Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
April 8th, 2012
06:30 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:

Syria suggests it might not pull forces by deadline

A Syrian foreign ministry spokesman suggested Sunday that the government might not withdraw its armed forces from cities by Tuesday as agreed under a peace plan laid out by U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan.

Jihad Maqdisi said Syria will not commit to the withdrawal only to have "armed terrorist groups" commit attacks once the forces are pulled. He said Annan "did not give written assurances that the armed groups would turn in their weapons."

Annan has said he expects rebel fighters to also cease fire after the Tuesday deadline, but the deadline itself was for regime forces to withdraw from cities. Meanwhile, opposition activists say government forces have stepped up their attacks ahead of the deadline, and that 40 people were killed across the country in fresh violence Sunday.

Throughout a more than year-long uprising against the regime, the Syrian government has consistently blamed violence on "armed terrorist groups." But U.N. and other world leaders have said the government is engaged in a violent crackdown.

Reports from Syrian opposition activists suggest government forces are slaughtering civilians in an attempt to wipe out dissidents seeking President Bashar al-Assad's ouster. Rebel fighters have taken up arms, but their strength has often paled in comparison to the better-equipped regime troops.

The United Nations estimates that the fighting in Syria has killed at least 9,000 people.

North Korea expected to launch satellite despite international pressure

This might be the week that North Korea launches a satellite using a long-range rocket, which some governments, including those of the United States and South Korea, see as a cover for a ballistic missile test.

International leaders have urged North Korea to cancel the launch, expected to happen between April 12 and April 16, but Pyongyang has refused to back down, insisting that the operation is for peaceful purposes.

South Korea has said it considers the satellite launch an attempt to develop a nuclear-armed missile, and that the launch would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that bans the testing of the technology being used in the rocket-powered satellite.

Plans for the launch prompted Washington to suspend a recent deal to supply food aid to North Korea. In that deal, North Korea agreed it would not carry out nuclear or missile tests in return for the aid.

Part of the significance of this launch is its timing to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, who ruled the Communist state for more than four decades.

Grand jury might take up Trayvon Martin case

A grand jury that is expected to convene this week in Florida might take up the case of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in February. If it does take the case, it will consider whether to indict the volunteer, George Zimmerman, who told police he shot the unarmed 17-year-old in self-defense.

The shooting in Sanford, Florida, happened after Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious person in his neighborhood. Zimmerman says he killed Martin after the teen punched him and slammed his head on the sidewalk, according to an Orlando Sentinel report that was later confirmed by Sanford police. Zimmerman has not been arrested or charged in connection with the case, though the state attorney's office is investigating the shooting.

Martin's family and supporters say Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, racially profiled the teen, who was black, and ignored a police dispatcher's directive not to follow him. Zimmerman's attorneys interpret the call differently, and say the operator did not order Zimmerman not to follow.

Parole hearing for Charles Manson

A California prison panel will meet Wednesday to consider whether notorious killer Charles Manson should be denied parole for a 12th time.

Manson initially was sentenced to death for the 1969 slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others by a group of his followers as part of what prosecutors said was an attempt to incite a race war. His death sentence was changed to life in prison after California's death penalty was overturned for a period during the 1970s.

Manson has not been a model inmate. In the past five years, Manson was punished for threatening a peace officer and for possession of a weapon, the latter happening in October when Manson was found with a sharpened pen, California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

Manson was found to be in possession of a contraband cell phone — twice — the latest in January 2011. That incident is still under investigation.

Rescue workers try to reach trapped miners in Peru

A Peruvian official has suggested that rescue workers might be close to freeing nine miners who have been trapped below ground in southern Peru since Thursday.

It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse that trapped the miners at the Cabeza de Negro mine.

Miners have been getting oxygen, food and water through a tube, which has also allowed them to stay in contact with people above ground, the state-run Andina news agency reported.

Guns N' Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys in Rock Hall of Fame

Cleveland will be rocking during Saturday's annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The event will be a reunion of sorts for the original members of Guns N' Roses, all of whom are expected to attend for the group's induction. It's not clear whether they'll be performing.

Also set for induction Saturday: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, Donovan, Laura Nyro, The Small Faces/The Faces, Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd and Glyn Johns.

The ceremony also will mark the induction of six backing groups that didn't get into the Hall of Fame at the same time as their frontman. Those backing groups are the Blue Caps (Gene Vincent), the Comets (Bill Haley), the Crickets (Buddy Holly), the Famous Flames (James Brown), the Midnighters (Hank Ballard) and the Miracles (Smokey Robinson).

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
Highlights from Wallace's life and career
April 8th, 2012
12:52 PM ET

Highlights from Wallace's life and career

Veteran newsman Mike Wallace has died at the age of 93, CBS reported Sunday. Wallace was in front of the camera for decades and was best known as a hard-hitting, provocative news correspondent on "60 Minutes."

Here's a look at some key moments from his life and career. Tell us in the comments how you will remember Wallace.


Born: May 9, 1918 in Brookline, Massachusetts

Birth name: Myron Leon Wallace

Parents: Frank, an insurance broker, and Zina (Sharfman) Wallace

Marriages: Mary Yates (1986 until his death)
Lorraine Perigord (1955-1985, divorced)
Buff Cobb (1949-1955, divorced)
Norma Kaphan (1940-1948, divorced)

Children: with Kaphan: Peter (d. August 1962)
Christopher (October 12, 1947)

Education: University of Michigan, AB, 1939

Military: U.S. Navy, 1943-1946, lieutenant junior grade

Career Highlights:

1940s – Newscaster and freelance radio personality on various radio shows, including "The Green Hornet" and "The Lone Ranger" in Detroit.


Filed under: Mike Wallace
April 8th, 2012
05:30 AM ET

2 arrested in Tulsa shootings

(CNN) - Authorities in Oklahoma arrested two people early Sunday in connection with a deadly spate of random shootings in Tulsa that had residents on edge.

About 30 representatives from four law enforcement agencies - the Tulsa police, Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI - had been working round-the-clock looking for the person that authorities say killed three people and wounded two others in shooting attacks early Friday.

The police identified the arrested men as Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32.

They will be charged with three counts of murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill, the department said.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
April 8th, 2012
05:28 AM ET

U.S., Afghanistan to sign 'night raids' deal

The United States and Afghanistan have reached a landmark deal in a bid to end visceral Afghan anger over special operations raids on local homes, officials from both nations said Sunday.

The deal will be signed Sunday afternoon, said presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi.

NATO-led International Security Assistance Force commander, Gen. John Allen, and Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak will take part in the signing.

The deal comes after months of angry recriminations against special operations raids, particularly at night, that deeply offend Afghans as they involve foreigners entering their homes. U.S. officials say th raids are vital to NATO's operation against insurgents.

The complex system would fully "Afghanize" the operations, putting Afghan commandos in the lead and giving American special forces a "training and support role," a senior Afghan official said.

The senior Afghan official said the deal would involve a joint committee of U.S. and Afghan officials reviewing U.S. intelligence on a target before a raid.

If that target were approved, a warrant would then be issued by Afghan authorities for the raid to occur, the official said.

It remained unclear how or when the warrant would be issued.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • World
April 8th, 2012
04:09 AM ET

Venezuela's Chavez returns to Cuba for cancer treatment

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez flew to Cuba early Sunday morning for another round of radiation treatment.

He was greeted at the Jose Marti International Airport, southwest of Havana, by Cuban leader Raul Castro with whom "he maintained a lively exchange," Cuba's state-run Juventud Rebelde newspaper said.

The 57-year-old president has not specified the type of cancer he is battling, and the government has released few specifics - fueling widespread speculation about his health and political future.

On Thursday, he returned home to Venezuela from a second round of treatment - and spent the weekend there.

So far this year, Chavez has spent 34 days in Havana.

Speaking at a Mass in his home state of Barinas on Thursday night, he teared up at times as he discussed his struggle with illness.

"Christ ... give me life, because I still have things to do for the people and this country. Do not take me yet," he said.

Chavez described cancer as "a true threat that marks the end of the path for many people. The end of the physical path, that's the truth."

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Filed under: Venezuela • World
April 8th, 2012
03:20 AM ET

Report: Daughter of jailed Bahraini activist charged with assault

(CNN) - Bahraini authorities have charged the daughter of a human rights activist with assaulting a public employee after she tried to visit her father who is on his 60th day of a hunger strike.

The Bahrain News Agency reported Zainab al-Khawaja was charged and released Saturday after her arrest outside a military hospital where her father, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, was receiving care.

He is protesting the life sentence he received for his role in anti-government unrest that continues to roil his country. Sunday marked the 60th day of his hunger strike.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights - a group Abdulhadi al-Khawaja founded - said the man had recently called his family, saying he had been mistreated by guards and hospital staff.

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Filed under: Uncategorized
April 8th, 2012
02:42 AM ET

Pakistani rescuers resume search for 135 trapped in avalanche

Rescue crews resumed their frantic search Sunday at a Himalayan military outpost near the Indian border where a massive avalanche buried up to 135 people, all but 11 of them Pakistani soldiers.

A blanket of rock and snow covering one square kilometer - about the size of a large city block - slid over the base on the Siachen glacier early Saturday morning, entombing it under 70 feet of snow.

The Siachen Glacier, known as the world's highest battleground, is 6,300 meters (20,670 feet) high and spans 77 kilometers (47 miles) across the Line of Control that separates India- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.

Poor weather had forced the crews to retreat Saturday night, after a day-long search at the base yielded no survivors.

"It's a very massive scale slide," said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said Saturday. "They are under the slide but we haven't lost hope. The rescue work is on, and we are keeping our fingers crossed."

Crews flew in heavy machinery flown from neighboring Rawalpindi. Sniffer dogs and troops using bulldozers worked the ground.

Abbas said the military had not been able to establish contact with anyone inside the base since the avalanche.

It was the first such disaster at the mountain headquarters in its two decades of existence, the military said.

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Filed under: India • Pakistan • World
April 8th, 2012
01:04 AM ET

Videos appear to show top Saddam official ripping Iraq's current leaders

A series of videos appeared online Saturday purporting to show Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the highest-ranking member of Saddam Hussein's regime to evade capture, deriding Iraq's current leadership.

Al-Douri, who the U.S. military says helped finance the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, was the "king of clubs" in a deck of playing cards used by American troops following the 2003 invasion to identify the most-wanted regime officials.

There have been several claims over the years that al-Douri was either killed or captured, though a man claiming to be al-Douri has released a number of audio messages over the years taunting Iraqi and U.S. officials.

Al-Douri, who served as a military commander and vice president in Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime, was last seen on video shortly after the invasion of Iraq.

CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the videos posted on YouTube Saturday or the identity of the man, though he bears a striking resemblance to al-Douri.

In the clips, the man who claims to be al-Douri is wears an olive military uniform and sits behind a desk with an Iraqi flag in the background.

He derides Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, led by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, as well as what he describes as meddling by neighboring Iran. Al-Maliki's Dawa party, says al-Douri, "has announced Iraq as the Shiite capital."

He said nine years have passed since the invasion and Iraq is still in peril.

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Filed under: Iraq War • World
April 8th, 2012
12:10 AM ET

Pakistan's president visits India amid warming ties

President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan visits India on Sunday - the first by a Pakistani head of state in seven years amid thawing relations between the two nuclear-armed archrivals.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India will host a lunch in honor of Zardari in New Delhi before the Pakistani leader travels to the shrine of a revered Sufi saint at Ajmer in Rajasthan state, officials said.

Zardari's visit Sunday, a private trip, comes in the wake of Pakistan's recent promise to grant India "most favored nation" trading status.

The South Asian neighbors have fought three wars, two of them over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, since the 1947 partition of the subcontinent into Islamic Pakistan and Hindu-majority, secular India after independence from Britain.

Last year, both nations pledged not to let their fragile peace process unravel again over the range of thorny issues that put them at odds.

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Filed under: Pakistan • World
April 8th, 2012
12:03 AM ET

Anchorage breaks seasonal snowfall record

While winter is a distant memory for most Americans, it continues unabated in Anchorage, Alaska - where a new bout of precipitation this weekend helped the city break its record for seasonal snowfall, at more than 133 inches.

Some 3.4 inches of snow - and counting - had fallen as of 4 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) Saturday in Anchorage, according to the National Weather Service.

That brought the seasonal total for the city to 133.6 inches - breaking the record of 132.6 inches, set in 1954-1955.

And with snow continuing to fall into early Sunday morning, the figure promises to get even larger.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather