10 things you need to know today: January 23, 2014

The Fifth Column

The Week

Virginia plans to stop defending its gay marriage ban, the first deaths are reported in the Ukraine protests, and more

1. Virginia to stop defending gay marriage ban in court
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office said Thursday he would stop defending the state’s ban on gay marriage against challenges in federal court because he had concluded that it was unconstitutional. Herring spokesman Michael Kelly said the state — a battleground in the fight over same-sex marriage — would instead side with plaintiffs trying to get the ban struck down. Herring’s decision came a string of victories for gay marriage supporters, including the rejection by federal judges of bans in Utah and Oklahoma. [Associated Press]
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2. First deaths reported in Ukraine protests
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich met with opposition leaders on Wednesday in an attempt to contain escalating violence in the streets of Kiev after…

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