Scotland begins its fateful vote. About 4.3 million registered voters, or 97% of the potential electorate, started casting their votes at 7 am UK time; polls close at 10pm and results will be declared “around breakfast time” on Friday. The latest opinion poll puts the “no” vote against independence ahead, 52-48, excluding the 6% of voters who are undecided—but after months of intensive lobbying, what are they waiting for?
Australia says it foiled a beheading plot. More than 800 police officers conducted raids across the country and detained 15 suspects who were allegedly planning to abduct and behead a random Sydney resident on camera in the name of the extremist group. A senior member of IS made “quite direct exhortations” to “conduct demonstration killings” in Australia, said prime minister Tony Abbott.
A Chinese general is accompanying Xi Jinping to quietly conquer India. Peng Liyuan—the wife of Chinese president Xi Jinping, and a honorary major general in the People’s Liberation Army—has emerged as perhaps the most visible first lady in Asia, and is on center stage during her husband’s high-profile trip to India. Despite the charisma of Peng, Xi’s visit has taken on an uncomfortable edge due to a Chinese incursion into the disputed Himalayan border between the two countries.
Hyundai made a “Gangnam Style” splurge. The Korean conglomerate successfully bid more than $10 billion on a plot of land in Seoul’s exclusive Gangnam district, trumping an offer from Samsung. Hyundai shares fell 4%; the property was appraised at only $3 billion.
US logistics contractors were hacked by China. In 2012 and 2013 there were around 50 infiltrations against private companies that move US military personnel and weapons, according to a US senate investigation. Twenty of the attacks were blamed on Chinese government hackers.
Diet sodas may cause blood sugar spikes. A small-scale study found that artificial sweeteners interfere with crucial bacteria in the stomach. Lab mice and humans alike who drank diet soda were at increased risk of glucose intolerance, which can lead to diabetes.
Russia detains a billionaire, sparking fears of a Yukos repeat. The Russian oil and telecoms tycoon Vladimir Yevtushenkov has been accused of money laundering in an oil deal and placed under house arrest, president Vladimir Putin’s Investigative Committee announced. The move has stoked worries that oligarchs and their property are not safe from the Kremlin.
Early Eurasians were a randy bunch. A “sexually prolific” group from what is now northern Russia mated with hunter-gatherers and indigenous farmers to give rise to modern-day Europeans, according to new DNA analysis.
New York City is looking to hire a new blacksmith. The city’s longtime blacksmith retired, so a new specialist is needed to “forge and shape angle irons, bridle irons, tools, and automobile parts” at the municipal forge in Central Park. The annual pay is $100,725.12; preferred applicants will have five years’ experience, good communications skills, and be proficient with Microsoft Office.