -- was a major policy mistake.
The 2pc jump, bringing the VAT rate to 23pc, will also cause more job losses, he claimed.
"This VAT increase will inevitably affect shopping patterns and will undoubtedly cause further job losses in an already distressed retail sector, particularly in the early part of 2012," he said.
LA police hunt car fire suspect
Los aNGELES police distributed DVDs featuring surveillance video of a man wanted for questioning in connection with a rash of suspicious car fires in the city.
The person of interest is a white male between 20 and 30 years old with a receding hairline and a shoulder-length ponytail, Officer Sara Faden said.
The man was seen on video on Saturday after emerging on foot from inside an underground parking structure on Hollywood Boulevard that was the scene of a car fire.
Detectives estimated the man, who was wearing a bulky jacket, is between 5ft 6in and 6ft 1in.
Argentinian governor killed
Carlos Soria, a career Argentinian politician who for 21 days realised his dream of governing the western Argentine province of Rio Negro, has died of gunshots to the head.
Police were questioning his wife about the circumstances.
Mr Soria (62) had just taken office on December 10 after winning by a landslide as part of the ruling Front for Victory coalition that backs President Cristina Fernandez.