UK news in brief: Labour launches fight against Asbo cut plan

Labour launched an effort to save antisocial behaviour orders today, accusing the government of lacking the commitment to tackle crime.

Shadow home secretary Alan Johnson warned that scrapping the orders and cutting police budgets would "leave communities helpless and vulnerable".

Firms in the offshore oil and gas industry were today urged to improve their safety record after a big increase in the number of workers killed or seriously injured.

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The Health and Safety Executive said 17 workers died in offshore-related incidents and there were 50 major injuries in the past year.

Campaigners expressed disappointment today after the health watchdog turned down a bowel cancer drug for use on the NHS.

Avastin can help patients with advanced bowel cancer which spreads to other organs, usually the liver and lungs.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence said it had considered the drug, including a risk-sharing scheme from the manufacturer Roche, but still thought the price too high for the extra benefit it gives patients.

A LIFE sentence of stigma prevents heroin and cocaine addicts from recovering and rejoining society, a think-tank said today. The government must tackle the "extreme prejudice" against drug users if it is to succeed in getting addicts off benefits, back into work and playing their full role in society, according to the UK Drug Policy Commission report.

Sir Richard Branson was today attempting to set two world records, kite-boarding across the English Channel to celebrate his 60th birthday. The Virgin boss hopes to become the oldest person to cross the Channel by kite-board and to make the fastest crossing.

Devon: Post-mortem examinations are due to be carried out today on the bodies of two women found murdered following a house fire.

A 40-year-old man who was badly injured in the incident is being treated as the key suspect.

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n Somerset: More than 100 dead animals were found dumped in a river, a wildlife charity said.

The creatures, which included ducks, cats and ferrets, were starved before being tossed into Cripps River.

Police launched an investigation after the gruesome discovery by a motorist.