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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.

Nellis hosting Red Flag Exercises next week

Nellis hosting Red Flag Exercises next week

Red Flag Exercises are returning to Nellis Air Force Base next week.

The exercises will be July 14 through July 25. People living near the base will notice an increase in aircraft noise.

Red Flag offers U.S. forces realistic combat training. Aircraft will depart the base twice a day and remain in the air for up to five hours.

The exercises are hosted at the Nevada Test and Training Range, which is north of Las Vegas. It offers 12,000 square miles of airspace and 2.9 million acres of land. 

Las Vegas man honored years after serving his country

LAS VEGAS -- More many people, fireworks painting the sky a brilliant red, white and blue are a symbol of the bombs fired and lives lost while the United States fought for its independence.

The military has guarded our freedoms since the birth of our nation but ordinary citizens have also protected the country in heroic ways.

It was long before the term ‘homeland security’ was being used, but thousands of citizens volunteered to protect our nation during World War II.

They risked life and limb without asking for recognition but decades later they are finally getting it.

The Civil Air Patrol is 60,000 members strong with 550 aircraft but that is not how it started.

Volunteer pilots flew their own planes searching for German submarines off the east and gulf coasts and there were accidents. Luckily for the crew out of San Bernardino, they had a mechanic like Virgil McCarron

“We were able to keep the planes up,” McCarron said.

Radio issues force police to double-up in patrol cars

LAS VEGAS -- Metro Police say radio communication problems in the Las Vegas valley's latest officer-involved shooting has forced officers to double-up in patrol units.

Assistant Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said there were radio problems on June 26 when an officer was involved in an exchange of gunfire with suspect Joshua Bacharach. Lombardo said the radio problems caused a delay in the officer getting back up help. Police officers have been doubled-up in patrol cars since Tuesday. 

No one was injured by gunfire that night, but Bacharach, an ex-felon, did suffer a bite from a police dog when he was taken into custody. Bacharach faces attempted murder charges.

Metro Police is currently in the process of getting a new radio system.


Police officer, suspect exchange gunfire

LAS VEGAS -- A traffic stop escalated into a gun battle between a suspect and a Metro Police officer Thursday night.

Police say the officer attempted to stop a vehicle near Lake Mead Boulevard and Walnut Road shortly before 11 p.m. The person inside the vehicle fired several shots at the officer then drove away. The police officer followed the vehicle. Police say the suspect fired more shots.

Metro says the officer located the suspect's vehicle near Carey Avenue and Lamb Boulevard. As the officer approached the vehicle, the suspect fired more shots at the officer. This time, the officer returned fire. The suspect fled on foot.

Additional officers and a K-9 unit arrived and located the suspect in the backyard of a home on El Tovar Avenue. Police ordered the suspect to comply with their commands, but he refused. A K-9 officer was used to subdue the suspect. He was taken to University Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.