May 1st, 2011
08:14 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

People in areas devastated by tornadoes in the southeast United States last week still are looking for hundreds of missing people as they try to reconstruct their lives and communities.  Here is a look at this and other stories that CNN plans to follow this week:

Hundreds missing in Tuscaloosa alone

About 148 twisters Wednesday left a swath of destruction across 13 states, killing more than 335 people in six states, including 250 people in Alabama alone.

Rescuers and volunteers have descended on the region, including in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where the mayor says hundreds of people remain unaccounted for and many more have been left homeless. At least 39 people were killed in Tuscaloosa, a university city struck by a massive tornado Wednesday.

Amazing stories of survival are coming in, as are reminders that the numerous flattened communities have a long road of recovery ahead: Nearly a half million customers in Alabama still were without power on Sunday.

Levee battle: Flood rural Missouri or risk losing Illinois city?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could soon blow up a levee on the swollen Mississippi River in an effort to save the small Illinois city of Cairo from an apparently imminent flood. But the move to ease the pressure on Cairo would flood Missouri farm communities instead, and Missouri officials on Sunday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the move.

As of 3 p.m. CT Sunday, the gauge at Cairo - where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi River - stood at 59.97 feet, a record level. Flood stage is 40 feet, according to the National Weather Service. Barges containing explosives have been moved from Kentucky to the Birds Point-New Madrid levee - a sign to residents that the breach is imminent.

The move would flooding 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland but save Cairo, a city of about 2,800, and ease pressure on the entire Mississippi River and Tributaries Project. About 90 families who live in the farmland area have already been evacuated, Missouri officials have said.

Engineers have warned that should the rising waters of the Mississippi River overwhelm the entire flood control project, it could deluge cities, destroy crops, destroy businesses and paralyze river transportation. The injunction request has been assigned to Justice Samuel Alito, according to the U.S. Supreme Court's website.

Libyan government's forces pounding rebel positions

Forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi have stepped up their shelling of rebel positions in Benghazi and Misrata after the government claimed one of Gadhafi's sons was killed in a NATO airstrike.

An eyewitness reported significant damage and some casualties in Misrata, a city that has been contested since a rebel uprising against Gadhafi began in February.

The Libyan government said Sunday that Gadhafi's son, Saif al-Arab Gadhafi, and three of Gadhafi's grandchildren died Saturday in a strike that destroyed the son's home in Tripoli; CNN could not independently confirm the report. NATO began bombarding Libya on March 19, after the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution authorizing any means necessary to protect civilians demanding the end of Gadhafi's nearly 42-year rule.

Prince Charles goes to Washington

It's been an eventful few days for the United Kingdom's Prince Charles. Last week he saw his son married in a small family affair that you may have heard about. On Tuesday, he'll be in Washington to kick off a three-day visit to the United States. In Washington, he'll meet with President Barack Obama and keynote a conference on sustainable agriculture. He'll also make stops in New York and Philadelphia later in the week.

Endeavour crew in waiting mode

NASA this week will be addressing a power problem that stopped plans to launch space shuttle Endeavour last week and this Monday.

The shuttle - which is about to embark on its final mission - will not launch any earlier than May 8, NASA said. Endeavour's final launch was delayed Friday because of concerns about the shuttle's heating system. A subsequent plan to launch Monday also was scrapped.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords - the wife of Endeavour commander Mark Kelly - is expected to pause her rehabilitation in Houston to see the launch. Giffords, who was shot in the head in a January assassination attempt in Arizona, went to Florida for the expected launch last week but returned to Houston on Sunday because of the delays.

This is NASA's next-to-last scheduled shuttle launch, with the space agency retiring the whole fleet later this year.

Congress expected to talk gas prices, debt ceiling upon return

The U.S. Congress returns to work this week after a two-week break. Reacting to rising gas prices, legislators have signaled that they'll take up energy-related legislation. House Republicans plan this week to vote to increase oil drilling in the United States, and Senate Democrats say they'll take up legislation that would end taxpayer subsidies to oil companies - money that Democrats say would be better used to develop energy alternatives.

Lawmakers also are expected to continue discussing the nation's debt ceiling. U.S. debt is expected to hit the country's $14.3 trillion ceiling this month, though congressional leaders say the Treasury can take steps to put off the deadline until early July. Congressional Republicans have been saying for weeks that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without conditions controlling federal spending.

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soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Joey

    @ Trolling Stones:
    They also gave us Dame Myra Hess, the Roux Bros. restaurants in London, and the Cullinan Diamonds..

    May 1, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. leeintulsa

    WE GOT BIN LADEN! No drone, bullet in the head

    May 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey

    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy!

    May 1, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey

    See? I tolja we'd never get Bin Laden if Obama got DADT repealed.

    May 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sheena Charles

    Bin Laden is DEAD DEAD DEAD!! Bang bang bullet to the head!!!

    May 2, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sheena Charles

    Now let's get Gadafi!!

    May 2, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. popeye

    Let's have a gay parade of drag queens! I will lead.

    May 2, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  8. Chief Ten-Bear

    I guess CNN never saw the news of Bin Laden's apprehension-death (what else do we call it?) coming down the road.
    That says something for our intelligence people who usually have their mistakes shown to the world on a higher profile than their successes. They were able to keep a lid on this. Good business practice, that.
    Look for stocks to go up this week on this news.
    Now I suppose we'll have another earthquake or something. We just got done with some tornadoes. The world is a big place but too small for people to live in conflict. Just a thin bit of air protects us from the vacuum of space. Maybe we'll see a big meteorite strike.

    May 2, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |

    obama is WINNING!.... not..

    May 2, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. James

    Listen closely to an Inception dvd made before the January 8th shooting in Tucson, especially during the dialogue, "Do It."

    May 2, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    I would rather have seen a federal judge issue an indictment, an arrest made, and a trial conducted than a simple "kill him now" order from the Commander in Chief. That's just me though. "If you love what America has become, you never really knew her." Our sense of justice has gone down the tubes right along with our sense of morality. Who could argue that.

    May 2, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |

      Quite true Philip,quite true. This country truly lost it's sense of morality as evidenced by the reaction of the American public to the brutal murder of Usama bin Laden which is quite repulsive.

      May 2, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy

    I'm not pretending to know exactly what Mr. President's orders were, but I am sure that if ObL could have been taken alive and tried for his crimes against humanity, he would have. I'd have much preferred the outcome to be this way; however, I also prefer ObL's death over his being free to plot even more deaths. If it gives the families of 9/11 closure, then that's good, too.

    May 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Philip

    banasy...President Obama has already stated he gave the 'shoot to kill' order. And I don't prefer the death of anyone until they've had their day in court. We tried just doing the "wanted:dead or alive" back in the old west. It didn't work, so we changed it...or I thought we did anyway.

    May 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    @RUFFNUTT...nice try but no cigar. Any moron can see that I was referring to the lack of justice when you just kill someone instead of arresting and convicting them. This mirrors our rapidly decaying sense of moral values. jerk

    May 3, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. countryboy

    God bless America! http://WWW.CDBABY.COM/ALL/NUMONE bye now!

    May 3, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
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