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OAPs pay ¤223 extra for phone

ALMOST 400,000 pensioners will have to pay between €156 and €233 a year extra for their phone, due to Budget cuts.

Eircom has sent letters to its elderly customers in the wake of a Government decision to slash the State telephone subsidy.

It warned 270,000 over-66s they face having to pay between €195 and €233 extra per year from February.

As part of Budget cutbacks, pensioners availing of the scheme will see their Government subsidy drop from €22.58 to €9.50 a month.

Obama signs fiscal cliff deal

US president Barack Obama has signed a bill that boosts taxes on wealthy Americans.

The bill, which averts a looming fiscal cliff that had threatened to plunge the nation back into recession, also extends expiring jobless benefits, prevents cuts in Medicare reimbursements to doctors and delays for two months billions of dollars in across-the-board spending cuts in defence and domestic programs.

The House of Representatives approved the measure by a 257-167 vote yesterday, nearly 24 hours after the Senate passed it 89-8.

Charges over India gang rape

INDIAN police say they are ready to file murder, rape and kidnapping charges against six people accused in the gang-rape and killing of a 23-year-old university student.

The December rape triggered outrage across India and sparked demands for stronger laws, tougher police action against sexual assault suspects and a campaign to change views on women.

Media reports say the charges have been detailed in a document running more than 1,000 pages.

999 call over poorly dog

A 999 call to ask a paramedic to take a dog's temperature was among "inappropriate calls" made to an ambulance service on New Year's Eve.

North West Ambulance Service in the UK said it was "disappointed" to receive several time-wasting calls.

NWAS received 2,265 calls from midnight on New Year's Eve until 7am on New Year's Day, of which 546 were serious and immediately life-threatening.