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NATIONAL BRIEFS


ARIZONA: Free flights to Mexico end

The U.S. government has halted free flights home for Mexicans caught entering the country illegally in the deadly summer heat of Arizona's deserts, a money-saving move that follows a seven-year experiment that cost taxpayers nearly $100 million. More than 125,000 people have been flown deep into Mexico for free since 2004 in an effort that was met with skepticism from Mexican officials and migrants, but was gradually embraced as a way to help people back on their feet and save lives. But with Border Patrol arrests at 40-year lows and with more people heading south of the border, it was a struggle to fill the planes and the costs became difficult to justify.


WASHINGTON: Suicide prevention beefed up

The Obama administration is urging a new focus on preventing suicides, especially among military veterans, and is beefing up the nation's crisis hotline to help. U.S. health officials said nearly 100 people commit suicide every day, and many more attempt it. The military has seen an alarming increase in suicides this year. The federal government announced Monday it will boost staff by 50 percent at the national hotline, 1-800-273-TALK, that's open to military and civilians alike.


ALASKA: Moving sea ice halts drilling

Royal Dutch Shell was moving its drill ship off a prospect in the Chukchi Sea on Monday, a day after drilling began 70 miles off the Alaska coast, because sea ice was moving toward the vessel. Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith tells The Associated Press that drilling was stopped for safety reasons. "Shell has made the decision to temporarily move off the Burger-A well to avoid potentially encroaching sea ice," he said by email. "Once the ice moves on, the Noble Discoverer will re-connect to anchors and continue drilling." Shell officials were monitoring ice measuring 30 miles long and 12 miles wide about 105 miles away. It varies in thickness, Smith said, but at its thickest is about 82 feet.

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