Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
What is next if deficit ‘super committee’ blows deadline?
The U.S. congressional "super committee" charged with coming up with at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts for the next 10 years might announce Monday that it will miss Wednesday’s deadline to recommend a plan, aides say. Regardless of whether some type of plan is offered before the deadline, the consequences of the panel’s actions will be the subject of much discussion in Washington this week.
The panel was created over the summer as part of an agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. If the committee doesn’t approve by Wednesday a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, and if Congress doesn’t pass that plan by December 23, then $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts are supposed to start in 2013. Those automatic cuts would be evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending and are said to be painful enough that neither Republicans nor Democrats would like to see them.
Republican presidential candidates set for national security debate
National security will be the focus of a GOP presidential debate Tuesday in Washington, hosted by CNN in partnership with The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.
Eight Republican presidential contenders are scheduled to participate in the debate, which will be carried on CNN, CNN en Español, CNN International, CNN Radio and CNN.com. The public can help shape the debate by submitting questions through through this form.
Last week, businessman Herman Cain led fellow GOP contenders in a Bloomberg News poll in Iowa, the site of the first caucuses in 2012. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was was on top in a Bloomberg survey in New Hampshire, site of the first 2012 primary. A CNN/ORC International Poll had Romney leading the GOP nomination race nationally, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich close behind.
The scheduled participants are U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Romney and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
Syria says observer plan needs clarification; Arab League to meet Thursday
Syria's foreign minister has said that an Arab League plan to send observers into his country - to verify whether Syria has taken measures to protect civilians after what activists say has been an eight-month crackdown on demonstrators - needed clarification before Syria would sign on.
Last Wednesday, Arab League foreign ministers gave Damascus three days to implement a protocol to allow observers to enter the nation. League representatives will meet again Thursday in Cairo to discuss the situation, officials from the foreign ministries of Egypt and Jordan said.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused the Arab League, which recently suspended Syria's membership, of helping pave the way for possible Western intervention. In an interview with the Sunday Times in the United Kingdom, he warned that any military intervention against his country would lead to "very dire" repercussions and said that Syria "will not bow down" despite international threats of economic sanctions.
The Syrian president faces increasing international pressure to step aside. Activists say the government has cracked down on people who have protested against the government since mid-March. The United Nations has said more than 3,500 people have been killed in the violence. Syria's government has said that "armed groups" - not government security forces - were responsible for violence.
U.S. to impose new sanctions on Iran, sources say
The Obama administration plans to impose fresh sanctions against Iran's petrochemical industry, diplomatic sources familiar with the plans said, according to CNN's Elise Labott.
The measures, which the sources said are expected to be announced early Monday, build on existing sanctions on Iran's oil and gas industry. The goal of the new measures is to bar foreign companies from doing business with Iran's petrochemical industry by threatening them with being banned from U.S. markets, the sources said.
European nations are expected to announce similar measures when the European Union leaders meet next week, the sources said.
Plans for the additional sanctions come on the heels of a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA detailing evidence that the Iranian regime was developing the technology needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and has called the U.N. watchdog's report "unbalanced" and "politically motivated."
U.S. postmaster general to discuss plans to fix Postal Service
A week after the U.S. Postal Service reported a $5.1 billion annual loss, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is expected to discuss his plans to improve the service's financial situation at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington on Monday.
The Postal Service wants to close nearly 3,700 facilities in the United States and replace existing government health care and retirement plans. It also wants to void union contracts in order to lay off 120,000 postal workers, a move strongly opposed by the Obama administration.
The full House and Senate have yet to consider a plan, cleared by a Senate panel, that would buy out some employees, cut worker compensation benefits for some retirees and maintain Saturday mail service for two more years.
The $5.1 billion loss comes on top of a $8.5 billion loss the year before. Donahoe has said that the Postal Service must reduce its annual costs by $20 billion by the end of 2015 to return to profitability.
On college gridiron, a dream - and a lesson
He’s 61 and the oldest player to ever score in a college football game. But don’t assume Alan Moore’s return to kicking was ever about making history or seeking fame. Not a chance. It was about believing.
For CNN.com’s Monday profile, Eliott C. McLaughlin takes a look at Faulkner University’s junior kicker. The story will hit the homepage on Monday, but you can get a sneak peek at the profile here.
Mars Curiosity rover due to launch Friday
NASA on Friday is expected to launch a rover that will investigate whether Mars is, or ever was, able to support microbial life.
The 2,000-pound Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity is due to land on Mars in August. It will use 10 instruments, including a 6-foot arm that will collect samples, and a laser that vaporizes material from rocks to determine what elements they're made of, CNN's Jenny Harrison reports.
CNNMoney's Jeanne Sahadi, James O'Toole and Jennifer Liberto contributed to this report.