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Senate passes Keystone XL pipeline bill...Former Patriot on trial...Rod McKuen dies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite the threat of a presidential veto, the Senate has approved a bill to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Nine Democrats sided with the GOP in a 62-36 vote. That margin isn't enough to override a veto. The bill must be reconciled with the House version. Supporters say the pipeline, which would run from Canada to the Gulf Coast, will create jobs and energy independence. Critics say it would create few permanent jobs and that energy produced will be sold on the global market.

HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected last-day appeals from a man scheduled to die for the death of a woman who was strangled, beaten with a hammer and set on fire. Attorneys for Robert Ladd argued that he's ineligible for the death penalty because he is mentally disabled. Another appeal rejected by the court questioned the potency of pentobarbital, a sedative used in Texas executions.

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez has gone on trial in Massachusetts on murder charges. Prosecutors said DNA on a shell casing and security-camera video from his own home connect him to the crime. Hernandez's lawyer said the NFL player had "the world at his feet" and had no reason to kill. He said authorities "locked" in on Hernandez in a "sloppy and unprofessional" investigation.

HOUSTON (AP) — Federal safety regulators are looking into the death of a Texas man who may be the latest victim of exploding automobile air bags made by the Japanese firm Takata. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson says the motorist died in a low-speed crash in the Houston area when an air bag inflated and sent shrapnel into his neck. Honda says the car was recalled but records show it wasn't repaired.

NEW YORK (AP) — New Age poet, songwriter and performer Rod McKuen has died. His music, verse and spoken-word recordings in the 1960s and '70s made him one of the best-selling poets in history. His song "''Jean," for the 1969 film "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie," was nominated for an Academy Award. His half-brother says McKuen died today at a rehabilitation center in Beverly Hills, California, where he had been treated for pneumonia and had been ill for several weeks. McKuen was 81.

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