Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
January 29th, 2012
05:47 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

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

GOP presidential race in Florida, Nevada

This month's first three Republican presidential nominating contests produced three different winners. This week, the candidates will have a chance to distinguish themselves in two votes: Tuesday's Florida primary and Saturday's Nevada caucuses.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who won the New Hampshire primary, is leading his rivals in Florida, according to polls released over the weekend. Romney leads former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the South Carolina winner, by double digits in the Florida surveys, while former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who won Iowa by a razor-thin margin, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas trail the pair.

Romney has benefited from strong debate performances last week and advertisements that harshly attacked Gingrich. The former House speaker has responded by challenging Romney's honesty in the debate and in the anti-Gingrich ads.

The increasingly vitriolic campaign rhetoric caused some Republicans to lament infighting that they fear will hurt the surviving candidate's chances of defeating President Barack Obama in November. In particular, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona called for a halt to the Republican debates 19 so far this campaign dating back to May that he said have "turned into mud wrestling instead of exposition of the candidates' views on the issues."

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
January 29th, 2012
05:46 PM ET

Peru's health minister vows crackdown in wake of deadly rehab fire

Peruvian Health Minister Alberto Tejada visited Sunday surviving victims of a fire at a rehabilitation center, promising to crack down on treatment facilities that operate "outside the law."

Twenty-seven people were killed and others were wounded when a fire broke out Saturday at the Christ is Love center in Lima.

"You can supervise someone who has formally asked for permission to operate rehabilitation centers, but you're limited in how you can supervise someone who is hiding," Tejada said.

Speaking at a hospital, the minister called for severe sanctions against those responsible for running Christ is Love, which operated "outside the law," he said. Tejada did not specify what laws the facility violated.

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Filed under: Fire • Peru
January 29th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Key Iraqi bloc ends boycott of parliament

A powerful political bloc in Iraq ended its boycott of the country's parliament on Sunday, describing the move as a "gesture of goodwill."

The Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc is one of the largest political groups in Iraq. It pulled out of parliament in December and returns as recent bloodshed raises fears of renewed sectarian violence.

"The Iraqiya bloc announces, as gesture of goodwill, that it will return to participate the parliament sessions," the group said in a statement. For now, a separate boycott of the cabinet remains in place, it added.

Before the boycott, Iraqiya had been in a power-sharing deal with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law Alliance, backed mostly by Shiites. The political bloc accused the prime minister of cutting it out of the decision-making process.

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Filed under: Iraq
January 29th, 2012
05:42 PM ET

Oakland's mayor says city is fed up after hundreds of Occupy activists arrested

Municipal employees in Oakland worked Sunday to clean up damage they said was caused hours earlier by Occupy protesters, "possibly 400" of whom were arrested for breaking into a YMCA and City Hall and challenging police.

Oakland Police Officer Johnna Watson said authorities were still trying to determine exactly how many people had been detained, with earlier reports putting the figure at over 100 people. She described what transpired as "one of the largest mass arrests that we have seen in the city," adding that "it would be fair to say that we're looking easily at over 300, possibly 400" arrests.

Mayor Jean Quan took reporters through City Hall on Sunday, pointing to walls where graffiti had already been painted over and other areas of garbage, vandalism and destruction that she said had been left by protesters.

"I ran out of patience a long time ago," Quan said of the Occupy Oakland activists. "We're tired of some people - and, again, it's a faction of the Occupy movement - using Oakland as their playground."

"I think people are really angry," she added later, speaking about residents' feelings toward the demonstrators.

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Filed under: California • Occupy Wall Street • U.S.
January 29th, 2012
05:25 AM ET

Report: Russia favors boosting observers in Syria

DAMASCUS, Syria (CNN) - Russia's foreign minister is in favor of boosting the number of observers in Syria, saying Sunday he did not understand why the Arab League suspended its monitoring mission.

"We should like to understand why this useful instrument is treated in such a way," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, according to reports in Russian state media.

The Arab League announced Saturday it was suspending its mission because of a sharp increase in violence.

Monitors representing the 22-nation alliance were in Syria to determine whether President Bashar al-Assad's government was abiding by an agreement with the Arab League to end violence against anti-government protesters.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
January 29th, 2012
02:11 AM ET

Deliberations continue in Canada 'honor' murder trial

A jury in Kingston, Ontario, resumes its deliberations Sunday in the "honor" murder trial of three members of a Montreal family who are accused of killing four relatives.

Mohammed Shafia, 58; his wife, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 42; and their son, Hamed, 21, are charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Shafia's three teenage daughters and his first wife in his polygamous marriage.

The family members were all recent immigrants to Canada from Afghanistan. They have all pleaded not guilty.

Sunday will be the second day of deliberations for the seven women and five men on the jury.

The three Shafia sisters - Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13 - were found dead inside a car that plunged into the Rideau Canal in Kingston on June 30, 2009. Shafia's first wife, 50-year-old Rona Amir Mohammad, also died.

Prosecutors allege the girls' father, mother and brother all plotted to kill the four women in an "honor" murder. Investigators claim that hours of wiretapped conversations reveal a premeditated plan to punish rebellious, Westernized daughters and their permissive advocate, Rona.

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Filed under: Canada • Crime • Justice • World
January 29th, 2012
02:10 AM ET

Egyptians to vote in upper house election

Egyptians in Cairo and several cities vote Sunday in the first stage of elections for the upper house of parliament.

Voters will cast ballots for the Shura council over different days at various governorates nationwide.

They come after the Muslim Brotherhood dominated the lower house poll in Egypt's first election since protesters toppled former President Hosni Mubarak last year following decades of authoritarian rule.

In the lower house parliamentary elections, Islamist parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood performed more strongly than the liberal parties representing some protesters.

Two Islamist parties won about 70% of the seats in the lower house of parliament poll, according to electoral commission figures.

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Filed under: Egypt • World