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AP Top News at 1:30 a.m. EDT

Top general: US ground troops possible in Iraq
WASHINGTON (AP) - American ground troops may be needed to battle Islamic State forces in the Middle East if President Barack Obama's current strategy fails, the nation's top military officer said Tuesday as Congress plunged into an election-year debate of Obama's plan to expand airstrikes and train Syrian rebels. A White House spokesman said quickly the president "will not" send ground forces into combat, but Gen. Martin Dempsey said Obama had personally told him to come back on a "case by case basis" if the military situation changed.


Obama's Ebola response: Is it enough and in time?
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama declared Tuesday that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could threaten security around the world, and he ordered 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the region in emergency aid muscle for a crisis spiraling out of control. The question was whether the aid would be enough and was coming in time. An ominous World Health Organization forecast said that with so many people now spreading the virus, the number of Ebola cases could start doubling every three weeks.


S. Korea detains US man in waters near border
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korean border guards arrested an American man who they believe was attempting to swim across the border into rival North Korea, a South Korean defense official said Wednesday. The man was arrested Tuesday night at a river near the Korean Demilitarized Zone, part of a restricted military area, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to office policy. He said investigators are questioning the man about the purpose of his apparent attempt to enter North Korea but gave no further details.


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Hunt on for survivalist charged in trooper killing
BLOOMING GROVE, Pa. (AP) - Hundreds of law enforcement officers fanned out across the dense northeastern Pennsylvania woods Tuesday in the hunt for a heavily armed survivalist suspected of ambushing two troopers as part of a deadly vendetta against police. Eric Matthew Frein, 31, of Canadensis, is "extremely dangerous" and residents in the area should be alert and cautious, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan said at a news conference in which he revealed the suspect's name.


Dempsey: Half of Iraqi army not OK as US partners
PARIS (AP) - About half of Iraq's army is incapable of partnering effectively with the U.S. to roll back the Islamic State group's territorial gains in western and northern Iraq, and the other half needs to be partially rebuilt with U.S. training and additional equipment, the top U.S. military officer said Wednesday. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former wartime commander of U.S. training programs in Iraq, said a renewed U.S. training effort might revive the issue of gaining legal immunity from Iraqi prosecution for those U.S. troops who are training the Iraqis. The previous Iraqi government refused to grant immunity for U.S. troops who might have remained as trainers after the U.S. military mission ended in December 2011.


Separatists in Quebec, Scotland share lessons
MONTREAL (AP) - Quebec's separatists are watching closely this week to see if the Scottish independence movement has learned from their failed attempts to break away from Canada. And it could be rejuvenated if Scotland breaks away from the United Kingdom. The Scottish National Party, which is leading the campaign for Scotland to vote yes in Thursday's vote on independence, has been advised over the years by separatists in Quebec, a French-speaking province where two referendums on independence failed, though the last "Non" was narrow. Polls suggest the outcome in Scotland will be close.


Hospitals struggled during Sandy, report says
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - When Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Northeast nearly two years ago, hospitals found themselves dealing with surges in patients, lost power supplies and employees who couldn't get to work - problems that a new federal report finds they were not prepared to handle. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Inspector General Office released a study Wednesday on the emergency preparedness and response during the storm at 172 hospitals in the hardest-hit areas of New York, most of Connecticut and all of New Jersey.


2014 MacArthur 'genius grant' winners unveiled
CHICAGO (AP) - A professor whose research is helping a California police department improve its strained relationship with the black community and a lawyer who advocates for victims of domestic abuse are among the 21 winners of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced on Wednesday the 2014 recipients, who will each receive $625,000 to spend any way they like.


Brazil election may change diplomatic direction
SAO PAULO (AP) - More than a decade of Workers Party rule has seen Brazil prioritize ties with its leftist regional neighbors, from helping muscle socialist Venezuela into the Mercosur trade bloc to financing a billion-dollar transformation of an industrial port in Cuba. But if President Dilma Rousseff fails to fight off the surging candidacy of reform-minded Marina Silva before presidential voting in October, South America's largest economy could reset its focus.


Minneapolis-St. Paul 1 site of anti-terror program
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul will participate in a Department of Justice pilot program designed to engage at-risk communities and stop extremists from recruiting Americans to join terror organizations overseas, U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said Tuesday. Luger, who announced the Twin Cities' participation in an interview with The Associated Press, said the program will bring more national expertise and resources to address terror recruiting in Minnesota to "build what we hope will be a model for the rest of the country."