Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
December 25th, 2011
04:07 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to cover this week:

North Korea plans Kim Jong Il funeral

The funeral for North Korea's longtime leader Kim Jong Il is scheduled for Wednesday, CNN has learned.

North Koreans continue to pay respects for their late leader with military sites, factories and public buildings flying flags at half-staff -– part of the repressive country's 11-day period of mourning.

North Korea said Friday that it would admit delegations from the South that wish to visit Pyongyang to express their condolences, according to a statement posted on a government website run by the North.

"We will guarantee all convenience and safety of the South Koreans during their visit," said the statement on uriminzokkiri.com, dated Thursday, adding that the North would open to the delegations "all air routes and land routes through Kaesong," its industrial park, some 45 kilometers (27 miles) north of Seoul, South Korea.

Seoul has made a number of gestures as it tries to navigate the uncertainty created by the North's leadership transition. Pyongyang has named Kim's youngest son, Kim Jong Un, as the "Great Successor" to his father.

GOP presidential candidates ready for caucus season

With the caucus season set to begin in Iowa in less than two weeks, GOP presidential hopefuls Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann and the rest may well work through the holidays to gain an edge.

Gingrich, whose rise in the polls in recent weeks has been overshadowed by Paul, lowered his expectations recently for an Iowa victory.

"My goal is to be the top three or four (in Iowa)," the former House speaker said at a campaign stop in Richmond,Virginia. "I'd love to win."

While Gingrich expects to come in third or fourth in Iowa, he said he has higher predictions for other early voting states.

"I probably will be in the top two in New Hampshire, and then to win South Carolina and Florida," Gingrich said.

His campaign took a blow when Gingrich failed to collect enough signatures to appear on the Virginia primary ballot. It leaves the longtime Virginia resident without a place on the state's ballot and raises questions about his campaign's organization.

Slam-dunk week as the NBA returns

With the long-awaited and belated NBA season set to begin on Christmas Day, the week ahead figures to be the busiest for U.S. professional basketball fans  since the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat to win the title in June.

Check out player news from Sports Illustrated

And speaking of sports, the coming week will see quite a few college football bowl games. A few standouts include California vs. Texas on Wednesday; Iowa will play Oklahoma on Friday; Virginia squares up against Auburn on Saturday.

Check out the 2011 college football bowl schedule 

Monday profile: Taking a stand or standing by her man?

Her husband has denied responsibility for the deadly violence sweeping his country. But Syria's glamorous, British-born first lady has been largely silent. Is she in denial, as some observers suggest? What must she be thinking?

Home for the holidays: The Obamas' Hawaii adventure

After Congress rammed through an amended version of the two-month payroll tax cut extension, President Barack Obama finished business in Washington then headed to Hawaii to join his family for the holidays.

The weeklong vacation has become an annual rite for the president, who is wrapping up an especially contentious legislative year marked by repeated partisan brinksmanship and declining public approval of a seemingly dysfunctional Congress.

As much as he needs the rest, the holidays have not been kind to Obama during his presidency.

In 2009, his visit to his home state was interrupted by an attempted terrorist attack on a jetliner outside Detroit. Obama, who was in his home state of Hawaii, was briefed on the incident but made no changes to his schedule.

During the Thanksgiving break of 2010, the president got a busted lip in a game of basketball, resulting in 12 stitches.

Anderson Cooper + Kathy Griffin = New Year's fun

Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin will again be co-hosts of CNN’s  New Year’s Eve celebration from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, December 31. The odd couple will ring in 2012 for CNN’s "New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin” live from NYC’s Time Square.

"Get ready, America.  Pull up a chair and a box of your finest wine, because you've never seen a New Year's Eve show like this,” said Griffin.

New York draws record number of tourists

New York won't be the only game in town, though. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas has scheduled a three-day bash beginning on December 30. Hip-hop star Drake, singer Corey Taylor and Guns N’ Roses are slated to perform.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • Sports • U.S. • World
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Sherry

    I am shocked CNN allows the racist N word on this blog. There is free speech and then there is stupidity and horrible racism.

    December 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tabitha

    lol @ sherrie, weve been subjected to it for quite some time. They did a little cleanin up a week or so ago then forgot about probably cause of the holidays. Just ignore em, it p:sses em off and they leave lol

    December 25, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. just a joke

    im not racist. I own a colored tv

    December 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      i hate white milk and love colored drinks...

      December 25, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tabitha

    lmfao the best u got punk!

    December 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tabitha

    Once you go black you never go back!

    December 25, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ¿TTUИFFUЯ ( ½ ELF slayer & ½ BUGBEAR KILLER )

    THAT'S NOT TRUE.. i have a wiffle bat.. once you go wiffle bat you never go back..
    .
    no one can compete with my wiffle bat..
    .
    it never needs a break..
    .

    December 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. blaggjesus

    Wow! what about Toilet Ninja's?

    December 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. blaggjesus

    what about Toilet Ninja's?

    December 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ¿TTUИFFUЯ ( ½ ELF slayer & ½ BUGBEAR KILLER )

    is that like that movie "ghoulies"? where the ghoulie climbed outta thte toilet?

    December 25, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mitty Romney Wins in 2012-later Obama!

    Ok, What does a dead North Korean maniacal leader, a republican candidate, the President of the US, and LeBron James have in common???
    ANSWER: NOTHING
    IT'S CNN, GET IT...CONFUSING...STUPID, LIBERALS!

    December 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mitty Romney [INSERT VERSION] Wins in 2012 & Flying Unicorns Take Over N.Y.

      Which version of Mitt? 1.0? 2.0? 3.0? 4.0?... I don't think I have the latest update of Mitt either. Which version are we up to now, 99.0? I need to go and download it...

      December 25, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimmyd

      those who think all liberals are stupid or all conservatives are morons are children. childish, uneducated, immature, children.

      December 25, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • stupidrepublicans

      republicans are dumbest people in america still obssessed with the left right fake division.

      December 25, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mmmmm

    I just hate everybody...

    December 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      stoppit...you lil f_ker as in faker...

      December 26, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. Pity Romney

    Romney won't win, he has trouble remembering where he put the prep h and the grecian formula...

    December 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DPRK Watcher

    Will CNN or any other English-language news org (CCTV9?) broadcast Kim Jong Il's funeral? That's going to be a spectacle the likes of which we might not see again.

    December 25, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nolimits3333

    Romney strapped his dog to the roof of his car for a 12 hour trip. He did something similar to American workers when he closed down their factories and shipped their jobs overseas.

    December 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. diridi

    Romney is an idiot...Obama wins landslide victory...GOP is circus full of animals..period.

    December 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
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