The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.
Prank proves fatal in Vermont: A 24-year-old Vermont man was fatally shot by a friend who used a gun in a prank to wake him up, police said.
China appears to criticize S. Korea war games: Tensions between the Koreas remained high Friday as China appeared to criticize the U.S.-South Korean military exercise set to begin Sunday in the Yellow Sea.
Polar bears are not native to Iceland. But they have been arriving on its shores as their homes melt in the North Pole, a symbol of how climate change is affecting our world.
Or at least that's how Icelandic artist Bjargey Ólafsdóttir sees it, inspiring her contribution to the world’s first global climate art project.
"350 EARTH" is a series of giant public art displays around the planet to help raise awareness about the climate crisis before the UN Climate Meetings begin Monday in Cancun, Mexico, according to the event's organizers.
Each art installation is designed to be large enough to be visible from space, and the majority of the projects are being photographed by satellites operated by a Colorado-based company, Digital Globe.
The projects are intended to show the artists' perceptions of how climate change is affecting our world and offer visions of how to can solve the crisis.
In Iceland, Ólafsdóttir collaborated with a rescue team to create a polar bear out of hundreds of red tents at the base of a melting Icelandic glacier. The image is inspired by the Nazca lines of Peru and children's drawings, and it seeks to highlight diminishing glaciers and sea ice, as well as the uncertain future polar bears face.
"Art can convey in a different way than science the threat that climate change poses to our planet,” 350.org founder and environmental author Bill McKibben said. “The world’s best scientists have tried to wake up politicians to the climate crisis; now we’re counting on artists to help."
Authorities sent in the military to help authorities quell violence that continued Friday in the slums of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, with criminal gangs torching at least two more buses and five cars before dawn, state media reported.
At the Complexo de Alemao, or German Complex, in northern Rio, some 800 soldiers joined hundreds of police from the Special Operations Battalion, federal police and marines, state-run Agencia Brasil reported Friday.
Police and drug gangs exchanged shots during the night.
Earlier Friday, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim met with the governor of Rio de Janeiro state, Sergio Cabral, and security authorities of the federal and state governments. The Army agreed to make available 10 armored vehicles and the Navy offered three helicopters, according to the news agency.
New York's famous (infamous?) taxi drivers may get a new dress code in 2011 that's shorter in form than the current version but broader in intent.
As it's written now, section 4-15 (b) of the Taxicab Drivers Rules manual (PDF) states that drivers face a $25 fine for failing to be "clean and neat in dress and person." In terms of specifics, that means a driver may not wear underwear, tank tops, tube tops, body shirts, swimwear, bathing trunks or cut-off shorts as outer clothing.
A proposed amendment would replace the list of prohibited apparel (PDF) with a more general requirement: that a driver "present a professional appearance."
The Taxi and Limousine Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed rules December 16. In the meantime, the agency is accepting comments through the NYC Rules website until December 6.
"The TLC believes that a general requirement better states its concerns and that a detailed list is outmoded and impractical," the city agency said in a public notice on its website. "The TLC believes that the public is entitled to drivers who present a neat and professional appearance."
TLC Chairman David Yassky told the New York Times that the change, which is expected to be approved at the December hearing, is part of an effort to simplify the 62-page rulebook.
The executive director of drivers' advocacy group told the Times said she was shocked to hear that a driver could be fined for his or her sartorial choices.
“What was it about? Somebody wore shorts?” asked Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. “I would be concerned if the idea of professional attire is left to the naked eye to decide.”
The new rule is bundled with a seemingly unrelated proposal that eliminates the need for drivers to inform passengers at the start of the trip that they must pay for any tolls, under the basis that "the riding public is aware, generally, that passengers are responsible for tolls."
Call it a case of consumerism bringing out the worst in people.
Three women in West Palm Beach, Florida, say $1,000 worth of Best Buy merchandise was stolen from their car Friday morning within minutes of being purchased, according to CNN affiliate WPBF.
The women were the first people at Best Buy after camping out since Wednesday night.
After they made their purchases, they put them in the car and went to JC Penney. A few minutes later, they returned, and the goods were gone.
"I mean, we've been camping since Wednesday," a tearful Shereece Francis told WPBF. "Just cruel, just wicked."
A Chicago police officer processing a burglary scene and another person were fatally shot Friday afternoon, police said.
The officer, an evidence technician, died at 2:30 p.m., one hour after the shootings, said Police Superintendent Jody Weis. Another man also died, Weis said, adding there was no information on a motive.
"The thought that someone can shoot and kill a police officer is unacceptable," Weis said. "We shall squeeze that neighborhood and we will find who did this."
The gunman is described as a black male wearing a gray thermal shirt, a blue vest and a gray skull cap, according to CNN affiliate WLS.
Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen's killer fired at least four shots into her car, including at least one hollow-point bullet, in last week's Beverly Hills shooting, according to a leaked coroner's report.
The three-page report has not been made public, but Los Angeles County coroner spokesman Brian Elias confirmed to CNN that a document shown in
a local newscast appeared to be authentic.
The document was written by investigators on the first day of the investigation to help the doctor who would perform the autopsy the next day, Elias said. The full autopsy report is expected to be released next week, he said.
President Barack Obama received 12 stitches Friday after being inadvertently hit with an opposing player's elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
The stitches were administered by the White House Medical Unit.
The medical procedure was done in the doctor's office on the ground floor of the White House.
The son of former Taiwan Vice President Lien Chan was wounded and another person was killed by bullets fired at a political rally Friday night, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency.
The gunshot wound to Lien Chan's son's right temple is not believed to be life-threatening, the report said. It did not give the son's name or the identity of the civilian who was killed.
A suspect, who is believed to be a local gang member, was arrested with a gun and 48 rounds of ammunition, the report said.
"I will let God take care of my son, Taiwan, and the public," Lien Chan told reporters.
The Iron Bowl rarely lacks a punch, but for the first time in over a decade the rivalry game could have a major impact on a national level.
Both schools are ranked for the first time since 2005, meaning the 75th playing of college football’s most frenzied rivalry could have BCS ramifications when No. 2 Auburn and No. 11 Alabama square off this afternoon (2:30 p.m., CBS).
As SI.com’s Bill Trocchi points out in his Game of the Week column, the Tigers (11-0) need a win to keep their national championship dreams alive while the Crimson Tide (9-2) could use an upset to boost BCS dreams of its own.
But this game means much more than just deciding which bowl game the two schools play in. Trocchi writes the Iron Bowl is about, “the passion, the pageantry, the 365-day obsession that pits neighbor versus neighbor and coworker versus coworker in the state of Alabama.”
It also pits some of college football’s most electric talent against one another. Auburn boasts Heisman candidate Cam Newton under center, while Alabama features a slew of NFL prospects, including the running back tandem of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.
In South Africa, poachers are meeting the tip of technology’s spear as the government heightens efforts to curb the killing of rhinos for their horns.
The past several months, South Africa has employed rhino GPS, police stings and more to stop rhino killings in South Africa's national parks and game preserves.
Now, the government may put unmanned drones in the sky to help hunt the poachers.
South African Defense Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said Thursday that the state hopes to deploy unmanned drone helicopters developed by national defense firm Denel in the fight against poachers, according to media reports.
“The issue of rhinos is one we recognize as particularly brutal, and we have committed ourselves to SANParks [South Africa National Parks] in dealing with this matter," Sisulu said, according to the South Africa Times Live.
“We also want to take advantage of the fact Denel has a particular UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that is able to assist us,” she said, according to the South Africa Times Live.
The issue has sprouted grassroots efforts to thwart poachers. On Facebook, the group Pilots to Help With Anti-rhino Poaching is enlisting volunteer pilots to serve as eyes and ears above the ground in affected areas. The group had 420 “likes” as of Friday morning.
The Dallas, Texas, pastor has turned his yearlong battle with a brain tumor into sermons and video journals that talk about his struggles. Chandler is the pastor of The Village Church in Dallas, which averages around 8,300 people for Sunday services.
Before his surgery to attempt to remove the tumor he recorded a video for his congregation reminding them not to be angry - that even people of faith must deal with struggles.
"My hope would be that you would see that [God] is good in all things and that he would never send to any of us things that he does not provide strength for," Chandler said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
According to the Morning News, Chandler's sermon podcasts on some occasions have reached 250,000 downloads for the month. And his inspirational story earned him invitations to speak at Christian conferences and inspire others.
"Among young evangelical pastors, I think you've got to put Chandler in the top five most influential," Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, part of the Southern Baptist Convention, told the newspaper.
Remains of a ship likely from the 1600s were discovered as workers renovated a hotel in central Stockholm, the Maritime Museum said.
"The discovery of the wreck is extremely interesting given the place where it was made," Maritime Museum Director Hans-Lennarth Ohlsson said in a statement from the Stockholm museum's website. "There was a naval shipyard on this spot until the start of the 17th century."
As workers were renovating part of Stockholm's Grand Hotel, not far from the royal palace, a worker found something interesting – the discovery turned out to be excavated parts of a ship.
Business booming for Twain publisher – Meet the printers of the Mark Twain's latest book. That's right, the master storyteller has done it again and the publishers of the book seem to be a bit overwhelmed. The small Detroit publisher started with a modest request for 2000 books that eventually exploded to a request for more than 300,000 copies. Twain requested that his autobiography be published a century after his death fearing that it might be too offensive for his time.
Neither rain nor snow could keep throngs of determined bargain hunters from hitting stores nationwide at the stroke of midnight on Black Friday, one of the biggest sales days of the year.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, typically marks the start of the annual holiday gift-buying marathon. This year, retailers are eager to rev up their holiday sales as soon as possible to make up for the past two lackluster holiday seasons.
Full Coverage: Holiday Shopping
Security forces in Saudi Arabia have arrested 149 people alleged to be members of al Qaeda, the Saudi Interior Ministry said on Friday.
Gen. Mansour al-Turki, Interior Ministry spokesman, the people were plotting to kill government officials, security forces, and media employees.
"Their general motives are spreading an ideology of hate by calling others disbelievers, collecting money to finance the deviant al Qaeda group inside and outside the kingdom, easing travel for some individuals for training in destabilized places and executing criminal plots to spread chaos and insecurity." al-Turki said.
The arrests occurred over an eight-month period, and the people seized were dispersed among 19 active terrorist cells throughout the kingdom. Security forces found 2.4 million riyals (or about $600,000) among the cells.
Saudi state-run TV reports said of the 149 people, 124 were Saudi nationals. There were also Yemenis and Egyptians. The cells have external links, Turki said, a reference to al Qaeda in Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.
An update from the CNN newsdesk in London on the stories we're following on Friday:
European austerity woes - The German government voted today to pass the country's 2011 budget. The Portuguese government is also voting on its 2011 budget. Finally, the results of the Irish by-election which are expected to undermine the position of the government will also be made known today.
“Love Island” - The locals are beginning to call it “Love Island” - a windswept outpost of North Wales, otherwise known as Anglesey. But forget the rain, wind and snow, “Love Island” is now home to the talk of the nation: Prince William and his bride-to-be Kate Middleton. Dan Rivers talks to locals about how the Royal couple have put Anglesey back on the map and how they're being treated “just like any other couple.”
U.S. authorities say they have discovered another extensive drug tunnel that stretches from a home in Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego, California.
The half-mile tunnel, discovered Thursday morning in a warehouse in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego, is close to a similar one federal agents found earlier this month, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said.
In that case, authorities seized about 30 tons of marijuana in what federal agents say is one of the largest marijuana seizures in U.S. history.
Agents have made several arrests in connection with Thursday's tunnel discovery, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for the customs agency.
Federal agents with the San Diego Tunnel Task Force also seized an undetermined amount of marijuana from a tractor-trailer in the area and have found more of the drug in the tunnel, Kice said.
Authorities said they will release more details about the incident at a news conference Friday afternoon.
FedEx could learn Friday what happened to a package containing radioactive materials that went missing a day before.
The company said it is searching in the Tennessee area and that the item is safe as long as nobody tampers with the protective packaging around it.
The item is a cylinder containing rods used for hospital machinery that were being sent to a person in Knoxville, Tennessee, said Sandra Munoz, a company spokeswoman.
"The rods are used for quality control calibration," Munoz said. "We have lots of experience in handling this kind of shipment."
Munoz said the company may learn more Friday morning when two employees who handled the shipment return to work.