Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
July 17th, 2011
07:25 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Not everyone gets a break over the weekend. Just ask congressional leaders and President Obama, who continued talks Saturday over a possible deficit reduction that would clear the way for Republican-backed increase in the federal debt ceiling.

Rupert Murdoch also had quite the weekend as the widening phone-hacking scandal that brought down his cornerstone newspaper claimed more victims.

Here's a look at those stories, which will continue to develop this week, along with others that CNN plans to follow:

Changes in command take effect in Afghanistan

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, current commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, will turn over command Monday to Marine Lt. Gen. John R. Allen. Petraeus will  assume his new role as director of the CIA in September, replacing Leon E. Panetta, who took office as secretary of defense July 1.

The succession comes two days before the Afghan National Army takes control Wednesday of Lashkar Gah - the capital of the volatile Helmand province - in the first transfer of security from NATO-led forces. The transfer is part of a phased handover which will see all foreign troops leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth for last time

The NASA space shuttle Atlantis crew will bid farewell to the international space station crew Monday before starting its return to Earth. Atlantis is scheduled to land Thursday at Kennedy Space Center - that last mission before all three space shuttles retire for good.

The return comes the day after the 42nd anniversary of the first manned moon landing in 1969.

New federal watchdog bureau opens for business

President Barack Obama on Monday will nominate Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is scheduled to formally open for business Thursday. The announcement means Obama has passed over Elizabeth Warren, the firebrand law professor who envisioned the bureau.

The bureau was the brainchild of Warren, a former law professor, who envisioned it as a government force to protect consumers from increasingly sophisticated financial practices. The bureau is intended to make basic financial practices such as taking out a mortgage or loan more clear and transparent while ferreting out unfair lending practices.

Nelson Mandela turns 93

The United Nations and the Nelson Mandela Foundation want you to join them in commemorating Mandela's 93rd birthday on Monday by devoting 67 minutes to helping others - one minute for every year of the South African leader’s own service to humanity.

Nelson Mandela International Day falls each year on the human rights leader's birthday on July 18. It began in 2008 in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to the culture of peace and freedom.

Rupert Murdoch to appear before British lawmakers

Media baron Rupert Murdoch and his son, James, are scheduled to appear before British politicians Tuesday to answer questions over the widening phone-hacking scandal plaguing his media empire.

British lawmakers investigating the scandal asked Murdoch, his son and former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks to testify at a House of Commons hearing after former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused their newspaper group of illegally obtaining private information about him.

Scotland Yard chief resigns, former editor arrested

Brooks, who resigned Friday as chief executive at News International, the British arm of Murdoch's News Corp., had also agreed to testify. It's not clear how her arrest Sunday will affect the hearing.

Debt talks continue

Senate leaders are working on a possible debt ceiling measure, based on a plan that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, unveiled last week. That plan would give Obama power to raise the borrowing limit by a total of $2.5 trillion but also require three congressional votes on the issue before the 2012 general election.

Budget director: Meeting U.S. debt obligations is the only plan

According to Senate aides from both parties, a revised version of the McConnell plan being put together with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, could come up for consideration this week, but only after legislators vote on Republican measures calling for spending cuts, caps on future spending and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Presidential candidates debate in 140 words

TheTeaParty.net, an Internet-based tea party group, will hold the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Twitter on Wednesday. Republican candidates will answer questions via Twitter's requisite restriction that encourages short answers: 140 characters or less.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Michigan Rep. Thad McCotter, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are scheduled to participate, among others, the debate's organizers said earlier this month.

Comic Con 2011 begins

The biggest comic book and popular culture convention in the United States kicks off Thursday in San Diego, California. Expect costumes galore as fans delight in all things related to comic books, movie memorabilia, toys and action. More than 125,00 visitors are expected to attend for a chance to meet their favorite artists and writers, catch sneak previews of upcoming films and discussion panels.

2011 Tour de France

The 98th Tour de France continues this week, ending with the traditional last stage in Paris on Sunday. The best known of cycling's three "Grand Tours" covers more than 2,000 miles in France and surrounding countries in a course made up of 21 stages.

soundoff (19 Responses)

    "Space shuttle Atlantis returns to Earth for last time"
    now anyone can take over space and we are helpless.....

    July 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • mejazzbo

      After Aug 3rd we will be helpless anyway.

      July 18, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |

    "The return comes the day after the 41st anniversary of the first manned moon landing in 1969",,,,
    .i dont think we really went to the moon,,, shouldn't we be able to see the left behind rovers or landers with telescopes from earth or something...?

    July 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Ruffnutt, think a second about what you're saying. You realize what kind of scale you're talking about right? That's like saying you should be able to see your house from space.

      July 17, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • CNN's Greg Morrison

      ever heard of google? do google on your address you can see it from space... i can see mine and even see my camaro... im sure the goverment and scientist have better stuff,,,

      July 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NASA space shuttle tire changer man

    now that i'm laid off, i can tell you that there is a under ground moon base under the shuttle launch pad. i seen it cause i stole the key from "ol buzz" and snuck downstairs. i got back and put the key back before he woke up.

    July 17, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. NASA space shuttle tire changer man

    @herbert, only if you bring 'orange sherbert' and a copy of deliverance

    July 17, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Purrty Lips


      July 18, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. The Måd Råp3r

    Oh man I can't wait until they grill the Murdochs. I bet Poopert keels over on the spot when they really lay into him.

    July 17, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lyle

    I'd've thought it was the 42nd Anniversary of the 1969 mission of Apollo 11. 2011 – 1969 = 42 - and I'm sure Douglas Adams would've agreed that 42 is the answer.

    July 17, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CSnSC

    Um, google earth uses sateliter in low earth orbit (about 200 miles). the moon around 200,000 miles. So, no.

    July 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HRM banasy


    July 17, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. HRM banasy

    Happy Birthday,
    Nelson Mandela.

    July 17, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. elove

    If i dont get my disability check 8 2 im moving to white house taxes built and maintain it therefore it is owned by ppl staff pd by our taxes can wait on those of us who move in food pd by taxes eletricity pd by taxes

    July 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Breakfast Bloggers


    July 18, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. How America And Australia Got Started


    July 18, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. comic book guy

    I would like 100 tacos for 100 dollars please.

    July 18, 2011 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. CNN wire

    (Just in) There are plans to take over space now that the yankee left! By guess who? The libyan rebels, with the help of France.

    July 19, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |