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Sept. 20, 2011 at 11:59 AM   |   0 comments

Georgia execution given go-ahead

ATLANTA, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Georgia's Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis who is scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday evening.

Davis, 42, was sentenced to death for the 1989 fatal shooting of Mark Allen MacPhail, a 27-year-old Savannah police officer and father of two, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

"I am utterly shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice," said Brian Kammer, one of Davis' attorneys.

The surviving relatives of the slain officer urged the parole board not to commute Davis' sentence to life in prison without parole.

"We need to go ahead and execute him," said MacPhail's widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris.

Davis' legal team argued Davis was wrongly convicted.


'Don't ask, don't tell' policy is history

WASHINGTON, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The "don't ask, don't tell" ban on openly gay U.S. service members was lifted Tuesday, ending a policy under which 14,000 men and women were discharged.

"Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation's founding ideals," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Obama, who signed a measure repealing the ban in December, said lifting the ban "would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans."

"As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love," the president said. "As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members."

He said the country "deeply values" the service of those discharged under the law.


Obama offers support to new Libyan gov't

NEW YORK, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama says the United States will support the people of Libya in building a new government.

In prepared remarks released Tuesday before a high-level U.N. meeting in New York, Obama said Libya needs international support "as they build a future that is free, democratic and prosperous." He stressed, however, that the Libyan people are responsible for their own future.

"Libya is a lesson in what the international community can achieve when we stand together as one. We cannot and should not intervene every time there's an injustice in the world," he said.

Obama said the future of Libya is now in the hands of its people. "For just as it was Libyans who tore down the old order, it will be Libyans who build their new nation. And we have come here today to say to the people of Libya -- just as the world stood by you in your struggle to be free, we will stand with you in your struggle to realize the peace and prosperity that freedom can bring."

The president said NATO forces will continue to provide security and called on supporters of deposed leader Moammar Gadhafi to lay down their arms and "join the new Libya." He said the lifting of sanctions, restoration of oil production and unfreezing of Libyan assets will allow the country to restore prosperity. "For too long, Libya's vast riches were stolen and squandered. Now, that wealth must serve its rightful owners -- the Libyan people," he said.


Gadhafi: His government won't be ousted

BANI WALID, Libya, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- An audio message ostensibly from deposed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said his political system represented the people and would not be ousted.

The message was broadcast Tuesday on Syria-based al-Rai TV, a pro-Gadhafi television station, CNN reported.

The broadcast aired as the National Transitional Council said its forces entered the city of Sabah, considered a Gadhafi stronghold. Witnesses said the troops encountered no resistance.

The message purported to be from Gadhafi also came as NTC troops planned an assault on Bani Walid, another of Gadhafi's dwindling bastions of support, a National Transitional Council spokesman told CNN.

"Our fighters are planning a massive attack today to bring the siege to an end," Abdallah Kenshil said.

The broadcast message said Gadhafi supporters mock the idea that the ruler and his government could be removed.

"This wonderful system is impossible [to] be overthrown," the speaker said. "There is a regime that is being forced on the Libyan people by air and naval bombardment. This is a joke, and its legitimacy is hanging in the air, tied up with bombs and NATO planes that will not last. "


Anticipated release of U.S. hikers delayed

TEHRAN, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The anticipated release of two U.S. hikers jailed in Iran for more than two years was delayed Tuesday when a judge who must sign a form didn't appear to court.

Masoud Shafii, the lawyer representing Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, arrived at court, where he was told the final judge who must sign the release order was not in, ABC News reported. The judge was supposed to return from vacation Tuesday.

"I went to the court as I was told [by the judiciary], but the judge whose signature we needed is not back to work yet," Shafii told ABC News. "They said they will contact me as soon as the judge comes back to work."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week told several U.S. media outlets Bauer and Fattal would be released on $500,000 bail each, just ahead of his appearance before the U.N. General Assembly. One judge signed the paperwork Saturday.

ABC News said Iranian sources said they think it is unlikely Bauer and Fattal would be released while Ahmadinejad is at the United Nations. The source said the holdup could be a possible effort by Ahmadinejad's rivals to prevent him from gaining more recognition on the world stage.


Blast rips downtown Ankara

ANKARA, Turkey, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- An explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday killed at least three people and injured 15 others, Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said.

Sahin said the blast likely was "a terrorist attack," Today's Zaman reported.

Another Turkish government official said earlier no one died in the explosion.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul, in Germany on an official visit, also called the explosion a terrorist attack, Today's Zaman said.

"There are fatalities. I would like to first deliver my condolences to them," Gul said. "I condemn the attack with hatred."

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc also said preliminary findings point to a bomb attack, noting, "there is information that a bomb was planted" on the vehicle that exploded in front of the Cankaya District Governor's Office and an elementary school, and near a government building.

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