Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
June 12th, 2011
07:25 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Eastern Arizona residents face serious health hazards as some of them return home days after a wildfire that continues to burn. Heavy smoke has permeated communities around the blaze, prompting New Mexico health and environment officials to issue warnings. Here's a look at this and some of the other stories we plan to follow this week:

Arizona fire enters third week

As firefighters continue battling a massive wildfire in eastern Arizona, authorities expect thousands to return home after a mandatory evacuation order was lifted.

"After consulting with fire officials, it has been determined that the fire risk has diminished enough that it will no longer be a threat to the citizens of the towns," said Cmdr. Webb Hogle of the Apache County Sheriff's Office.

But he said smoke from the wildfire "still poses serious health hazards" in Springerville, Eagar and South Fork. "If they return, they do so at their own risk," he added.

The fire broke out May 29 in the Apache National Forest and was less than 6% controlled, fire officials said over the weekend.

‘WeinerGate’: Will he stay or will he go?

Calls for U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner to leave office are expected to intensify this week as more revelations about the sexting and explicit photos scandal come to light: On Sunday, TMZ published photos of Weiner in various states of undress that he apparently took of himself in a locker room.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Sunday that Weiner should consider resigning. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued a statement Saturday calling for Weiner's resignation. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also called for him to step down Saturday.

CNN to host GOP debate in New Hampshire

Will Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s third bid for the White House be the charm? Can Michele Bachmann rise above the ranks? With the 2012 election a little less than a year and a half away, there are still prominent Republicans who have yet to make a decision on whether they'll make a run for the White House but other contenders have been running for months.

Call it the G(OP)7. CNN will hold the first Republican presidential debate in the critical early voting state of New Hampshire at 8 p.m. ET Monday.

Check out the Webby Awards

The Webby Awards ceremony will be held Monday at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. It will be up to host Lisa Kudrow to keep the winners within the awards’ patented five-word acceptance speech (Example: “Hey, is this thing on?”).

Now in its 15th year, the Webbys are the Internet's most widely recognized honors for websites, online music and videos, mobile technology and interactive advertising.

CNN, which was nominated in five categories, won in the video remixes/mashups category with "Walk Around the World," an interactive feature in which CNN.com asked readers to share a one-minute video of themselves walking.

Mideast, North Africa violence expected to continue

NATO said in a statement Sunday that anti-Gadhafi sentiment "is increasing in Libya as a growing number of Libyans demand the right to choose their own future." Citizens were openly challenging Col. Moammar Gadhafi's legitimacy along the nation's northwest coast between Tripoli and the Tunisian border, it said.

In Syria, an end to the bloodshed was nowhere in sight as Syrian forces surged into a northwestern city Sunday.

In a statement released Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Syria's force against civilians: "The Syrian authorities have an obligation to protect their people and respect their rights. The use of military force against civilians is unacceptable."

In Bahrain, protests in the small, strategically important Gulf kingdom were expected to continue as part of the Arab Spring demonstrations.

At least two former Bahraini opposition lawmakers went on trial Sunday, as a military court sentenced a 20-year-old poet to a year in prison.

Obama bound for Puerto Rico

A mass demonstration on Puerto Rico's status  is planned for Tuesday  when President Barack Obama visits the U.S. commonwealth.

Nonetheless, Puerto Rico Gov. Luis G. Fortuño, in a statement released in May, expressed gratitude for the presidential visit.  "Since the beginning of my administration, we have been working in close collaboration with the president and his administration to make this historic visit a reality," said Fortuño.

The rally, by the June 14th Coordinating Committee, is to take place in San Juan.

Full Pentagon Papers to be released

On Monday, the federal government will release in full the Pentagon Papers, the secret government study of the Vietnam War.

While redacted and edited versions of the papers have been published before, most notably in The New York Times and other newspapers, this will be the first time the documents see the light of day in their complete form.

In 1971,  Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon official, leaked the papers, officially titled "United States-Viet Nam Relations, 1945-1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense," revealing that the government had lied to Congress and the American public about the progress of the war.

Protests expected in release of officer in BART shooting

A former transit police officer convicted last year in the shooting death of an unarmed man on an Oakland, California, train platform will be freed from prison early Monday, according to a court order.

Johannes Mehserle was sentenced to two years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Year's Day 2009, but Mehserle will be released early. Technically he could be free to walk out of prison just after midnight Sunday, Los Angeles Superior Court Robert Perry said in an order signed Friday.

Business owners are boarding up stores in Oakland in anticipation of riots linked to Mehserle's early release from jail, according to CNN affiliate KTVU.

Post by:
Filed under: Ahead of the curve • Barack Obama • Politics • Weather
Gotta Watch: O.J. Simpson saga
O.J. Simpson went from popular former football hero to tarnished athlete when he was accused of murdering his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman.
June 12th, 2011
02:49 PM ET

Gotta Watch: O.J. Simpson saga

The O.J. Simson saga was a story so riveting, it was dubbed it the crime of the century. It marked a meteoric fall from grace for a national superstar while dividing a nation among racial lines. It all began June 12, 1994, when the bodies of Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of football legend O.J. Simpson, and a man named Ronald Goldman, were discovered outside her Brentwood, California, home. The nation and media became obsessed with every detail of the murders and trial. Watch how this tale of murder and celebrity became such a huge part of popular culture.

Post by:
Filed under: Celebrity • Crime • Football • Gotta Watch • Media • Pro football • Showbiz • Sports
Shelling and shooting - Syrian military faces off against opposition
Syrian mourners attend a funeral service for an anti-regime protester Saturday on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkey border.
June 12th, 2011
11:52 AM ET

Shelling and shooting - Syrian military faces off against opposition

About 200 military vehicles stormed the Syrian town of Jisr al-Shugur on Sunday as helicopters armed with machine guns hovered, local activists said. Heavy shelling also fell in the northwestern town, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria.

Syrian state television reported Sunday that military units have entered Jisr al-Shugur to "cleanse the national hospital from the elements of the armed gangs after disabling the explosives and the various TNT devices that these gangs planted on the bridges and roads." The state-run network reported that authorities in the town had found a mass grave containing members of security forces who were killed by "armed gangs."

Explainer: How will the Syrian crisis unfold?

Are you in Syria? Share your stories, photos or videos with iReport.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Syria
Votes being counted in historic Turkish election
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party are expected to do well in Sunday's election.
June 12th, 2011
11:43 AM ET

Votes being counted in historic Turkish election

Officials in Turkey began tallying votes in potentially crucial parliamentary elections after polls closed Sunday, and partial results were expected later in the day.

Fifteen parties are competing, as well as more than 200 independent candidates, for 550 seats in Turkey's next Parliament.

Polls suggest there is little doubt that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his electoral powerhouse Justice and Development Party (AKP) will win a third term. They are running against a splintered opposition of secularists, leftists, Kurdish nationalists and Turkish ultranationalists.

Erdogan and the AKP first swept to power in 2002 after the party won 34% of the vote. The victory brought an end to years of weak and crisis-prone coalition governments. The party won a much stronger mandate in 2007 parliamentary elections when it captured 47% of the vote.

Erdogan ran his campaign largely focused on his government's years of economic stability and prosperity. Turkey went from double-digit inflation and a debilitating banking crisis in 2001 to an 8.9% economic growth rate in 2010. A recent Pew poll shows six in 10 Turks surveyed "have a lot or some confidence in Erdogan to do the right thing in world affairs."

Post by: ,
Filed under: Turkey
First photos of Gabby Giffords posted on her Facebook page
This is the first up-close photo released showing Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords since she was shot in the head in early January. Two images of her were posted on her Facebook page Sunday.
June 12th, 2011
07:53 AM ET

First photos of Gabby Giffords posted on her Facebook page

The first photographs of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords since she was shot in the head in January have been made public. Two images were posted on her Facebook page early Sunday, both showing the congresswoman outside and smiling, wearing glasses, with her hair shorn short. One of them shows her sitting with an unidentified woman. The is the first glimpse the public has had of the injured lawmaker since late April, when a blurry photo snapped from far away captured her boarding a plane to Florida to watch her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, prepare for a space flight.

For several months, Giffords has been receiving treatment at a Houston rehabilitation center.

Six people were killed and 13 people were injured on January 8 when a gunman opened fire at a Tucson, Arizona, political event that Giffords was hosting outside a grocery store. Suspect Jared Lee Loughner has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the shooting, and a judge has ruled him mentally incompetent to stand trial. Prosecutors are working to get that ruling overturned.

Post by:
Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Justice • Politics