The five most popular CNN.com stories during the last 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:
Earl back to Category 4; East Coast nervous: Hurricane warnings and watches stretched from North Carolina to Delaware and covered parts of Massachusetts on Wednesday as forecasters upgraded Hurricane Earl to a Category 4 storm and warned it will be approaching the East Coast by late Thursday.
Suspect in Discovery standoff is dead: Three hostages were rescued from the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in Silver Spring, Maryland, Wednesday afternoon after police shot and killed the man who was holding them, officials said.
Actress tearfully denies sham marriage: Closing arguments were set for Wednesday in the trial of Mexican soap opera actress Fernanda Romero on federal charges that her marriage was an illegal sham intended only to earn her a U.S. work permit.
Doc found dead in boyfriend's chimney: The decomposed body of a California doctor was found lodged in her boyfriend's chimney, several days after she had apparently attempted to get inside his home, police said.
Apple overhauls iPods:Â A reworked line of iPods and a new, drastically cheaper version of Apple TV are on the way.