Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
January 22nd, 2012
07:06 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Here's a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:

Obama gives State of the Union address, then hits the road

President Barack Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address at 9 p.m. Tuesday before both houses of Congress, along with the Supreme Court justices, the president's Cabinet and the U.S. diplomatic corps.

Among those expected to be in attendance is U.s. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who was shot in January 2011 and who announced Sunday she will resign her position to focus on her recovery. Attending the speech will be one of her last acts in office.

Less than 24 hours later, the president will hit the road to promote his policies with a three-day, five-state tour that will include stops in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver (site of his nomination in 2008); and Detroit.

After Gingrich's S.C. victory, Romney to release tax returns

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Sunday he will release his 2010 tax return and an estimate of his 2011 tax liability on Tuesday. Last week, the former Massachusetts governor told reporters he would release his 2011 tax return in April and estimated his actual tax rate was close to 15%, a promise that did not satisfy his opponents or many voters.

"I think we just made a mistake in holding off as long as we did. It was just a distraction," Romney said Sunday on "Fox News Sunday."

With Newt Gingrich's victory Saturday in the South Carolina primary, three different candidates have won the first three GOP presidential nominating contests. Florida gets the next contest, and this week the candidates will stage two debates there to sway the state's voters.

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
January 22nd, 2012
05:47 PM ET

Arab League proposes unity government in Syria

The Arab League agreed on a path forward in Syria on Sunday that instructs President Bashar al-Assad to delegate powers to his vice president following the formation of a national unity government.

It called for the Syrian government to start a dialogue with the opposition within two weeks, and for the new government to be formed within two months.

The unity government should prepare to elect a council, within three months, that will write a constitution, the Arab League said. It should also prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections.

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Filed under: Syria
January 22nd, 2012
04:53 PM ET

Ex-generals say Pakistan's Musharraf should be allowed home

Former top Pakistani military officers Sunday called for Pakistan's former strongman to be allowed back without facing arrest and condemned what they called the "bashing" of the country's armed forces.

More than 100 former officers, most of them generals and admirals, signed their names to a letter calling for Pervez Musharraf to be allowed to return to Pakistan "and contest elections according to democratic norms." The retired brass included the retired Gen. Muhammad Aziz Khan, once the head of Pakistan's joint chiefs of staff during part of Musharraf's rule, and Adm. Shahid Karimullah, who served as head of the navy under Musharraf.

"We feel that Gen. (R) Pervez Musharraf should be provided with a level playing field in the political arena and also provided protocol and security as befits any ex-president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan," wrote the officers, who have formed a group they called "Pakistan First."

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Filed under: Pakistan
January 22nd, 2012
04:49 PM ET

Croatian voters back bid to join European Union

Croatians voted Sunday in support of their country's bid to join the European Union, paving the way for the southern European nation to become the alliance's 28th member.

According to official results, posted on a government website, about 66% of voters backed Croatia's entry into the EU and 33% sided against the move. Turnout was about 44%.

Already a member of NATO, Croatia is now poised to join an EU bloc that includes its neighbors Slovenia and Hungary. It is one of five nations listed as "candidate countries" on the European Union's website.

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Filed under: Croatia • European Union
January 22nd, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Paterno's family: 'He fought hard until the end'

Read the full statement released by Joe Paterno's family:

It is with great sadness that we announce that Joe Paterno passed away earlier today.  His loss leaves a void in our lives that will never be filled.

He died as he lived.  He fought hard until the end, stayed positive, thought only of others and constantly reminded everyone of how blessed his life had been.  His ambitions were far reaching, but he never believed he had to leave this Happy Valley to achieve them.  He was a man devoted to his family, his university, his players and his community.

He has been many things in his life – a soldier, scholar, mentor, coach, friend and father.  To my mother he was and is her soul mate, and the last several weeks have shown the strength of their love.  To his children and grandchildren he is a shining example of how to live a good, decent and honest life, a standard to which we aspire.

When he decided to forego a career in law and make coaching his vocation, his father Angelo had but one command: make an impact.

As the last 61 years have shown, Joe made an incredible impact.  That impact has been felt and appreciated by our family in the form of thousands of letters and well wishes along with countless acts of kindness from people whose lives he touched.  It is evident also in the thousands of successful student athletes who have gone on to multiply that impact as they spread out across the country.

And so he leaves us with a peaceful mind, comforted by his “living legacy” of five kids, 17 grandchildren, and hundreds of young men whose lives he changed in more ways than can begin to be counted.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests that donations be made to the Special Olympics of Pennsylvania or the Penn State-THON (The Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon).


Filed under: Joe Paterno
January 22nd, 2012
06:25 AM ET

Lawyer: Mubarak is still Egypt's president

Hosni Mubarak should be tried by a special tribunal because he is still president of Egypt and did not sign an official resignation, his lawyer said Sunday.
"He gave up the presidency orally to former vice-president Omar Suleiman without signing any official document, which is not legal by the constitution," lawyer Farid El Deeb said.
The court proceedings were recounted to CNN by civil rights lawyer Khaled Abu Bakr, who attended the hearing.

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Filed under: World
Bosnian Serb war criminal recaptured after years on the run
Radovan Stankovic appears in court in July 2002.
January 22nd, 2012
05:37 AM ET

Bosnian Serb war criminal recaptured after years on the run

Bosnian police have recaptured a former member of Serb paramilitary forces who escaped from prison nearly five years ago, authorities said.

Radovan Stankovic was convicted in Bosnia in November 2006 for crimes against humanity, including rape, sexual assault and enslavement of women and young girls during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

He escaped from a Bosnian prison in May 2007.

"Today's apprehension of Stankovic significant for the victims of the grave crimes he has been convicted for," the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said in a statement Saturday.

"I hope that this arrest reflects an increased commitment of the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to support the process of bringing to justice those responsible for the grave crimes committed on their territory in the early 1990s."

Stankovic was captured in Foca, the same town he escaped from jail.

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Filed under: Bosnia • World
January 22nd, 2012
05:28 AM ET

Italy cruise ship rescuers search on despite fading hope

Italian crews resumed search-and-rescue efforts on the partly-sunken Costa Concordia on Sunday after halting overnight because the cruise liner was moving, authorities said.

The efforts resumed in the part of the vessel that is above water, said Francesca Maffino, a spokeswoman for the head of civil protection.

A 12th body was found within the ship Saturday afternoon, according to Italian authorities, with at least 20 people still missing since it ran aground off the island of Giglio on January 13.

The body of a woman wearing a life jacket was discovered in an area of the ship that was under water, Maffini said.

A committee comprising the parties involved in the rescue told a briefing for reporters and residents on the island that search and rescue efforts will continue - but that the environmental risk is also becoming urgent.

Officials said they cannot predict how long it will take to clear the wreckage, since that depends on maritime conditions and technical difficulties, but all legal, environmental and human factors will be taken into account.

"It's time for Italy to show it can do something right and do it well," Gabrielli said.

Gabrielli, who leads Italy's civil protection agency, warned that the task ahead was complicated and daunting, not least because it takes about 45 minutes to search each cabin, using special cameras and divers.

The giant Costa Concordia had 1,500 cabins on board.

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Filed under: Uncategorized • World
January 22nd, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Nigerian city on edge after bombings that killed at least 156

A northern Nigerian city targeted by bombs and a hail of gunfire remained on edge Sunday after blasts that killed at least 156 people and left the police headquarters and other government buildings in charred ruins.

Authorities lifted a daytime curfew imposed in Kano, the nation's second-largest city, after the bombings that hit eight government sites Friday.

But an overnight curfew remained between 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to residents

Shell-shocked residents wandered the streets, looking for loved ones. Others hid behind barricaded doors, too scared to leave for fear of more attacks.

"That's the scary part, not knowing," said Faruk Mohammed, 27, who lives near one of the bombed police stations. "We don't know what's going to happen next, no one thought this would ever happen here. There's a general sense of despair."

The attacks paired bomb blasts with shootings on eight government sites including police stations, passport office, state security headquarters and the immigration office.

During the attack, assailants entered a police station, freed detainees and bombed it, authorities said.

They later canvassed the area in a car led by motorcycles, spraying targets with gunfire.

"I counted at least 25 explosions ...," Mohammed said. "Then it went deathly quiet. Kano is a bustling city ... I've lived here for years and it has never been quiet, even at night. But after the bombings stopped, the only noise you could hear were dogs barking."

The number of deaths is expected to rise, a military official said.

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Filed under: Nigeria • World
January 22nd, 2012
04:25 AM ET

Son: Paterno, in serious condition, inspired by support

Throngs of Penn State students gathered in front of a statue of Joe Paterno early Sunday, braving freezing temperatures to pay tribute to the ailing legendary ex-coach.

Some shoveled snow so others could walk up and touch Paterno's outstretched hand on the statue.

Paterno, 85, was in serious condition at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College, Pennsylvania, after suffering from lung cancer and a broken pelvis.

"Over the last few days Joe Paterno has experienced further health complications. His doctors have now characterized his status as serious," family spokesman Dan McGinn said Saturday. "His family will have no comment on the situation and asks that their privacy be respected during this difficult time."

Relatives said Paterno, 85, was able to communicate Saturday night.

Jay Paterno tweeted that he drove by the statue late Saturday night. "Just told my Dad about all the love & support - inspiring him," he wrote.

His brother, Scott, sent tweets saying a report their father had died were "wrong." The family was upset about the misinformation, a source close to them said.

Several websites that reported Saturday night that Paterno had died later apologized for the error, including the site that was the first.

"To the Penn State community and to the Paterno family most of all, I could not be more sorry for the emotional anguish I am sure we caused," wrote Devon Edwards, the managing editor of the Penn State student news website Onward State. "There are no excuses for what we did. We all make mistakes, but it's impossible to brush off one of this magnitude."

The site had initially attributed the information to multiple unnamed sources. Late Saturday night, it said "it was still trying to figure out where our process failed."

Edwards said he was stepping down over the error.

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Filed under: College football • U.S.
January 22nd, 2012
04:04 AM ET

Salman Rushdie: Police lied to me about threat to my life

Author Salman Rushdie now believes police lied to him about a threat to his life to keep him away from India's largest literary festival.

"Rajasthan police invented plot to keep away Rushdie' I've investigated, & believe that I was indeed lied to. I am outraged and very angry," the Mumbai-born author of "The Satanic Verses" said in a post on his verified Twitter account late Saturday.

A verified account is one which Twitter officials have confirmed as belonging to the person who claims to own it.

Rushdie then linked to a story in The Hindu newspaper, which attributed the information to "two highly placed police sources" that it did not name.

In response to a follower who asked the author who in the police force is to blame, Rushdie tweeted, "Don't know who gave orders. And yes I guess the same police who want to arrest Hari, Amitava, Jeet and Ruchir. Disgusting."

Rushdie was referring to Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi - four writers who read excerpts from his banned book to protest his absence at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Friday.

At least one lawmaker has demanded the arrest of the writers who read from the book.

CNN was not able to reach Rushdie and it was seeking comment from Rajashthan police.

"The Satanic Verses" was released more than a quarter century ago, but it continues to hound the celebrated author.

Rushdie canceled his appearance at the festival after he was informed of objections from hard-line Muslims and a threat of assassination.

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Filed under: Art • India • Literature • World
January 22nd, 2012
03:15 AM ET

Media outlets scramble to report false claim of Paterno's death

The race to report started at 8:45 p.m. Saturday.

The Penn State student news website Onward State posted an item saying legendary former football coach Joe Paterno had died.

Within minutes, the misinformation pinged from one major news outlet to another, like a metal ball in a pinball machine.

CBSSports.com seized on the Onward State report, without directly attributing it to the site. The Guardian and The Star-Ledger, in turn, based their accounts on CBSSports.

The influential Twitter feed, @breakingnews - which boasts more than 3.5 million followers - linked to the CBS story. The news was tweeted and re-tweeted, spawning several trending topics on Twitter.

Over at Wikipedia, someone altered the entry on Paterno, adding his date of death as "January 21, 2012."

All within 15 minutes, before a Paterno family spokesman, and then Paterno's sons, set the record straight.

"Not true. Not true. Not true," the spokesman, Dan McGinn, told CNN after getting off the phone with the family.

Paterno's son, Scott, took to Twitter to correct the misinformation.

"CBS report is wrong – Dad is alive but in serious condition. We continue to ask for your prayers and privacy during this time," he tweeted.

The incident highlighted the crucial clash in today's hyper-competitive news environment: getting it fast versus getting it right.

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Filed under: College football • Sports • U.S.
January 22nd, 2012
02:58 AM ET

U.S. envoy, Afghan president meet for 2nd day to discuss peace

Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets a top U.S. envoy for a second day Sunday to discuss ways to end bloodshed and achieve a peaceful resolution to Afghanistan's conflict.

Marc Grossman, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, also met with Karzai on Saturday.

During the meeting, the president made clear that Afghans should be in the driver's seat in finding a solution, saying the government and its peace council are making every effort to bring an end to the bloodshed.

Karzai recently met with the party of warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, head of the militant Hizb-i-Islami group.

The meeting with Hekmatyar served as a signal from Karzai to the United States that peace talks encompass other radical groups besides the Taliban.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Taliban • U.S. • World