TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1110 GMT
EDINBURGH, Scotland -- The fate of the United Kingdom was at stake Thursday as Scotland began voting in a referendum on becoming an independent state, deciding whether to unravel a marriage that helped build 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 in 15 hours on Thursday the future of the 307-year old union with England hangs in the balance. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 470 words, photos. UPCOMING: Polls close at 2100 GMT; first results expected around 0100 GMT Friday.
BRITAIN-SCOTLAND-WHAT'S AT STAKE
LONDON -- Breaking up is hard to do, especially after 307 years. The entire United Kingdom will find out just how hard if Scotland chooses independence in Thursday's vote. By Danica Kirka. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.
LONDON -- British Muslim leaders made a plea Thursday for the safety of a British hostage threatened with beheading by Islamic State extremists in Syria. Alan Henning's life was threatened in a video released Saturday that showed him in the hands of the extremists who beheaded British captive David Haines and two American journalists. The group says in the video that Henning will be next if Britain doesn't end its support for U.S. military strikes. By Gregory Katz. SENT: 290 words, photos.
STOCKHOLM -- The father of Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik says he fears his son is becoming even more extreme and dangerous in prison. In his first news conference since the July 22, 2011, attacks that killed 77 people, Jens Breivik said Thursday he had requested to visit his son at the Oslo prison where he is serving a 21-year sentence that could be extended indefinitely. But the convicted terrorist and right-wing fanatic rebuffed him in a letter, saying his father had to adopt a "fascist" ideology for them to have any contact. By Karl Ritter. SENT: 390 words, photos
DONETSK, Ukraine -- The city council in Donetsk says there were no deaths overnight, one of the quietest nights recently in eastern Ukraine. However, the government says one emergency worker had been killed by fighting near Donetsk's airport. SENT: 120 words.
BRUSSELS -- The European Union's highest court says airlines are allowed to charge passengers an extra fee for checking in luggage. The Court of Justice ruled Thursday that "checked-in baggage cannot be considered to be compulsory or necessary" for carrying passengers, thus granting carriers the right to charge a supplement. SENT: 130 words.
VEVEY, Switzerland -- Some 200 companies on Thursday pledged to create new work and training opportunities for Europe's young jobseekers, of which one out of four is unemployed. The alliance of major companies set a goal of creating tens of thousands in additional jobs -- or apprenticeships and internships that lead to jobs -- over the next several years. By John Heilprin. SENT: 280 words.
LONDON -- Prince William will replace his wife Kate on this weekend's official visit to Malta because the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge is still suffering from acute morning sickness. Palace officials said Thursday the decision to cancel what would have been Kate's first official solo voyage overseas was made in consultation with her doctors. SENT: 120 words, photos.
BERLIN -- German pharmaceuticals and chemicals company Bayer AG says it plans a separate stock listing for its polymer division. The Leverkusen-based company that invented aspirin said Thursday the move would be part of an effort to focus the group on its health care and crop science businesses. SENT: 100 words.