The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:
Longtime Hollywood publicist killed: Ronni Chasen, 64, was gunned down on Sunset Boulevard early Tuesday, just minutes after she left a star-studded party to celebrate the premiere of the movie "Burlesque," police said.Â Chasen died when "multiple shots" were fired into her Mercedes, police said.
Royal nuptials: Britain's Prince William asked his girlfriend Kate Middleton to marry him, he said Tuesday, setting up the most anticipated royal wedding since Prince Charles and Diana, princess of Wales, got married nearly 30 years ago. William gave Diana's sapphire-and-diamond engagement ring to his fiancee when he popped the question during a vacation in Kenya last month, he said.
GOP senators snip earmarks: The GOP caucus in the Senate agreed Tuesday night to ban earmarks, a policy House Republicans have in place and are expected to keep in the new Congress. The idea of prohibiting members from designating funding for specific projects in their states or districts is popular with reform-minded deficit hawks, but it has traditionally been opposed by some congressional veterans.
They killed Kenny, now this? Just a few weeks after apologizing for lifting lines from a parody of "Inception," the producers of "South Park," along with Comedy Central and parent company Viacom, have been sued for allegedly infringing on the copyright of the YouTube viral video "What What (in the Butt)," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Bone tested in Holloway case: A jawbone found on an Aruban beach will undergo forensic testing to determine whether it is human and, if so, whether it belongs to Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, last seen on the island in 2005, authorities said Tuesday. "They are testing for a DNA match," said Aruban prosecutor Peter Blanken.
Haiti's government appeared Tuesday to have lost control of Cap Haitien, where demonstrators angry over what they see as the United Nations' role in starting the ongoing cholera epidemic controlled many of the streets for a second consecutive day.
At the airport in the country's second-largest city, commercial flights were suspended Tuesday. Police were not wearing uniforms in an apparent attempt to elude the wrath of Haitians, who had torched at least one police station on Monday.
The only way to get from the airport into town was by motorcycle. Barricades composed of burning tires and vehicles blocked cars from traveling on many of the roads.
A 25-year-old U.S. Army staff sergeant from Iowa on Tuesday became the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the war in Afghanistan.
President Obama awarded the nation's highest medal of valor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta - the kind of soldier who leaves you "just absolutely convinced this is what America's all about," Obama said at the White House award ceremony. "It just makes you proud."
Giunta was a specialist serving with the Airborne 503rd Infantry Regiment on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when his unit was attacked on the night of October 25, 2007. According to Defense Department documents, Giunta and his fellow soldiers were walking back to base along the top of a mountain ridge when the enemy attacked from their front and their left. Taliban fighters barraged the Americans with AK-47s, rocket propelled grenades and Soviet-era large machine guns.
A jawbone found on an Aruban beach will undergo forensic testing to determine whether it is human and, if so, whether it belongs to Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway, last seen on the island in 2005, authorities said Tuesday.
Aruban prosecutor Peter Blanken said a part of the bone was sent to the Netherlands Forensic Institute in The Hague, Netherlands.
It will be analyzed to determine whether it belongs to an animal or human, he said. If it is human, authorities will attempt to find out whether it belongs to Holloway.
"Last night a portion of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsâPart 1' was stolen and illegally posted on the internet. Â This constitutes a serious breach of copyright violation and theft of Warner Bros. property. Â We are working actively to restrict and/or remove copies that may be available. Â Also, we are vigorously investigating this matter and will prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law."Â Â Â - Warner Bros. Entertainment
A look at highlights from the day's business news:
U.S. stocks tumbled Tuesday, with all three major indexes down nearly 2%, as investors cast a worried eye at economic developments in Europe and China.
The Dow Jones industrial average finished 178 points lower, or 1.6%, with Alcoa and Travelers Companies leading the blue chip index's decline. Earlier in the session, the Dow fell more than 200 points.
A rare Amur tiger â one of 300 to 400 estimated to remain in the wild - was killed by poachers near Vladivostok, Russia, an animal rescue group said Tuesday.
The Siberian tiger was found by an International Fund for Animal Welfare anti-poaching patrol in Primorye Province, according to an IFAW news release.
The group says the area (which includes parts of China and North Korea) is home to the last of the wild Amur tigers, which was on the brink of extinction in the 1940s with only 40 remaining worldwide before a vigorous conservation effort.
Four suspected poachers caught with the dead, 5-year-old male tiger were arrested by rangers from the Khasan district of the province, IFAW said. One of the hunters had been injured by the big cat and required hospitalization.
She's more than Prince William's betrothed. The 28-year-old Brit who is now engaged to the man second in line to England's throne has spent the past several years being chased by photographers. She has handled it with grace, many say, and with more than a few legal complaints about the media intruding on her privacy.
Catherine Elizabeth Middleton grew up in a small English village with two siblings. Her mother was a flight attendant; her father was a pilot. Now the family, including Kate, sells children's party supplies online.
Middleton reportedly began dating Prince William after the two met while studying at Scotland's St. Andrew's University. She was reportedly heavily influential in the prince's decision to switch his study to geography. She went on to get her degree in art.
When a photo of the pair on a Swiss ski vacation emerged in 2004, Middleton began a life in the spotlight. FULL POST
Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies has been awarded the National League Cy Young award, given to the league's best pitcher.
Besides leading the league in victories, Halladay also pitched a perfect game during the regular season and a no-hitter in the playoffs against the Reds.Â With that outing he became only the second pitcher in history to pitch a post-season no-hitter.
Halladay"s also the fifth pitcher in history to win a Cy Young award in both leagues - he won for the American League's Toronto Blue Jays in 2003.
Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com.
U.S. hunger remains at its highest levels in 15 years.
According to a Department of Agriculture report released Monday, 17.4 million families - nearly 15 percent of U.S. households - lacked money to feed one or more of their family members in 2009.
But itâs easy to feed the hungry without spending a lot of money.
Weâve been offering tiny things that you can do to make the world a little better. For the next âBe A Heroâ challenge, weâre starting a virtual food drive on iReport.
1. Scour your cabinets for canned goods or other non-perishables you arenât planning to eat.
2. When you go grocery shopping, drop a few extra pantry staples in your cart. It doesnât have to cost anything if you pick buy one, get one free items.
Many supermarkets have drop-off points for food bank donations during this season. If you canât find one, visit Feeding America to find a food bank near you.
Before you drop off your donation, snap a photo and upload it to iReport with your story of how you helped fight hunger this season.
Prosecutors rested their case Tuesday in the federal kidnapping trial of the self-professed prophet accused of kidnapping Utah teen Elizabeth Smart.
Ten witnesses testified during the governmentâs case, including Smart, 23, who testified for three days about the ordeal. Brian David Mitchell faces life in prison if he is convicted of kidnapping and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes.
Smart was 14 when she was taken at knifepoint from her bed early on June 5, 2002. She testified that she was led to a primitive mountainside camp, âsealedâ in marriage to her captor, raped and tethered between two trees âlike an animal.â
She was freed on March 12, 2003, as she, Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, returned from a winter trip to California.
Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel issued the follow statement after he was found guilty by an ethics subcommittee Tuesday on multiple violations of House rules.
"How can anyone have confidence in the decision of the Ethics Subcommittee when I was deprived of due process rights, right to counsel and was not even in the room? I can only hope that the full Committee will treat me more fairly, and take into account my entire 40 years of service to the Congress before making any decisions on sanctions.
I am disappointed by the unfortunate findings of the Ethics Subcommittee. The Committee's actions are unprecedented in view of the fact that they arrived at without rebuttal or counter evidence on my behalf.
While I am required to accept the findings of the Ethics Committee, I am compelled to state again the unfairness of its continuation without affording me the opportunity to obtain legal counsel as guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.
Closing arguments began Tuesday in the trial of a man charged in the 2001 killing of Washington intern Chandra Levy.
"She's been waiting nine years for justice," said prosecutor Amanda Haines, holding up for the jury a poster-sized photograph of the smiling young
woman. "It's been nine years, but you need to say the words 'Ingman Guandique is guilty.'"
The dead woman's mother was in the spectators' gallery, and at times looked close to tears as prosecutors brought out her daughter's clothing, found at the crime scene in 2002.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the United Nations Security Council Tuesday that it will take "courage and skill" for Sudan's leaders to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, but stressed that no outsider can dictate events on the ground.
"The world expects these steps, and the courage to change will be rewarded by the international community and the United States," Clinton said.
Clinton's comments come in the midst of a massive voter registration effort for a January referendum that would allow the East African nation's autonomous southern region to secede from the north. The referendum is considered a possible make-or-break event in the 2005 peace agreement, which ended the two-decade conflict that lead to the deaths of 2 million people in Sudan.
The peace agreement also calls for a separate referendum for residents of Abyei, a border area that has oil reserves, to decide if they want to join the north or south. The southern region holds a majority of the nation's oil.
"Holding this referendum and resolving the status of Abyei represent the promise of self-determination made to the Sudanese people," Clinton said. "They are promises that must be kept."
The vote also could be a factor as U.S. officials decide whether to remove Sudan from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Alleged international arms dealer Viktor Bout,Â inspiration for a lead character inÂ the film "Lord of War" starring Nicolas Cage,Â was extradited to the United States on terrorism charges Tuesday. The mustachioed Russian arrived in New YorkÂ on a U.S. chartered jetÂ from Thailand.
Bout had been held in a Thai jail sinceÂ March 2008Â when he was arrested in a sting operation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. AgentsÂ posedÂ asÂ members of Colombia's rebel group FARC.
Bout is accused of supplying weapons to war zones from Sierra Leone to Afghanistan.Â He says Â he's innocent.
The RussianÂ government is upset about the extradition and hasÂ called the move "illegal."Â Russian officialsÂ blamed the United States for exacting "unprecedented political pressure"Â onÂ Thai courts.
Bout has rarely given interviews, though one example stands out whichÂ was published in 2003 in the New York Times. Journalists Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun wrote a book about Bout. In August, Farah wrote in Foreign Policy about why Bout may not stand trial.
Thinking like a lemur - They're smart and adorable. You could call them the Natalie Portmans of the animal kingdom. Scientists at Duke University say the furry primates can understand numbers, and they've got the computer skills to prove it, albeit rudimentary. They say lemur intelligence may provide insight into how humans thought millions of years ago. This might leave you wondering, why can't we all be cute and smart?
A House ethics subcommittee found longtime Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel guilty Tuesday on multiple violations of House rules.
The subcommittee, according to California Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the ethics committee chairwoman, found "clear and convincing" evidence of guilt on 11 of 12 counts, including failing to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic, misuse of a rent-controlled apartment for political purposes and improper use of government mail service and letterhead.
The veteran New York congressman was cleared of a charge relating to an alleged violation of the House gift ban.
Sinterklaas - that's Santa Claus to Americans - has gone green in the Netherlands.
Giving large chocolate alphabet letters is a Dutch yuletide tradition. Sinterklaas leaves children's initials hidden in shoes and other surprising places, and bosses give them to employees.
Oxfam Novib, the Dutch branch of Oxfam International, started a campaign in 2007 to encourage people to give letters made with fair-trade chocolate.
Traditional chocolate production has exploited children's labor, including child trafficking. In the Ivory Coast alone, 150,000 children, 12,000 of whom have been trafficked, work in cocoa production under horrific conditions, according to Oxfam Novib.
Fair trade provides a fair price for products from developing countries, produced under good working conditions and sparing tropical forests, the organization says.
Five major grocery store chains and one of the Netherlands' leading producers of chocolate, Royal Verkade, have joined the campaign. The result: 96 percent of the 23 million letters that will be bought by December 5 (the day the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas), will be made from all or partially sustainable products, Oxfam Novib says, according to De Telegraaf. Last year, just 15 percent were, Oxfam says.
Talk about a royal obsession.
Call it another British invasion, or whatever you'd like, but it's clear that in the U.S. we just can't get enough of the Brits. And with the announcement that Prince William will wed his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, America once again is gawking and perhaps even stalking everything that says "Royal Wedding."
The news has dominated the Twittersphere and Web - with four of the top trends belonging to the newly engaged couple. It almost makes you wonder why we ever split with the Brits.
Whether it's the Beatles (and the announcement that the Fab Four'sÂ music will finally be on iTunes,) other pop icons (Leona Lewis, Duffy and Amy Winehouse) or the wedding announcement - AmericansÂ are still trying to gobble up every detail about our friends across the pond. We did it with Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and it seems we will again with this wedding and future marriage.ï»żï»ż
Readers are looking for every detail about Middleton, known as the middle-class princess, and what married life might be like for her and William, the second in line to the British throne and an action hero.
The two are on the front pages and part of full coverage sections of US Weekly, People, theÂ National Enquirer and a slew of other American tabloids. Weâve watched with bated breath their every move and photograph,Â and it's gone into overdriveÂ with news of their engagement. And that includes the field of betting. Paddy Power has put out an array of things forÂ people to wager on, including when the couple will marry, where the wedding will take place and even what color Queen Elizabeth's hat will be or how long Middleton's train will be.
The British government will compensate a number of British residents who were interned at Guantanamo Bay, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke announced Tuesday, saying he could not reveal the amount of compensation.
"The settlement is not to be taken as any admission of liability," he said, portraying it as a way of resolving lawsuits against the British government so that an independent inquiry into torture allegations could get started.
"It was not in the interest of any party to get stuck in litigation," Clarke told the House of Commons.