Army out of Armagh

Another major milestone in Northern Ireland's return to normality will be reached today when the last soldiers are pulled out of South Armagh.

Another major milestone in Northern Ireland's return to normality will be reached today when the last soldiers are pulled out of South Armagh.

The Army is closing down its last base in the border region at Bessbrook, it was confirmed yesterday.

At the height of the troubles, Bessbrook boasted the busiest heliport in Europe, but the last flight took place at the weekend.

The pretty 19th Century model village, which became home to the military, is also where the last solider to be murdered by the IRA was killed.

Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was shot dead by a sniper while operating a security checkpoint in 1997. He was the last of 763 military personnel to die in Northern Ireland.

Cold remedy

A HERBAL remedy traditionally used to ward off infections can reduce the chances of catching a cold by more than half, new research shows.

Echinacea, made from a group of related North American plants, also helps colds clear up more quickly, the findings suggest.

Scientists in the US pooled evidence on the anti-cold properties of Echinacea from 14 different studies.

Combining the results, they found that taking the product decreased the overall risk of catching a cold by 58%.

The duration of colds was reduced by an average of 1.4 days.

The researchers, led by Dr Craig Coleman from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, report their findings today in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Mercy medal

A NEW medal for bravery is being launched to honour ambulance workers, and some of the paramedics who aided victims of the July 7 terror attacks are set to receive the award.

The Queen's Ambulance Service Medal will be unveiled on Wednesday by Health Minister Andy Burnham to mark the 70th anniversary of the 999 service.

Staff who helped those caught up in the London bombings are among those who could receive the medal for acts outside the normal call of duty.

Victims' voice

FAMILIES of people killed by homicide or dangerous or careless driving will be able to have a statement about their loss read out in court, it was announced yesterday .

Relatives are to have the opportunity to draw up an "impact statement" with the help of prosecutors in a move which could lead to offenders being given tougher sentences.

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