With massive protests against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak entering their seventh day and a major opposition leader addressing demonstrators in Cairo, this week is shaping up to be a pivotal one for the country's future. The unrest is starting to affect Egyptians' food supplies and the United States is calling for a peaceful transition in Egypt to democracy.
Governments of countriesÂ near Egypt are no doubt concerned aboutÂ to what extentÂ the unrest will spread to them (after all, Egypt's protests came days after Tunisia's president fled protests there) or how it will affect their long-term security. What will Mubarak do, and on what side will the Egyptian army fall? Here's a look atÂ this and some of the other stories we plan to follow this week:
Will Mubarak cling to power in Egypt?
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Egypt's major cities last week to demand an end to Mubarak's 30-year rule, prompting the government to deploy the army to deal with civil unrest for the first time in a generation. The protests came after similar disturbances in Tunisia forced then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country. Both Egypt and Tunisia have seen dramatic rises in the cost of living in recent years and accusations of corruption among the ruling elite.Â DemonstrationsÂ also haveÂ taken place in recent weeks Algeria, Yemen and Jordan.
Police forces, which had been replaced in places by the Egyptian army after the police clashed brutally with demonstrators, are returning toÂ some streets, according to a report late Sunday on state-run Nile TV.Â At Cairo's Tahrir Square, where opposition figureÂ Mohamed ElBaradei addressed protesters Sunday evening despite a curfew and called on Mubarak to step down, protesters showed no signs of winding down, indicating a likelihood that they will continue their efforts into Monday.
A key question is whether the 450,000-strong armed forces - deployed to the streets for the first time since the mid-1980s - will remain loyal to Mubarak. Jon Alterman, director and senior fellow of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, says it's worth noting that the Egyptian militaryÂ might haveÂ a stake in preserving at least some of the status quo.
Myanmar parliament to open after first elections in 20 years
Myanmar, a country ruled by a military regime since 1988, is expected to see its first parliament in more than two decades convene on Monday. Symbolically, this isÂ the end of military rule, but a military-backed party won the vast majority of seats in a November election. Critics said the voting was aimed at creating a facade of democracy, and the National League for Democracy party boycotted, calling the election a sham. Recently freed political activist Aung San Suu Kyi last weekÂ asked delegates at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland not to forget about Myanmar as they rebuild the global economy. Myanmar, the largest country in Southeast Asia, is on the brink of economic collapse, and most of its 55 million people live in extreme poverty.
Snowstorms expected in nation's midsection
Parts of the United States' midsectionÂ may get hit with significant amounts of snowÂ from Monday night into Wednesday.Â The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard watch for the Chicago area, with heavy snow and wind gusts as high as 45 mph possible on Tuesday.
One computer model shows the heaviest snowfall - 10 to 20 inches - could fall in the St. Louis, Chicago and Detroit areas, CNN Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras said.Â Ice and freezing rain also are possible.
Winter storm warnings are in effect forÂ parts of Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma and Illinois. Winter weather watches and advisories have been issued for someÂ Rocky Mountain, Great Plains and Midwestern states.
Politics: Early voting in Chicago; potential GOP presidential candidates make key appearances
Early voting for Chicago mayorÂ will get under way Monday, days after the state Supreme CourtÂ kept Rahm Emanuel's name on the ballot after questions about whether he met residency requirements. Polls show the former White House chief of staff isÂ the overwhelming favorite to succeed Mayor Richard Daley. The election is scheduled for February 22.
On Tuesday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will visit several talk shows, including CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," as he puts out a paperback version of his book, "No Apology." Romney sought the GOP nomination for president in 2008 and is considered likely to run in 2012.
Another probable GOP presidential candidate, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, is scheduled this week to visit New Hampshire and South Carolina - two crucial early voting states on the presidential primary calendar.
U.S. unemployment report for January due this week
Wall Street is bracing for the first U.S.Â unemployment report of the year. Economists are expectingÂ the unemployment rate to hit 9.6%, up from 9.4% the previous month. Economists forecast that the U.S. economy added 150,000 jobs in January, but they've said the pace isn't enough to keep upÂ with the number of people entering the work force to make a dent in the unemployment rate.
News Corp. to launch first iPad-only daily digital newspaper
On Wednesday, News Corp. will launch the first daily digital newspaper exclusively produced for the iPad. "The Daily," whichÂ will cost 99 cents per week, initially will be available onlyÂ in the United States. Though it is the first iPad-exclusive daily, it is not the first publication created solely for the iPad. Richard Branson launched Project magazine in November.
Packers, Steelers prepare for Super Bowl
This week, the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will go through their final preparations for Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas. Pittsburgh will be trying to get its third Super Bowl win in six years and its seventh in franchise history. Green Bay is looking for its fourth Super Bowl title, last won in 1997.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was suspendedÂ for the season's firstÂ four games after facing his second sexual assault accusation in two years - is looking for his third Super Bowl ring. SI.com columnist Dan Shaughnessy explores howÂ Roethlisberger measures up to the league's elite quarterbacks, notingÂ that while his style isn't always pretty, he has many ways he can beatÂ opponents. SI.com columnist Anne KillionÂ says thatÂ although Roethlisberger is being deified for guiding the Steelers to another Super Bowl, his success doesn't wipe away his checkered past.
Eatocracy: Super Bowl chili; new nutritional guidelines
With the Super Bowl comes a great feast in many homes. Our Eatocracy blog this week will deliver some ultimate chili recipes (according to our readers) and incite a city vs. city food fight.
Also this week: National nutritional guidelines are about to change. What does that mean for supermarket shoppers?Â Eatocracy will break that down into bite-size pieces.
Belief Blog examines 'Porn Sunday'
This week, CNN's Belief Blog will look at "Porn Sunday," a Las Vegas pastor's attempt to get churches nationwide to discuss what he calls "the elephant in the pew" on Super Bowl Sunday. And on Thursday, the blog reports on the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual Washington event that draws top political figures, including President Barack Obama.