It's lovers and other strangers as marriage registrars estimate that as many as one in 10 civil unions could be but a ploy to live in the EU, with the communication between some partners at civil weddings so poor, the ceremony needs the help of two interpreters. Now, some may see this level of mutual miscommunication as the key to lifelong bliss; others, however, prefer to regard it as an assault on our constitutional respect for the institution of marriage. Both sound peculiarly love-less.
Illicit unions are dealt with very differently by the moral guardians of Afghanistan. Taliban operatives stone to death a married 30-year-old man and his 20-year-old lover, hunted down after they eloped together. Amnesty reports the stoning, which took place last Sunday in front of 150 men, as the first such "heinous crime" since 2001.
The man who has done more than almost anyone to encourage youngsters to bare all about themselves online now warns they may one day have to change their names in order to escape their cyber past. A Google search for "hypocrite" doesn't immediately throw up the name of the multi-billion-euro search engine's chief executive Eric Schmidt, whose company makes billions from storing customers' browsing habits so they can be targeted with personalised ads. "I mean, we really have to think about these things as a society," says Schmidt. A bit late now…
No need for Killian Donovan to change his identity as he gets the highest score in Ireland in this year's Leaving Cert, with nine A1s and a career in medicine beckoning. Consistent work, good time management and plenty of time for hobbies such as mountain climbing are the pragmatic secrets of this high-flying ex-Gonzaga student.
Someone who knows what it's like to be a YouTube sensation is BBC weatherman Tomasz Shafernaker, whose one-fingered gesture towards his newscaster colleague after he joked about the accuracy of his forecast was captured live on air. Like any pre-teen caught red-handed, he tries to disguise the universal language of insult by stroking his chin. Previous bloopers by Tomasz include referring on air to the Outer Hebrides as "nowheresville" and forecasting a "muddy shite" for the Glastonbury festival last year.
We spend half our lives on a gadget of some sort but plastic surgeon to the Hollywood stars Frank Ryan clearly spent too much time on his phone. He was texting a message about his dog, a Border collie called Jill, while driving along the Pacific Coast Highway when he lost control of his 4x4 and went over the edge. Ryan died, Jill survived. Dr Ryan spent his life rebuilding the bodies of celebrity clients such as actress Heidi Montag and model Janice Dickinson. They're calling it death by social networking.
A good hair day, however, for scientists in Scotland and Switzerland who transplant cells from the thymus, a tiny organ that controls the auto immune system, onto skin – and make healthy hair grow. Their discovery may well, in many years' time, lead to advances in organ transplants for the very sick, but first things first: it will make billions for pharmaceuticals selling hair creams for gentlemen.
Brian Cowen, house devil, street angel-cum-international superstar, makes another appearance, this time in old media stalwart Newsweek magazine, which rates the Taoiseach No 5 in its Top 10 of world leaders. It makes big headlines here, a sharp contrast with the sparse coverage the "story" gets in the nine other countries whose leaders make the cut. It's a big reflection on our lack of confidence when we take seriously a random assessment of world leaders by a journalist working for an American news magazine.
US multinationals and business groups express fears about continued poor maths and science performance in the Leaving Cert. They want to ensure a continuing supply of high quality staff are available to work with them… but don't they know all the best brains go to the banks – and that's why they're paid so much.
Horrified residents of an estate in West Yorkshire claim their homes are being invaded by giant rats. Local man Brandon Goddard shot dead one 30-inch-long monster with an air rifle. "They were more like Ratzillas than rats," says Goddard, "I got out of there as fast as I could." Students contemplating emigration know just how he feels.