Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
April 24th, 2011
08:27 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Is Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi losing ground to rebels? Opposition forces are boasting of progress in a port city where they've been besieged  for weeks, amid reports that Gadhafi's forces have withdrawn. Meanwhile, the eyes of millions are starting to turn to London, where the second in line to the British throne is about to get hitched, and the Vatican, where the Catholic Church is moving the pope's immediate predecessor one step closer to sainthood.  Here is a look at these stories and some of the others that CNN plans to follow this week:

Shelling continues in Libya's Misrata after forces' reported withdrawal

The hours ahead may yield key information in the battle for Misrata, a Libyan port city where some of the most prolonged fighting in the country's two-month uprising has taken place. Gadhafi's government has said its forces have suspended operations in the city to make room for tribal leaders to negotiate with or fight against the rebels. A rebel spokesman, though, says the opposition has regained control of the city center and that the government is just trying to disguise its defeat.

Despite the reported withdrawal, medical sources in Misrata say remnants of Gadhafi's forces continue to fight, with 11 people recently killed and 50 injured. Hundreds have been killed in the battle for Misrata, one of the cities that have been contested since a rebel uprising against Gadhafi began in February.

Meanwhile, the first U.S. Predator drone airstrike in Libya - part of NATO forces charged with preventing attacks on civilian population centers under a U.N. Security Council resolution - happened over the weekend. NATO said drone strikes took out a rocket launcher used by Gadhafi's forces in the Misrata area.

The marriage of Prince William, Kate Middleton

You may have heard about a certain royal wedding happening in London on Friday. About 1,900 people have been invited to Westminster Abbey for Friday morning's wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton. Millions more will line the route between the abbey and Buckingham Palace or sit in front of televisions around the world to the catch the pageantry.

You can watch the event on CNN from 2 to 10 a.m. ET, including the royal family's arrival; the hourlong service in the centuries-old abbey; music from two choirs and the London Chamber Orchestra; a horse-drawn carriage procession from the abbey to Buckingham Palace; an appearance by the newly wedded couple on the palace's balcony. The ceremony itself is scheduled to start at 6 a.m. ET. While you're waiting, find out why the wedding matters to the British, and why even people outside the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth might find great cheer in it.

Chernobyl disaster, 25 years later

Last month's post-tsunami nuclear accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant is considered the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. As crews try to mitigate Japan's accident, the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl is upon us.

People in towns and cities across Europe are expected to participate in candlelight vigils and demonstrations early this week to mark Tuesday's anniversary. As CNN's Matthew Chance reports, there still is considerable debate over how many people died, and how many are still dying, as a result of the 1986 disaster in Ukraine.

Beatification for Pope John Paul II

About 2 million people are expected to go to the Vatican this coming weekend for the beatification of Pope John Paul II - a key step to sainthood for the former pontiff. Several days of ceremonies in Rome will be highlighted by a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday.

The Vatican announced in January that John Paul II, who died in 2005 after more than a quarter-century as head of the Catholic Church, would be beatified this year.

Endeavour set for final launch; Rep. Giffords may attend

U.S. President Barack Obama and his family are expected to attend the final launch of space shuttle Endeavour, scheduled for Friday at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. One other spectator of note might be U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

If doctors allow, Giffords, wounded in a January assassination attempt, could pause her rehabilitation in Houston to see the launch of Endeavour, which is commanded by her husband, Mark Kelly.

Endeavour's last mission is to deliver communications antennas and other equipment to the international space station. It is NASA's next-to-last scheduled shuttle launch, with the space agency retiring the whole fleet later this year.

Giffords, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, is not expected to meet with the news media or make a public statement at Kennedy Space Center if she does attend the launch.

Kelly, who has flown in a shuttle three times, will lead a crew of four other Americans and one astronaut from the European Space Agency. Kelly resumed training with his team in February after being by his wife's side in medical centers following the January 8 shootings that killed six people and wounded 13 in Tuscon, Arizona.

NFL Draft begins Thursday

The National Football League has locked out its players, but that won't stop teams from drafting new ones. The NFL Draft will happen Thursday through Saturday. SI.com’s Peter King previews the draft, taking a look at the needs and possibilities for each team.

- CNN's Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

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soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. ole lady

    been up all night fartin'. ate too many of those damn easter eggs with the grand kids. smells like a sulphur factory in here. phew...

    April 25, 2011 at 4:18 am | Report abuse |
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