The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the last 24 hours, according to NewsPulse.
Alleged captor crude, vulgar hypocrite, Smart says: They were the words Elizabeth Smart waited eight years to say, and when she spoke them from the witness stand Wednesday, they poured out with an intensity that brought jurors to the edge of their seats.
Help arrives as stranded cruise ship is towed: Thousands of passengers on a towed cruise ship will disembark in San Diego, California, Thursday with their own tales from a three-day ordeal that left them without air conditiong or hot showers.
Each person who joins the military has a story about the journey that led them to enlistment, what they hope to get from their tour of duty and what they are leaving behind while they serve.
Raquel Espinosa's story starts a little later in life. At 30 years old, she's not your average recruit, who tends to enroll at 19.
Espinosa has picked Military Intelligence as her specialty and hopes to become an agent with the FBI or CIA after her service.
Until then, she's putting a lot on hold.
“I’m married, my sister is about to give birth to a baby and I don’t know if I’ll be here for that and my father is ill,” said Espinosa.
But the military can’t wait for her schedule, she said.
“You just have to do it. There’s never a good time. But I have to realize that in the end it will be for something much grander than I can imagine."
Listen to the full story here:
[Updated at 10:52 p.m. ET] The title no longer appears in Kindle's Top 100 Paid Bestsellers.
[Updated at 10:47 p.m. ET] The listing for "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct" is no longer available on Amazon.com. The title still appears in Kindle's Top 100 Paid Bestsellers at number 96, with 2,066 comments.
An e-book for sale on Amazon.com that appears to defend pedophilia has sparked hundreds of angry user comments and threats to boycott the online retailer unless it pulls the title.
Nearly 1,700 users who had commented on the title as of 9:40 p.m. ET deplored its publication and vowed to boycott Amazon until it removes the self-published title from the site. At least two Facebook pages have been set up dedicated to boycotting Amazon because of the book.
The stated content appears to violate two of Amazon's content guidelines for digital publication. The company has not returned CNN's repeated requests for comment.
The author of "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct" said he published the controversial tome to address what he considers unfair portrayals of pedophiles in the media.
"True pedophiles love children and would never hurt them," Phillip R. Greaves II said in a phone interview with CNN on Wednesday.
When asked if the self-published e-book was a "how-to manual," he said, "there are certain parts that are advisory," which set out lines that should not be crossed.
"Penetration is out. You can't do that with a child, but kissing and fondling I don't think is that big of a problem," he said.
The Pueblo, Colorado, man told CNN that he has not had sexual contact with a child as an adult, but did when he was a teenager. He also said he "was introduced to oral sex when I was 7" by an older female but did not provide specifics.
In the title's Amazon.com product description, Greaves described it as "my attempt to make pedophile situations safer for those juveniles that find themselves involved in them, by establishing certian [sic] rules for these adults to follow.
"I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals, with hope that their doing so will result in less hatred and perhaps liter [sic] sentences should they ever be caught," he said.
Most users who commented on the title said they deplored its publication and vowed to boycott Amazon until it removes the title.
"It is ILLEGAL to molest children, and for Amazon to promote such is insane. I'm an abuse survivor, and am OUTRAGED Amazon would choose to promote this nonsense. I will not be purchasing anything from your website until this is removed," one user wrote in a comment echoed by others.
Others lamented they could not give the book less than "one star" in submitting their reviews, saying they would shop elsewhere during the holiday season.
"Cannot believe that Amazon is selling this. I was in the middle of placing my whole Christmas shopping order when I saw something about this. After reviewing it, I have canceled my order from Amazon and am encouraging all of my friends not to order from Amazon because they are choosing to sell this book. I will not be purchasing anything from Amazon until they agree to quit selling this book," another user said.
Amazon did not return CNN's requests for comment, but one user posted what it said was Amazon's response to an e-mail the person had sent.
"Let me assure you that Amazon.com does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts; we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."
"Amazon.com believes it is censorship not to sell certain titles because we believe their message is objectionable."
The company's website provides content guidelines for titles sold through its Digital Text Platform Program. The guidelines say publishers are expected to conduct proper research to ensure that titles are in compliance with all local, state, national and international laws.
"If Amazon Digital Services, Inc. determines that the content of a Title is prohibited, we may summarily remove or alter it without returning any fees. Amazon Digital Services, Inc. reserves the right to make judgments about whether or not content is appropriate," the guidelines state.
Pornography, offensive material and "titles which may lead to... illegal activity" are among the prohibited content listed in the guidelines.
What Amazon deems offensive, "is probably about what you would expect" the guidelines state, without elaboration, except to say that, "Amazon Digital Services, Inc. reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of Titles sold on our site."
A few Amazon.com users defended the author's right to free speech, and a discussion on the site titled "Why Amazon is Right" delved into the constitutional implications of the controversy.
"While I think 99.9 percent of us object to pedophilia (even though I think this particular book was a publicity stunt/joke), I think we can all agree that we don't want someone else censoring a subject matter that we may be interested in. Religion, atheism, homosexuality, etc. are some subjects that spring to mind ... and they have been censored in the past until we realized that it's best to let all information in (even if we don't like some of it), rather than allow some authority or individual decide what we can and can't know about based on their own opinions or motivations," one user wrote.
The author has three other titles on Amazon.com under his name. They are available on the e-reader, Kindle, and all were published within the last week.
Greaves described himself as a former nurses' aid and in-home health care provider who is retired and on disability for "manic depression." He said he first began writing as a child and hopes to continue doing so full time.
But conspiracy theories over the book abound, with commenters citing it as a publicity stunt, a hoax, or perhaps a law enforcement sting.
"People... Relax... This book is obviously promoted by Amazon per request of FBI in order to track down and catch pedophiles. This book is obviously a bait for the sickos that are lurking around out there trying to prey on our children."
Engineers will need to repair two newly discovered cracks on part of Space Shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank before the next launch attempt at Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA said Wednesday.
The roughly 9-inch-long cracks were found on the tank's exterior stringers Wednesday, days after a 20-inch crack formed in the tank's foam insulation as workers were draining the tank following Friday's scrubbed launch attempt. Technicians found the cracks on the stringers as they were removing the insulation, NASA said.
Stringers are vertical, composite aluminum ribs on the tank's exterior.
Engineers were reviewing pictures of the stringer's cracks to determine how to repair them. After the cracks are repaired, workers will reapply foam to the tank. No repair schedule was announced.
NASA previously said the next launch attempt would happen no sooner than November 30. It's not clear whether the repairs will again push back the launch, which was scrubbed several times last week because of bad weather, gas leaks and electrical glitches.
The voyage is expected to be the last for Discovery as NASA prepares to retire the shuttle fleet.
Discovery's six crew members are scheduled to deliver a pressured logistics module to the International Space Station. The module will give the station more storage space.
A look at highlights from the day's business news:
Stocks bounce back
U.S. stocks made a comeback Wednesday afternoon to finish higher, as the dollar turned lower after an earlier rally. But the gains were tepid as investors remained jittery ahead of the G-20 meeting.
The Dow Jones industrial average added 10 points, or 0.1 percent, and the S&P 500 rose 5 points, or 0.4 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq added 16 points, or 0.6 percent.
Accused "barefoot bandit" Colton Harris-Moore was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in connection with thefts in the Pacific Northwest over two years, federal prosecutors in Washington said.
The 19-year-old gained notoriety for allegedly stealing planes and flying without a pilot's certificate, and sometimes without shoes. His time on the run ended on July 11 when he was captured in the Bahamas after flying 1,000 miles in a stolen plane from Indiana, authorities said.
He is charged with interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft, interstate and foreign transportation of a stolen firearm, being a fugitive in possession of a firearm, piloting an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate, and interstate transportation of a stolen vessel, the U.S. District Attorney's Office in Seattle said.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on Nov. 18.
Read the full story on CNN.com.
A league that has long tinkered with its all-star event is at it again - this time in favor of something resembling a pick-up game.
Instead of pitting one conference against the other, the National Hockey League will let two captains choose sides from a pool of players for the 2011 All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina, the NHL said on its website Wednesday.
The NHL says the captains' All-Star Fantasy Draft - to be held on January 28, two days before the game - will make the game more interesting.
Not only are Egypt authorities refusing to release the blogger known as Kareem Amer, but he has also been subjected to beatings, one as recently as Tuesday, according to watchdog groups.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information reported Wednesday that Amer was moved from the prison in Burj Al Arab outside Alexandria on Saturday, but agents with State Security Intelligence took him to their headquarters “where he was beaten by a junior officer yesterday.”
“These sadist practices against unarmed prisoners create a climate of hatred against the police in general and SSI officers in particular,” Gamal Eid, the group’s director, said in a statement.
The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was not the first time Amer was beaten and that he “was subjected to repeated instances of harassment and abuse during his detention,” including a 2007 incident in which inmates severely beat him on orders from prison officials.
Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com.
On Thursday, Americans pay tribute to the veterans who have served during war or peacetime and continue to do so.
CNN has been offering daily challenges we can each do to make the world better. For the next one, we invite you to “Be A Hero” for our military heroes.
Salute a family member, friend or neighbor who is currently in the military or has served, by doing one or more of the following:
-Thank them for their service in person
-Send them an email
-Post a message on their Facebook page
-Send a Tweet with the hashtag #BeAHero.
We’d love to hear what you did in the comments below, or on iReport.
The sale of alcoholic energy drinks has been banned in Washington state effective Nov. 18.
The state liquor control board took the action Wednesday after last month's incident in which the "blackout in a can" beverage sickened nine college students.
A South Korean Navy patrol boat sank after a collision with a larger fishing boat off the southern island of Jeju late Wednesday, leaving at least two sailors missing, according to news reports from South Korea.
Yonhap news agency reported the navy patrol boat was on a training mission when the collision occurred just before 11 p.m. local time. It said two sailors were missing.
South Korea’s YTN news website said one sailor was killed and two were missing. Search missions were under way but high seas were hampering the effort, according to the YTN report.
[Updated at 2:00 p.m.] Police in Broward County, Florida, have lifted a school lockdown; Pembroke Pines police Capt. Dan Rakofsky said.
[Original post] All schools in Broward County, Florida, are under lockdown because of what a county spokeswoman described as a "credible threat."
A woman told a local radio station that her husband had threatened to fire shots at a school, police said.
Later, the radio station received an e-mail saying "something big" was going to happen, CNN's Rich Phillips reported.
During a noon news conference, a police spokesman said all students, faculty and staff are safe, and all approximately 300 schools and administrative buildings in Broward County were locked.
It seems like just yesterday we were mulling over the many division races leading up to the MLB postseason.
But SI.com's Don Banks shifts our focus to the numerous division races shaping up around the NFL just halfway through the season. In fact, as Banks points out, there is a razor-thin margin in each of the eight divisions through Week 9.
The biggest cushion for any division leader is, remarkably, just one game. Four divisions feature two teams tied for first place, and the leaders in three other divisions are up by a mere half game.
After doing some research, Banks writes 2010 is the first time all races have been this close after Week 9 since the NFL went to eight divisions in 2002. In other words, parity is at an all-time high in the NFL, with 21 clubs sitting at .500 or better.
A crippled cruise ship stranded off the coast of Mexico with nearly 4,500 people onboard is now expected to arrive in San Diego, California, around midday Thursday, Carnival Cruise Lines said in a statement.
Three tugboats have now joined in the effort to tow the ship to land, according to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Rachel Polish.
Carnival noted that as the ship gets closer to the coast, passengers are increasingly able to receive "intermittent cellular service. Additionally, the ship's phone system is working on a limited basis and guests are able to make complimentary calls home."
Piggy banks have been used for centuries to save money, and more recently, to teach children the merits of saving portions of their allowances.
The often-cute devices are typically made of clay or porcelain and rarely, if ever, incite controversy – but, of course, that may be because they are typically made of clay or porcelain.
Thecheeky.com’s piggy bank is made of a real piglet, but fear not, pleads the site: The animals were turned into piggy banks after dying of natural causes.
“It’s a real piglet that has been taxidermied and inserted with what all piglets probably dream of as babies, a coin storage unit and a cork plug,” the Vancouver-based site said, using an altered photograph of a live piglet in its pitch.
Scores of people in the Republic of Congo have died in a polio outbreak, and health providers are gearing up to thwart the flare-up, the United Nations' health agency said Wednesday.
The World Health Organization said 85 deaths have been reported in and around Pointe Noire, on the coast of the west-central African nation, which neighbors the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those deaths are among 184 reported cases.
"The cases are continuing to rise. The government has declared this an emergency and the Ministry of Health is launching a vaccination campaign starting Friday," said Sona Bari, a spokeswoman for WHO's polio eradication agency.
A group of demonstrators broke into the headquarters of Britain's governing Conservative Party in London on Wednesday, spray-painting anarchy symbols and setting off flares before being forced out of the building.
They went on to set fires outside the building.
The violence came during a largely peaceful protest by students against government plans to allow universities to increase tuition fees. The National Union of Students said 40,000 demonstrators were on the streets.
Extra police officers were sent to deal with the violence, London's Metropolitan Police said.
A herd of cows wandered onto a railroad line at the wrong time Tuesday, and it did not end well.
A 6,700-foot Norfolk Southern train plowed through the herd in the darkness about 6 a.m., a statement from the Clark County, Ohio, sheriff's office said.
The train, which was traveling at 38 mph, killed 20 cows, the sheriff's office said. The value of the animals was not known, and the owner was not named.
The accident, which happened about 40 miles west of Columbus, disabled the train's lead locomotive and blocked a rural highway for three hours, the statement said. No humans were injured.
At least 16 young people died and 22 were injured Wednesday at a juvenile detention center in El Salvador, said Mauricio Ramirez Landaverde, the interim chief for the national civil police force.
The cause had not been determined, Ramirez said, but officials suspect an electrical short-circuit. Police also are investigating whether the deaths occurred as the result of a riot, the chief said.
U.S. News & World Report magazine will (mostly) stop being a print publication next year, according to an internal memo published on a journalism news site.
"Colleagues, We're finally ready to complete our transition to a predominantly digital publishing model with selected, single-topic print issues," editor Brian Kelly wrote to employees last week.
"The December issue will be our last print monthly sent to subscribers," Kelly wrote in the memo, according to the Poynter Institute's Romenesko blog.
The magazine, known for its "Best" lists of colleges and health care providers, once was a weekly newsmagazine such as Time or Newsweek but more recently became a monthly, according to minonline.
U.S. News' roots go back to 1933, the same year Newsweek started; it has been owned by Mortimer Zuckerman, a frequent CNN contributor, since 1984. Its circulation was 2.1 million in 2000, but it was promising advertisers only 1.1 million this year, according to minonline.