Ahead of the Curve: The next 7 days
October 31st, 2010
07:18 PM ET

Ahead of the Curve: The next 7 days

Here's a look at some of the stories we plan to follow this week:

Who will control the House and Senate?

The moment of truth is approaching for America's two main political parties, which will learn through Tuesday's midterm elections whether Democrats will retain control of the U.S. House and Senate. Republicans would need to gain 39 House seats to control that chamber, and 10 seats in the Senate to take the majority there. All 435 House seats are up for election, as are 37 of the 100 Senate seats.

Thirty-seven governorships and numerous statewide ballot measures also will be decided. Visit our Election Center to get caught up with the basics on what is at stake, see where the pre-election polls stand, explore the issues and to watch the results as they come in.

Also, take a look at our iReport Election Project, a series of mobile iReport challenges related to the elections. For this week's challenge, we invite you to share your voting experience with us. Participants could be featured on CNN.

Hurricane Tomas could threaten Haiti

Forecasters say Hurricane Tomas could threaten Haiti and the Dominican Republic late this week. The Category 1 storm was churning in the eastern Caribbean Sea on Sunday after hitting the island of St. Vincent, where Tomas injured two people. Forecasters say Tomas could weaken and temporarily lose hurricane status as it heads west, but by the end of the week, it could become a Category 2 hurricane and turn toward Haiti, which still is recovering from a devastating January earthquake and is dealing with a cholera outbreak.

Fed may pump more money into economy

The Federal Reserve has been hinting that it could again try to stimulate economic growth by purchasing government bonds. An announcement on such a move to pump more money into the economy would be made Wednesday after a two-day Fed policy meeting. The theory behind the move is that it would further drive down interest rates and encourage businesses and consumers to borrow and spend more, CNNMoney.com's Chris Isidore wrote last week. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the Fed will do whatever it takes to boost economic growth.

Wall Street will be keeping an eye on a slew of economic reports, including unemployment data for October and a monthly tally of car and truck sales. Earnings are expected this week from Pfizer, BP, Starbucks and Time Warner, which is the parent company of CNN.

Discovery's last launch set for this week

This week could mark the last time we see a liftoff of the space shuttle Discovery. The shuttle, set for a Wednesday launch, is to send a crew of six astronauts to the international space station on an 11-day mission.

The mission is the final one scheduled for Discovery, with NASA bringing the shuttle program to a close.  The shuttle Endeavour is set to launch February 26, and Congress passed a bill this month authorizing another, final space shuttle mission.

Will you be at the launch? CNN iReport invites you to document the event.

Jury selection to begin in Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case

More than eight years after Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart disappeared from her family's home, the man authorities say masterminded her kidnapping is set to stand trial. Jury selection is expected to begin Monday in the trial of Brian David Mitchell, who is accused of snatching Utah teenager Elizabeth Smart at knifepoint  in 2002. Smart, who authorities say was found in Mitchell's company in March 2003, is on the prosecution's witness list.

Trial for U.S. hikers scheduled to start

The trial of two American hikers held by Iran for more than a year is scheduled to begin Saturday. Josh Fatal, Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were arrested after - according to Iran - they crossed from Iraq’s Kurdistan region into Iran in July 2009. Shourd was released on bail due to a medical condition in September and is back in the United States. The hikers described themselves as tourists; Tehran contends they are spies.

Marijuana and the body

On Monday, a day before Californians vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana use, CNN.com’s health section will take a look at the medical effects of pot.

Belief blog

In light of sexual coercion allegations against Atlanta pastor Eddie Long, a different Christian pastor ponders why clergy appear to be so prone to scandal. On CNN's belief blog on Tuesday, this pastor will argue that the problem lies in religious leaders who purport to speak for God, as opposed to speak about God.

On the same blog on Friday, Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight Schrute on "The Office," will discuss his new book, SoulPancake. He explains that "my journey as an artist went hand in hand with my spiritual journey."

Conan's sneak preview; World Series wraps up

Conan O'Brien's new show on TBS doesn't officially launch until November 8, but he'll be getting warmed up on Monday night with a sneak preview. According to a TBS news release, he’ll be live-streaming "Show Zero" on Facebook, YouTube and TeamCoco.com at 11 p.m. ET. The show has been mum on the guest list and other details. Check out CNN.com's entertainment section for more details as they become available.

Major League Baseball should crown its 2010 champion this week. The San Francisco Giants enter Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday night with a lead of two games to one over the Texas Rangers. Game 5 is scheduled for Monday in Texas, and Games 6 and 7, if necessary, would be played on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Monopoly turns 75

Parker Brothers’ version of the ubiquitous board game Monopoly turns 75 this year, and it’s still going strong.  We’re marking the anniversary with a trip to the Massachusetts facility that prints the game boards and molds the iconic playing pieces, and we’re looking at what’s next for the franchise. Look for this on CNN.com on Friday.

Rewind to last week

That was the look ahead. Now, here's a look at some of the stories CNN covered in the past seven days:

Misthaki Pierre cries Friday after the burial of his mother, Serette Pierre, who recently died of cholera in Haiti.


A Florida teenager made famous for her extensive bout with hiccups faces first-degree murder charges after meeting a man online and allegedly luring him to a vacant home, where he was robbed of between $50 and $60 and killed, police said. Jennifer Mee, 19, was arrested and charged hours after Shannon Griffin was found dead. In 2007, Mee's nonstop hiccups gained national attention. She earned the nickname "Hiccup Girl" and appeared multiple times on NBC's "Today" show.

Relatives of the U.S. swim star who died the previous weekend during a race in the United Arab Emirates mourned Monday as they tried to get answers to questions surrounding his death. Fran Crippen, 26, died two days earlier during the last leg of the Marathon Swimming World Cup.


Relief organizations were struggling to reach people affected by a 7.7-magnitude earthquake in Indonesia that triggered a tsunami. By Sunday, the death toll had risen to 449.

Police took actor Charlie Sheen to a hospital early Tuesday after responding to a call at New York's Plaza Hotel concerning "an emotionally disturbed person," a law enforcement source said. Later in the week, a porn actress who was with Sheen in the hotel said she wants to persuade Colorado authorities to revoke his probation on a Colorado assault conviction  because of the incident. Sheen's representative blamed an "adverse allergic reaction" to a medication for the hospitalization.


A Somali militant group publicly executed two teenage girls Wednesday after accusing them of being spies for the Somali government, according to the group, eyewitnesses and a relative of one of the girls.

A prosthetic leg thought to be that of missing 10-year-old Zahra Baker was found in a brushy area off a North Carolina road, Chief Tom Adkins of the Hickory, North Carolina, Police said Wednesday. Police launched a search for Zahra on October 9, but no one other than a family member has reported seeing her since September 25, when a woman saw her at a furniture store. The girl's disappearance is now being probed as a homicide.

President Obama gently sparred with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" in the final run-up to the midterm elections, after the comedian called his legislative progress "timid."

A New York City couple is suing the city for emotional distress over the handling of their son's remains. Two months after his 2005 funeral, the family says, his high school classmates said they saw a jar with a brain in it during a field trip to the morgue. The jar was labeled with the teen's name, the classmates said.


U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Florida, says he won't drop out of a three-way race for a U.S. Senate seat in that state, despite reports that former President Bill Clinton tried to persuade him to do so. Meek denied those reports and said that one of his opponents, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican-turned-independent, tried to talk him into quitting so he would have a better shot at beating Republican Marco Rubio. Polling showed Meek running in third.


Authorities in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates intercept packages bound for Jewish organizations in the United States that contained a massive amount of explosive material that would have triggered a powerful blast.  U.S. officials believe that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was behind the plot.


Assisted by a colorful cast of characters, Comedy Central funny men Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held a raucous  "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on the National Mall Saturday in typical fashion before a cheering throng of supporters. Stewart and Colbert staged a mock battle, with Stewart supporting peace and sanity and Colbert sarcastically promoting fear before a crowd that stretched nearly the length of the mall, most of the distance between the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

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soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Gilbert

    Thank you Jason, film at 11. In other news...

    November 1, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
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