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AP Top News at 5:49 p.m. EDT

France joins US against Islamic State over Iraq
PARIS (AP) - France is back at America's side in conducting military strikes in Iraq. More than a decade after spurning President George W. Bush's war against Saddam Hussein, France on Friday became the first country to join U.S. forces pounding targets inside Iraq from the air in recent weeks - this time in pursuit of militants of the Islamic State group.


After vote to stay in UK, Scots must heal divide
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) - Following a long night that brought floods of relief for some and bitter disappointment for others, Scotland awoke with a hangover Friday after voting to reject independence. Now, the task was to heal the divide - and use the energy the referendum unleashed to hold London politicians to promises of more powers for Scotland.


Brown credited with turning Scot independence tide
KIRKCALDY, Scotland (AP) - Dour. Grim. Downright uninspiring. When Gordon Brown ended a disappointing three years as British prime minister in 2010, few would have credited him as the man most likely to swing a popular vote ever again. Yet, the former Labour Party leader and 63-year-old Scot has emerged as the oratorical star of Scotland's Better Together campaign, the man most responsible for persuading wavering voters to stick with Great Britain by emphasizing why they should be proud to be British.


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3 guilty in Ga. salmonella-tainted peanut trial
ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - A federal jury convicted the owner of a peanut plant and two others Friday in a salmonella outbreak that prompted one of the largest U.S. food recalls ever, sickened hundreds across the country and was linked to several deaths. Experts say the seven-week trial in Albany, Georgia, marked the first time corporate executives and plant workers were tried in a food poisoning case.


License plate scanner networks capture movements
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A rapidly expanding digital network that uses cameras mounted to traffic signals and police cruisers captures the movements of millions of vehicles across the U.S., regardless of whether the drivers are being investigated by law enforcement. The license plate scanning systems have multiplied across the U.S. over the last decade, funded largely by Homeland Security grants, and judges recently have upheld authorities' rights to keep details from hundreds of millions of scans a secret from the public.


Congress backs Obama on aid to Syrian rebels
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law legislation authorizing the military to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State militants in the Middle East. Obama acted a day after a Senate vote capped congressional action on the request, which passed by wide margins despite reservation about whether his strategy will do enough to stop the surging terrorist group, which has seized large swaths of Iraq and Syria. Congress will revisit the issue after the midterm elections.


Florida felon kills his 6 grandchildren
BELL, Fla. (AP) - An ex-convict who killed six of his grandchildren, his adult daughter and himself had been in and out of jail and spent time in prison for accidentally shooting his son to death during a hunting trip, according to authorities and records. Don Spirit, 51, called 911 on Thursday afternoon from his home to say that he might hurt himself or others. By the time a deputy arrived at his home in this small town outside Gainesville, Spirit had committed suicide, according to Gilchrist County Sheriff Robert Schultz.


Alibaba stock soars in jubilant trading debut
NEW YORK (AP) - Alibaba debuted as a publicly traded company Friday and swiftly climbed nearly 40 percent in a mammoth IPO that offered eager investors seemingly unlimited growth potential and a way to tap into the burgeoning Chinese middle class. The sharp demand for shares sent the market value of the e-commerce giant soaring well beyond that of Amazon, eBay and even Facebook. The initial public offering was on track to be the world's largest, with the possibility of raising as much as $25 billion.


Sierra Leone begins 3-day Ebola lockdown
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) - Sierra Leone confined its 6 million people to their homes Friday for the next three days as the Ebola-ravaged West African country began what was believed to be the most sweeping lockdown against disease since the Middle Ages. In a desperate effort to bring the outbreak under control, thousands of health care workers began going house to house in crowded urban neighborhoods and remote villages, hoping to find and isolate infected people.


Goodell: 'Same mistakes can never be repeated'
NEW YORK (AP) - Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL wants to implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl. Goodell was short on specifics at a news conference Friday, his first public statements in more than a week about the rash of NFL players involved in domestic violence. More defiant than contrite as he was hammered with questions, Goodell said he has not considered resigning.