Forces move on Gadhafi bastion Bani Walid
BANI WALID, Libya, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Gunfire and explosions were heard around Bani Walid as Libyan rebel forces moved in on one of the remaining strongholds for fallen leader Moammar Gadhafi.
The rebels' National Transitional Council warned Bani Walid residents to leave by Thursday before the assault on the city about 85 miles southeast of the capital of Tripoli.
Fighters also moved into the outskirts of Sirte, Gadhafi's birthplace, but were pushed back after sustaining casualties Thursday, the BBC reported.
NTC fighters have faced resistance in the few cities that remain loyal to Gadhafi, including Bani Walid, Sirte and Sabha.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Tripoli Friday.
His visit came a day after crowds in Tripoli and Benghazi hailed British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the first foreign leaders to visit Libya since Gadhafi was ousted.
EU ministers to discuss debt crisis
WROCLAW, Poland, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- European Union financial leaders arrived in Poland Friday for a debt crisis meeting, with Greece's potential default high on the agenda, ministers said.
At least two ministers expressed doubt a resolution on Greece could be reached during the meeting in Wroclaw, the BBC reported.
Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter has refused to rule out an eventual Greek default, saying more bailout money should be advanced to Greece, but "we will have to think about the alternative."
Jutta Urpilainen, Finland's minister, also downplayed the chances of resolving a dispute about whether to provide more money to Greece. Finland wants Greece to put up collateral in exchange for a second bailout.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also is attending the meeting. President Obama has urged the eurozone countries to resolve their differences over the debt crisis.
Demands that Greece accelerate its austerity plans, along with fractured support for indebted eurozone members, has sparked financial market mayhem. Greece needs more money quickly, but a review of the country's budget measures won't be finished until the end of September.
U.S. Supreme Court stays Texas execution
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- A Texas man won a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court less than 2 hours before he was scheduled to die.
The court must now decide whether to review the case of Duane Buck, the Houston Chronicle reported. Buck's lawyers say the penalty phase of his trial in 1997 was tainted by testimony from a psychologist who argued black killers are more likely to kill again.
Buck was in a holding cell at the state prison in Huntsville at about 7:30 p.m. when he got the news Thursday.
"Praise the Lord," he said. "God is worthy of praise. God's mercy trumps judgment. I feel good."
Buck was sentenced to death in Houston for the 1995 killing of his ex-girlfriend, Debra Gardner, and her new boyfriend, Kenneth Butler. He also shot his sister, Phyllis Taylor, who survived and who has appealed for his sentence to be commuted.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas -- who was state attorney general in 2000 -- said at the time that Walter Quijano, a psychologist testifying as a prosecution witness, might have affected the outcome in six death penalty cases. In the other five, federal judges ordered new sentencing hearings and all were once again given death sentences.
The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles upheld Buck's death sentence this week.
USPS plans processing-plant cutbacks
WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- The United States Postal Service, facing growing financial losses, announced plans to close numerous mail-processing plants and cut thousands of jobs.
Postal officials indicated Thursday that fewer than 200 of 487 processing plants will be in operation by 2013.
The proposed closures are part of plans to cut $20 billion in spending within the next four years, The Washington Post reported.
About 35,000 mail-processing positions would be eliminated, part of a broader plan to cut 150,000 jobs by 2015.
In addition to the processing-plant closures, the USPS may shut down at least 3,700 post offices nationwide and continue to push for congressional reform.
Some members of Congress say the pending closures will not solve the USPS's financial problems.
[Closing processing plants] "cannot forestall the Postal Service's financial collapse by itself," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who co-authored a reform bill that would establish a financial control board for postal finances.