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AP Top News at 5:27 p.m. EDT

House grudgingly approves arms for Syrian rebels
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Republican-controlled House voted grudgingly to give the U.S. military authority to train and arm Syrian rebels on Wednesday as President Barack Obama emphasized anew that American forces "do not and will not have a combat mission" in the struggle against Islamic state militants. The 273-156 vote crossed party lines to an unusual degree in a Congress marked by near ceaseless partisanship. Top Republican and Democratic leaders backed the plan seven weeks before midterm elections, while dozens of rank and file lawmakers in both parties opposed it.


AP Interview: Iraq premier nixes US ground troops
BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's new prime minister ruled out stationing U.S. ground troops in his country, chiding the international community Wednesday for inaction in Syria and lamenting the "puzzling" exclusion of neighboring Iran from the coalition being assembled to fight the Islamic State group. Haider al-Abadi has been embraced by the West as a more inclusive leader who might heal the internal rifts that have dismembered Iraq. But his forthrightness in an interview with The Associated Press - his first with international media - suggested a man capable of parting ways on vision and holding his ground.


Dow ends at record after Fed maintains low rates
NEW YORK (AP) - The Dow Jones industrial average is closing at a record high after the Federal Reserve maintained its stance on record-low interest rates. The Dow rose 24 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 17,156 Wednesday, surpassing its previous high from July by 18 points. The blue-chip average rose as much as 89 points after the Fed kept the phrase "considerable time," in referring to how long it would wait before raising interest rates.


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Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - President Barack Obama reaffirmed Wednesday that he does not intend to send U.S. troops into combat against the Islamic State group, despite doubts about the ability of Iraqi forces, Kurdish fighters and Syrian rebels to carry out the ground fight on their own. "The American forces do not and will not have a combat mission," Obama told troops at MacDill Air Force Base.


Emotions mount on final day of Scottish campaign
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) - For Scots, Wednesday was a day of excitement, apprehension, and a flood of final appeals before a big decision. In a matter of hours, they will determine whether Scotland leaves the United Kingdom and becomes an independent state. A full 97 percent of those eligible have registered to vote - including, for the first time, 16- and 17-year-olds - in a referendum that polls suggest is too close to call.


Police: Ambush suspect was military re-enactor
Schools closed, kids stayed inside and authorities chased down several false sightings Wednesday in their hunt for the suspect in a fatal ambush outside a rural Pennsylvania State Police barracks. Police released new details about the background of Eric Frein, a 31-year-old self-taught survivalist who authorities said recently shaved his head in a wide Mohawk, evidently as "part of the mental preparation to commit this cowardly act," Lt. Col. George Bivens said Tuesday afternoon.


US military role in Iraq raises combat questions
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House and the Pentagon are grappling with how to explain what American military forces are doing and could do in Iraq as they battle the Islamic State militants. Speaking at U.S. Central Command on Wednesday, President Barack Obama reiterated his pledge to keep American troops out of combat missions. But hours later, Vice President Joe Biden appeared to be less certain about ground troops.


Online sleuths aid probe into gay couple's beating
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Police searching for a group of people suspected in the beating of a gay couple got an outpouring of help from Twitter and Facebook users, who located a photo of the clean-cut young men and women at a restaurant and helped match names to faces. Attorneys representing a number of those seen in the video notified police they would bring in their clients to tell their side of the story, a police spokesman, Sgt. Eric Gripp, said. He didn't know if any had been interviewed by late Wednesday.


Liberia president praises US for Ebola help pledge
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) - People critically ill with Ebola languishing in an ambulance for hours as paramedics seek a place for them. Treatment centers filling up as soon as they are opened. The situation is so dire in Liberia that its president welcomed a U.S. pledge to send troops and treatment centers, but said much more needs to be done. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday urged the world community to redouble efforts to battle the disease, which could spread into other countries after already hitting five West African nations.


Desperate Gazans flee to Europe in risky sea trips
ABASSAN, Gaza Strip (AP) - The university student was desperate to flee Gaza after suffering through years of border closures and three wars. In early September, a week after the latest war between Gaza's ruling Hamas and Israel, 22-year-old Mohammed Abu Toaimeh crossed into neighboring Egypt. He handed $2,000 to traffickers and boarded a ship that was to smuggle him to Europe.

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