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AP Top News at 11:38 a.m. EDT

Scots decide whether to declare independence
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) - Scots held the fate of the United Kingdom in their hands Thursday as they voted in a referendum on becoming an independent state, deciding whether to unravel a marriage with England that built an empire but has increasingly been felt by many Scots as stifling and one-sided. The question on the ballot paper is simplicity itself: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" Yet it has divided Scots during months of campaigning, and polls suggest the result is too close to call.


A guide to Scotland as it votes on independence
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) - The people of Scotland are deciding Thursday whether to end a partnership with the rest of the United Kingdom that has lasted more than 300 years. Here is a guide to Scotland as the historic vote nears. ---


Australian police: Raids thwarted beheading plot
SYDNEY (AP) - Police on Thursday said they thwarted a plot to carry out beheadings in Australia by supporters of the radical Islamic State group. They raided more than a dozen properties across Sydney and were holding six people and have identified the suspected ringleader, officials said. Nine other people were detained but were freed before the day was over.


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Senate next after House backs Obama on rebel aid
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's request for congressional backing to train and arm Syrian rebels battling Islamic State group militants is halfway home, after approval by the GOP-controlled House sent the issue to the Senate, where leaders in both parties say it's expected to pass handily. Obama won support from staunch Republicans who typically are reflexively against him and lost the votes from some of his most loyal Democratic allies in the 273-156 House tally. Republicans backed Obama by a more than 2-1 margin; Democrats backed him as well, but to a lesser degree.


Sierra Leone to shut down for 3 days to slow Ebola
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) - Shoppers crowded streets and markets in Sierra Leone's capital on Thursday stocking up for a three-day shutdown that authorities will hope will slow the spread of the Ebola outbreak that is accelerating across West Africa. The Ebola outbreak sweeping West Africa has also touched Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal, and is believed to have sickened more than 5,300, according to figures released by the World Health Organization on Thursday. In a sign that the outbreak is picking up steam, more than 700 of those cases were recorded in the last week for which data is available.


APNewsBreak: Border Patrol to test wearing cameras
SAN DIEGO (AP) - The U.S. Border Patrol will begin wearing cameras this year at its training academy, a test to see if the technology should be used in the field to blunt criticism about agents' use of force. R. Gil Kerlikowske, who has led the Border Patrol's parent agency since March, announced the plans Tuesday to a small group of activists who have pressed for cameras, according to a person who attended the briefing and spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussion was intended to be private. Testing will occur at the Border Patrol academy in Artesia, New Mexico.


California wildfire shows explosive growth
POLLOCK PINES, Calif. (AP) - An out-of-control wildfire that was threatening more than 2,000 homes in Northern California showed explosive growth, consuming tens of thousands of additional acres, fire officials said Thursday. The fire east of Sacramento had burned through 111 square miles, up from 44 square miles on Wednesday when it forced additional evacuations, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It was only 5 percent contained.


Police trooper killed in ambush to be laid to rest
SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) - Hundreds of law enforcement officers from around the country waited silently outside a northeastern Pennsylvania cathedral Thursday ahead of a funeral for a state trooper killed in an ambush outside his barracks. Troopers lined up 10 deep as they waited for the funeral procession that will bring the body of 38-year-old Cpl. Bryon Dickson to St. Peter's Cathedral in Scranton. Two gigantic American flags were strung between the crossed ladders of fire trucks parked at each end of the block, and a bell tolled for many minutes.


Review: Devices, apps act like one under iOS 8
NEW YORK (AP) - The scores of new features in Apple's software update for mobile devices can be boiled down to one word: unity. Many iPhone owners also have iPads and Mac computers, and family members are likely to have Apple devices, too. With the new iOS 8 software for iPhones and iPads, those devices start to act like one. Apps on those devices start to unite, too.


Cardinals quick to deactivate Dwyer after arrest
PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Cardinals say they first learned of the domestic abuse accusations against backup running back Jonathan Dwyer on Wednesday afternoon. By evening, citing the "serious nature of these allegations," the team deactivated Dwyer from all team activities.

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