Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Will elections shift Europe's debt crisis response?
Keep an eye on how stock markets react this week as investors digest the results of two key elections in France and Greece that might signal changes in how Europe handles its 3-year-old debt crisis.
With Francois Hollande defeating incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in today's French presidential runoff, questions will be raised about whether France will continue to commit to the kind of spending cutbacks that other European nations have deployed to battle the debt crisis. Hollande campaigned on the need to focus more on economic growth to reduce public debt, as opposed to austerity, CNNMoney's Hibah Yousuf reports.
Meanwhile, Sunday's parliamentary elections in Greece will help shape a ruling coalition that could affect the course of austerity measures there – measures that outside lenders had imposed in return for keeping the nation's finances somewhat afloat and ensuring Greece could keep the continent's common currency, the euro. The austerity measures have led to cuts in jobs, wages, pensions and benefits, and some parties were gaining traction with anti-austerity messages.
GOP's most senior U.S. senator on the ropes
The political future of the U.S. Senate's most senior Republican will be on the line Tuesday when Indiana votes in a GOP primary.
A poll released last week showed Sen. Dick Lugar 10 percentage points behind challenger Richard Mourdock, Indiana's state treasurer. Lugar, 80, is seeking his seventh six-year term, but in this election cycle he has been forced to defend his residency in the state, as well as his conservative bona fides as the tea party and other groups have proclaimed Lugar to be too moderate and too willing to work with Democrats.
The race has drawn the attention of high-profile political figures, with Mourdock getting endorsements from former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Lugar has been backed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and pop singer Pat Boone.
Student loan battle goes to Senate
The latest chapter in a battle over whether and how to keep federal student loan rates from doubling in July is expected to unfold in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate this week.
The Senate is expected to consider a Democratic-pushed proposal to extend the current 3.4% interest rate. Senate Democrats have said they want to make up for the $6 billion cost by ending some tax loopholes for corporations, a move opposed by Republicans.
The Republican-controlled House last month passed a bill that would extend the lower rate for a year, but it would cover the cost by dipping into a health care fund intended to promote wellness, prevent disease and protect against public health emergencies. The fund is part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act detested by Republicans.
President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the House version. After the Senate passes its bill, the two chambers are expected to try to negotiate a compromise version.
Annan to brief U.N. on Syria
Days after a chief U.N. peacekeeper said the Syrian government and opposition forces are violating a cease-fire, U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan is expected to brief the U.N. Security Council on the status of his peace plan Tuesday.
The cease-fire negotiated by Annan was supposed to go into effect April 12, but deadly attacks attributed to both sides have escalated doubts that the 14-month uprising can be resolved. The United Nations estimates that at least 9,000 people have died in the conflict but that estimate is old and believed low by opposition groups.
On Monday, Syria is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections for 250 seats, state media said. The election comes after the nation adopted a new constitution that is said to allow political parties to compete with the ruling Baath Party.
Sentencing scheduled after failed 'stand your ground' defense
A woman whose lawyer unsuccessfully argued that Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law exonerates her in a 2010 incident in which she fired a bullet into a ceiling is scheduled to be sentenced to prison on Friday.
Marissa Alexander is expected to receive a mandatory 20-year sentence after being found guilty of three counts of aggravated assault. She claims she fired a warning shot that hit no one during a quarrel with her husband, and her attorneys unsuccessfully used the "stand your ground" law as a defense. The law has been under scrutiny since an incident not connected to the Alexander case: the February shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin.
Fortune 500 announced
Fortune magazine will release on Monday its annual list of the 500 largest companies in the United States. The Fortune 500 are ranked according to revenue, not other measures such as profits or market capitalization. The top five on the magazine's 2011 list were, in order, Wal-Mart Stores, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Fannie Mae. A lot has happened in the economy in the past year, so the top 10 could change; the full list changes every year.
Lol, bc (iah) ©!
Lugar hasn't done anything for Indiana in •years•!
That being said, if •Pat Boone• endorses him, well.....
These austerity measures that the greek government adopted resulted in the loss of countless jobs, cuts in wages, benefits and pensions. Sounds like the way things could get here if things go wrong in November. My 401K got devastated in the first round. It's just now making a comeback. I sure don't want to see that again.
There once was a lady who was very concerned about her missing parrot.
Not knowing what to do, she called 911. "You gotta help me find my parrot!"
The operator patiently replied, "We can't help you with that, ma'am. This number only deals with emergencies."
However, the lady persisted, and then the operator told her not to be concerned, that the parrot should fly back in a few days.
Then, out of desperation, the lady begged, "But you don't understand! The only thing he says is 'Here, kitty, kitty'!!!"
Now that's funny. I don't care who you are.
That one earned you two....and a "here, kitty kitty"!
Sarkozy had disappointed the french both on domestic and foreign policy front, his fall was imminent.
Lessons to be learned by the two ruling parties here at home
Thanks pal @bobcat.
Roflmmfao! Omg that was awesome!
Hello chrissy. Long time no see. How is your son doing ?
Hey bobcat so glad to see you to. Hes not my son, hes my *adopted*grandson, you know the ones i always babysit. He was shot weds nite in his sleep. They moved him out of intensive care today, hes much better thank you.
I'm sorry. I misunderstood. But I'm glad to hear he's doing better.
Did I read that right, chrissy? He was shot?? I'm sorry to hear that, but glad he will be alright. How old is he?
thank you me too, lol i will never complain about SBSP again lmao! I just wish they would find some kinda clue who did it.
Hi raven yea you heard right. He just turned l2. It was a random shot out of 5 rounds that were fired. It went thru the side of their house.
Omg, I will keep you and your family in my thoughts. I can't even imagine.
Yeah, I remember a similar case where someone fired a shot from outside a house killing a little 8 yr old girl... unfortunately she died. Glad to hear your grandson made it.
Good nite all
I know, and its becomming more and more routine lately. Im seriously considering moving. Its gonna be so hard though because these people have become my family. I cant tell you how many times ive slept on the floor in recent months.
Thank you mary, and im gonna say good night to you all too. And bobcat i dont care what cnn thinks your jokes are awesome.
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