The five most popular stories on CNN.com in the past 24 hours, according to NewsPulse:
Crash victims' dad: Leave remains underwater: A leader of a group for families of those lost in the crash of an Air France jet said Tuesday that despite the discovery of their remains on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, he wants the bodies of his loved ones left where they are.
Search to resume for missing woman: The remains of three women found on a remote stretch of beach in Long Island, New York, do not include those of Shannan Gilbert, whose search led to the investigation of a possible serial killer.
iPhone 5 release date: big buzz, few facts: The internet has swirled with speculation in recent weeks about a release date for Apple's iPhone 5, and even whether the company will update its iconic smartphone at all this year. Now, the most tenuous of news reports has ramped the talk up again.
Utility: Radioactive water leak from reactor stopped: The leak of highly radioactive water into the Pacific from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has stopped, Tokyo Electric Power Company said early Wednesday.
Democrats, Republicans fail to reach budget deal: Top White House and congressional negotiators failed to reach agreement Tuesday on a spending plan for the rest of the current fiscal year, bringing the federal government closer to a shutdown at the end of the week.
Japan's crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where the exposure of spent nuclear fuel has contributed to radiation problems there, has highlighted a challenge with nuclear waste: Spent nuclear fuel is never really spent. It remains radioactive and potentially dangerous.
The Japan incident has American politicians advocating to move the United States' nuclear waste, often stored in pools and casks on the grounds of nuclear power plants, away from highly populated areas. And it exposes the fact that the country hasn't come up with a more permanent storage solution.
"Basically, we right now do not really have a long-term strategy" for nuclear waste storage, said UCLA professor Albert Carnesale.
So, what is to be done with the country's 70,000 tons of commercial spent nuclear fuel and the 3,000 additional tons per year that the nation will produce? In 2002, Congress approved Nevada's Yucca Mountain as a site where nuclear fuel would be stored. But after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama told the Energy Department not to use it.
Obama then created the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. The panel, with 15 experts including Carnesale, is studying what to do with spent nuclear fuel.
Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's Jim Roope:
The leak of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean from Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has stopped as of 5:38 a.m. Wednesday (6:38 p.m. ET Tuesday), Tokyo Electric Power Company said.FULL STORY
Comment of the day: Godspeed to the police. Hope they find the sick animal responsible for all these killings. –Tooofast
The search for a missing woman continued Tuesday in an area near Gilgo Beach on Long Island, New York. Officials have found the remains of eight people since May while searching for the New Jersey woman who advertised her prostitution services on such sites as Craigslist. Many CNN.com readers expressed their concerns about the missing woman, but the issue of legalizing prostitution also was debated.
SuperJase said, “There was a pilot scheme in my home city where they allowed the prostitutes to ply their trade without fear of arrest down at the docks. The locals were happy because prostitutes would stick to that area, police were happy because it was easier to police, the girls liked it because they felt safe knowing the police were keeping an eye on them and it was a good scheme.
They did away with it and we are back to where we were before. Now prostitutes go to the main streets near the pubs and shops to feel safer, locals are annoyed because they can put off visitors and possibly lose trade, police are not happy because it’s harder to keep tabs on these women and guarantee their safety."
RAM05 said, “Sure prostitution should be legalized, but also regulated. Pimps/madams and prostitutes should have to register with the police or town hall so that under-aged girls/boys and slaves aren't given credibility. This actually might be a way to reduce sex slave trafficking.”
SuperJase said, “Not to mention these women will start paying taxes on their earnings for public services they use. Legalize prostitution and it will be a good way to increase tax revenue at a time when the economy needs it."
But other disagreed. caracoles said, “There’ll always be prostitutes and killers. By legalizing prostitution we'll reduce the risks involved with the practice (murders, drugs, exploitation, etc). In Canada they have the 'massage parlor,' which in most cases is a place to get 'relief' and you can find places open 24 hours.” Jackie1111 said, “The bottom line is this: Let's say that prostitution was made legal or didn't even exist. Do you think that serial killers wouldn't exist? Of course they would. They would go after someone else like my sister, mother, me or even my daughter."
A roundup of today's business news headlines:
U.S. stocks ended little changed Tuesday, as investors weighed hawkish meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 6 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 12,394. The S&P 500 slipped less than 1 point to 1,332; the Nasdaq Composite edged up 2 points to 2,791.
Stocks were supported by gains in semiconductor companies after Texas Instruments announced a $6.5 billion bid for rival National Semiconductor. Shares of National Semiconductor surged 72%. But the market came under pressure after meeting minutes from the Federal Reserve raised speculation that the U.S. central bank could raise rates later this year amid rising inflation.
[Updated at 3:34 p.m. ET] NASA determined Tuesday that a piece of space junk will not pose a threat to the crew aboard the International Space Station.
The space agency had been monitoring a piece of a Chinese satellite that was destroyed in 2007 and had warned the crew to begin making plans to take shelter in the Russian Soyuz capsule if necessary.
However, tracking data shows that the debris will not come close enough to warrant an evacuation of the station, NASA said in a statement after the crew was given the all-clear signal.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued an order Tuesday morning halting the execution of Texas death row inmate Cleve Foster.
The justices issued an order granting a stay of execution for Cleve Foster about eight hours before his scheduled lethal injection.
The Gulf War veteran was convicted along with another man of the 2002 murder of Nyanuer "Mary" Pal, a Sudanese immigrant he met at a Fort Worth bar.Read CNN's full coverage of the Cleve Foster stay of execution
The Ecuadorian government on Tuesday declared the U.S. ambassador in their country, Heather Hodges, persona non grata and asked her to leave Ecuador as soon as possible, the state-run Andes news agency reported. The decision was based on a State Department cable leaked by WikiLeaks.
State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said the expulsion of the US ambassador to Ecuador was "unjustified."
Northern Georgia took a beating from a fast-moving line of severe thunderstorms, as did the rest of the Southeast. Seven deaths were reported in three states. Here are reports from CNN affiliates and iReporters:
A father and his 3-year-old son were killed in Butts County, Georgia, southeast of Atlanta, when the storm hurled a tree into their home, WSB-TV reported.
Atlanta police said they found one person dead in a vehicle crushed by a fallen tree in northwest Atlanta, according to WXIA-TV.
Fallen trees and limbs were strewn across much of northern Georgia. Many of them fell on power lines, causing widespread power outages, WSB-TV reported.
Power was knocked out for more than 200,000 Georgia customers, 77,000 of them in metro Atlanta, according to WGCL-TV, which also reported a weather-related death in Dodge County and another in Colquitt County.
In southern Georgia, iReporter Rick Pennock of Quitman said, "The lightning was so intense it was like a red carpet event."
Fallen soldier media ban lifted – This video shows the first coverage of a fallen soldier's transfer since 1991. Two years ago today, the casket of Air Force Staff Sergeant Phillip Myers returned from Afghanistan. Robert Gates explains his decision to allow families to decide if media could show the final return home of their loved ones. Prior to this decision made during the George H.W. Bush administration in 1991, journalists were not allowed to photograph the transfer of fallen soldiers.[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/04/01/vault.sotvo.ban.lift.soldier.cnn"%5D
The well-known Chinese artist has not been seen since he was detained by Chinese authorities on Sunday. Police reportedly confiscated more than 30 computers and hard drives from his home and studio in northern Beijing, in addition to notebooks and other documents. Ai's wife, Lu Qing, said police would not tell her why he was being held and gave no clues to his whereabouts. The 53-year-old artist, who spoke at last month's TED conference, has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese government and has clashed with authorities in the past.
The associate justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, who is married to a same-sex partner, was nominated to a seat on the Supreme Judicial Court by Gov. Deval Patrick, The Boston Globe reports. If confirmed, Lenk would be the first openly gay judge on the state's highest court. She would also be the only justice whose marriage is a result of the court's landmark 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Preliminary results show that the Haitian musician, known as "Sweet Micky," won nearly 68% of Haiti's presidential vote against Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady and law professor. Before entering politics, Martelly was known for his wild performances, often cross-dressing, wearing diapers, and mooning his audience on stage, The Wall Street Journal reports. The father of four was supported in his bid by musician Wyclef Jean and has pledged to supplement his lack of government expertise by bringing in knowledgeable Cabinet members. Barring any legal challenges, Martelly will be confirmed as Haiti's new president by April 16.
The eldest daughter of Amy Chua - author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" and a law professor at Yale - was accepted into Harvard and will attend this fall, according to the Above the Law blog. "Tiger Mother," a memoir on parenting released in January, was the center of much controversy, with critics characterizing Chua's parenting style as harsh. The accomplishments of 18-year-old Chua-Rubenfeld are impressive. She played piano at Carnegie Hall at the age of 14 and submitted a well-written article for the New York Post in which she defended her mother's approaching to parenting.
The Yale University hockey player, who was featured as a most intriguing person on CNN.com in June 2010, has died of leukemia at 23, The New York Times reports. After Schwartz was diagnosed with leukemia in December 2008, the Yale sports booster site Yalebulldogs.com led a drive to find her a bone marrow donor. After five rounds of chemotherapy, her disease was declared to be in remission and she returned to the ice in January 2010, the Yale Daily News reported. But a biopsy shortly thereafter showed the leukemia had returned, and she halted treatment, according to the Times. She died Sunday.
Budget battle - President Barack Obama meets Tuesday with congressional leaders to discuss budget negotiations three days before the deadline to avoid a government shutdown. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan also will unveil a 2012 GOP budget proposal with dramatic changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other political lightning rods.
Invitations for the White House meeting went to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada; Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii; and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky.
Diplomacy - Obama also is set to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres for a working lunch at the White House. The White House said Obama and Peres will discuss a range of issues, including security cooperation between the two countries and recent turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa.
House hearings on 9/11 trials - A House Judiciary subcommittee will hold a previously scheduled hearing on where and how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others will be tried for their alleged roles in the September 11, 2001, attacks. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the suspects would be referred to military commissions at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military base for trial. David Beamer, whose son Todd Beamer died on United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11, is set to testify at the House hearing.
Wisconsin Supreme Court race - Wisconsin residents will vote Tuesday in a Supreme Court race that has become a sort of referendum on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's collective-bargaining bill. Justice David Prosser, a conservative who is considered a supporter of Walker's agenda, and Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, described as a liberal, are vying for a 10-year term on the high court.
Hearing in slaying of Jennifer Hudson's relatives - William Balfour will appear in an Illinois court for a deposition hearing on a 77-count indictment in the 2008 shooting deaths of singer Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew.
Mine accident anniversary - Massey Energy will halt production and hold a "safety stand-down" at all its operations at 3:02 p.m. Tuesday in honor of the 29 miners who died a year ago in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in Montcoal, West Virginia. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will participate in a memorial service at 6 p.m.
Ivory Coast - Fighters loyal to Alassane Ouattara surrounded the presidential palace of Laurent Gbagbo on Tuesday, hoping to capture the embattled leader. Fighting has escalated in recent days as Ouattara's fighters pressed closer to ousting Gbagbo from power. Ouattara has been recognized by the United States and United Nations as the winner of last fall's presidential election, but Gbagbo has refused to give up power. The aid group Oxfam reports tens of thousands of people have fled into neighboring countries to escape violence.
Libya - Rebel envoy Ali Aujali dismissed as "a ridiculous offer" a rumored proposal to have Moammar Gadhafi pass power to his son Saif al-Islam Gadhafi, who then would lead reform efforts in Libya. Aujali said the rebels are willing to offer Moammar Gadhafi and his family safe passage out of Libya in exchange for an end to the fighting - but that's as far as their offer goes. Meanwhile, rebels were calling for more coalition help in Misrata and al-Brega, where loyalist forces were pushing back hard.
There's a bit of a budget battle in Washington as President Obama and Congress look to prevent some kind of a government shutdown. Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the budget crisis.
Today's programming highlights...
10:00 am ET - 9/11 military trials hearing - Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the suspects in the 9/11 attacks on the United States would be tried in military tribunals and not civilian courts. A House judiciary subcommittee will discuss the matter and more.