World leaders will gather in New York to speak at the United Nations General Assembly this week, and one of the more major developments there could be the Palestinian Authority’s expected move to seek some sort of upgraded status. Here is a look at this and other stories that CNN plans on following this week:
Palestinians expected to seek upgraded status at United Nations
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said last week that he would seek full U.N. membership for the Palestinian territories, likely after he speaks to the General Assembly on Friday. That request would go to the U.N. Security Council, where the United States has vowed to veto the move.
But the Palestinian government also could go to the General Assembly, where only a majority vote would be needed, to gain a lesser status. That would be of a permanent observer state, similar to the position that the Vatican holds. A vote in its favor would be all but assured.
The Palestinians currently hold the status of a permanent observer entity. As an observer, the delegation can speak in the General Assembly but not vote.
A successful vote in either body will not lead to an established state with defined borders, but it would afford the Palestinian government an upgraded international status allowing them to pursue legal actions against Israel. The Obama administration has expressed concern that Palestinian action at the United Nations could intensify conditions on the ground and delay already stalled negotiations with Israel.
The Palestinian issue is one of many to be addressed at the United Nations this week. World leaders' speeches at the General Assembly begin Wednesday. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks Wednesday; Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to speak Friday.
Obama unveils deficit reduction plan Monday
With a special U.S. congressional committee facing a November 23 deadline to propose a way to reduce budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion, President Barack Obama is set to offer his own proposal on Monday. He's indicated he not only wants to meet the panel's target, but also pay for his $447 billion jobs plan that he announced last week.
Obama will propose several tax changes, including a new tax rate for people earning more than $1 million a year, administration and White House officials said. The president’s plan also is expected to involve spending cuts, and he has said it also will include "modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid," CNNMoney.com reports.
The 12-member committee – evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate - has until November 23 to draft a $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan that can win congressional approval by December 23. Otherwise, more than $1 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts will go into effect, on top of $900 billion in cuts already mandated under this summer’s debt ceiling deal.
Previous attempts by the White House to boost revenues by ending tax relief for corporations were shot down by Republicans. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he would oppose any tax increases in a deficit deal.
Georgia man set for execution; supporters hope for clemency
A man convicted of killing a police officer in 1989 is scheduled to be put to death in Georgia on Wednesday evening, though his supporters - who say he was convicted on flimsy evidence - hope the execution will be stopped.
Troy Davis, 42, is set to be executed at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Davis was convicted of murder in the shooting death of Savannah Police Officer Mark MacPhail.
Since Davis’ 1991 conviction, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. No physical evidence was presented linking Davis to the killing of the police officer.
Davis’ supporters last week delivered a petition with more than 663,000 signatures in support of clemency. The state Pardon and Parole Board can call off the execution, though it denied clemency in 2008.
Reviewing Davis' claims of innocence last year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia found that Davis "vastly overstates the value of his evidence of innocence," and that some of the evidence “that Mr. Davis brought forward is too general to provide anything more than smoke and mirrors.”
Repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' to take effect Tuesday
The Pentagon says the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the U.S. military will officially end Tuesday, but two Republicans on the House Armed Service Committee are calling for a delay.
The two congressmen said Congress has not been adequately informed of the policy changes that will accompany the repeal.
Congress passed legislation repealing "don't ask, don't tell" late last year, and President Obama signed it into law just before Christmas. As the military spent seven months deliberately moving toward repeal, federal courts issued a series of whiplash rulings that ended and then reimposed the policy.
The last court ruling in July kept the policy technically in effect until this Tuesday, but the court prohibited the government from investigating, penalizing or discharging homosexuals through "dont ask, don't tell." The military has been training its 2.2 million personnel on its post-ban policy.
U.S. hikers in Iran to seek release on bail Tuesday
The lawyer trying to get two American hikers freed from prison in Iran was not able to get a signature on bail paperwork because a judge is on vacation until Tuesday, he told CNN Sunday.
Bail has been paid for Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, lawyer Masoud Shafiee said, but he needs the signatures of two judges to prove it. He went to a judge's office Sunday, when he was in court on a separate case, to see whether he could get the second signature, but he was told that the judge is on vacation until Tuesday and that Shafiee will have to return then, the lawyer said.
Fattal and Bauer have been held as spies for more than two years, after they apparently crossed an unmarked border between Iran and Iraq in July 2009. A third hiker, Sarah Shourd, was released on bond in September 2010 and left the country.
Fattal and Bauer were convicted last month of spying and entering Iran illegally, and each was sentenced to eight years in prison.
Amanda Knox appeal hearing to resume Friday
American student Amanda Knox, convicted in Italy in the murder of her British housemate, Meredith Kercher, is expected to appear in court for a hearing Friday.
Judge Claudio Pratillo Hellman on September 7 rejected prosecutors' bid for new DNA testing in the case, which appears to have turned Knox's way as the original evidence has come into doubt.
Final arguments in Knox's appeal are expected to begin Friday. The earliest possible date for a verdict is September 29, the judge has said.
Knox and her ex-boyfriend, Rafael Sollecito, were found guilty of the killing in 2009. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, Sollecito 25. A third defendant, Rudy Guede, was convicted in a separate trial.
Republicans to hold debate, conference, straw poll in Florida
The Republican presidential candidates will debate Thursday in Orlando, Florida, before making their pitches the next day at a Conservative Political Action Committee conference. On Saturday, Florida Republicans will hold a straw poll that could weed out the field a bit more.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul won a GOP straw poll Saturday in California, a state that tends to vote Democratic in general elections. Florida, on the other hand, can go either way, as the 2000 presidential cliffhanger demonstrated.
PGA Tour Championship next weekend
The top 30 contenders for golf's FedEx Cup will compete Thursday-Sunday in the PGA Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. Points leaders Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Luke Donald will swing for the title won last year by Jim Furyk.