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This was referendum day in Scotland, as citizens there decided whether to break away from the United Kingdom. Opinion polls suggested a slight advantage for those voting no to independence and to ending a union with England that's lasted 307 years.
Alex Thomson of Independent Television News filed this report while voting was still under way.
ALEX THOMSON, ITN:
What a campaign and what a poll. Today, even pipes weren't enough. They needed flames in Edinburgh to capture the history of the day.
Out to vote in Aberdeen, Alex Salmond has told the nation there will be no yes camp and no no camp tomorrow, just a team Scotland pulling together whatever the outcome. On that, Better Together no campaign leader Alistair Darling will agree with his rival.
But the question for both men, would the turnout follow the extraordinary pattern of 97 percent, yes, 97 percent, voter registration? By mid-afternoon, Edinburgh Council said postal returns were at 89.6 percent. You don't often see figures like these outside one-party dictatorships, and that is not lost on Scottish voters.
It's good that there's so many people turning out to vote as well. That's the big thing. You know, we will never get this amount of folks voting in the next election, which is unfortunate.
It might not massively affect us or our generation, but it will definitely have a knock-on effect for the kids, definitely.
For the image, the very identity of a country is at stake, its relationship with its near neighbors, that land to the south of Coldstream, the slant of history. As we pass through Dunfermline Abbey today, resting place of Robert the Bruce, through what perspective will we review such places tomorrow?
We can already call one election result, even as the polls remain open. And that's a resounding swing in favor of the politics of engagement, of enthusiasm for this process. It's clear when people think they personally can make a difference about something they really care about, they will come out and they will vote.
But is that just the case in the borders and the noisy central belt of Scotland? What happens were you to take the train north into the highlands and islands?
Here, of course, voting has a rather different pace and tone to it. For a start, some have to fit the ballot box in around the needs of the flock. But the imperative to vote this time, of all times, is still there.
Well, I'll not have voted for about 20 years, so that is how important it is.
So, too, a Dutch couple in Killin who run a B&B.
Very, very, very important, because I live here, I work here, I pay my taxes, I love this country. And I think I have never been more convinced about going to a polling station than I have ever been before in the Netherlands.
There are no exit polls, first declarations expected after 2:00 a.m., but the really clear picture emerges, obviously, after Glasgow and Edinburgh declare around dawn. It's been a long campaign. There's a long night ahead.
President Obama has said he favors Scotland remaining part of the U.K.
The Islamic State group today released a propaganda video of British hostage John Cantlie, a freelance photojournalist. Three hostages have been beheaded already, and Cantlie criticized the failure to win their freedom.
He said — quote — "Seeing as I have been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State, I have nothing to lose."
Cantlie indicated that he will make a series of statements on behalf of the militants.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey said today it may take as long as a year to get Syrian rebels ready to battle Islamic State fighters. That assessment came as the Senate moved to approve $500 million to arm and train rebels. The House approved it yesterday.
At a House Hearing, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel counseled patience.
CHUCK HAGEL, Defense Secretary:
This effort will not be easy. This effort will not be brief. This effort will not be simple. We're at war with ISIL, just as we're at war with al-Qaida, but destroying ISIL will require more than military efforts alone. It will require political progress in the region and effective partners on the ground in Iraq and in Syria.
Separately, French President Francois Hollande said his country will launch airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq, but will not commit ground troops. France, he said, will not join any air missions in Syria.
There's word that a new threat has emerged from al-Qaida fighters in Syria. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said today the Khorasan group is helping plot attacks on American airliners. He said the cell is working with al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen.
The U.N. Security Council has declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be a threat to international security. The council's statement today came as another U.N. body, the World Health Organization, reported the death toll has risen above 2,600. More than 5,300 cases have now been confirmed, including 700 in the last week alone. Most of the infections are concentrated in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
In Northern California, a wind-driven wildfire kept spreading and threatening more than 2,000 homes. The fire is burning near the community of Pollock Pines in the Sierra Nevada, some 60 miles east of Sacramento. It's already scorched 111 square miles and nearly tripled in size since yesterday. Authorities have now arrested a man suspected of starting the fire Saturday.
Home Depot now says a data breech this spring and summer may have affected 56 million credit cards. The home improvement giant reported today it has now eliminated the malware in its networks. The breach began as far back as April.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 109 points to close just short of 17,266. The Nasdaq rose 31 points to close at 4,593. And the S&P 500 added more than nine points to finish at 2,011.
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