Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Here are six of the top stories we are following this morning at NBC News:
1. Fiery anti-government protests fill Ukraine’s capital
At least 25 people have died and hundreds injured in Kiev as a protest against President Viktor Yanukovich has escalated into violence, shattering weeks of calm. Demonstrators used Molotov cocktails and torched buildings, while authorities used rubber bullets and smoke grenades, turning Independence Square into a zone of chaos. Read more in NEWS.
2. Lethal injection faces fresh hurdles
Prisons have turned to compounding pharmacies for the lethal solutions because anti-death-penalty manufacturers — many based in Europe — have stopped selling to them. Now, it seems, some loosely regulated pharmacies may be deciding the sales are not worth the trouble. The trade group representing compounders says it wishes correction officials would find another place to buy the drugs. Read more in NEWS.
3. American Ted Ligety takes home gold in men’s giant slalom
Finally, redemption for world champion Ted Ligety. The 29-year-old dominated the men’s giant slalom event today, earning the United States' first Alpine skiing gold at the Sochi Games — and Ligety's first medal since the 2006 Torino Games. He had finished a disappointing 12th in the men’s super-combined last week. Also snagging gold for the U.S. was David Wise, who shredded the field in the halfpipe skiing competition Tuesday. Read more and watch events live at NBC OLYMPICS.
4. Venezuela’s opposition leader surrenders amid protests
Leopoldo Lopez was arrested on charges including terrorism and murder as anti-government protests raged on Tuesday. His supporters are taking to the streets in Caracas today while Lopez appears in court. Lopez has led protests against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who accuses his rival of trying to destabilize the country and launch a coup similar to the one that unseated his predecessor, Hugo Chavez. Read more in NEWS.
5. Nun gets three years for busting into nuke complex
Sister Megan Rice, 84, was sentenced Tuesday to 35 months in prison for her role in breaking into a Tennessee facility where enriched uranium is stored. She and two other peace activists were found guilty of cutting fences, spray painting peace slogans and hammering walls of the facility. Read more in NEWS.
6. Candy Crush Saga maker looks for sweet payoff
King Digital Entertainment, the company behind the popular and addictive smartphone game, has filed for an initial public offering, according to papers filed with the SEC. Watch video in NEWS.
… What’s trending today: Olympics edition
One gold medal that the U.S. won’t get to count is the one won by Vic Wild in this morning’s snowboarding parallel giant slalom.
Wild is an American who moved to Moscow three years ago when he married Alena Kavarzina and chose to switch allegiances to Russia after gaining Russian citizenship. Kavarzina, notably, won bronze in the women’s event. Read more at NBC OLYMPICS.