As an uprising in Libya approaches the start of its fourth week, the stage appears set for more bloody battles as pro-government and opposition forces grapple for key cities along the Mediterranean Sea. Here is a look at this and some of the other stories CNN plans to follow this week:
Libyan government and opposition in battle for territory, minds
Sunday - a day of heavy fighting in some areas of Libya - witnessed a bizarre clash of claims from both sides, with the opposition saying it had repelled attacks from pro-government troops¬†in places such as the key¬†north-central Libyan¬†city of Misrata, where 42 were said to have¬†been killed¬†in fighting on¬†Sunday, while a pro-government rally in Tripoli celebrated what participants said were government victories in the same cities.
Opposition forces, said to be bolstered by weapon caches¬†previously under the Libyan government's control, are seeking the ouster of Libyan leader Moammar¬†Gadhafi after his nearly 42-year rule. It's¬†the kind of revolution that was seen in neighboring Tunisia and Egypt, but unlike in those countries, the uprising has turned into warfare. Death toll estimates range from more than 1,000 to as many as 2,000, and the international community has been pondering strategies on how to end the violence and remove the Gadhafi regime. Meanwhile, a¬†council in¬†Libya's second-largest city, opposition-held Benghazi, says it is the country's sole legitimate representative and will stay in Benghazi until Tripoli is out of Gadhafi's grasp.
Libya is one of the countries in Africa and the Middle East¬†hit by unrest in the past couple of¬†months. Read more details on the situations in the other nations.
U.N. sending more troops to Ivory Coast as violence escalates
The United Nations says it's planning to send 2,000 more troops¬†to its peacekeeping mission in the Ivory Coast because of escalating violence stoked by a disputed presidential election. Last week, at least six women were fatally shot in Abidjan while protesting the refusal of the incumbent leader, Laurent Gbagbo, to step down. The United Nations says about 365 people have been killed since December in violence between supporters of Gbagbo¬†and his challenger, Alassane¬†Ouattara, whom the¬†U.N. says defeated Gbagbo in November's election. World leaders are concerned that the standoff will cause a civil war like one that ravaged¬†the country in 2002.
House panel to start hearings on radicalization of American Muslims
A¬†U.S. House committee on Thursday is due to start a series of hearings on the radicalization of American Muslims, a topic that has alarmed many U.S.¬†adherents of Islam. The House Homeland Security Committee's chairman, Republican Rep. Peter King of New York,¬†says radicalization in a small minority of American Muslims poses a threat to the United States, and that the threat needs to be explored. The hearings have¬†persuaded some U.S. Muslims to lobby Washington, trying to counter what they call a rising tide of Islamophobia.
Florida, Ohio budget battles will top¬†governors' state-of-the-state speeches
While Tuesday will bring exuberant indulgence in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, temperance and sacrifice will be the motto in Florida and Ohio.¬†Govs. Rick Scott and John Kasich¬†likely will try to¬†sober up the masses when they address¬†their states'¬†budget deficits during their state-of-the-state¬†speeches Tuesday. Just how daunting a¬†budget task do they¬†face compared to their 48 peers? Click here to see a chart listing states' projected 2012 budget deficits. The chart also lists the number of public employees who collectively bargain in those states, something¬†that's been¬†in the crosshairs of many a GOP governor. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has threatened to lay off some state workers if lawmakers don't pass a budget that¬†¬†would¬†limit collective bargaining for public employees.¬†¬†
Australian prime minister visits United States
U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday will welcome Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard¬†to Washington for the first time since she was elected in June. Gillard is due to address a joint session of Congress, and¬†she and Obama will¬†discuss "shared¬†political and economic interests in the Asia-Pacific region" and the countries' work together around the world, including in Afghanistan, according to a White House press release.
NFL,¬†players' union get another week to avoid lockout
The National Football League and its players' union now have until midnight Friday to get a new labor deal and avoid a possible lockout. The current¬†labor deal was to expire last week, but negotiators agreed to¬†extend collective bargaining negotiations. If the¬†new deadline holds¬†and a new deal isn't struck, team owners¬†could choose to lock out their players¬†and the union could decertify, allowing the players to sue the league under antitrust laws.
Potential GOP presidential candidates head to Iowa
Five potential candidates for the GOP presidential nomination will be in Iowa, the first caucus state for presidential primaries, for a¬†"presidential forum" held by the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition. Former¬†Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum¬†of Pennsylvania, former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer¬†and¬†businessman Herman Cain will be at the event to make a 10-minute pitch on "their vision as the voters of Iowa begin the process of making their decisions," according to the coalition's website. Meanwhile, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, who also may be considering a run for the White House, also will¬†be in¬†Iowa on Monday to meet with Republican party officials, organizers and potential sources of campaign money.
Shuttle Discovery due to make last return from space
NASA's space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to make its final return from space on Wednesday. ¬†The shuttle, which is being retired with the rest of the shuttle fleet, is due to touch down at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. The nearly three-decade shuttle program is scheduled to end later this year.
CNN Freedom Project¬†spotlights modern-day slavery
Monday will see the launch of the CNN Freedom Project, which¬†aims to shine a light on the horrors of modern-day slavery. Check CNN.com¬†for¬†stories amplifying the voices of the victims, highlighting successes and helping unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life.
- CNN's Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.