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Military suicides up a bit in 2014; More seek help

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Preliminary Pentagon data shows that suicides among active duty military increased a bit this year compared to the same period last year, but officials say that more service members are seeking help through hotlines and other aid programs.

Pentagon documents show there were 161 confirmed or suspected suicides as of July 14, compared to 154 during the same time frame in 2013. The uptick was among soldiers and Marines, while the Air Force and Navy suicides went down.

The documents were obtained by The Associated Press.

The Defense Department is also releasing final totals for 2013, showing that active duty suicides dropped by nearly 19 percent compared to 2012. Suicides among National Guard and Reserve members increased by about 8 percent.

The AP reported preliminary 2013 numbers in April.


Coroner: EDC fan died from drug intoxication

 LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County Coroner's Office has released the cause of death for a man who was in Las Vegas for the Electric Daisy Carnival in June. According to the coroner, 25-year-old Anthony Anaya died of a combination of drug intoxication, including ethanol, ecstasy, and cocaine. His manner of death was ruled an accident.

 Anaya was found dead at the the Vdara Hotel after attending the festival. He was one of three people connected to EDC that died during that weekend. Montgomery Tsang, 24 of San Leandro, California, collapsed in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The coroner ruled Tsang died of acute ecstasy toxicity.

Another young man, 21-year-old Joey Saychack of Fresno, California, was found dead in a home he had rented with friends on the first night of the festival. His cause of death has not been released.

Former Air Force sergeant sentenced in sexual assault case

LAS VEGAS -- Robert Stone, a former master sergeant in the Air Force Reserve, was sentenced to jail in a sexual assault case involving a teen girl.

Stone, who had served in Iraq, pleaded guilty in March to child neglect or endangerment with substantial mental harm.

Stone appeared in Clark County District Court Thursday morning for his sentencing. Judge Abbi Silver gave him a suspended sentence of 24 to 96 months, but is requiring him to serve at least six months in the Clark County Detention Center.

The victim had told a school counselor that Stone gave her drugs and then engaged in various sex acts with her.


Military cancels F-35 jet airshow appearance

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon says the military's new-generation F-35 fighter jet will not go to the Farnborough International Airshow in England because of ongoing inspections after an engine fire last month.

Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby says that while limited flights have been approved for the aircraft, there are a number of restrictions that would make it difficult for the fighter jets to fly across the Atlantic to the airshow.

One restriction requires an engine inspection after every three hours of flight.

The entire fleet of nearly 100 planes was grounded after a fire at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Kirby says inspections so far have not revealed a systemic problem and defense officials feel "increasingly comfortable" that the aircraft will be able to return to full flight.


Military's tobacco discount: Up in smoke

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The familiar image of a battle-hardened member of the military smoking a cigarette may become a little less common.

A Senate panel on Tuesday approved a defense spending bill that would eliminate the 25 percent discount that members of the armed services enjoy to purchase tobacco products at commissaries.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said studies show that tobacco use is higher in the military and that translates into health care costs of $1.6 billion a year. He said there is no reason to subsidize these deadly products.

The $549.3 billion defense bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would do away with the discount.

The move is controversial. The House version of a defense policy bill would bar the Navy from restricting access to tobacco.



F-35 air show debut still in question

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AP) -- The much-anticipated international debut of the military's new, high-tech fighter jet is in limbo as officials scramble to determine the cause of the fire that grounded the aircraft last week.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is visiting Eglin Air Force Base, where many of the F-35 fighter jets are based. And he met with the pilot who escaped the aircraft fire - the latest stumble in the military's most expensive fighter jet program.

U.S. military officials grounded the entire F-35 fleet last Thursday while investigators try to determine why the aircraft caught fire on the runway at Eglin one June 23 as it was about to take off for a training flight. The grounding has jeopardized plans to display the Marine Corps version of the aircraft at two airshows in England.

Ecstasy toxicity blamed for EDC fan's death

LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County Coroner’s Office has ruled on what caused the death of a man who collapsed in the parking lot of the Electric Daisy Carnival in June.

The coroner says 24-year-old Montgomery Tsang of San Leandro, California died from acute Ecstasy toxicity. The coroner also said heart enlargement was a significant condition in Tsang’s death.

The manner of death has been ruled accidental.

The coroner has not released any information on the deaths of the two other men who were in Las Vegas for the EDC festival.