Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
May 27th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

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

War crimes sentence expected for former Liberia leader

The first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes since World War II is expected to be sentenced Wednesday.

Charles Taylor, who was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, was convicted last month of aiding rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in a campaign of terror that involved murder, rape, sexual slavery and conscripting children younger than 15.

There is no death penalty in international criminal law, and Taylor, 64, would serve out any sentence in a British prison.

Last month's ruling by the international tribunal was the first war crimes conviction of a former head of state by an international court since the Nuremberg trials after World War II that convicted Adm. Karl Doenitz, who became president of Germany briefly after Adolf Hitler's suicide. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was tried by an international tribunal, but he died before a judgment was issued.

Earlier this month, Taylor said he was wrongly portrayed, and that he tried to bring peace to Sierra Leone. He said his trial was corrupted by money, and that witnesses were paid off.

Will WikiLeaks founder be extradited to Sweden?

Britain's Supreme Court is expected to rule Wednesday on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be sent to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault lodged by two women.

WikiLeaks, which facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, gained global fame in 2010 with the leaks of documents relating to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and then followed up by leaking nearly a quarter million State Department cables.  A U.S. Army intelligence analyst is facing charges on suspicion of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks.

Assange has repeatedly denied the rape and sexual assault allegations. While fighting extradition, Assange has been under house arrest in Britain since December 2010. He recently started a talk show that he runs from Britain but airs on a Russian television network.

Youngest spelling bee participant makes history

At 6 years old, Lori Anne Madison from Prince William County, Virginia, will become the youngest speller to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee this Wednesday in National Harbor, Maryland.

Madison was born on November 9, 2005. It was determined that she is the youngest according to records from the origination that date back to 1993. According to Mike Hickerson, a communications manager with the bee, there have been four spellers since 1993 that were 8 years old.

This year’s bee is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday with 278 young spellers. They are competing for the main prize, which includes a $30,000 cash prize, engraved trophy, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond, a $5,000 scholarship, a Nook Color and from Encyclopaedia Brtiannica, $2,600 in reference works.

Medal of Freedom honorees

On Tuesday, 13 people will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House. It is the nation's highest civilian honor, awarded  to those who make extraordinary contributions to world peace, national interest and security, or other cultural endeavors.

Jan Karski, a Polish Underground officer who delivered the first of the Holocaust's eyewitness accounts to the world, Gordon Hirabayashi, who defied the forced relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and Juliette Gordon Lowe, founder of the Girl Scouts, will be awarded posthumously.

Also to be awarded: 64th U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, civil rights enforcer and public servant John Doar, musician Bob Dylan, physician and epidemiologist William Foege (who lead a successful campaign to eradicate smallpox), former astronaut and Sen. John Glenn, workers and women's advocate Dolores Huerta, novelist Toni Morrison, former Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt, former Associate Justice John Paul Stevens and ninth President of Israel Shimon Peres.

Deposed Egyptian president Mubarak sentencing

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is expected to be sentenced on Saturday. A final verdict will also be delivered in his trial on charges of corruption and ordering the deaths of more than 800 people who protested his regime and demanded his ouster.

In the event that Mubarak is found guilty, prosecutors formally requested in January a penalty of death by hanging. Throughout the trial, clashes outside of the courtroom have occurred between police and families of the slain protestors.

The ailing Mubarak, who was president from October 1981 to February 2011, has denied the charges. This sentencing comes more than a week after voting began in Egypt's presidential election

View our complete coverage of Egypt.

Tony Blair to take the stand in British phone hacking inquiry

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to take the stand at the Leveson Inquiry on Monday. The inquiry was established in July to investigate a phone hacking scandal involving media giant Rupert Murdoch and his flagship British publication News of the World. Blair is expected to give oral testimony on the relationship between the press and people in positions of government power in the U.K.

NASA: Space Hubble will predict future of the galaxy 'with certainty'

Is it the end of the world as we know it? NASA scientists will host a public science update in Washington on Thursday explaining how the Hubble Space Telescope will "predict with certainty the next major cosmic event to affect our entire galaxy, sun and solar system." The briefing, which will discuss the odds of the Milky Way colliding with another galaxy billions of years from now, will be broadcast live on NASA Television and www.nasa.gov. NASA will also hold a live web chat following the press conference.

Madonna kicks off world tour

Pop icon Madonna will kick off her "MDNA" world tour  in Tel Aviv on Thursday. There are 76 shows already scheduled for the world tour of the 53-year-old material girl's latest chart-topping album.

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    I have kleenex, dearest...lol...that's why I didn't include it...

    May 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. raven

    Didn't see that last comment, but yes, I think I might know what you mean; those people are like Nancy Grace: they will ALWAYS argue with you. Even if youre on the same side of the debate, all the while demeaning and belittling you in a sanctimonious and condescending manner. That about the size of it?

    May 27, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You are astute, my raven.
      That's exactly the size if it.
      Small and petty, lmao!

      May 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    I'm going to turn in now; I'm still not feeling the best.
    Goodnight, my friends.

    May 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • AesopsRetreat.com

      Hope you feel better. If its bad enough then don't be too proud to visit the emergency room...

      May 28, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    Night, night, my friend. Sweet dreams.

    May 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob Leonard

    Is is just me or does the man in the middle picture (Hosni Mubarak I presume) look green?

    May 28, 2012 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Freedom

      Not only does he look greed, he looks dead! And Julian Assange looks like my Aunt Mildred...you know, the one that wears the sensible shoes....

      May 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tyler

    They can predict with certainty the next cosmic event of our Galaxy yet we still get "50-50 chance of rain on Monday.' One thing at a time fellas.

    May 28, 2012 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  7. saywhat

    ' Where are all the flowers gone" should be the song to remember on this memorial Day weekend.
    The Vietnam war era should have taught this nation some lessons, but we are obstinately against learning from history.
    Good morning all.

    May 28, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
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