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March 10, 2012 at 12:12 PM
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Dalrymple: Speed Keystone XL construction

WASHINGTON, March 10 (UPI) -- Republican North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple Saturday urged Congress to approve a measure to speed construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

In the weekly GOP media address, Dalrymple criticized the Obama administration, which rejected a key permit for the pipeline in January.

"The federal government is killing energy development with overly burdensome regulations," Dalrymple said. "The best example of this is the Keystone XL pipeline, which the Obama Administration will not allow to be built."

The pipeline, which would run through North Dakota, would carry oil recovered from oil sands from Alberta, Canada, to U.S. Gulf Cost refineries.

Republicans say the project would create thousands of jobs.

Dalrymple called on Congress to pass a measure authored by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., that would fast-track construction of the pipeline.

"Congress should step in and pass Senator Hoeven's measure, which would authorize the Keystone project," Dalrymple said. "It's the common sense thing to do."

The Senate Thursday defeated Hoeven's measure as an amendment to a highway bill. Republicans detailed plans to attach it to the highway bill when it comes up in the House.

Carnival CEO 'very sorry' for shipwreck

MIAMI, March 10 (UPI) -- The chairman and chief executive officer of Carnival Corp., which owns Costa Cruises, said he was "very sorry" for the Costa Concordia shipwreck in Italy.

In his first interview since the Jan. 13 disaster off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Micky Arison told The Miami Herald: "Obviously, I am very sorry it happened. When you have 100 ships out there, sometimes unfortunate things happen, but as I said, it was an accident. We as a company do everything we can to encourage the highest of safety standards."

Arison said he was on the Caribbean island of St. Bart's when he learned of the accident through Twitter and immediately e-mailed Costa Cruises chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi, who was on a ship in the Caribbean at the time.

Arison said he remained in Miami to deal with Carnival's 10 cruise ship brands and to avoid becoming a "diversion" by going to Italy.

He noted Carnival Corp. vice chairman and CEO Howard Frank traveled to Italy several times since the shipwreck, which killed 25 people and left seven missing.

"I have a lot of faith in Pier and his team," Arison said. "I believe they'll work their way through this. It was a terrible, terrible, terrible accident, but that's what it was."

Arison reported Friday Carnival had a net loss of $139 million for the quarter ending Feb. 29, compared with a profit of $152 million the same period a year earlier.

18 suspected al-Qaida militants killed

SANAA, Yemen, March 10 (UPI) -- Yemeni airstrikes targeting militant hideouts in south Yemen have killed at least 18 suspected al-Qaida fighters, an official said Saturday.

The airstrikes, officials said, were in the province of al-Baitha in areas militants have used as bases for launching attacks, CNN reported.

"Al-Qaida is trying to build a stronghold in al-Baitha and it is in the beginning stages. We are trying to eliminate their presence while it is still possible and easy," an official told CNN. The U.S. broadcaster said the official asked that his name not be revealed.

Residents say military aircraft frequently fly over al-Baitha.

12 killed in Gaza in Israeli airstrikes

JERUSALEM, March 10 (UPI) -- Israeli warplanes struck targets in Gaza overnight and early Saturday, killing 12 people, authorities said.

The Palestinian Ma'an news agency said 20 people were injured in a second day of strikes.

Ynetnews.com reported rockets fired at southern Israel from Gaza wounded eight people Friday, one of them seriously.

Since Friday, more than 60 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza and an Israeli defense system designed to target rockets headed toward populated areas intercepted 25 of 27 rockets, Haaretz reported.

Israeli warplanes struck six targets in Gaza identified as two weapons manufacturing sites and two rocket-launching sites in northern Gaza, a weapons manufacturing site in central Gaza and what Haaretz called a "terror activity center" in southern Gaza.

Of the 12 Palestinians killed, most were Islamic Jihad operatives, Haaretz said.

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