The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:
Man says wife's death was sex fantasy accident: Arthur Sedille was up-front with police: He would often put a gun to his wife's head during fantasy sex play at their Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, home. But Sedille said he didn't know the gun was loaded when he aimed it at his wife's head and pulled the handgun's slide back during sex December 21. Sedille, 23, is now facing the possibility of a murder charge.
Where are the top destinations for 2011? The time to plan your journey is now. To set your itinerary in motion, we sought out recommendations from three travel experts: Robert Reid, U.S. travel editor for Lonely Planet; Pauline Frommer, creator of Pauline Frommer's guidebooks; and Martin Rapp, senior vice president of leisure sales at Altour.
The epic snowstorm that whacked the Northeast after the Christmas holiday has involved a staggering number of resources. Tens of thousands of air travelers have been stranded in airports. Tens of thousands of homes along the East Coast were without power.
A look at the numbers:
50,000: Number of people that the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency estimated were without power as of Monday night.
A 20-year-old Florida International University baseball star and four of his friends were charged last week with the rape of two females in Nassau, Bahamas, police said Monday.
A salmonella outbreak linked to alfalfa sprouts has sickened some 94 people in 16 states and the District of Colombia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.
Health officials said those first cases became known November 1, with many getting ill after eating alfalfa sprouts in products from Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches outlets. The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that those vegetables came from Tiny Greens Organic Farm.
Airline passengers who spent 11 hours stuck on the tarmac at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York were unloaded Tuesday afternoon in the latest example of the frustrating effects of a massive blizzard that delayed thousands of would-be holiday travelers.
"There were a lot of people on the plane crying," said passenger Christina Edgar. "It was really a tough situation."
A look at highlights from the day's business news headlines:
Stocks end the day mixed
U.S. stocks ended the day mixed Tuesday as investors mulled a disappointing report on consumer confidence and ongoing weakness in the housing market.
The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day up 20 points, or 0.18%, with about two-thirds of the blue chip index's 30 components advancing. Chevron and Hewlett Packard posted the biggest gains, while American Express, Home Depot and Caterpillar led the declines.
The S&P 500 rose nearly one point, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq drifted down 4 points, or 0.16%.
For a Michigan man, reading his then-wife's email account was not only eye-opening, it may be criminal, according to prosecutors in Oakland County, Michigan.
Leon Walker, 33, is charged with a felony after accessing his spouse's Gmail account, according to the Detroit Free Press.
While the case may seem like a legal gray area, prosecutors are going after Walker based on a Michigan statute usually used in identify theft cases, the Free Press reported.
"This is one of those cases where it seems the facts aren't in dispute," John R. Levine, an expert on cybersecurity and co-author of "Internet Security for Dummies," told CNN Tuesday.
It’s a tale of two cities and one heck of a storm that has dumped more than a foot of snow on New York City and Newark, New Jersey. Both cities are struggling to respond to the needs of their residents.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the traditional path, holding news conferences assuring the residents that life and business goes on despite some minor inconveniences.
Meanwhile, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has added social media to his arsenal of snowplows.
Booker is using Twitter to communicate directly with residents to help get roads cleared and people who are stuck in the snow some assistance.
Here’s an example of a Twitter exchange between the mayor and a Newark resident.
After one motorist asked on Twitter for a street to be cleared, Booker tweeted: "f ur stuck DM me ur #," before sending a crew to dig the motorist out.
Booker also promised to send a road crew to clear streets around a hospital, after someone tweeted that it had not been adequately cleared.
"Sending team immediately back there 2 ensure hospital is clear," Booker tweeted.
A resident even twitpic'd a photo of a city crew clearing a roadway, and thanked the mayor.
"You are so welcome!" tweeted Booker.
Two mayors, one problem. Cleaning up the snow one news conference and one tweet at a time.
Youth triumphed again Monday as 28-year-old Chanchalkali outpolled two older finalists in Nepal's inaugural Elephant Beauty Pageant, part of the three-day Chitwan Elephant Festival.
Five judges rated a total of six elephants on a variety of criteria, including posture, appearance, hygiene, complexion and responsiveness to commands. And, of course, their makeup. The elephants' mahouts, or handlers, carefully decorated each animal with colorful designs and painted their toenails.
"I think she won because I worked hard on her," said Chanchalkali's mahout, Prabhu Chaudhary. "The fact that she was younger than her competitors also helped."
Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John
Here's a baby who is likely to have an interesting life.
Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John is the new son of pop music legend Sir Elton John and longtime partner David Furnish.
Just like the baby in John's song "Levon," Zachary was born on Christmas Day (although The New York Times did not say "God is dead," as the song announced). The couple engaged a surrogate mother to bear the child for them.
He will grow up in the care of wealthy celebrity gay parents with homes in London, Los Angeles and Atlanta, Georgia.
Sir Elton is an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the owner of five Grammy awards, an Oscar and a Tony. Furnish is a Hollywood film producer.
"I don't think our lives are suited to raising children," Furnish told People magazine in April 2009. "We're busy flying places all the time.
"Elton is not really going to come off the road," he said. "We don't want to put the raising of children into the hands of nannies and housekeepers. We want to be active parents. We have godchildren [and] kids that we support in Africa, so we're fine (without children)."
It seems they've had a change of heart.
The failed candidate for the U.S. Senate from South Carolina is back in the game. Greene, an unemployed Army veteran, is running for office again, last week paying the $165 filing fee to run in a special election for the state House seat opened by the death of Democratic Rep. Cathy B. Harvin.
Despite his status as a virtual unknown, pending criminal charges and his sometimes odd behavior - he suggested making action figures of himself to boost the economy - Greene made major headlines this summer when he became South Carolina's Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate.
Suspicions arose concerning how Greene could accomplish such a fantastic political feat. In November Greene was easily defeated by the Republican incumbent, Sen. Jim DeMint.
Major airports across the U.S. northeast slowly got back to normal Tuesday after blizzard conditions blanketed much of the region, leaving thousands of passengers stranded since the holiday weekend.
"With all the cancellations and delays, it'll be two to three days before the airlines are at a regular schedule," said Thomas Bosco, general manager of New York's LaGuardia airport.
Officials say they expect 100 flights operating at LaGuardia between 6 a.m. and noon Tuesday. The airport would typically handle some 70 flights an hour.FULL STORY
Would-be passengers stranded for days at one of Russia’s largest airports apparently snapped and attacked airline officials Tuesday, according to state-run media.
A source told RIA Novosti that several officials of Aeroflot, Russia’s largest air company, were negotiating with passengers at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow when they were attacked. Some of the officials beaten were women, the source told the news outlet.
Aeroflot officials, who are accused of giving passengers inadequate services and information after canceling dozens of flights, are now afraid to go out and speak to passengers because they feel security is lax, the source told RIA Novosti.
[Update 11:58 a.m.] Rescuers were swiftly bringing stranded skiers down from a broken-down chairlift at western Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain resort, CNN Newsource employee Robb Atkinson said.
"It's incredibly organized. They know what they're doing," Atkinson said while still suspended 30 to 40 feet above the ground. "They're moving incredibly fast."
The accident occurred on the resort's Spillway East slope, which runs all the way to the top of the mountain, Maureen Atkinson said.
[Update 11:40 a.m.] Five stranded skiers have been evacuated from the chairlift that broke down Tuesday at Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine, CNN Newsource employee Robb Atkinson said.
Officials with the ski resort said it would take 60 to 90 minutes to rescue all the trapped skiers.
Are you there? Send your pictures and videos to iReport.
[Original post] A gust of wind derailed a chairlift cable Tuesday morning, according to a resort spokesman, sending skiers tumbling.
At least three people were injured, said CNN Newsource employee Robb Akinson, who was among about 100 skiers stranded on the chairlift 30 to 40 feet off the ground after the accident.
"We heard screams from skiers down below that skiers were off the lift, and we've been trapped ever since," he told CNN's Tony Harris.
Skiers would have to climb down one at a time using harnesses and ropes, Atkinson said.
"We've got a whole lot of people throwing ropes over the lift right now," Atkinson's wife, Maureen, said.
Robb Atkinson said the temperature was about 8 degrees with a 20 mph to 30 mph wind. The resort received 20-22 inches of fresh snow with the weekend blizzard, he said.
A spokesman for the ski resort said the lift cable derailed between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m., and all the chairs on that cable fell to the ground.See CNN's full coverage of the accident
Wayward gators – As part of this week's Gotta Watch, CNN.com is featuring some of our favorite videos from this year. Today, we're rolling out our finest alligator videos from 2010. Alligators have a tendency to end up where they are unwelcome and, as you can probably guess, the fate of some of these gators is a bit grim.[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2010/12/28/natpkg.you.gotta.watch.gators.cnn"%5D
Iran has hanged a man convicted of spying for Israel and also executed another man who was a member of a government opposition group, state-run media reported Tuesday.
The executions took place at Tehran's Evin Prison at dawn Tuesday.
Ali-Akbar Siadat was sentenced to death for working as a spy for Israeli intelligence. The Islamic Republic News Agency said Siadat admitted to transferring information to Israel over several years in exchange for $60,000.FULL STORY
Hundreds of travelers spent up to seven hours stranded in cramped planes stuck on the tarmac at JFK International Airport early Tuesday, but it was not immediately clear why they were not allowed to deplane.
A British Airways spokesman blamed a lack of gate space for a seven-hour ordeal for passengers on a flight from London, while a Port Authority spokesman suggested buses could have rescued travelers from JFK's icy tarmacs.
Aeromexico's Flight 404 landed at JFK from Mexico City at 1:15 a.m., more than two hours behind schedule, but passenger Cristobal Alex said it was six hours before he could walk off the plane.FULL STORY
Russia's president instructed the country's prosecutor general Tuesday to check the operation of Moscow airports and related companies "to make sure they fully comply with legislation on air transportation and servicing of passengers" who have been stranded since icy rain and snowstorms caused dozens of canceled or delayed flights over the weekend, the Kremlin press office said.
President Dmitry Medvedev stepped in when air traffic disruptions and chaos at Moscow's two largest airports, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo, became the leading news story in Russia.
Several television networks are filing regular updates from the overcrowded airports, where people whose New Year holiday and vacation plans were destroyed by bad weather are complaining about poor conditions, chaos, lack of information and huge lines. Many have slept on the floor and some claim they didn't receive medical aid that they'd requested. Russian news agencies reported there have been scuffles between frustrated passengers and airport officials.FULL STORY
This has been a difficult year in many corners of the business world, and next year already has posed a challenge for a specialized market: New Year's Eve novelty glasses.
The impending year will be the first since the fashion statement's invention in 1991 that doesn't have two loopy numbers that lend themselves to eye holes, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Designers have struggled with how to work an eye hole into one of the 1s, or between them, or between the zero and the first 1, and the results have not always been stellar, according to the Journal.
The novelty eyeglass crisis could at least temporarily resolve itself for New Year's Eve 2013 and certainly for 2014. As for the economy as a whole, who knows?
Weather and travel: Thousands of holiday travelers remain stranded as airports, rail lines and road departments try to recover from a blizzard that struck the U.S. East Coast on Sunday and Monday.
By Monday night, at least 4,155 flights had been canceled, up to 32 inches of snow piled up in some areas, and wind gusts blew as strong as 80 mph.
"This storm was one of the most challenging storms we've had in a decade or two," Thomas Bosco, general manager of New York's LaGuardia Airport, said Monday.
CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras said the onslaught of snow is expected to take a break.
"The good news is, the snow is done falling, for the most part, but we're still feeling the impact from the storm," Jeras said Tuesday morning. "The strong winds will be prevalent today."
Tuesday Night Football: The storm forced the NFL to postpone Sunday's game between the Eagles and Minnesota Vikings in Philadelphia until Tuesday night.
The contest will be the first NFL game played on a Tuesday since 1946.
And it's not just another game. If Philadelphia wins, it gets to skip the first round of the playoffs.
Teena Marie autopsy: The music industry awaits autopsy results for R&B singer and songwriter Teena Marie, who apparently died in her sleep Monday at age 56.
Marie's publicist, Lynn Jeter, said Marie was taken to a hospital last month after suffering a seizure.
Marie sang under various record labels, including Motown, Epic, Stax Records and Cash Money Classics, since bursting on the scene as a 19-year-old, according to her website. Her last studio album, "Congo Square," featured several collaborations.
Ivory Coast summit: The presidents of three West African nations, along with envoys for the United Nations and the African Union, are meeting with Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and his challenger, Alassane Ouattara, to try to resolve that country's political crisis.
Presidents Yayi Boni of Benin, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and Pedro Pires of Cape Verde were meeting with Young-Jin Choi, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's special envoy and a representative of the African Union.
The three heads of state represent the 15-member Economic Community of West African States, which held an emergency meeting Friday in Nigeria and delivered an ultimatum to Gbagbo to step down or face possible military force.
The holidays may be continuing for some, but CNN.com Live won't be taking any breaks as developing news unfolds.
Today's programming highlights...
Continuous coverage - Winter weather fallout - The snowfall may have come to an end in most of the United States, but some travelers remain stranded at airports nationwide. Follow the latest developments as the country recovers from the holiday blizzard.
10:30 am ET - Afghanistan briefing - A U.S. Army colonel briefs reporters on the current situation in Afghanistan.
CNN.com Live is your home for breaking news as it happens.
Eight people died in a fire in an abandoned building in New Orleans overnight, the city fire department said Tuesday.
The victims are believed to have been homeless.
A fire department dispatcher said the call came in shortly before 2 a.m.