The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the last 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:
WikiLeaks lists sites key to U.S. security: WikiLeaks (whose founder, Julian Assange, is pictured above) has published a secret U.S. diplomatic cable listing places the United States considers vital to its national security, prompting criticism that the website is inviting terrorist attacks on American interests.
Elizabeth Edwards stops cancer treatments: Elizabeth Edwards was surrounded by family members and friends in her North Carolina home after being informed by her doctors that further cancer treatment would be unproductive.
Officials: Bodies of U.S. balloonists found: Fishermen found the bodies believed to be two missing American balloonists deep underwater off the coast of Italy early Monday morning, port officials said.
Continental Airlines, mechanic found guilty in fatal Concorde crash: The fiery crash that brought down a Concorde supersonic jet in 2000, killing 113 people, was caused partially by the criminal negligence of Continental Airlines and a mechanic who works for the company, a French court ruled Monday.
Monday Night Football legend 'Dandy Don' Meredith dies: Don Meredith, an all-pro quarterback who made his greatest impact on the game after he finished playing, died Sunday at a Santa Fe, New Mexico, hospital, according to a spokesman. Meredith was 72.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is "in the process of making arrangements" to meet with British police regarding a Swedish arrest warrant, his attorney said Monday.
Assange is wanted for questioning by Swedish authorities over sex-crime allegations unrelated to WikiLeaks' recent disclosure of secret U.S. documents. Mark Stephens, his British lawyer, told the BBC no time had been set for the meeting as of Monday evening, but one is likely "in the foreseeable future."
"We are in the process of making arrangements to meet with the police by consent in order to facilitate the taking of that question-and-answer as needed," Stephens said.
Elizabeth Edwards is surrounded by family and friends in her North Carolina home after being informed by her doctors that further cancer treatment would be unproductive.
"Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive," the Edwards family said Monday in a statement. "She is resting at home with family and friends and has posted this message to friends on her Facebook page."
The U.S. Navy's Facebook page is awash with thousands of pro-Iranian messages protesting the force's designation of the "Arabian Gulf" instead of the "Persian Gulf."
Since last Thursday, as many as 4,000 messages have hit the page as part of a coordinated computer initiative from around the world, according to the Navy.
The messages strongly advocate that the Navy use the name Persian Gulf instead of Arabian Gulf for the waters off the coast of Iran, and are believed to have been a result of several Facebook "cause" pages advocating the change, according to Navy officials.
As a result of the extremely heavy traffic on the Navy Facebook page - used by service members around the world - and with postings still coming in, many of the messages are being designated as spam and are not being posted, according to Rear Adm. Dennis Moynihan, chief spokesman for the Navy. However, by scrolling through the site, viewers can still see several older anti-Arabian Gulf postings.
A look at highlights from the day's business news:
Precious metals outshine stocks
Precious metals like gold and silver took center stage Monday as few investors showed a willingness to jump into the stock market fray on a day with no major economic news on tap.
Stock trading volume was lower than average, and major indexes ended mixed after drifting around breakeven for most of the day. Stocks were reacting to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke's pessimistic outlook about the nation's economy.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 20 points, or 0.2%, to end at 11,362.19. The S&P 500 fell 2 points, and the Nasdaq ticked up by 3 points.
If a UK inventor has his way, food, that most basic of staples, will one day be zipped from the farm to the supermarket like data over the internet.
When you calculate fuel costs and the release of harmful truck emissions, food transportation, over interstate highways and even railroads, wastes time and money, according to Noel Hodson, inventor and coordinator of the Foodtubes Project.
The Foodtubes would transport encapsulated food to “terminals” at specific stops - supermarkets, mom and pop stores, etc. - along an underground circuit (pictured above).
The cycle would operate on a “goods in, waste out” principle, Hodson said in a phone interview Monday with CNN.
“Once it is empty, the capsule would be filled with trash and garbage and sent back for recycling,” Hodson said. “That's why we use the term 'circuit'. The address is like an internet package, and they're tracked by software” for quality control.
“And it would be fed by green electricity,” Hodson said. “That’s my final vision.”
The technology behind the capsule propulsion would borrow heavily from the roller coaster industry, Hodson said.
Hodson estimates selling a food-filled capsule for about $5 (free for empty capsules), adding that the venture would be extremely attractive to food service manufacturers and stores.
The pipelines could be put under major urban areas “without digging up the entire city,” Hodson said. The website Ars Technica has an artist's rendering of a proposed Foodtubes station in London.
“It's most profitable if it's used in a dense, urban environment. It would be quite possible to put a circuit - about 100 miles - probably about 400 entrances and exits on it. And that would serve about 130,000 households, going to the shops that those households use,” Hodson said.
The venture would be financed by a private-public partnership, Hodson said. He said the Foodtubes Project has early interest from the town of Croydon, England, south of London.
The plan has the potential to revamp the entire food service industry, Hodson said.
But would the railroad companies and trucking industry play nice?
“I’ve hired bodyguards,” Hodson said in jest.
The Argentine Football Association president is at the center of widespread allegations of FIFA corruption after soccer’s governing body awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
Grondona has emphatically denied the allegations, telling the Argentine new outlet Telam, “There has to be an end to playing with my good name,” according to ESPN.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, a former employee of Qatar’s bid team said that an adviser recommended the Qatar Football Association pay $78.4 million to help the Argentine Football Association cope with a financial crisis. The payment reportedly was meant to help Qatar’s relationship with Grondona, who is on FIFA’s executive committee, which determines host cities.
According to ESPN, Grondona questioned why the Argentine group would have a debt so large and further told Telam, “I am not going to give any credence to whatever people say. The fact is the AFA has a solid contract with the Argentine government, and it is all going quite well.”
This allegation, of course, is not the first involving corruption by FIFA officials. BBC’s "Panorama" aired an investigation last month in which “reporter Andrew Jennings exposes new evidence of bribery, and accuses some executives of taking kickbacks.”
You have only to Google “FIFA World Cup bribe” to find a slew of allegations.
It’s worth noting that no FIFA official has been charged with any wrongdoing, and though many commenters have angrily vented about their country not being selected, few such complaints seem to originate in Russia or Qatar.
Iranian officials sat down Monday with the United States and other countries trying to put the brakes on Tehran's nuclear program, a day after Iran announced it is self-sufficient in the nuclear fuel cycle.
There was "an exchange of views and concerns," between the Iranians and envoys from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, a diplomatic source familiar with the talks told CNN.
The Iranian nuclear program was the main issue on the table, the source said. Iran has previously said it did not want the talks to focus on that.
Iran also raised some of its concerns, the source said, including attacks on two Iranian scientists in Tehran last week that left one dead and one injured.
The diplomatic source and a Western official later both told CNN that the talks had ended for the day and would resume Tuesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with South Korea's top diplomat Monday in Washington to discuss the tense situation developing on the Korean peninsula.
She also met with her Japanese counterpart, and is scheduled to hold a news conference with both men later in the day.
"We are very committed to our relationship and our alliance with the Republic of Korea and we are determined on every issue to work through and come to conclusions about the appropriate ways forward," Clinton said during her meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday that he has authorized "significant" actions related to the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks as the website faces increasing pressure worldwide for publishing sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables.
"National security of the United States has been put at risk," Holder said. "The lives of people who work for the American people have been put at risk. The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that I believe are arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way. We are doing everything that we can."
His comments came as a Swiss bank announced that it had closed the account of Julian Assange, the website's founder, dealing a second financial blow to the site in a matter of days.
Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to your 2010 BCS Championship contenders: Auburn and Oregon. For the first time in BCS history the SEC will battle against the Pac-10 for the title, pitting, as SI.com’s Stew Mandel explains, “’Big Boy’ Southern football and West Coast ‘finesse,’ superior SEC defenses and glitzy Pac-10 offenses.”
While an SEC vs. any other team in the country matchup is far from a surprise, the fact that Oregon and Auburn are the teams left standing in college football’s crown jewel of bowls is a refreshing change. Come Jan. 10, we’re not going to be watching USC-Texas or Ohio State-Florida. Instead it’ll be two teams, that were traditionally second-best in their particular conferences, who dominated throughout the season and will battle in what is guaranteed to be a hard-fought, incredibly even matched showdown. And leading the charge for Auburn: Cam Newton.
All eyes will be on the standout quarterback whose performances this year rival the best seasons of Vince Young and Tim Tebow during their formative college careers. As one of the greatest college QBs in recent history and the frontrunner for this year’s Heisman, Newton is guaranteed to attract considerable attention in this year’s BCS championship and might even be able to draw in fans who wouldn’t normally tune into a Tigers-Ducks face-off.
Up tonight: A Monday Night Football matchup with two of the league’s most talked about teams:
Don Meredith, an all-pro quarterback who made his greatest impact on the game after he finished playing, died Sunday at a Santa Fe, New Mexico, hospital, according to a spokesman. Meredith, above at center, was 72.
The spokesman was unable to confirm the cause of death.
Meredith, nicknamed "Dandy Don," was part of the original Monday Night Football broadcast team when the program debuted on ABC in 1970.
Police who are investigating a major wildfire in Israel have detained a 14-year-old boy who admitted smoking a water pipe in the woods near his village, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
The boy said he panicked and ran to school after the fire started. Two other teenagers who had been detained Monday have been released, Rosenfeld said.
The fire, which broke out Thursday, killed at least 41 people and forced the evacuations of about 17,000 people and scorched over 10,000 acres around Haifa, Israel's third largest city, before it was doused.
Most of the 41 victims were cadets in Israel's prison service who arrived Thursday to help evacuate 500 inmates from the Damon prison near Haifa.
The fire had also threatened businesses, tourism and one of Israel's greenest regions, Mount Carmel.
WikiLeaks has published a secret U.S. diplomatic cable listing locations abroad that the U.S. considers vital to its national security, prompting criticism that the website is inviting terrorist attacks on American interests.
The list is part of a lengthy cable the State Department sent in February 2009 to its posts around the world. The cable asked American diplomats to identify key resources, facilities and installations outside the United States "whose loss could critically impact the public health, economic security, and/or national and homeland security of the United States."
The diplomats identified dozens of places on every continent, including mines, manufacturing complexes, ports and research establishments. CNN is not publishing specific details from the list, which refers to pipelines and undersea telecommunications cables as well as the location of minerals or chemicals critical to U.S. industry.
Adm. Mike Mullen. the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, plans to depart Washington Monday night to go to South Korea in a hastily planned visit, according to Pentagon officials.
The goal is to reassure the South Korean military of U.S. support, American officials said.
"He is going to shore up support for the alliance," a senior US military official said. The official declined to be identified because the trip will not be publicly announced until later Monday.
"He is going to reinforce our strategic alliance and our commitment to the defense of their territory," the official said. A second Pentagon official described the trip as "relatively sudden."
The Mullen visit comes as the South Korean navy began live-fire exercises on the seas surrounding the Korean peninsula Monday in the midst of bristling tensions with the North, South Korean state media reported.
The International Criminal Court has opened a probe into North Korean shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last month and the March sinking of a South Korean warship, allegedly by a North Korean submarine, to evaluate if the incidents constitute war crimes, the court said Monday.
"The office of the prosecutor has received communications alleging that North Korean forces committed war crimes in the territory of the Republic of Korea," the court said in a statement. "The prosecutor of the ICC, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, confirmed that the office has opened a preliminary examination."
Glenn Beck like L. Ron Hubbard - Bill Maher’s appearance on Sunday’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” is getting a lot of attention online today. The host of “Real Time with Bill Maher” was asked how much he thinks the Tea Party is about religion. Maher focused on FOX News’ Glenn Beck, saying, “I think he’s doing what some people before him have done, like L. Ron Hubbard, who is a novelist, and decided, ‘You know what? It’s a much easier gig to be a religious leader.’ ”
WikiLeaks documents - "Terrorist funding emanating from Saudi Arabia remains a serious concern." So states a cable prepared for the visit of U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke to the kingdom earlier this year.
It is one of several that have appeared on the WikiLeaks site that suggest that despite some progress, the flow of cash to extremist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan from individuals and charities in the Gulf has certainly not been halted. The cable, written by U.S. Ambassador James B Smith, says that the Saudis are "cooperating more actively than at any previous point to respond to terrorist financing concerns raised by the United States, and to investigate and detain financial facilitators of concern."
Meanwhile, as criticism continues to grow against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Australia's attorney general says Assange would be allowed to return to his Australian homeland, and has the same protections as any other Australian citizen.
Argentina's soccer legend Diego Maradona may be the next coach of the Iranian National Football team, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Monday.
In a recent ceremony to honor Iran's medal winners at the Asian games, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confirmed plans to host a visit by Maradona and nodded when asked if the football great was coming to coach the national team, Mehr news reported.
Rumors of Maradona coaching Iran's national football first swirled last month when Iranian football officials announced a planned visit by the former coach of the Argentine national football team.
Ahmadinejad didn't make it clear when Maradona planned to visit Iran.
"Maradona will come to Iran but his visit is delayed," Mehr news quoted the president as saying.
- Journalist Farbod Jamali contributed to this report.
We're seeing candy apple red with NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon this morning.
Gordon gives American Morning's Kiran Chetry an exclusive look at his newest racing car today.
The number 24 car has a new paint scheme for 2011. Hendrick Motorsports and the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion are teaming up with AARP's Drive to End Hunger. The initiative will be Gordon's primary sponsor for the next three years.