VA says suicides up for youngest vets
A new government analysis shows a sharp increase in the suicide rate among the youngest male veterans and a smaller jump among women who served in the military. But the Department of Veterans Affairs says there was "no clear change" in the overall suicide rate among all veterans using VA health facilities. Dr. Jan Kemp, who oversees suicide prevention efforts at the VA, says the numbers are alarming, particularly for male veterans in their early 20s. She said too many younger vets don't seek treatment for longer-term mental health issues. The VA said the suicide rate increased nearly 44 percent for male veterans ages 18 to 29 from 2009 to 2011, and more than 11 percent for female veterans.
Cargo ship heads to space station
A privately launched supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Thursday after a series of delays ranging from the cold to the sun. Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its unmanned Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Va., offering a view to nearby states along the East Coast. It carries 3,000 pounds of equipment and experiments provided by NASA, as well as food and even some ants for an educational project. Christmas presents also are on board for the six space station residents; the delivery is a month late. The spacecraft, named Cygnus, should reach the station Sunday. NASA is paying Orbital Sciences and the SpaceX company to restock the space station. Orbital Sciences' contract alone is worth $1.9 billion.
Millionaires rule in Congress
As unemployment benefits expired for more than a million Americans, a new analysis of lawmakers' financial-disclosure reports shows that, for the first time in history, more than half the members of the U.S. House and Senate are millionaires. Overall, at least 268 of the 534 current members of Congress had an average net worth of $1 million or more in 2012, the year covered by the reports that each lawmaker had to file in 2013. The median net worth for the lawmakers is $1,008,767, according to the analysis, conducted by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.