The five most popular CNN.com stories during the last 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:
Girl, 6, was snatched at Little League game: In about the same time that it takes to light a match, tie a shoelace or hail a taxi, 6-year-old Morgan Nick vanished from her mother's sight in Arkansas.
Will the U.S. embrace high-speed rail?: For generations, much of the nation has been forced to use cars, buses or pricey aircraft to travel to nearby cities. But this year, Washington opened the door to what may be a historic turning point in regional travel.
Dr. Laura to end her radio show: Embattled radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced Tuesday she will not renew her contract that is up at the end of the year, telling CNN's "Larry King Live" she wants to "regain my First Amendment rights."
DA: Craigslist killer suspect wrote in blood: Accused "Craigslist killer" Philip Markoff wrote his ex-fiancee's name in what appeared to be blood on the wall of his jail cell before dying "at his own hand," a Massachusetts prosecutor said Tuesday.
Facebook launches 'location' feature: Facebook on Wednesday launched Facebook Places, which - similar to services such as Foursquare and Gowalla - will allow people to use the GPS on their mobile phones to let friends know exactly where they are.
A look at highlights from the day's business news:
GM files to sell shares to the public
General Motors filed registration documents Wednesday to sell shares to the public again, setting the stage for the U.S. government to reduce its ownership of the automaker.
In a highly-anticipated regulatory filing, GM said it plans to offer an unspecified number of common shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the company's previous ticker symbol of "GM."
The automaker said it will not receive any proceeds from the sale of common stock held by current shareholders, including the U.S. government. At the same time, the company said it will offer an undisclosed number of preferred shares, which will be used to fund its operations.
"The amount of securities offered will be determined by market conditions and other factors at the time of the offering," GM said in a statement.
Stocks rally for second day in a row
U.S. stocks posted their second consecutive day of gains Wednesday, turning the market around after a week's worth of losses.
After starting out the day lower, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 10 points, or 0.1%, to 10,416 the S&P 500 inched up 2 points, or 0.2%, to 1,094 and the Nasdaq composite rose 6 points, or 0.3%, to 2,216.
Those gains built on Wall Street's strong advance the day before. But with no major economic releases on tap Wednesday, the market was having trouble finding direction as stocks jumped around throughout the day.
Target seemed to lift the retail sector when the company offered a profit outlook for the current quarter that was in line with analysts' estimates, even though its latest earnings were lackluster.
Otherwise, a sheer lack of other economic reports seemed to buoy markets, said Bruce McCain, senior vice president and chief investment strategist of Key Private Bank.
Johnson & Johnson CEO maps quality shake up
Johnson & Johnson is restructuring its manufacturing hierarchy and creating a new position to ensure quality products, the company's chief executive said Wednesday.
The move was spurred by multiple massive recalls by Johnson & Johnson's McNeil division, the maker of Tylenol. McNeil, along with other manufacturing units, will now report directly to Johnson & Johnson's chief executive, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Although a small part of Johnson & Johnson, McNeil's quality woes have damaged its parent company's reputation. The Food and Drug Administration has slammed conditions at McNeil, and Johnson & Johnson received a grand jury subpoena last month about the recalls.
CEO William Weldon told the Wall Street Journal the move is part of a company-wide plan to help ensure quality products across the company.
– CNNMoney.com reporters Ben Rooney, Annalyn Censky and Julianne Pepitone contributed to this report.
More survivors of Monday’s crash-landing of a plane in Colombia are talking about what happened that morning.
Aires Airlines Flight 8250 broke apart as it slammed into a runway on a small resort island off the coast of Colombia, killing one person and injuring more than 120.
Authorities have said they were investigating whether the plane may have been hit by lightning or been buffeted by a severe downdraft.
Seats came loose, and some people fell out of the sheared airplane. Don Henderson, an American who was aboard the Boeing 737-700, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that within five seconds of slamming into the ground, the plane had broken apart and was no longer moving.
"We didn't have any time to do any special preparations at all," said Henderson, who added that he and his wife lost teeth and suffered cuts and bruises.
Watch more of what Henderson had to say below, including how he was fortunate to have been allowed to switch his seat before takeoff:
Also Wednesday, American passenger David Bellino, who was traveling with his pregnant wife, told CNN's Rick Sanchez that he was knocked out upon impact.
"But I came to. … There was chaos, people screaming, things falling from the ceiling," said Bellino, of the Atlanta, Georgia, area.
Watch more of what Bellino had to say below:
Kevin Chapman, the college graduate student who led the team that recently unearthed Civil War artifacts at the site of a Confederate prison in Georgia, recalls two visitors who came one day to watch one of the digs.
Doug Carter of Fayetteville, Georgia, and Nina Raeth of North Augusta, South Carolina, traveled in April to Magnolia Springs State Park, unaware of each other and the bond they shared.
Carter brought a "fowling" shotgun that belonged to his great-grandfather, Jesse Taliaferro Carter, who was a Confederate prison guard at Andersonville and Camp Lawton, site of Chapman's work.
Raeth, a great-granddaughter of a Union prisoner who also was at Andersonville and Lawton, came out of curiosity.
Shaquan Duley made a tearful first appearance Wednesday in a South Carolina courtroom to face murder charges in the deaths of her two toddler sons, her lawyer said.
Handcuffed and dressed in orange jail coveralls, Duley sniffled and sobbed through her arraignment, which lasted less than three minutes. She entered no plea to the charges, and no date was set for her next appearance.
Duley faces two counts of murder in the deaths of her two sons, 1-year-old Ja'van Duley and 2-year-old Devean Duley. Investigators said Duley, 29, was unemployed, single and apparently fed up with criticism from her mother when she smothered her children, strapped their lifeless bodies into car seats and submerged her car in the Edisto River.
Hundreds of people filled Anchorage Baptist Temple on Wednesday to pay their respects to former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, who was overwhelmingly remembered by speakers at the service as a man who embodied the state.
"From the eerie silence of the tundra to the swish of dogsleds in the snow ... these things more than describe Alaska, they define a way of life, and no state has ever had a more fierce defender of that state's way of life than Ted Stevens," said longtime friend and former Senate colleague, Vice President Joe Biden.
Stevens, 86, and four others died August 9 when the plane in which they were flying crashed into the side of a mountain in remote southwestern Alaska.
The last U.S. brigade combat team has left Iraq, leaving 56,000 U.S. troops in the country, according to the U.S. military.
Another 6,000 troops must leave the country to meet President Barack Obama's September 1 deadline for the end of U.S. combat operations in the country and the beginning of Operation New Dawn.
In all, 50,000 U.S. forces are to remain in an advise-and-assist mission.
Tanab, Pakistan - Reshma Jan remembers the flood as the waters that took away her mother.
It was nighttime, said the 10-year-old, and there was a lot of water and screaming. Reshma's father was trying to carry his ailing wife, as the waters swept away their home, built with mud and brick. It was the bricks, held together by mud, that collapsed on Reshma's mother.
CNN.com Senior Producer Steve Goldberg filed this report following the death of famed home-run hitter Bobby Thomson:
When I was a little boy, my dad and I would sit on the floor next to his old reel-to-reel tape deck, taking turns talking into it and playing our voices back - the same reel-to-reel he unwittingly used to gain his 15 minutes of fame.
It was October 3, 1951, when Larry Goldberg, a 26-year-old travel agent living with his parents in Brooklyn, set up the deck next to a radio before setting off to work in Manhattan. He asked his mom to record the 9th inning of the third game of the Brooklyn Dodgers-New York Giants playoffs.
What he and my grandmother captured turned out to be the only known recording at the time of Russ Hodges' famous call of Bobby Thomson's game-winning home run, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!"
Six-time Wimbledon champ. 16 Grand Slam titles. One of the greatest tennis players to ever live. Fed Express. Those are some of the ways people refer
to Roger Federer. But the tennis star may have a new title to add - viral video star.
Federer is getting a slew of attention online after Gillette "leaked" behind-the-scenes footage of Federer knocking a bottle off a man's head with a powerful semi-serve between takes while shooting a TV ad.
"Don't be nervous," Federer says.
The footage has been popular, practically viral, no doubt - leading to a flood of Facebook postings and Twitter messages about the video. It has gotten more than 1 million hits as I write this (it was at about 700,000 only a few hours ago) and more than 45,000 Facebook shares - on the original video alone.
But there's still one big question looming about it. Is it real?
A lawyer who says he's been hired to represent a South Carolina woman accused of killing her toddlers said she will plead not guilty to murder charges Wednesday.
Carl B. Grant said he has spoken with 29-year-old Shaquan Duley several times. She remains jailed without bond in Orangeburg County.
Grant refused to elaborate for CNN about the reason the mother will plead not guilty, and stressed that he hasn't had a chance to review all the evidence available.
Duley is "distraught, depressed, sad and solemn," he said.
On Tuesday Sheriff Larry Williams said Duley told investigators that she smothered her 1- and 2-year-old, placed their bodies in her car and let the car sink into the Edisto River.
Here's a look at some of the stories that are popular on Twitter, Google and other news and social media sites around the world.
French footballer speaks out: After France's dismal performance on and off the field at this summer's World Cup, many of the team's players were punished. On Tuesday, striker Nicolas Anelka - whose expulsion from the tournament in June sparked a revolt by his teammates - was suspended for 18 international games. "Nicolas Anelka" was a popular search on Google this morning because the French player had some choice words about his punishment. He said the people who punished him were "clowns" and that he is "dying from laughter" because of the suspension.
Australia election: As Australia's voters prepare to pick a prime minister on Saturday, the campaign is a hot topic on Twitter. Several terms related to the election were trending topics on Twitter. #Ausvotes is the main hashtag people are using to tweet about the election.
One interesting election discussion centered on a fake campaign ad for the Greens Party that was produced as part of a TV show about political advertising called Gruen Nation. The ad, which you can watch on YouTube here, was so popular online that the party wanted to use it as an official campaign commercial. But ABC, the network that airs the show, refused because allowing the ad to be used would make it seem like the network was picking sides, according to a spokeswoman.
President Barack Obama huddled around the kitchen table with an Ohio family Wednesday to talk about the economy and
health care before hosting a similar discussion with other families from the area.
The meeting with Rhonda and Joe Weithman and their two children was part of a White House push to show how Obama's economic stimulus bill has helped ordinary Americans deal with the economic recession.
The Recovery Act helped a small architectural firm co-owned by Joe Weithman stay in business by funding local infrastructure projects that required its services, according to information provided by the White House. It said the administration also subsidized COBRA health insurance benefits, which allowed Rhonda Weithman to maintain the family's insurance coverage after she lost her job.
The older brother - and alleged accomplice - of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich told reporters outside a federal courthouse yesterday: "I feel bad for my brother." Robert Blagojevich, who faces a retrial himself on five charges, added that he will not cut a plea deal.
"I have lived through the most surreal experience anyone could live through," Blagojevich told The Chicago Sun-Times. The trial has been a "slow bleed," both emotionally and financially, he added. "I don't feel in any way deterred in my ability to articulate my innocence."
The two Blagojevich brothers could not be more different, according to a profile earlier this year in the Sun-Times. Robert is a lifelong Republican and military man with a southern drawl. Unlike Rod, who has increased his public profile since the indictment in 2008, Rob's previous interviews have been limited to one in 2009.
Since the indictment, the two have had a chilly relationship, the Sun-Times reported. Yet at his trial, Robert Blagojevich testified that as children growing up outside Chicago, the two were "very close, tied at the hip."
Prosecutors will meet this week to determine how they'll retry both brothers on federal charges.
Dr. Laura to call it quits – Embattled radio talk-show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger says she will not renew her contract that is up at the end of the year, telling CNN's "Larry King Live" she wants to "regain my First Amendment rights."
Schlessinger, 63, has been under fire for using the N-word repeatedly during an on-air conversation last week with a caller.
Fossils from Australia show animal life on Earth began at least 650 million years ago, 70 million years earlier than previous estimates, Princeton University scientists report.
Princeton geosciences professor Adam Maloof and graduate student Catherine Rose came upon the fossils while researching a massive ice age, known as the “snowball effect,” that left much of the planet covered in ice 635 million years ago. Scientists had thought animal life could not have survived that ice age. But as they inspected a glacial deposit in south Australia, they found the fossils of the sponge-like ocean reef animals.
“No one was expecting that we would find animals that lived before the ice age, and since animals probably did not evolve twice, we are suddenly confronted with the question of how some relative of these reef-dwelling animals survived the 'snowball Earth,’" Maloof said.
BP has picked Wednesday as the deadline for accepting claims from people and businesses affected by the Gulf oil disaster.
After that, the oil giant will direct people to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, led by attorney Kenneth Feinberg.
"Effective August 23, GCCF will be the only authorized organization managing business and individual claims related to the Deepwater Horizon Incident," the British energy giant said in a statement.
Editor's note: New York Gov. David Paterson joins Larry King in his first interview about the Islamic cultural center controversy. "Larry King Live," 9 p.m. ET Wednesday on CNN.
New York Gov. David Paterson may meet with developers who had been pushing to build an Islamic center near ground zero.
Paterson is set to meet with the group this week to offer them state land to construct the controversial mosque at another location, according to CBS 2 and other news outlets.
However, New York 1 is reporting in an exclusive interview with the developer that he has no intention of budging. Sharif el-Gamal imagined what he hoped the center would mean in a story Tuesday. "A landmark, an iconic building that will have people come and visit it from around the world," he said. "This looks like it is going to be the most famous community center in the world."
The Islamic center's leaders say they plan to build the $100 million, 13-story facility called Cordoba House two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. El-Gamal has describe the project as an "Islamic community center" that would include a 500-seat performing arts center, a lecture hall, a swimming pool, a gym, a culinary school, a restaurant and a prayer space for Muslims.
An update from the CNN newsdesk in London on some of the stories we're following on Wednesday:
Russia summit - Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev convenes a summit on regional security on Wednesday. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Tajikistan President Emomalii Rahmon are attending, along with Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, who is making the trip despite being criticised for continuing his visit to Europe in the midst of his country's floods.
Muslim 2010 - CNN’s Atika Shubert attends Al-Madrasa, a center for Islamic study in Spain which is open to all faiths. While it runs traditional activities like hiking and the arts, it also introduces the principles of Islamic traditions like Ramadan fasting and Arabic to its attendees.