The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.
Diplomat found dead in New York apartment: A Nicaraguan diplomat based in New York was found dead in his apartment in the Bronx on Thursday, his throat slashed, police said.
Stewart 'saddened' by Obama: Appearing on Fox News' The Bill O'Reilly show Wednesday, liberal comedian Jon Stewart said he thought Obama would do a better job when he voted for him in the 2008 presidential election.
Joaquin Phoenix apologizes to Letterman: Now that the ruse is up and the truth has been set free that Joaquin Phoenix was simply acting crazily for the not-actually-a-documentary, â€śIâ€™m Still Here,â€ť the 35-year-old star sat down with David Letterman on â€śLate Showâ€ť Wednesday night to apologize for any ill will he may have caused.
Years later, 911 dispatcher's body found: Authorities say the remains of a missing 911 dispatcher have been found nearly 3 1/2 years after her disappearance.
Bishop denies allegations: In a statement read on a syndicated radio show Thursday, Atlanta-based megachurch pastor Eddie Long denied he had coerced young male church members into sex, as alleged in three lawsuits filed against him.
The execution next week of a California man who raped and murdered a 15-year-old on her way to school is set to proceed after the state appeals court overturned an injunction barring lethal injection, the Riverside County District Attorney's Office said.
Barring a last-minute stay or delay, Albert Greenwood Brown could become the first person to be executed in California in almost five years, ever since legal challenges arose over the state's lethal injection procedure.
And, if the execution goes forward as scheduled on September 29, he'll also be the first inmate to be put to death in California's new lethal injection chamber, which was modified to meet new requirements to come out of the lethal injection review.
Video: California readies for execution
Brown was sentenced to death in 1982 for the rape and murder of Susan Jordan, who was walking to Arlington High School in Riverside when Brown pulled her into an orange grove, according to court documents.
A look at the day's business news headlines:
Stocks end with a late-stage slideÂ
Stocks stumbled in the final hours of a lackluster session and ended near session lows, as nervous investors weighed a surprise jump in weekly jobless claims with a better-than-expected reading on the housing market.
TheÂ Dow Jones industrial average dropped for a second straight day, fallingÂ 77 points, or 0.7 percent. The blue-chip index had tumbled as much as 94 points during the first hour of the session, then recovered to add 23 points before slumping just below the breakeven line for a majority of the trading day.
The S&P 500 ended 9 points lower, or 0.8%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slipped 8 points, or 0.3%, after spending most of the day in positive territory.
Dollar firms as Europe swoons
The dollar could find some support in the weeks ahead as concerns about troubled European economies reemerge and investors look for clues about the Federal Reserve's next move.
Investors had been flocking to riskier currencies such as the Australian and Canadian dollars amid speculation that commodities prices, like oil and opper, would continue rising.
The rebound in risk appetite is also being fueled by expectations that the U.S. central bank is prepared to take additional steps to boost the nation's economic recovery.
But the tone turned cautious late this week after data showed Ireland's economy shrank in the second quarter and a report showed that manufacturing activity across Europe fell sharply in September.
Yields edge lower on jobless claims dataÂ
Treasury yields dipped Thursday, ending slightly lower after a worse-than-expected reading on jobless claims fueled worries about the economic recovery.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year note ended the day unchanged at 2.55 percentÂ after falling in earlier trading. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
The yield on the 30-year bond slipped to 3.73 percentÂ from 3.74 percent, and the 5-year note fell to 1.31 percentÂ from 1.32 percent. The 2-year note's yield dropped to 0.42 percent, below its record closing low of 0.43Â percentÂ hit Tuesday.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefits for the first time jumped by 12,000 to 465,000 last week, the Labor Department said. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had expected claims to ease to 450,000.
- CNNMoney.com reporters Blake Ellis, Ben Rooney and Hibah Yousuf contributed to this report.
Five people have been shot at a local residence in Seattle Washington, Seattle Police Assistant Chief Jim Pugel has told CNN.
Four of those victims are deceased. The lone survivor has been taken to a local hospital and is being treated. Her condition is not known at this time.
Read more on CNN.com.
Here's a look at some of the stories that are trending and popular on Twitter, Google and other news and social media sites.
With 57 days left until the premiere of the latest installment in the Harry Potter movie franchise, fans have much to "squee" over. Since yesterday's release of the officialÂ trailer of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," fans have been furiously uploading reaction videos on YouTube and Tweeting over every twist and turn in the 2:25 spot. And then there's the buzz on the message boards... While the general tone of the reaction ranges from intense reverence to gleeful delirium, for some, it's never too early to start bemoaning the end of the epic franchise.
In fact, the folks at Hogwarts Radio would have you believe that the trailer'sÂ "awesomeness" is to blame for Facebook's mid-afternoon crash on Thursday, the second the social networking site has experienced in the past 48 hours. Facebook attributes the outage to "latency issues with the API" and says it is working on a solution, but that hasn't stopped the peanut gallery from Tweeting about it. Will this overshadow news that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg plans to give $100 million to schools in Newark, New Jersey, some ask, an act viewed as an effort to neutralize buzz over the upcoming film, "The Social Network," a brutal (and, admittedly, fictionalized) biopic chronicling the early days of Facebook.
Even these intermittent blips have not been able to push off the radar all the buzz surrounding sexual abuse allegations against Atlanta megachurch pastor Eddie Long. The beleaguered pastor has said he will respond to the allegations on Sunday, but meanwhile, pictures of his bodybuilder's physique, released by lawyers for his accusers, are flying around the internet, while pundits muse over how the scandal will affect the culture of the African-American evangelical church.
The House has approved a $42 billion bill to aid small businesses by a 237-187 vote. The bill goes to President Obama for his signature.
Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years for attempted murder and other charges by a federal judge in New York for attempting to kill several U.S. military officers while she was being interrogated in Afghanistan.
Siddiqui was found guilty in February on seven counts, including attempted murder.
In 2008, she fired a rifle at two FBI special agents, a U.S. Army warrant officer, an Army captain and military interpreters when they entered a room where she was being held. She did not hit anyone, but was injured when the warrant officer returned fire.
Afghan police had arrested her outside the Ghazni governor's compound after finding her with bomb-making instructions, excerpts from the "Anarchist's Arsenal," papers with descriptions of U.S. landmarks and substances sealed in bottles and glass jars, according to a September 2008 indictment.
The record-breaking rap artist recently traveled with Forbes magazine to a summit with Warren Buffet, the No. 2 man on Forbesâ€™ list of billionaires. The goal, according to the magazine, was to capture their very different perspectives on success and wealth and to talk about the social obligations that come with each.
Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, is listed as one of the magazineâ€™s â€śbillionaires in the making.â€ť He grew up in the projects of Brooklyn, New York, and holds the record for having the most No. 1 albums sold by a solo artist on the Billboard 200 chart. He is an entrepreneur and is part owner of the New Jersey nets.
In 2002, Jay-Z and his mother founded the Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund to help teens pay for college.
A Nicaraguan diplomat based in New York was found dead Thursday with his throat slashed in his apartment in the Bronx, said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.
The victim is not being identified pending family notification.
The body of the diplomat was found by his driver, said Police Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. A knife was found at the scene, Browne said.
He said it is too early in the investigation to classify the death as a murder or a suicide.
With 11 days left in the season, things are looking pretty good for the San Diego Padres. After having lost the NL West lead twice in the last week, the Padres rebounded with yet another win against the Dodgers to reclaim their spot atop the standings. SI.comâ€™s Joe Sheehan explains that the Dodgers have often been the sometimes down-on-their-luck Friarsâ€™ saving grace. He points out that in five games against the Dodgers this month, the Padres have allowed only four runs.
While thatâ€™s not to say that the Padres may not find themselves in a rut when they bounce from Los Angeles back to San Diego, their winning streak in LA could give them the boost they need to fend off the Giants and Rockies for the pennant, whom they hold a half game and three-game lead over, respectively.
But playoff action wonâ€™t just be heated in Dodger Stadium, as the Aâ€™s and Rangers go at it, and college football action rolls full steam ahead into Week 4â€™s Thursday night showdown between Miami and Pittsburgh.
Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers (10:05 p.m., ET) â€“ The Rangers will start ace-pitcher Cliff Lee tonight as they look to clinch the AL West in California. If the boys from Texas achieve their four-game split, the Rangers will win their first division title since 1999.
There has been an outpouring of support and offers of help from CNN Radio listeners and CNN.com readers for â€śMariaâ€ť and her family. Mariaâ€™s story was profiled last week after the release of the U.S Census Bureauâ€™s Poverty Report.
â€śMaria,â€ť too embarrassed to give us her real name, tells us what has happened since her story was told, what help she has received and how it has renewed her faith in humankind, and energized her in moving forward finding a job and getting back on her feet.
One man in particular took â€śMariaâ€ť and her sons shopping for necessities.
â€śI am still trying to figure out if this person is real or an angel from God,â€ť said â€śMaria."
In a wide-ranging address to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday, President Barack Obama dwelled on the intractable Mideast
conflict and urged Israelis and Palestinians to seize the day in talks his administration has initiated.
"Now is the time for the parties to help each other overcome this obstacle. Now is the time to build the trust - and provide the time - for substantial progress to be made. Now is the time for this opportunity to be seized, so that it doesn't slip away," Obama said.
World leaders, including Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, heard Obama set down his position for peace. However, the Israeli U.N. delegation was not present because it is Sukkot - a religious holiday in Israel and the Jewish world.
House Republicans sought to recapture the spirit of their 1994 election landslide Thursday, unveiling a 21-page "Pledge to America" that includes promises to slash taxes, cut government and reverse President Barack Obama's health care reforms.
Among other things, House GOP leaders pledged to permanently extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts due to expire at the end of this year - including for individuals making over $250,000.
They also proposed giving small businesses a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income, while requiring Congress to review any new federal regulations that add to the deficit.
Everyone knew her as Eileen Nearne, an 89-year-old who lived alone in her flat inÂ Torquay, a quaint British seaside town.
Few knew of herÂ secret lifeÂ as "Agent Rose."
Nearne's dramatic past as a spy instrumental in defeating Nazi Germany was revealed when she died and was given a lavish, media-attended funeral this week. It was the kind of attention NearneÂ reportedly worked most of her life to avoid.
"Nearne was one of only a few dozen women spies in an organization set up by Winston Churchill, called the Special Operations Executive," according to NPR reporterÂ Philip Reeves, who captured sound of the funeral.
Nearne's mission was to support the French resistance. A fluent French speaker,Â she was dropped into Nazi-occupied France to work as a radio operator.Â Nearne,Â reportedly 23 at the time,Â was captured and tortured by the Gestapo, then sent to a concentration camp, from which she madeÂ a daring escape, Reeves reported.
Police found among her possessions aÂ Croix de Guerre medal awardedÂ by the French government after World War II, The New York Times reported.
The No. 2 leader in a Marxist guerrilla group that has been at war with the Colombian government since the 1960s has been killed in a bombing raid, the nation's Interior secretary said Thursday.
V237;ctor Julio Suarez Rojas, also known as Jorge Briceno Suarez and by his nom-de-guerre Mono Jojoy, was the military leader for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, commonly called the FARC.
He was killed near the town of Macarena, in the southwestern Colombia state of Meta, news reports said.
Atlanta pastor responds to charges - Atlanta pastor Eddie Long, accused of coercing young men to have sexual relationships, won't be interviewed today as planned. Long says his lawyers won't let him talk. But in a statement read on a syndicated radio show Thursday, Long denied he had coerced young church members into sex, as alleged in three lawsuits filed against him.
Long asked for patience "as we continue to categorically deny each and every one of these ugly charges" and requested prayers for himself, his family and the church. He said he will respond to his congregation from the pulpit on Sunday.
GOP agenda –– House Republican leaders will unveil a 21-page "Pledge to America" on Thursday that presents a "governing agenda" for what Republicans will do if they win control of Congress in November. CNN obtained a copy of the document Wednesday. READ DOCUMENT (PDF)
A Scotsman providing free daily meals to 400,000 children, a former child soldier clearing land minds in Cambodia and a Texas builder giving injured vets mortgage-free homes are among the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010.
The top 10 - remarkable individuals nominated by viewers for their sacrifices and accomplishments - were revealed by CNN's Anderson Cooper at 1 p.m. Thursday on CNN.com.
This year marks CNN's fourth annual global search for everyday individuals changing the world. Since January, the network has aired weekly profiles of CNN Heroes, chosen from more than 10,000 nominations submitted by viewers in 100 countries.
Iranâ€™s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will address world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly later today.
When he spoke at last yearâ€™s meeting, he launched into an attack against the United States, Israel and the West while, back in Iran, the pro-government Revolutionary Guard cracked down on pro-reform demonstrators. During elections, the Green Movement gained momentum, and for a time it seemed like supporters with the use of Twitter could topple Ahmadinejad.
But this year, Ahmadinejad may dial down the rhetoric a notch as Iran comes under increasing pressure from world powers to end their nuclear program. The United Nations Security Council imposed a new round of sanctions in June and the Council members â€“ China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States â€“ have renewed efforts to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.
President Obama handpicked Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren to create a new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The two have known each other for years, the president said. Obama didn't nominate her, a move he said was calculated because many of his nominees have struggled for approval in the Senate.
Warren doesn't have to get Senate approval because she is a special adviser.
She spoke with Kiran Chetry and John Roberts on CNN's American Morning.
Chetry: What is your vision for the consumer protection agency? What do you want it to be and to do?
Warren: We have a consumer credit market. It's broken in the sense [that] unlike most markets, when consumers go out to shop [and] decide to take out a credit card or take out a mortgage or car loan, you can't really compare the products because they've gotten long, they've gotten complicated.
In a statement read on a radio show Thursday, Atlanta pastor Eddie Long said he was anxious to respond to allegations contained in lawsuits that he had coerced young church members into sex, but his lawyers would not permit him.
"I have been through storms and my faith has always sustained me," Long said in a statement read by attorney Craig Gillen. "... Let me be clear: the charges against me and New Birth are false. I have devoted my life to helping others, and these false allegations hurt me deeply, but my faith is strong and the truth will emerge."
Long said he denies "each and every one of these ugly charges" and will respond to his congregation on Sunday.