If you need to retain the spacing between paragraphs that you used the extra paragraph returns to accomplish, you can instead modify the Paragraph Style Sheets to include Space Before and Space After values.
Paragraph returns are used by QuarkXPress and QuarkXPress Server to mark the beginning and ending points of a paragraph. Any content between two paragraph returns is formatted according to the Paragraph Style Sheet applied to that paragraph. The additional paragraph returns are interpreted by QuarkXPress Server as new paragraphs, even if there is no content between the paragraph returns. This is what causes the empty RICHTEXT element to be generated in the .