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British men die in Amsterdam after snorting 'white heroin'

Two British tourists have died in Amsterdam after snorting what is believed to have been white heroin that was sold to them as cocaine.

The men, aged 20 and 21, were found in a hotel room in the city yesterday.

The Foreign Office is liaising with Dutch authorities and is "providing consular assistance to the family", a spokesman said.

Cable: Universal postal service is not under threat

Business secretary Vince Cable has told ITV News the universal service obligation - which ensures people can send post anywhere in the UK for the same fixed price - is not under threat, as it is enshrined in law and will not be rescinded.

He said were it to be overturned, both Houses of Parliament would have to vote to do so - which, he added, is not going to happen.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has accused Royal Mail of Credit: ITV News

It comes after Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene warned that increasing competition in high density, low cost areas was threatening the universal service by making delivering to rural and remote areas not economically viable.

Mr Cable said Royal Mail, now it is only 30 per cent owned by the taxpayer, was free to raise capital privately - and said it had already raised £500 million to invest and compete.

He said the government did not want to see companies "whinging" about having to operate in a competitive market.


Cable: Royal Mail is 'scaremongering' and 'whinging'

Business Secretary Vince Cable has accused Royal Mail of "scaremongering" over warnings it may not be able to continue with its universal service.

Mr Cable told ITV News that chief executive Moya Greene's comments amounted to "special pleading" - and said the government did not want companies "whinging" about being in a competitive market.

ITV News Business Editor Joel Hills tweeted:

Royal Mail bosses warn more competition 'undermines' service

Royal Mail bosses today issued a warning that giving people more choice between delivery services was threatening the future of the universal service, which guarantees that letters can be delivered anywhere in the country for the same price.

Royal Mail bosses have warned against allowing 'cherry picking' between competitors Credit: PA

Chief executive Moya Greene told a committee of MPs that the high cost of the universal service obligation – around £7.2 billion a year – was in part because of the difficulties of delivering to rural and remote parts of the country.

Delivering to high-density areas such as the inner city was much lower cost and helped to subsidise these deliveries – but by allowing these customers to “cherry pick”between Royal Mail and their competitors the system was unsustainable.

Cameron praises MPs for Movember moustaches

Tory MPs Jason McCartney and Jake Berry

The Prime Minister today praised two MPs Movember efforts, remarking that it had left one looking like he was was about to star in a Cheech and Chong movie.

Conservative MPs Jason McCartney and Jake Berry were both praised for their efforts by Mr Cameron.

Cameron also commended his protection team for their efforts before expressing his regret that he seemed unable to grow a moustache for the campaign.

Responding to a question on Movember from Mr McCartney, Mr Cameron replied: "I certainly join you in praising all those who have taken part in Movember. You are sporting a pretty magnificent specimen.

"I have to say (Mr Berry) looks like he's about to star in a Cheech and Chong movie - it's absolutely remarkable."


Harriet Green credited with reviving Thomas Cook

Harriet Green is leaving the company after being in charge since July 2012. Credit: Thomas Cook/PA Wire

Thomas Cook's Chief Executive Harriet Green is leaving the company after turning around its fortunes from when she joined over two years ago.

Under Ms Green's leadership the company cut costs through the closure of shops, as well as through the sale of hotels and reduction in its airline fleet.

  • Harriet Green joined the Company as Group Chief Executive Officer on 30 July 2012
  • Prior to joining Thomas Cook she was Chief Executive Officer of leading high service technology distributor Premier Farnell plc
  • Ms Green was named “Leader of the Year 2013” in the National Business Awards
  • She will continue to act as Thomas Cook's Group Director until 31 December 2014.
  • Ms Green is also a member of the PM’s Business Advisory Group

Cameron admits NHS is under pressure

Prime Minister David Cameron today admitted the NHS is "under pressure."

During PMQs, Labour leader Ed Miliband criticised Cameron for running down the health service and claimed the situation could only be changed if he was elected as prime minister in the next election.

Cameron admitted the service was dealing with more patients each day than under the last Government but said the Conservatives were the only party which could "run a strong economy to pay for a strong NHS."

Only five out of 92 beds in use at Brit-funded Ebola unit

Beds in the £2 million Ebola unit are empty despite opening three weeks ago. Credit: MoD

Only five out of 92 beds are in use at a British-funded Ebola hospital in Sierra Leone which opened three weeks ago.

The facility in Kerry Town cost £2 million to build and is being run by charity Save the Children.

But Tory MP Sir Edward Garnier flagged up his concerns about its use during Prime Minister's Question's.

He told the Prime Minister: "As of last night, it was looking after five patients.

"Would you have a word with (International Development Secretary Justine Greening) and others in Government to make sure that hospital is made proper use of?"

Mr Cameron agreed and said the government was working "intensively" with Save the Children to ensure the hospital reaches its full capacity.

So far more than 5,000 people in West Africa have died from the deadly virus and thousands more have been infected.

Read more: British-funded Ebola treatment centre opens in Sierra Leone

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