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News Wrap: Obama Pays Respect to Afghanistan Helicopter Crash Victims

August 9, 2011 at 12:00 AM EST
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HARI SREENIVASAN: The remains of 30 American service members arrived at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware today. The 22 Navy SEALs, plus eight Air Force and Army troops, died Saturday in Afghanistan. Taliban militants in the Tangi Valley apparently shot down their helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.

Today, President Obama traveled to the Dover base to meet with family members and attend the return ceremony. Pentagon officials barred media coverage of those events.

Wisconsin held a series of recall elections today triggered by Republican efforts to cut collective bargaining rights for public workers. The results could give Democrats control of the state Senate. Voters were deciding today whether to oust six Republican senators. Two Democrats face recalls next week. Local and national groups have pumped nearly $30 million into the races.

President Obama has announced the nation’s first fuel-efficiency standards for large trucks and vehicles. They will affect model years 2014 to 2018. The standards will mandate that big rigs or semitrucks cut fuel consumption by 23 percent. Gasoline-powered heavy-duty pickups and vans will have to reduce their consumption by 10 percent. Buses and fire trucks will face a nine percent reduction in fuel use.

After meeting with the president, trucking executives said they welcomed the new regulations.

BILL GRAVES, American Trucking Associations: In our operations, fuel is either the number-one or number-two expense for everyone that moves freight in this country. We have basically been stuck for probably the last quarter-of-a-century without any significant fuel-efficiency for a large commercial vehicle.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Last month, the president unveiled a deal with automakers to double the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks.

Internet giant Amazon tried to get back to business today after two major service outages in less than 24 hours. On Sunday night, a lightning strike cut power to an Amazon data center in Dublin, Ireland. It disabled the company’s cloud services. That’s virtual space that customers use to store data or run their own websites.

European users were knocked offline. And last night, Amazon’s cloud servers for the Eastern U.S. were disrupted by a glitch in routing Web traffic. It caused slowdowns and outages for sites like Netflix, Reddit and Foursquare.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.