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The British army acknowledged last week that cocaine use had increased in the force, The Guardian reported.

The army’s chief disciplinarian, Col. John Donnelly, said the significant increase in drug use by soldiers could be tied to stress related to combat operations, the newspaper reported. His comments followed the announcement that about 800 soldiers were testing positive for drugs annually, the paper said.

The number of soldiers testing positive for drug use has increased 400 percent since 2003, when the country joined the United States in the war in Iraq.

The Guardian also reported that positive drug tests for marijuana had dropped while the percentage of soldiers failing a test for cocaine had increased.

Donnelly asserted that the vast majority of soldiers remain drug-free.

Thousands of illegal immigrants given security services licensesThe British government acknowledged recently that some 6,600 illegal immigrants were licensed to work in the security services, according to a report in The Guardian.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced in the House of Commons last week the results of a probe into how many illegal workers held sensitive positions, the newspaper reported.

The most damning finding of the investigation was that the Security Industry Authority had failed to check if prospective employees were in the country legally, The Guardian reported.

Ferry boat captain acquitted of manslaughter in yacht deathsA ferry boat officer was cleared in the death of three men who perished after their yacht was involved in an accident with a passenger ferry last summer, The Times newspaper reported.

Michael Hubble was the senior watch officer on duty Aug. 21, 2006, when a P&O ferry allegedly was involved in the disappearance of the Ouzo off the Isle of Wight, the newspaper reported.

It’s alleged that the ferry came too close to the yacht, causing an accident that sank the vessel. The victims, three men in their mid-30s, drowned or died of hypothermia, The Times reported.

The jury also failed to return verdicts on several other charges related to the incident, the paper said.

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