March 20th, 2011
11:37 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

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

Arab League sending mixed signals about air strikes in Libya

After an international military coalition began implementing a no-fly zone over Libya and pounding Libyan air defenses over the weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama and his national security team has been trying to shore up support for the operation among Arab governments. The Arab League, which earlier this month asked the United Nations to authorize a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians during the country's civil war, has been sending mixed signals about its current stance, with Secretary-General Amre Moussa reportedly saying Sunday that the operation is different from what was intended. U.S. officials, including Obama himself, are calling Arab governments, insisting that the coalition's actions - including air strikes on air-defense targets to ensure pilots can enforce the no-fly zone safely - are necessary and fall under the authorization of a U.N. resolution that passed last week.

Libyan rebels had called on international action to help them stave off assaults by Libyan government forces on their positions in Benghazi and other enclaves. The coalition's intervention, which started Saturday, comes two days after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution authorizing the use of force, including a no-fly zone, to "protect civilians and civilian populated areas" from government attack.

To get a feel for what may lie ahead in Libya, watch this review of the first two days of the coalition's air strikes, and read this report, and this column by CNN senior political analyst David Gergen, on what the coalition's endgame might be.

Protests continue in parts of Middle East

Libya was one country caught in a wave of anti-government protests that hit some North African and Middle Eastern nations earlier this year. Protests - and clashes between demonstrators and security forces - continue in some of these countries. In Syria,  witnesses said one person died Sunday in clashes in the southern Syrian city of Daraa - bringing the number of deaths in Daraa since Friday to five, according to witnesses. In Yemen, President Ali Abdullah Saleh dismissed his Cabinet on Sunday, according to a spokesman for the country's ruling party, after a government crackdown on protesters left 52 people dead last week. Check this page for a roundup of the unrest in the region.

Gates, Obama on trips abroad

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates this week will be in Moscow, Cairo and Jerusalem, to meet with various leaders, with the situation in Libya expected to be one topic in focus.

In Moscow, Gates also is expected to discuss how Russia can assist with the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and how Russia and the United States can cooperate on missile defense.

U.S. President Barack Obama is in the middle of a five-day trip in Latin America. This week he'll be in Chile and El Salvador before returning home Wednesday night. His trip focuses on trade, but as he did in Brazil over the weekend, he'll likely address military action in Libya publicly.

Japan restricts some food products as it deals with nuclear plant, tsunami recovery

Crews are continuing efforts to cool reactors at Japan's distressed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where radiation levels spiked in the days following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in that country. Workers resumed spraying water at the damaged facility on Monday, according to Kyodo News, and the Japanese government has put restrictions on some food produced around the plant.

An expert has told CNN that the radiation levels found in food posed little or no health concerns. But the Japanese government nonetheless has banned the sale of raw milk from Fukushima Prefecture, where the Fukushima Daiichi plant is located, and prohibited the sale of spinach from neighboring Ibaraki Prefecture after finding levels of radioactive iodine and cesium higher than government standards, the country's Health Ministry reported. And officials in Fukushima halted the distribution of locally grown vegetables outside the prefecture.

The concerns about food may add an economic shock to the beating Japan has taken from the quake, which has so far left more than 23,000 dead, injured or missing.

Lohan to decide whether to accept plea deal by Wednesday

Actress Lindsay Lohan must decide by Wednesday whether she will accept a plea deal relating to a felony grand theft charge.

Los Angeles police began the theft investigation in January after a jewelry store owner alleged that the 24-year-old left the premises wearing a $2,500 necklace for which she had not paid. A judge has said that a plea deal would include jail time, but she could opt for a trial.

iReport assignment: The NCAA tourney and you

The NCAA men's basketball tournament, one of the biggest spectacles in American sports, is well under way, and CNN's iReport wants to hear from the people in the schools and communities involved.  In a short (one minute or less) video, show us your school and community pep rallies, celebrations, and viewing parties, and share the mood of students and supporters.

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Filed under: Ahead of the curve
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Cesar

    Lindsay Lohan is innocent. She borrowed the necklace.

    March 21, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      A clue for the next generation: 'Borrow'ing requires not only the owners knowledge that you have something, but their permission to keep it until a later time. If she had truly borrowed it, it never would have made the news.

      March 21, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  2. Morales

    Too bad Erin Brokovich cldn't help with a class action over the major CTA (cover their Az$es) that Tokyo electric is doing, BUT, I doubt the judicial system there allows for class action by the average Joe against such a powerful corporation.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar r

    Is that right morales.

    March 21, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. white

    is this the end? we did to are self-take a min out of ur day and hug a love one may GOD HAVE PITTY ON ALL OF US.Look at ur loveed ones is this what we want. to just kiss them good by. I LOVE U ALL

    March 21, 2011 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. #1 American

    For every action there is a reaction. We are moving ahead too fast for our own good. We arent ready for the technological advances coming our way. We are constantly tearing up the earth. What happens next?

    March 21, 2011 at 5:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Planet X

    Israel is becoming a nation.

    March 21, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    If Halliburton truly borrowed from African nations (rather than the customary and traditional bribe) it wouldn't even be on the news.

    March 21, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. 1608

    Halliburton & borrow
    Is like Sarah & smart.

    March 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cesar r

    @mohamad: Donde estas pinhe bruto joto way. Contesta me way. Say hi to your grandmother for me.

    March 21, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    hey phillip if ur still 2 ships passing lol anyway hello

    March 22, 2011 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |