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Sept. 22, 2011 at 8:27 AM
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Troy Davis denies guilt to end

JACKSON, Ga., Sept. 22 (UPI) -- As he lay strapped to a gurney in the death chamber at a Georgia prison, Troy Davis denied one last time that he killed Savannah Police Officer Mark MacPhail.

The execution was delayed for several hours Wednesday by a last-minute appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Davis was pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

"The incident that night was not my fault, I did not have a gun," Davis said, looking toward the MacPhail family. "I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent."

Davis asked for forgiveness for his executioners.

MacPhail, a former Army Ranger who had two young children, was working off-duty as a security guard at a Burger King when he intervened in a fight in 1989. Davis was convicted based on testimony from eyewitnesses and others who said he had admitted the shooting, but many of them later recanted.

The MacPhail family said they did not doubt Davis' guilt.

Palestinians won't press for urgent vote

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A Palestinian delegation will not press for an urgent U.N. membership vote, an official said as Washington worked to erode support for the membership bid.

"We will give some time to the Security Council to consider first our full membership request before heading to the General Assembly," said Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian official who leads the foreign affairs department of Fatah, the Palestinian National Authority's main political party.

"If we fail, we will keep knocking on the door," he told reporters. "We do not have a time limit."

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to submit his request for recognition to the Security Council Friday after he speaks before the annual General Assembly.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is expected to accept the request, and then pass it on to Lebanon, which presides over the 15-member Security Council this month.

The council's presidency rotates monthly in English alphabetical order.

Lebanon supports the Palestinian bid.

Nine Security Council votes are needed for membership.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington and Jerusalem were engaged in "extremely intense" diplomacy to persuade council members not to support the Palestinian statehood bid

Washington has threatened to veto the measure if necessary.

First women fined under France's naqib law

PARIS, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Two women fined for wearing a full-face veil despite a law banning it in France said they would appeal their punishment to the European Court of Human Rights.

Hind Amas and Najate Nait Ali were fined for wearing the niqab in public outside Meaux town hall in eastern Paris soon after the law went into effect in May, the BBC reported Thursday.

Thursday's sentencing was being followed throughout France and by other European countries. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland either have or are considering similar legislation, the British broadcaster said.

Amas, 32, was fined about $161. She said before court she hoped she would be fined so she could challenge the law.

"Without a condemnation I can't move forward. There has to be this sanction with a fine so that I can take this to the European Court of Human Rights," she said. "It's imperative that there's a sanction."

Najate Nait Ali was fined $107.

Amas and Ali were the first of 91 women stopped by French police to be fined, the BBC said.

Pope Benedict visits German home

BERLIN, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI returned to his native Germany Thursday to meet with political leaders and address as many as 70,000 people at Berlin's Olympic stadium.

The pontiff was greeted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff at Berlin's Tegal airport as he began his four-day journey, Sky News reported.

The pope's itinerary also includes visits to Erfurt in the former East Germany and Freiburg in the southwestern region of the country.

While traveling from Italy, Pope Benedict said he didn't mind protests as long as they were "civil."

"It's normal in a free society marked by strong secularism," he said. "I respect those who speak out."

Left-wing politicians said they would boycott his speech before parliament.

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