Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
April 10th, 2011
07:27 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

U.S. lawmakers averted a partial shutdown of the federal government late last week by coming up with a deal that would fund spending for what's left of the 2011 fiscal year. This week, they're expected to pass that deal, but they'll have little time to exhale - fights over the U.S. debt limit and a budget for fiscal 2012 are ahead. Here is a look at this and some of the other stories CNN plans to follow this week:

Congress to pass 2011 spending deal; Obama to talk deficit reduction

The U.S. House and Senate have until Friday to pass a 2011 spending deal that the chambers' leaders struck late last week. The deal, which was agreed just an hour before a temporary funding measure was set to expire last Friday night, will cut $38.5 billion in spending for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends September 30. Full details of the spending cuts are expected to be released Monday.

To give aides time to put the deal in legislative language, Congress agreed to one more funding extension, which expires Friday.

Much of the 2011 battle hinged on disagreements between Republicans and Democrats over how deep and where to cut spending, with the country's debt at $14 trillion and rising. One of the next battles will be over raising the country's legal borrowing limit of $14.29 trillion, which the nation is expected to exceed next month. House Republicans have warned their support for raising the ceiling will require more austerity steps.

Lawmakers also will battle over the budget for fiscal 2012, which begins October 1. President Barack Obama is expected to introduce a plan for long-term deficit reduction this week. White House Senior Adviser David Plouffe has said the plan would address rising costs of Medicare and Medicaid, cut defense spending and raise revenue by ending tax breaks for people earning more than $250,000 a year.

Deal brewing to stop Libyan conflict?

A delegation from the African Union is expected to meet with Libyan rebels this week after Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi reportedly accepted terms of what would be an African Union-negotiated agreement aimed at ending Libya's conflict.

Gadhafi met with an African Union delegation Sunday night. Details of the agreement were not immediately available, but South African President Jacob Zuma said Gadhafi accepted the terms of a "road map" to end the Libyan conflict. Rebels are seeking to end Gadhafi's nearly 42-year rule, and an international coalition now led by NATO has been enforcing a no-fly zone and striking pro-Gadhafi forces and equipment by air, under a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force to protect civilians from attack.

The uprising in Libya came amid a wave of protests in North Africa and the Middle East and revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt.  Unrest continues in several of those countries, including Yemen and Syria.

Israel to Gaza: We'll stop attacks if you do

Last week's hostilities between Israel and militants in Gaza have spilled into this week, and Israel's defense minister said Sunday that Israel was willing to stop its attacks if the Palestinians stop firing into southern Israel.

The offer comes after a series of hostilities following a Hamas rocket attack on an Israeli bus that left a teenager critically wounded on Thursday. Israel responded with strikes on Gaza that reportedly has left at least 10 militants and eight civilians dead, with Israel saying it is targeting squads of terrorists and terror activity sites. Israel said 50 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel on Saturday alone, with no reports of injuries.

Battles continue in Ivory Coast

Fighting continues in Ivory Coast's economic capital, Abidjan, between forces of self-declared President Laurent Gbagbo and internationally recognized President Alassane Ouattara - and U.N. forces have joined part of the fight.

U.N. military helicopters Sunday pounded heavy weapons positions of fighters loyal to Gbagbo after those fighters were shelling the hotel where Ouattara is staying, U.N. officials said.

Violence erupted after Ivory Coast's disputed presidential election in November and escalated into all-out war when Ouattara's forces launched an offensive that brought them into Abidjan. The United Nations has a peacekeeping mission of about 7,500 troops in the country. The U.N. human rights office said Friday that its investigators found more than 100 bodies over 24 hours in three Ivory Coast towns.

Large pumps sent to Japan to help resolve nuclear plant crisis

Two of the world's largest concrete pumps are to arrive in Japan early this week as part of an effort to resolve a crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The devices will be used to pump water at high pressure, with a 230-foot reach, into damaged reactors and spent-fuel pools until normal circulation systems are restored.

Workers are trying to prevent the further release of radioactive material and keep nuclear fuel cool after a March 11 earthquake and tsunami that led to numerous explosions and the failure of the reactors' cooling systems.

France's burqa ban begins Monday

France's controversial ban on the wearing of Islamic veils such as burqas takes effect Monday.  A silent protest march against the policy is planned for Paris on Monday morning.

The ban pertains to the burqa, a full-body covering that includes a mesh over the face, and the niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an opening only for the eyes.

The hijab, which covers the hair and neck but not the face, and the chador, which covers the body but not the face, apparently are not banned by the law.

The law imposes a fine of 150 euros ($190). The person breaking the law can be asked to carry out public service duty as part of the punishment or as an alternative to the fine.

Forcing a woman to wear a niqab or a burqa is punishable by a year in prison and a 30,000 euro fine (about $43,400). Forcing a minor to do the same thing is punishable by two years in prison and 60,000 euro.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon last month defended the ban as being in keeping with national values, and French people backed the ban by a margin of more than four to one, the Pew Global Attitudes Project found in a survey last year. The law was passed in October but included a six-month period to inform people of the penalty before it went into effect.

NASA to announce destinations for space shuttles

On Tuesday, the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle launch, NASA is expected to announce the final destinations for the three retiring shuttles.

More than 20 museums and science centers have expressed interest in having the shuttles.  The last flight for one of the shuttles, Endeavour, is scheduled to begin April 29. Endeavour's launch will mark the next-to-last space shuttle flight before the fleet is retired.

- CNN's Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

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soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. OT 2

    Reported abuse of guest. #1 off topic #2 Harassment of bloggers #3 Intimidation of Bloggers #4 Interference of bloggers.

    April 11, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Nelson

    *points finger* HA! HA!

    April 11, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. YesWeDoCare

    Disclaimer *OT* (Off topic)

    Hello OT 2 not OT 2 (cesar),

    1. Who is guest?

    2. Everyone here are blog forum "commenters". So, who are these "bloggers" you claim are being abused? The CNN bloggers who write the blogs?

    I don't understand.

    James

    April 11, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. cesar

    Hmmmm

    April 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ANDRE HIMES

    The war which had been declare on blacks living in AMERICA and throughout AFRICA. including in the nation of IVORY COAST. The hiphop nation was summon against black america as well as those in africa by the white feminist and those whites who have a long history of embracing white supremacy and has contribute to the black holocaust,1968-2001.A new non human black america and black africa has arisen from both the hiphop and the antebellum nations and is based on sterotypical images of poverty stricken low class and criminally prone blacks and has replace the black human population.

    April 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. IKHAN

    @ Caesar
    Any woman who covers her head would be very welcome in Iran. And pray which countr is that the nuns belong to? Nuns in Muslim countries wear habits & head dress. No one objects. In case you were not aware there are thousands of churches & missions spread around in Muslim countries except in S.Arabia.
    If one travels or spends time in most Muslim countries one sees only a tiny fraction of women clad in 'Burqa'. I never saw any in countries like malaysia , indonesia or Turkey. Only in India or Pakistan you see some. And in big cities very rarely. Even in villages I have seen women working in the fields or going about their business without burqas or even covering their faces. Religion has nothing to do with it, its purely a matter of culture.
    Some orthodox Muslims may insist on their women wearing burqas but again they are a minority. Just as orthodox religious zealots of any faith would want their women to behave & dress in a certain manner.
    If a woman wants to cover her head or choses to be covered from head to foot, its fine with me.
    And oh! @ Ceasar, you wouldn't want to see me naked.

    April 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cesar

    @IKHAN: Oh.

    April 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony the Prophet

    2013 the earth will be troubled by the sun active mega explosions releasing flairs with the power of 500000 nuclear bursts of energy direct at the earth, reaching the earth atmosphere thence stretching it and pooling it and transmitting massive energy to the tectonic plates causing earthquakes all over the earth, fires and total obliteration of anything. The is no place where one is safe death is unavoidable.

    April 11, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
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