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Associated Press
Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari, points to a document during a press conference during the Syrian peace talks in Montreux, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the meeting saying that the peace talks will face "formidable" challenges for Syria. Ban called on the Syrian government and the opposition trying to overthrow it to negotiate in good faith.(AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Salvatore Di Nolfi)

10 Things to Know for Thursday Jan. 23

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today

1. WHO LOOMS LARGE AT SYRIA PEACE TALKS

Iran's backing is a pillar of Assad's hold on power, and Tehran's absence at the Swiss-based conference may prove its undoing.

2. COMPROMISE DOUBTFUL IN UKRAINE

Thick black smoke from burning tires engulfs Kiev as an ultimatum issued by the opposition to the president to call early election or face street rage was set to expire.

3. TEXAS EXECUTES MAN DESPITE OFFICIAL OPPOSITION

A Mexican national is executed for killing a Houston police officer despite pleas and diplomatic pressure from the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department.

4. POLL: NICE GUY, SO-SO PRESIDENT

A new AP poll finds that less than a third of Americans consider Obama to be an above-average commander in chief, but nearly twice as many find him likable.

5. DIVIDED PANEL TO REVEAL NSA SPY RECOMMENDATIONS

The changes to the government's surveillance programs seek to satisfy legal, privacy and civil liberties concerns.

6. POLL FINDS DROP IN UNINSURED RATE

The nation's uninsured rate drops modestly in January as the major coverage expansion under Obama's health care law got underway, a survey finds.

7. OBAMA SHINES LIGHT ON COLLEGE SEXUAL ASSAULTS

A new White House report says no one in America is more at risk of being a victim than college women – with one in five having been attacked.

8. WHAT HIT SHOW IN U.K. IS STIRRING DEBATE

"Benefits Street," reality TV for austerity times, is a smash hit featuring welfare recipients, but it's creating controversy in Britain.

9. HOW SESAME STREET HOPES TO IMPROVE KIDS' NUTRITION

A three-year experiment in South America suggests better eating habits displayed by Bert and Ernie and Cookie Monster have had a positive effect.

10. HOW SHERMAN FEELS ABOUT PUBLIC OUTCRY

The Seattle Seahawks' All-Pro cornerback says he was "surprised" by the negative reaction his postgame rant received on social media and the airwaves.

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