The five most popular CNN.com stories during the last 24 hours, according to Newspulse:
Vilsack, White House apologize to Sherrod: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday he apologized to Shirley Sherrod for forcing her to resign from her government job in Georgia based on incomplete and misleading reports of a speech she gave. Vilsack also said he offered Sherrod another job in the department, and she was taking a few days to think about it.
Missing teen's body found: A body found near where a California teen vanished last week on her way home from summer school was confirmed Wednesday to be that of 17-year-old Norma Lopez, a Riverside County Sheriff's Department spokesman said.
Breaching whale crash lands on sailing boat: A sailor described her "miraculous" escape after a whale leapt out of the water and crash-landed on the deck of her boat off the coast of South Africa.
Astronomers discover monster star: Astronomers use a Very Large Telescope - the instrument's official name - to detect the most massive star discovered to date.
The many faces of Mel Gibson: Given recent tapes allegedly featuring actor Mel Gibson's voice - a voice that alternately threatens, rages, recoils and aches - the edgy, borderline fury often embodied by Mel Gibson the artist is all too closely entwined with the image of Mel Gibson the person.