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Pope's plea to halt execution

Pope Benedict XVI and four Roman Catholic bishops in Kentucky have asked the US state's governor to commute the death sentence of an inmate set to be executed on September 16.

A letter written on the Pope's behalf by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the papal nuncio to the US, asks that Gregory L. Wilson (53) not be executed because of questions about his mental status.

Governor Steve Beshear said he found no circumstances for setting aside the sentence after conducting an "exhaustive review" of Wilson's case. He said he pledged to review clemency petitions for Wilson after final court appeals are complete.

Ban on gays is

wrong -- judge

A federal judge in Southern California declared the US military's ban on openly gay service members to be unconstitutional.

US District Judge Virginia Phillips granted a request for an injunction halting the government's "don't ask, don't tell" policy for gays in the military.

The lawsuit was the biggest legal test of the law in recent years.

Government lawyers argued that the issue should be decided by Congress, not a District Judge.

UN soldier is killed in Haiti

The United Nations mission in Haiti said one of its soldiers was shot by robbers outside a bank in the country's capital Port-au-Prince.

UN police spokesman Jean-Francois Vezina said three gunmen approached on motorcycles and shot the off-duty soldier from Yemen as he left the Scotiabank branch.

The robbers stole an undisclosed amount of money from the soldier, who was not in uniform.

Nazi author behind bars

A jailed right-wing Austrian author was found guilty of violating a prohibition on glorifying Nazi ideology and sentenced to an additional two years in prison.

Gerd Honsik is already serving a four-year term, which began last year after he was found guilty of "Wiederbetaetigung" -- "re-engaging" in Nazi-era beliefs.

The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.