VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press

BURNS, BREATHING ISSUES KILLED 19 FIREFIGHTERS

 

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) -- The 19 firefighters killed over the weekend in an Arizona blaze died of burns and inhalation problems, according to initial autopsy findings released Thursday.

 

Cari Gerchick, a spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office in Phoenix, said the Hotshots died from burns, carbon monoxide poisoning or oxygen deprivation, or a combination of the factors. The autopsies were performed Tuesday, but more detailed autopsy reports should be released in three months, pending lab work.

 

"Our work is not done," Gerchick told The Associated Press. "But what we are glad about is that we can release these fallen heroes to their families for burial, and that grieving process can continue."

 

The Prescott-based Hotshots' bodies will be taken back to the hilltop community in a 75-mile procession from Phoenix on Sunday. Each firefighter will be in an individual hearse, accompanied by motorcycle escorts, honor guard members and American flags.

 

A memorial service planned for Tuesday is expected to draw thousands of mourners, including the families of the firefighters.

 

 NATIONAL GUARD SOLDIERS, AIRMEN TO BE FURLOUGHED

 

KAPOLEI, Hawaii (AP) -- More than 1,100 National Guard soldiers and airmen in Hawaii - and thousands in other states - will be living with 20 percent less pay over the next three months as the Defense Department carries out automatic federal budget cuts.

 

Guard members will be furloughed for one day a week starting Monday, so helicopter pilots and mechanics, pay and finance clerks and others who keep the guard operating will have eight hours less each week to do their jobs.

 

It's not clear precisely what effects the unprecedented cuts will have. They could, however, make it more difficult for the guard to fly helicopters to help put out wildfires or rush to the scene of natural disasters in trucks.

 

"Our general sense is that short-term, it's going to be a terrible hardship for those soldiers, airmen and their families. But if it goes on for any length of time, that may have a negative impact on our readiness and our ability to respond," said Hawaii National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony.

 

The military's furloughs were only supposed to involve civilians, but large numbers of National Guard members who wear Army and Air Force uniforms full-time will experience them as well. The National Guard added military technicians to the furlough list in May, after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave official notice to begin furloughs for civilians.

 

It's not immediately clear how many uniformed personnel will be affected nationwide.

 

Some units will be exempt, like the 169th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron responsible for tracking aircraft in the skies above Hawaii. The 199th Fighter Squadron, which protects Hawaii airspace with F-22s, will be somewhat shielded from the effects of the cuts because it has a large number of active duty airmen.

 

INDUSTRY PANNING OBAMA'S CLIMATE CHANGE PUSH

 

BOW, N.H. (AP) -- President Barack Obama's push to fight global warming has triggered condemnation from the coal industry across the industrial Midwest, where state and local economies depend on the health of an energy sector facing strict new pollution limits.

 

But such concerns stretch even to New England, an environmentally focused region that long has felt the effects of drifting emissions from Rust Belt states.

 

Just ask Gary Long, the president of the Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, the state's largest electric company.

 

Long says the president's plan to impose limits on carbon dioxide emissions suddenly raises questions about the fate of the state's two coal-fired power plants, electricity rates for millions of customers and the ability to find new energy sources. And he also notes that New England has already invested billions of dollars in cleaner energy, agreed to cap its own carbon pollution and crafted plans to import Canadian hydroelectric power.

 

"New Hampshire's always been ahead of the curve," he says. "Does no good deed go unpunished?"

 

Long raised those concerns in the days after Obama launched a major second-term drive to combat climate change, bypassing Congress by putting limits for the first time on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants. At the core of his plan are controls on power plants that emit carbon dioxide - heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming.

 

Obama said the changes would reduce domestic carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent between 2005 and 2020 and "put an end to the limitless dumping of carbon pollution." The program also is to boost renewable energy production on federal lands, increase efficiency standards and prepare communities to deal with higher temperatures.

 

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