Syrian protests, meteor show, Free Comic Book Day: What’s Spiking (Friday)

Vera H-C Chan

The weekday report for the topics and people that are trending on
Yahoo! and across the Web for Friday, May 4, 2012

Research by Search editor Liz Streng

A cease-fire has done little to stop the bloody clashes in Syria, where residents in the country's largest city have decided to take a stand against the government violence. Far above the madness, a double astronomical event will occupy night-watchers the whole weekend. And those who like a bargain — as in free — may want to check into the neighborhood comic book stores this Saturday for an annual event that has spread to 40 countries. For more reading, here are the searches — and the stories behind them — that you readers have pulling up across the Web.

STANDOUT SPIKES (a deeper dig into three trending terms)

Syria: Aleppo had not participated in the civil war against President Bashar Assad, but the country's largest city became the site of the largest protests against the Syrian president since March 2011. Thousands gathered Friday after a raid at Aleppo University, following a campus protest, reportedly resulted in the death of four students and the arrest of 200. At least five are said to have been killed in Aleppo and Damascus, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates 20 have died in 24 hours in Syrian protests. U.N. envoy Kofi Annan has said peace negotiations remain on track, but the Obama administration stated, "If the regime's intransigence continues, the international community is going to have to admit defeat." And even greater fear lies in wait: Syria has a stockpile of chemical weapons.

Halley's Comet: Astronomy hobbyists will have some late-night options. Besides the Saturday night Supermoon, celestial admirers can also try for a peek at the Eta Aquarid meteor shower at a rate of 40 to 60 meteors per hour. Earth intersects the debris left behind from Halley's Comet, giving earthlings a light show. The peak is expected to last from the night of May 5 through the morning of May 6. Halley itself remains elusive; last seen in 1986, it won't show itself again until 2061. To stream the show on your screen, check out the NASA page.

Free Comic Book Day: As if "The Avengers" weren't enough, now comes a day devoted to freebie graphic novels. The 11th annual event on May 5 is, naturally, a gimmick to get people into comic book stores. The idea came from Flying Color Comics and Other Cool Stuff in Concord, Calif., and more than 25 million comics in 40 countries have passed into eager hands. Some locations will be offering "Avengers: Age of Ultron Point One," "Spider-Man Season One," and DC Comics' "The New 52 Special Edition" with the Dark Knight, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

Other spikes, by beat...


  • Chen Guangcheng: A resolution may be near: The blind Chinese dissident has been offered a fellowship at New York University, offering a face-saving way out of China. His family has to apply for visas.
  • Kent State Shootings: Survivors of the 1970 shootings at Kent State University want a new probe into whether the Ohio National Guard was ordered to fire at the unarmed students.
  • Drew Peterson: The former police sergeant appeared at an Illinois county courtroom Friday. He has been jailed since 2009 on suspicion in the disappearance of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, in 2004. Another hearing is set for May 17.





  • Adam Yauch: The "Beastie Boys" rapper MCA died at age 47. He had suffered from salivary gland cancer (a very rare cancer) since 2009 and was unable to attend the Hall of Fame induction in April.
  • Ted Nugent: Can kidney stones cause rants? The singer berated CBS reporter Jeff Glor Friday morning when he suggested that Nugent wasn't a Mitt Romney kind of moderate and swore at the CBS producer. Nugent's wife made him apologize to the producer, and Nugent told Glor he was rushed to the emergency room to get the kidney stone removed.
  • Scumbag Steve: Blake Boston is cashing in on his meme fame to release a rap song on iTunes every Thursday, "until he decides not to."
  • Chris Harrison: File this under taking job too seriously: "The Bachelor" host will join the ranks after he and his wife of 18 years divorce.
  • Demi Moore: Don't bother following @MrsKutcher on Twitter. She changed to @JustDemi, four months after tweeting "changing my twitter name isn't a top priority right now. sorry it bothers so many of u. should I not tweet until I do? does it really matter?"


  • Junior Seau: The family of the late NFL linebacker will donate his brain to science. Studies have been ongoing to study the effect of repeated head hits and concussions.
  • Deion Sanders: Criminal mischief charges have been filed against the Pro Football Hall of Famer following an April 23 exchange between him and wife Pilar. He allegedly called the police several times until they arrested Pilar, and later tweeted all about it.
  • Mariano Rivera: A torn ACL will sideline the Yankees' relief pitcher for the rest of the year and maybe end his career.
  • Roger Clemens' Trial: Exhibit 52C, Miller Lite beer can. Exhibit 52D, FedEx box. Exhibits 52E-X, syringes, needles, cotton, and other items presented as evidence of anabolic steroid use for the former Red Sox player. Federal agent Jeff Nowitzy gave testimony this week, and next week will be Clemens' former strength coach, Brian McNamee.
  • Roy Halladay: The Philadelphia Phillies pitcher is on leave for a short while to attend to family matters.


What's popular on Yahoo!, Twitter, Google Trends, CNN, BBC, Hollywood Reporter, and other sources.

Yahoo! News (sampling of most popular)

Twitter Trends (US) Most Populart

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