Four months after Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, operators at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are still grappling with the crisis the disaster unleashed but say they are making slow progress.
Despite periodic setbacks - including a water leak that shut down operations for several hours Sunday - the Tokyo Electric Power Company has managed to set up a decontamination system that filters radioactive material from the water.
Some of the treated water is now being circulated back through the reactors, a key step toward keeping the reactors' melted nuclear cores cool on a permanent basis.FULL STORY
U.S. President Barack Obama and congressional leaders enter the week struggling with negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling, now with just three weeks left before the country would begin defaulting on its obligations without a deal. Here is a look at this and other stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Debt negotiations stumbling over proposed tax hikes
Congressional Republicans say they want an agreement to cut federal spending before agreeing to raise the federal debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department says should be done before August 2 to prevent default. But over the weekend, efforts to secure a major deficit-reduction deal took a hit when Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said his party wouldn’t go along with Democrats’ insistence that cuts be paired with higher taxes.
Without Republican support, no deal would pass the GOP-controlled House.
Congressional leaders are in talks Sunday evening with President Barack Obama at the White House, hoping to craft a comprehensive deficit reduction deal that appeared to stall earlier in the weekend.
The key players - including House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada - met in a White House conference room Sunday evening.
When asked before the start of Sunday's talks if a deal could be reached within 10 days, Obama told reporters, "We need to."FULL STORY
Gunmen who shot dead one of Latin America's best-known folk singers Saturday likely did not have Facundo Cabral as their intended target, said Guatemalan Interior Minister Carlos Menocal.
In the car with Cabral was a Nicaraguan businessman, Henry Farina, who was driving, Menocal said .
"Everything points to that the attack was directed at him (Farina), and not the artist," he said. Still, a motive for the shooting remained unclear.FULL STORY
Julie Collins of Mission Viejo, California, was just 18 when she met Princess Diana in April of 1990.
Today, the 39-year-old brought a picture of that chance meeting - as well as her daughter, nieces, sister and sister-in-law - to downtown Los Angeles in hopes of meeting the late Princess Diana's son, Prince William and his wife, Catherine.
She waited seven hours for the chance to meet Princess Di. Today, she only had to wait a little over four hours.
Atlantis docked with the International Space Station Sunday morning as part of a historic mission marking the final flight of the U.S. shuttle program. Atlantis' four-member crew will deliver supplies and spare parts to the space station, and pick up a broken pump and transport it back to Earth for inspection, NASA said on its website.
The shuttle docked at 11:07 a.m. ET.
The four-member crew blasted off Friday at 11:29 a.m. on what was originally planned to be a 12-day mission, the last in the nation's 30-year shuttle program. NASA will likely try to extend the mission by one day, said Mike Gerstenmaier, the associate administrator.
United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has arrived in Baghdad, his first trip to Iraq since taking over the Pentagon.
The visit comes within days of Panetta, the former head of the CIA, saying that the U.S. is "within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda." He made that statement on Saturday, shortly before landing in Afghanistan.
"I think we have them on the run," he said. "I think now is the moment, now is the moment following what happened with bin Laden to put maximum pressure on them because I do believe that if we continue this effect that we really can cripple al Qaeda as a threat to this country."
In Afghanistan, Panetta met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David Petraeus, currently head of the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Panetta was sworn in less than a month ago.
The top U.S. military officer declared Sunday that China "has arrived as a world power," and that previous U.S. descriptions of China as a "rising power" are now a thing of the past.
U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen made the remarks during an address at a university in Beijing at the start of a four-day visit.
"China today is a different country than it was 10 years ago, and it certainly will continue to change over the next 10 years," Mullen told the audience at Renmin University. "It is no longer a rising power. It has, in fact, arrived as a world power."
In January, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described China as a "rising power."FULL STORY
Syria's government began what it said was a "national dialogue" with members of the opposition Sunday, as the U.S. ambassador was summoned to Damascus over his recent visit to the embattled city of Hama.
"We hope that at the end of this comprehensive meeting to announce the transition of Syria to a pluralistic democratic nation where all citizens are guided by equality and participate in the modeling of the future of their country," Syrian Vice President Faruq al-Shara said in opening remarks at the meeting.
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said the meeting included members of the opposition, independent activists, youth leaders and academics.
But opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's regime have criticized the Damascus University meeting, saying the government is trying to quiet widespread unrest without making meaningful changes.FULL STORY
A ship carrying 173 people sailing in Russia's Volga River sank on Sunday, leaving at least one person dead, emergency officials said.
At least 78 people have been rescued.
The "Bulgaria" carrying 140 passengers and 33 crew members sank at about 2 p.m. (6 a.m. ET) in the Tatarstan region, said Oleg Zugeyev, spokesman for the Volga district of the country's ministry of emergencies.