The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.
'Garfield' creator apologizes for strip: Jim Davis, the creator of the widely-syndicated "Garfield" comic has issued an apology for an ill-timed strip that ran on Veterans Day.
Accused killer's private letters revealed: The accused murderer's life wasn't supposed to turn out like this.
A look at the day's business news headlines:
Stocks close out worst week in 3 months
A sell-off in U.S. stocks picked up steam Friday afternoon, following a volatile trading session in Asian markets that ended with the Shanghai Composite down more than 5 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 91 points, or 0.8%, with 26 of the 30 blue chip index's components ending in the red. Boeing and Alcoa were the biggest laggards.
COMMENT OF THE DAY: "My cat does not agree with some of the findings of these researchers. The following is a statement from Teddy the Cat: 'Meow meow meeeow meow. Meow meow. Meow? Meow meow meow. Barf.' I think the hairball speaks for itself." - Sildemark
Our four-legged furry friends have made a few headlines as this week comes to a close. Stories about how cats drink and a Veteran's Day "Garfield" cartoon created a stir in our comments area, so we'll start off the roundup with them.
Check out what readers had to say about these and other top stories in the news on iReport
The animal rights group PETA wants Amazon.com to stop selling books about dogfighting and cockfighting, saying the books encourage an illegal and harmful activity the way a recently removed title promoted pedophilia.
PETA said it sent a letter Friday to Amazon.com President Jeffrey P. Bezos, asking him to to pull products from the site that promote animal cruelty in light of the online retailer's decision this week to stop selling an e-book that offered guidelines to pedophilia.
"The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure" was pulled from Amazon.com late Wednesday, after thousands of angry users posted reviews to the listing condemning its publication and vowing to boycott the site.
Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com.
A few hours ago, iReporter Miguel Rezende in Lisbon, Portugal, sent us a touching story today about a local man who spent hours each day on one of the biggest avenues in Lisbon, smiling and waving goodbye to people passing by on foot or by car.
In the beginning, people thought he was "not lucid," Rezende said. But they came to know him as just a shy, lonely man, looking for companionship. (You can see him in action and talking about his life in a short documentary that local film students made a few years ago, with English subtitles.)
João Manuel Serra, or “Senhor do Adeus” as he was known, died on Wednesday at the age of 80, after at least 15 years of waving to people. The local evening news did a story about him, and in his tribute, on Thursday, hundreds of fans went to the spot where he usually stood, Rezende said. They also created a Facebook page for him that has nearly 13,000 fans.
"It was very emotional to see so many people missing him," Rezende said. "This person made a lot of people happy when he was there."
We've been offering tiny "Be A Hero" challenges that you can do to make the world a little better.
For the next one, take a page from Mr. Serra’s life and reach out to a stranger. Wave, smile, say hello, or strike up a conversation with someone you’ve never met. Feel free to tell us about it in the comments below, or on iReport.
"Maybe if we would do that more often, we would surprise ourselves to find that the stranger is actually a very nice person," Rezende said.
Passengers onboard the stranded Carnival cruise ship Splendor say while this wasn't the vacation they signed up for, it was an adventure.
Joe and Donna Hobbs were on the ship and said after the first few hours of confusion they realized they were not in any danger. Joe Hobbs says he was looking forward to the legendary cruise ship buffets but instead was treated to some pretty interesting concoctions.
"Anything they could put between two pieces of bread, they did," said Hobbs. "I had a pork-n-beans sandwich," he said.
His wife even wrote an epic song about their experience. Listen to the story – words and music – here:
If the Miami Heat want to be good, they'll have to go bad first.
The uber-talented yet underachieving team lost its second game in a row, and its third in four games, falling 112-107 last night at home to the Boston Celtics. It was the second loss the Celtics have handed their rivals this season and dropped the Heat to a 5-4 record.
Once thought to have a chance at winning 70 games, the Heat are now struggling to stay over .500. They've yet to find a reliable point guard or post presence, and the Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh is not playing at the level most expected by this point.
With no identity and so few wins, SI.com's Lee Jenkins suggests the Heat channel their inner bad guy and follow the blueprint of classic championship-winning bad boy teams like the Pistons and NFL Raiders. Rather than trying to be the heroes everyone wants them to be, Jenkins says the Heat should adopt an "us-against-the-world" mentality and start playing like the villains whom teams can't stand off the floor and can't beat on it.
Although the Heat are just nine games into the season, they do need to mix things up if they want to live up to expectations. As Jenkins points out, they've given up 184 points over their last six quarters and have lost two games this season with Eddie House taking the last shot, not one of the team's three superstars. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is preaching patience, but the team has little cap flexibility or tradeable assets to bolster the team.
So they'll have to improve from within, Jenkins says. Be the bad guys. Embrace the anger. Wear the black hat.
Following the Heat-Celtics game last night, Celtics star Paul Pierce took to his Twitter account to deliver the final blow. "It's been a pleasure to take my talents to South Beach," he tweeted, taking a jab at James' line from this summer.
Maybe that's enough to get them mad.
Here is some of the action going on around the sports world today (all times Eastern):
Portland Trailblazers at Oklahoma City Thunder (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The Northwest Division-leading Blazers (6-3) hit the road to take on reigning scoring champ Kevin Durant (28.1 ppg) and the Thunder (4-3).
No. 4 Boise State Broncos at Idaho Vandals (9 p.m., ESPN2)
After racking up a school-record 732 yards of offense last Saturday, undefeated Boise State travels to take on Idaho, which gave up 844 yards of their own in a 63-17 loss to Nevada last week.
BY THE NUMBERS
$33,000 - Amount Kentucky freshman center Enes Kanter received from a Turkish club during the 2008-09 season. The NCAA ruled Kanter permanently ineligible to play for the Wildcats on Thursday, but Kentucky is expected to appeal the decision.
18-1 - Record of the Atlanta Falcons at home with quarterback Matt Ryan as the team's starter. The Falcons defeated the Baltimore Ravens at home Thursday night, 26-21.
2011 - Year action sports star Travis Pastrana will compete in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide series. Pastrana, who has won 16 gold medals in the X games, will run seven Nationwide races next season and 20 in 2012.
The man convicted of hacking into former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's e-mail account was sentenced Friday to one year and one day in either federal prison or a halfway house, according to a Knoxville, Tennessee, court deputy.
David Kernell also was sentenced to three years of supervised release.
It will be up to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to decide where Kernell serves his time, though the federal judge in the case recommended placing Kernell in a halfway house.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips rejected a request from Kernell's attorney for a sentence of probation only. Federal prosecutors had pushed for at least 18 months in prison.
Kernell was found guilty in April on two counts related to hacking Palin's e-mails to years ago.
Wendy's is serving up a new kind of fry.
The nation's No. 3 fast-food chain has revamped its french fry recipe for the first time in its 41-year history, leaving the skin on, using a proprietary oil and sprinkling on sea salt.
The new fries, released nationwide Thursday after being test-marketed in three cities, are "designed to give French fry lovers a hotter, crispier taste experience with an enhanced potato flavor and texture," says a press release from parent company Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia.
The new fries are slimmer than their predecessors but contain more calories and salt, according to Opposing Views writer Mark Berman.
In the latest Zagat Survey, Wendy's fries finished fourth behind McDonald's, Five Guys and In-N-Out Burger, with Burger King trailing Wendy's.
The man who will take on Manny Pacquiao for the junior middleweight title at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday has not fought in the United States in almost two years.
In January 2009, the California Athletic Commission accused Margarito of having a plaster-like substance in the hand wraps under his gloves before a fight with “Sugar” Shane Mosley, according to The Miami Herald.
Not only did Mosley knock out Margarito in the ninth round, but the commission suspended Margarito’s and his trainer’s boxing licenses. Though Margarito says he was unaware the wraps were illegal, the claim has been met with some skepticism.
Though he hasn’t fought again in the U.S., the 32-year-old fighter won a match in Mexico six months ago. FULL POST
You, your date and mother-in-law? - Imagine taking your lady out for a night on the town in your fancy new car … with her mother. That's right. In 1915, cars were made with a special extra seat called the mother-in-law seat to ensure there was no hanky-panky en-route to any destination. Who else would have one of these rare models but Jay Leno, of course? Say what you will about late-night television, but Leno's car collection is beyond reproach. It's, quite simply, to die for.
Bernie Madoff auction - A variety of ill-gotten goods can be yours this weekend as the U.S. Marshals Service in New York will auction off personal property belonging to Bernard and Ruth Madoff.
Bernie Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence for a decades-long Ponzi scheme in which he bilked investors of billions of dollars.
The items for Saturday's auction were seized from his homes in New York City and Montauk, on Long Island.
Big-ticket items include a 10.5-carat diamond engagement ring, estimated to fetch as much as $350,000, and a Steinway and Sons grand piano that could bring in $16,000.
The death toll from the recent eruptions of Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano has reached 206 and nearly 400,000 people have had to flee their homes, a national disaster official said Friday.
Mount Merapi, which looms on the horizon north of the major city of Yogyakarta, erupted October 26. It is located on the island of Java.
"Rescue workers recovered more bodies in the villages," said Haartje Robert Winerungan of the National Disaster Coordination Agency. "In total, there are 150 victims burned to death."
Even though they were stuck without air conditioning, hot showers and decent meals, at least four passengers who made it off a crippled Carnival Cruise Lines ship said Friday that they would go on a cruise again.
"I'm so thankful that we're all alive," Leticia Lewis said on CNN's "American Morning." "I don't wish this experience on anyone. It wasn't a wonderful event. But I would take another one."
Amber Haslerud, another passenger, said her voyage on the ill-fated Carnival Cruise ship Splendor was her first cruise, and she would also go on another one.
An update from the CNN newsdesk in London on the stories we're following on Friday:
German intelligence - August Hanning, the former head of the German Intelligence Service, tells Nic Robertson just how close the western allies were to Bin Laden at Tora Bora, all those years ago, and that they missed a "real opportunity" to capture him.
Russia spy ring - A colonel in Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, identified as "Colonel Shcherbakov," gave the United States information on a Russian spy ring in the United States that was broken up this past June, according to a report in the respected Russian newspaper Kommersant. Read the full story
A 24-year-old man committed suicide live on the internet, Japanese police said Friday.
Some online chat forum users egged on the man after he posted that he was considering suicide, local media reported. Some chatters urged him not to, while others said he was lying, local media said.
The man started live-streaming his own hanging. Viewers called police.
The suicide was reported to police in the northern Japanese city of Sendai about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, said the vice chief of the Sendai North Police.