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NATION IN BRIEF: Coast Guard tells BP to speed up

The Associated Press . Oil cleanup workers hired by BP make an effort to clean the shore in Orange Beach, Ala., on Saturday. Large amounts of the oil battered the Alabama coast, leaving deposits of the slick mess some 4-inches thick on the beach in some parts.

The Associated Press . Oil cleanup workers hired by BP make an effort to clean the shore in Orange Beach, Ala., on Saturday. Large amounts of the oil battered the Alabama coast, leaving deposits of the slick mess some 4-inches thick on the beach in some parts.

Coast Guard tells BP to speed up

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- The federal government has given BP until the end of the weekend to find ways to speed up efforts to contain huge amounts of oil gushing from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a letter released Saturday, as large globs of brown crude coated Alabama's white sand beaches.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. James A. Watson sent a letter to BP officials on Friday expressing frustration with the overall pace of the effort and ordered the company to identify ways to expedite the process in the coming says.

''Recognizing the complexity of this challenge, every effort must be expended to speed up the process,'' Watson wrote in the letter, sent to Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer.

BP has struggled with several efforts to contain the oil. The latest cap installed on the blown-out well is capturing about 650,000 gallons of oil a day, but large quantities are still spilling into the sea.

Five killed in townhouse fire

SEATTLE -- A blaze tore through a Seattle townhouse Saturday and killed five people, including a number of children, fire officials said.

The fire was reported just after 10 a.m. in what authorities described as a two-story townhouse in the city's Fremont neighborhood north of downtown.

The first engine to respond had an equipment problem that prevented it from spraying water on the fire, but the second unit to arrive was able to fight the fire, which was put out within about 40 minutes of when it was reported, Fitzpatrick said.

The cause was not immediately known.

Spirit Airlines pilots strike

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A strike by Spirit Airlines pilots shut down the discount carrier on Saturday, stranding thousands of travelers.

Spirit carries roughly 1 percent of U.S. air passengers, mostly between the eastern U.S. and the Caribbean and Latin America. It's a small carrier, but its shutdown was causing major problems.

Spirit's tickets aren't good on other carriers. The airline said it was refunding fares for Saturday flights plus a $100 credit toward future flights. It didn't immediately announce plans for its Sunday flights.

On Saturday, new, same-day tickets on other airlines were at least two- to three times the fares originally booked on Spirit.

2 dozen missing after Ark. flood

LANGLEY, Ark. -- Rescue crews took to kayaks, horseback and ATVs on Saturday to resume the desperate search for about two dozen campers still missing after flash floods swept through a popular campground, killing at least 17 people.

The pre-dawn Friday surge along the Caddo and Little Missouri rivers caught sleeping campers in and around the Albert Pike Recreation Area by surprise, leaving them little time to try to scramble in the darkness to higher ground and safety. The last person found alive was rescued late Friday morning.

Arkansas State Police Capt. Mike Fletcher said there were about two dozen people still unaccounted for as of Saturday morning -- a number far lower than some had feared. By one estimate, there were some 300 people in and around the campground when the floods swept through, and a call center fielded inquiries about 73 people who hadn't been accounted for as of Friday night.

Fletcher said authorities had identified 16 of the 17 bodies found, but that they wouldn't be identified publicly until their families had been notified. There were children among the dead.

The search was expected to take several more days, or even weeks.

Minnesota: Brake for turtles, please

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Why did the turtle cross the road?

Minnesota wildlife managers say it's because turtles are trying to get from their winter homes to their warm-weather nesting areas. And the state Department of Natural Resources is urging drivers in Minnesota to give turtles a brake.

Carol Hall, an agency specialist in amphibians, says many turtles are killed on roads each year, especially during the nesting season.

The agency says drivers who see a turtle on the road should slow down and go around it. The department also says it's best to let turtles cross unassisted. If it's necessary to help, the department says to move them in as direct a line as safely possible.

Minnesota has nine turtle species, some of which are protected.