Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
March 11th, 2012
08:41 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Welcome to the second full week of March. If you are in any U.S. state besides Arizona and Hawaii and have a timepiece that isn't a cell phone, did you remember to move it forward by an hour today?

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

Gingrich looks to energize campaign in the South

GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is hoping to boost his flagging campaign with contests Tuesday in two states near his native Georgia. Mississippi and Alabama hold their GOP presidential primaries on Tuesday. Hawaii also holds its caucuses. The contests come after a week in which the two candidates ahead of Gingrich nationwide did well for themselves, with Mitt Romney bolstering his front-runner status with six Super Tuesday victories and wins in the Pacific islands, and Rick Santorum grabbing three Super Tuesday wins plus Kansas on Saturday.

Gingrich has stressed the importance of winning in the South, where he polls well, and he has been ahead in Mississippi, according to a recent poll of likely primary voters. The poll showed Gingrich with 35% support in Mississippi, followed by Romney with 31%,  Santorum with 20% and Ron Paul with 7%.

According to a CNN estimate Saturday, Romney had 458 delegates, compared with 203 for Santorum, 118 for Gingrich and 66 for Paul. A candidate needs 1,144 delegates at the Republican convention this summer to secure the nomination to face President Barack Obama in November.

Soldier's attack on Afghan civilians under investigation, NATO says

NATO officials are investigating what the Afghanistan government says was a U.S. soldier's attack that killed 16 Afghan civilians in their homes Sunday.

The soldier, Afghan officials said, went from house to house in two villages in eastern Afghanistan and killed the 16, including nine children and three women. NATO's International Security Assistance Force confirmed that a soldier had gone off base and fired on civilians before turning himself in but did not say how many victims there had been.

ISAF commander Gen. John Allen said the "deeply appalling incident in no way represents the values of ISAF and coalition troops or the abiding respect we feel for the Afghan people."

The incident looks likely to inflame tensions between foreign troops and Afghan civilians, many of whom were enraged by the burning of Qurans by American troops last month.

New round of rocket attacks, airstrikes in Israel and Gaza

Israel and Gaza appear to be in a new cycle of attacks and counterattacks. Israel launched a string of airstrikes against targets in Gaza over the weekend, which Israel says are a response to more than 100 rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel since Friday.

The airstrikes have killed at least 18 people and injured at least 35 others in Gaza, Palestinian medical sources said. Three of those killed were civilians, and the rest were militants, according to a Palestinian source.

The rocket attacks on Israel have wounded eight Israelis, and 500,000 have been forced into shelters, Israeli military and emergency services said.

One of the Israeli airstrikes targeted a suspected terrorist moments before he fired a rocket at the city of Ashdod, the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested Sunday that the new cycle of attacks  resulted from a successful Israeli strike on " an arch-terrorist who organized many attacks against the state of Israel." Two people were killed in that strike - Zuhair al-Qaisy, secretary-general of the Popular Resistance Committees, and Mahmoud Ahmad Al-Hanini, a Hamas military leader.

Kofi Annan presses for diplomatic solution in Syria

The U.N. special envoy to Syria, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, plans to meet officials in Turkey and Saudi Arabia this week after meeting over the weekend with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regarding violence in that country.

Annan is pressing for a diplomatic solution to an uprising and the Syrian government's yearlong crackdown, which opposition groups say has resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.

On Saturday, Annan proposed a cease-fire, the release of detainees, the allowance of agencies to deliver aid and a start to an inclusive political dialogue that would "address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the people." The meetings Saturday and Sunday between al-Assad and Annan was the first time in Syria's yearlong crisis that al-Assad met with such a high-level diplomat.

But the Syrian president quashed the possibility of negotiating with the opposition anytime soon. Syrian state-run media said al-Assad told Annan that he was ready to find a solution, but that such an effort would first require a look at reality on the ground and not rely on what "is promoted by some regional and international countries to distort the facts and give a picture contrary to what Syria is undergoing."

Qatar's prime minister on Saturday called for foreign military intervention in Syria to stop the violence. Annan, though, has distanced himself from such a step, as have some Syrian opposition members.

European finance ministers could OK Greece bailout

Euro-area finance ministers are expected to meet on Monday in Brussels, where they could finalize a second €130 billion bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, CNNMoney reports.

Last week creditors agreed to a plan to restructure Greek government bonds and reduce its debt load by by more than €100 billion , meaning Greece cleared its final hurdle to qualify for the bailout program.  Investors who own Greek bonds could now see losses of up to 75%, but not doing the agreement could have left Greece facing default, putting its financial future and possibly that of the euro zone at great risk.

The IMF also is expected to decide on whether to OK its share of the bailout next week. Greece, the nation at the center of Europe's debt crisis, has been struggling with an unsustainable level of debt and an economy that has been in recession for years,  CNNMoney's Ben Rooney writes. Under its second bailout program, Greece has agreed to implement austerity measures and broader reforms to make its economy more competitive.

Ready for NCAA tourney? British prime minister is

After the 68-team NCAA men's basketball tournament bracket is released Sunday night, one world leader outside the United States who may take note is British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Cameron, who is visiting the United States this week and will attend a state dinner at the White House on Wednesday, will accompany President Barack Obama to a first-round tournament game in Dayton, Ohio, on Tuesday.

"The president and the prime minister look forward to a great game between some of our nation’s finest collegiate athletes," a White House official said last week.

Your A to Z guide to March Madness

Take the Bracket Challenge

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soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. chrissy

    lmfao @ bouquet, good one!

    March 12, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. ♔Mmmmm♕

    lol...hey! next time you can take the "what kind of fruit are you?" quiz...lol

    March 12, 2012 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      I am a banana. Lemons are my enemies it says.

      March 12, 2012 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    There's a fruit quiz? Uh oh...lol!

    March 12, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Yeah I took it, what, (chest bump).lol

      March 12, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. chrissy

    who is mama? and oh lord no way am i takin a fruit test! Would probably come back as *fruit loops* lmfao!

    March 12, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    I just took a fruit quiz on blogthings.
    I am a banana.
    Ironic, since people mispronounce my last name all the time, and that what they call be.
    "Mrs. Bananas?" "Um, no. Goodbye"

    Dangit, Mmmmm! See whatcha started? Lol!
    I am NOT going to go to a "what kind of animal are you?" site...tonight, anyway!

    March 12, 2012 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Dang it I think the animal one signed me up for some f*&^in news letter. and then it did not tell me what I am.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Jeez, Mama, what are we, twins separated at birth? We're 2 for 2!

    March 12, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Great minds?lol What animal one are you taking?

      March 12, 2012 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Sista's of different mothers.lol

      March 12, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Scottish Mama

    @Mmmmm -you started it, so what kind of fruit are ya?lol

    March 12, 2012 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
    • ♔Mmmmm♕

      banana bana bo bana fee fi fo fana!

      March 12, 2012 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Scottish Mama

    Chrissy did you pass out?

    March 12, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    lmao @ mama, no i was right though, i must be fruit loops, canned fruit or fruit c@cktail cuz it wont let me take the test! DAMN phone!

    March 12, 2012 at 1:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      lol. yeah I should have stopped at the fruit test. I think I signed up for something on the animal test and then they did not tell me what kind of animal I was. Dang.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    And we are TWISTED sistas, alllll of us! Aint life grand? Lmfao!

    March 12, 2012 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Agreed or word.lol

      March 12, 2012 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ©

      Did Daz crash the party?

      March 12, 2012 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. chrissy

    Sorry daz i answered but then i got booted offline before it posted. Anyway i said readers digest doesnt lie thats why i knew it was a good word. Now what do you get when you cross a river and a creek?

    March 12, 2012 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Scottish Mama

    @Mmmmm so far we have 3 bananas,Mmmmm, banasy and myself, and Chrissy the fruit cup.lol

    March 12, 2012 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. Scottish Mama

    They kicked us off last night around 2:00 am.

    March 12, 2012 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  14. chrissy

    Ohhh mama plz plz plz dont say the word cup, we will be gettin a lecture on flying saucers with upside down teacups on em again! Roflmmfao!

    March 12, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Sorry Chrissy did not know it was a trigger word.lol Jeesh.

      March 12, 2012 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. ♔Mmmmm♕

    i think the american people can rightly resolve this upcoming 2012 election conundrum by requiring the president and all the gop nominees to provide insight as to what kinna flower they would be in the oval office...

    March 12, 2012 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      I think they should have to name what kind of fruit they are also.lol

      March 12, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
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