Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
June 3rd, 2012
02:00 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

Here is a look at stories CNN plans to cover this week:

Space shuttle to take slow ride on river

These are the voyages of the Space Shuttle Enterprise. The prototype orbiter, which never went to space but did go to New York on April 27, will be placed on a barge Monday and carried down the Hudson River to Bayonne, New Jersey. There it will be transferred to another barge, this one with a crane. The second barge will carry it back up the Hudson and lift the shuttle onto the deck of the USS Intrepid Museum, a former aircraft carrier and Enterprise's final destination.

Venus to stroll across the sun

A mini-eclipse of sorts will happen Tuesday when the planet Venus crosses between the sun and Earth. The event, called a transit of Venus, will occur late in the daylight hours of Tuesday in the United States and take about seven hours to complete. Some of the best and longest views will be in the South Pacific, so start heading for Tahiti now. During the transit, Venus will appear as a tiny dark speck crossing the disc of the sun from left to right. But remember: It's always dangerous to look directly at the sun. Use the same precautions you would with a solar eclipse: special light filters, a welder's mask or a pinhole viewer. If you're interested, you'd better get out there and look - it won't happen again for 105 years. FULL POST

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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.

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
May 20th, 2012
12:49 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:

At NATO summit: How will Afghanistan pay for its troops?

NATO countries on Monday will be trying to figure out how to meet a planned 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan while shoring up Afghanistan's security forces.

Leaders of NATO countries, plus officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan, will continue meeting in Chicago for a summit that began over the weekend.  One of the key issues:  Who will pay for the buildup of Afghan forces as NATO draws down its troops? Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is attending the summit, is believed to be able to afford only a fraction of the cost that CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen says will total roughly $4 billion annually by 2014.

The leaders are expected to formally adopt a timetable to transfer security from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to Afghan forces, senior U.S. administration officials said.

A user's guide to the Chicago NATO summit

Opinion: Why ordinary Afghans worry about NATO summit

Ex-Rutgers student sentenced for invading gay roommate's privacy

A former Rutgers University student convicted of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate could get a maximum 10-year prison term when he is sentenced Monday.

Dharun Ravi was convicted of charges including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. His roommate, Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman, killed himself in September 2010 by jumping off the George Washington Bridge and into the Hudson River after learning that Ravi had secretly spied on his sexual encounter with another man using a webcam and then sharing the footage.

After the conviction, Ravi told ABC's "20/20" that prosecutors got the incident wrong and that he "wasn't trying to intimidate (Clementi) and scare him because he was gay."

Vietnam veterans getting 'welcome home' ceremony

The U.S. Army's Fort Hood on Monday intends to give Vietnam War veterans "the same fanfare present-day soldiers receive when they return from Iraq and Afghanistan."


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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
May 13th, 2012
03:08 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:

More Greek turmoil stokes fears of default, European financial mess

Debt-stricken Greece held parliamentary elections just a week ago, but it might call brand-new ones this week because of bitter disagreements over how to fix the country's finances, the failure of which could affect the financial stability of Europe.

New elections must be called if no government is formed by Thursday. They would take place next month.

Europe is keeping a nervous eye on Greece, fearing that the political chaos there could lead to defaults on debt that could threaten the future of the euro currency. Greek failure - or refusal - to make debt payments could hurt banks across Europe.

Outside lenders had made Greece agree to spending cuts as a condition for keeping the nation's finances somewhat afloat. But parties that are against the cuts - in jobs, wages, pensions and benefits - made gains in last week's elections, heightening tensions with the parties that favor the measures and making the formation of a new government difficult.


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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
May 6th, 2012
06:31 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:

Will elections shift Europe's debt crisis response?

Keep an eye on how stock markets react this week as investors digest the results of two key elections in France and Greece that might signal changes in how Europe handles its 3-year-old debt crisis.

With Francois Hollande defeating incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in today's French presidential runoff, questions will be raised about whether France will continue to commit to the kind of spending cutbacks that other European nations have deployed to battle the debt crisis. Hollande campaigned on the need to focus more on economic growth to reduce public debt, as opposed to austerity, CNNMoney's Hibah Yousuf reports.

Meanwhile, Sunday's parliamentary elections in Greece will help shape a ruling coalition that could affect the course of austerity measures there - measures that outside lenders had imposed in return for keeping the nation's finances somewhat afloat and ensuring Greece could keep the continent's common currency, the euro. The austerity measures have led to cuts in jobs, wages, pensions and benefits, and some parties were gaining traction with anti-austerity messages.


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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
April 29th, 2012
05:09 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:

Occupy movement plans mass rallies for May Day

Occupy organizers say they plan to use the labor movement's International Workers' Day - also known as May Day - to make a public splash on Tuesday.

The Occupy movement, which stemmed from the Occupy Wall Street protests last year, is calling for large-scale demonstrations across the country on Tuesday, which is May 1. Occupy protesters have rallied against what they say is income inequality, corporate greed and the influence of the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

Other May Day demonstrations are expected around the world, as usual for every May 1. In Canada, two groups are encouraging Canadian workers to call in sick Tuesday as a protest against "the attacks of the 1%," the CBC reports.

One World Trade Center to be New York's tallest structure

More than a decade after a terrorist attack brought down New York's twin towers, their under-construction replacement will become the city's tallest building on Monday, The New York Times reports.


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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
April 22nd, 2012
04:53 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:

A cease-fire that might not be

As the Syrian government and opposition activists accuse each other of attacks during what is supposed to be a cease-fire, the United Nations is preparing to send as many as 300 unarmed military monitors to Syria try to ensure a halt to the violence - a decision the U.N. Security Council made Saturday.

Reports from Homs, a bastion of anti-government sentiment that opposition activists say has faced months of deadly attacks by regime forces, suggest the monitors might be useful from the opposition's perspective. Shelling from government forces stopped Saturday when an advance team of U.N. monitors visited Homs on Saturday, though it resumed on Sunday, opposition activists said.

The cease-fire is part of a six-point peace plan laid out by U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan and accepted by the Syrian government. The Annan plan calls for the government and the opposition to end the violence, allow access for humanitarian groups, release detainees and start a political dialogue. But reports of daily violence suggest the cease-fire is unraveling in some areas.

Syria has been engulfed in violence for 13 months since the government started a fierce crackdown on protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for 42 years. The United Nations estimates that at least 9,000 people have died since the protests began.

War crimes verdict expected for former Liberia leader

The first African ruler to appear before an international war crimes tribunal is expected to hear a verdict in his trial on Thursday.

Charles Taylor, who was president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, is accused of arming rebels and fueling a bloody civil war that led to widespread murder, rape and mutilation in Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone. He has pleaded not guilty to charges, including five counts of crimes against humanity and five counts of war crimes.

Taylor has been on trial since 2007 at the special court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, Netherlands. United Nations officials and the Sierra Leone government jointly set up the tribunal.

Tensions high on newest international border

Tensions between Sudan and South Sudan are rising, prompting fears of a return to the kind of full-scale war that Sudan saw before the South split in July.

Clashes between the two sides escalated in recent days, following Sudan airstrikes targeting the South and the South Sudan troops seizing the disputed oil-rich region of Heglig. Sudan says it has chased South Sudanese troops from the region, but the South has warned it will try to retake it if Sudan continues ts attacks.

Heglig, which both nations claim, is on the border created last year when the two countries split. Oil facilities in the region accounted for close to half of Sudan's entire production of about 115,000 barrels of oil daily before wells were shut down.

South Sudan split from the government in the north in July, officially breaking Africa's largest nation into two. The split followed a two-decade civil war that pitted a government dominated by Arab Muslims in the north against black Christians and animists in the south. An estimated 2 million death died in the fighting. The split was approved by referendum, which was part of a 2005 peace deal that ended the civil war.

Video: Details on the Sudan oil dispute

Murdoch summoned to testify in hacking inquiry

Media magnate Rupert Murdoch is expected to make an appearance Wednesday and Thursday before an independent British inquiry into journalistic ethics prompted by phone hacking at his defunct News of the World tabloid.

News Corp. shut down its British Sunday tabloid, The News of the World, last summer after public outrage at the scale of illegal eavesdropping, which  included hacking the voice mail of crime victims, politicians, celebrities and veterans.  Dozens of people have been arrested in the phone-hacking investigation, which has been running more than a year, but no one has been charged.

Murdoch's son, James Murdoch, a top executive in his father's company, is expected to appear before the inquiry on Tuesday. He already has been called twice to testify before British lawmakers and resigned from a number of positions with British subsidiaries of his father's media empire. James Murdoch has consistently denied knowing about the scale of phone hacking at the paper.

Will ex-Icelandic prime minister be convicted over financial crisis?

A verdict is expected Monday in the case of the only world leader to face charges in connection with the 2008 global financial crisis.

Former Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde is charged in a special Icelandic court with negligence relating to the collapse of his country's banks.

Weekly demonstrations, some verging on riots, forced Haarde and his Independence Party-led center-right coalition to resign in January 2009.

Roger Clemens' perjury trial, take two

With jury selection nearly completed last week, the federal retrial of former Major  League Baseball pitching star Roger Clemens is expected to begin this week.

Clemens is accused of lying to Congress in 2008 when lawmakers investigated the illicit use of steroids in professional baseball. The case against him - involving one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury  was declared a mistrial in July after evidence previously ruled inadmissible was shown in court.

The retrial is expected to last several weeks.

The charges stem from Clemens' 2008 testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, during which he denied using anabolic steroids. Clemens has continually denied using performance-enhancing drugs during his professional baseball career.

John Edwards' trial set to begin

The trial of former presidential candidate John Edwards, charged with six felony and misdemeanor counts related to the money dealings of his failed 2008 presidential campaign, is expected to begin in federal court in North Carolina on Monday.

Rielle Hunter, Edwards' former mistress, is expected to testify at the trial. A major issue in the approaching trial is whether money given to support Hunter, by the former candidate's benefactors, should have been considered donations toward his presidential campaign. Edwards denies any wrongdoing, claiming the money was a gift.

Look! Up in the sky!

Tonight and early Monday are going to be great times to check out the annual Lyrid meteor showers in much of the United States.

The Lyrid meteor showers happen annually, but this year’s "moonless" night and lack of cloud cover for the western two-thirds of the United States should make them unusually easy to see.

The showers, whose name comes from the constellation Lyra, take place as the Earth passes through dust from comet Thatcher. The best times to watch are after midnight Sunday and just before dawn Monday. Check this post for more tips.

Luck or RG3?

With the first pick of the NFL draft, the Indianapolis Colts reportedly have made up their minds. Most everybody believes it will be Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, but you'll have to wait for Thursday - the day of the draft's first round - to know for sure whether they've gone for Luck or the other quarterback at the top of prognosticators' lists, Baylor's Robert Griffin III.

Check out the mock draft from Sports Illustrated's Peter King. It lists his predictions of teams' selections and also the picks that the longtime NFL journalist believes that teams should be making. (Minnesota, he's looking at you and your possibly misguided desire to draft an offensive tackle at No. 3.)

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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
April 15th, 2012
08:06 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

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

Congress takes on the GSA

Multiple U.S. congressional committees are expected to hold hearings this week on allegedly wasteful spending at the General Services Administration, following reports of a lavish 2010 conference of GSA workers that prompted taxpayer and bipartisan congressional outrage.

An inspector general's report issued this month detailed the $820,000 conference, prompting the resignation of GSA chief Martha Johnson and the dismissal of other high-ranking officials at the GSA, which acts as a real estate agency for the federal government. Congressional investigators also are accusing the GSA of violating its employee gift limit with rewards of iPods, digital cameras and other electronics.

The Republican-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee scheduled a hearing for this week and has asked the GSA to deliver information about previous conferences, including their cost, a committee spokeswoman said. Also expected to hold hearings on the GSA this week are the Republican-led House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Democratic-led Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Senate could consider Buffett Rule tax proposal for millionaires

The Democratic-controlled Senate this week could start considering legislation based on President Barack Obama's Buffett Rule proposal, which would impose a minimum 30% tax rate on people who earn more than $1 million.


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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
April 8th, 2012
06:30 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:

Syria suggests it might not pull forces by deadline

A Syrian foreign ministry spokesman suggested Sunday that the government might not withdraw its armed forces from cities by Tuesday as agreed under a peace plan laid out by U.N.-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan.

Jihad Maqdisi said Syria will not commit to the withdrawal only to have "armed terrorist groups" commit attacks once the forces are pulled. He said Annan "did not give written assurances that the armed groups would turn in their weapons."

Annan has said he expects rebel fighters to also cease fire after the Tuesday deadline, but the deadline itself was for regime forces to withdraw from cities. Meanwhile, opposition activists say government forces have stepped up their attacks ahead of the deadline, and that 40 people were killed across the country in fresh violence Sunday.

Throughout a more than year-long uprising against the regime, the Syrian government has consistently blamed violence on "armed terrorist groups." But U.N. and other world leaders have said the government is engaged in a violent crackdown.

Reports from Syrian opposition activists suggest government forces are slaughtering civilians in an attempt to wipe out dissidents seeking President Bashar al-Assad's ouster. Rebel fighters have taken up arms, but their strength has often paled in comparison to the better-equipped regime troops.

The United Nations estimates that the fighting in Syria has killed at least 9,000 people.

North Korea expected to launch satellite despite international pressure

This might be the week that North Korea launches a satellite using a long-range rocket, which some governments, including those of the United States and South Korea, see as a cover for a ballistic missile test.

International leaders have urged North Korea to cancel the launch, expected to happen between April 12 and April 16, but Pyongyang has refused to back down, insisting that the operation is for peaceful purposes.

South Korea has said it considers the satellite launch an attempt to develop a nuclear-armed missile, and that the launch would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that bans the testing of the technology being used in the rocket-powered satellite.

Plans for the launch prompted Washington to suspend a recent deal to supply food aid to North Korea. In that deal, North Korea agreed it would not carry out nuclear or missile tests in return for the aid.

Part of the significance of this launch is its timing to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, who ruled the Communist state for more than four decades.

Grand jury might take up Trayvon Martin case

A grand jury that is expected to convene this week in Florida might take up the case of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in February. If it does take the case, it will consider whether to indict the volunteer, George Zimmerman, who told police he shot the unarmed 17-year-old in self-defense.

The shooting in Sanford, Florida, happened after Zimmerman called 911 to report a suspicious person in his neighborhood. Zimmerman says he killed Martin after the teen punched him and slammed his head on the sidewalk, according to an Orlando Sentinel report that was later confirmed by Sanford police. Zimmerman has not been arrested or charged in connection with the case, though the state attorney's office is investigating the shooting.

Martin's family and supporters say Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, racially profiled the teen, who was black, and ignored a police dispatcher's directive not to follow him. Zimmerman's attorneys interpret the call differently, and say the operator did not order Zimmerman not to follow.

Parole hearing for Charles Manson

A California prison panel will meet Wednesday to consider whether notorious killer Charles Manson should be denied parole for a 12th time.

Manson initially was sentenced to death for the 1969 slayings of actress Sharon Tate and six others by a group of his followers as part of what prosecutors said was an attempt to incite a race war. His death sentence was changed to life in prison after California's death penalty was overturned for a period during the 1970s.

Manson has not been a model inmate. In the past five years, Manson was punished for threatening a peace officer and for possession of a weapon, the latter happening in October when Manson was found with a sharpened pen, California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

Manson was found to be in possession of a contraband cell phone — twice — the latest in January 2011. That incident is still under investigation.

Rescue workers try to reach trapped miners in Peru

A Peruvian official has suggested that rescue workers might be close to freeing nine miners who have been trapped below ground in southern Peru since Thursday.

It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse that trapped the miners at the Cabeza de Negro mine.

Miners have been getting oxygen, food and water through a tube, which has also allowed them to stay in contact with people above ground, the state-run Andina news agency reported.

Guns N' Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys in Rock Hall of Fame

Cleveland will be rocking during Saturday's annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The event will be a reunion of sorts for the original members of Guns N' Roses, all of whom are expected to attend for the group's induction. It's not clear whether they'll be performing.

Also set for induction Saturday: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys, Donovan, Laura Nyro, The Small Faces/The Faces, Freddie King, Don Kirshner, Cosimo Matassa, Tom Dowd and Glyn Johns.

The ceremony also will mark the induction of six backing groups that didn't get into the Hall of Fame at the same time as their frontman. Those backing groups are the Blue Caps (Gene Vincent), the Comets (Bill Haley), the Crickets (Buddy Holly), the Famous Flames (James Brown), the Midnighters (Hank Ballard) and the Miracles (Smokey Robinson).

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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
April 1st, 2012
04:44 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:

Polling shows edge for Romney in Wisconsin’s primary

Mitt Romney could pass the halfway mark for the delegates he needs to earn the GOP nomination for president when Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C., hold their primaries on Tuesday.

An NBC/Marist poll released Friday showed Romney had a 40% to 33% edge over Rick Santorum in Wisconsin, with Ron Paul at 11% and Newt Gingrich at 8%.

On Saturday, CNN estimated that Romney had 571 delegates, with Santorum at 264, Gingrich at 137 and Paul at 71. A candidate needs 1,144 to clinch the GOP nomination.

Romney recently picked up the endorsement of one of Wisconsin's most prominent congressmen, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.

Ryan has argued that the GOP presidential race would essentially be over if Romney wins all three contests on Tuesday, saying it'd be too difficult for Santorum to find enough delegates the rest of the way to win the nomination outright.

Santorum wouldn't say Friday whether Tuesday's contest is his last stand but did say he intended to "take this all the way." Gingrich has said he wouldn't drop out unless Romney gets enough delegates to clinch the nomination and has indicated he would fight for the nomination in an open convention if Romney doesn't get the clinching number by the time the GOP primaries end in late June.

Cops convicted in post-Katrina shootings case to be sentenced

Five current or former police officers found guilty of civil rights and other violations tied to fatal shootings on New Orleans' Danziger Bridge in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.

Prosecutors said some of the officers opened fire on an unarmed family, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding four others. Minutes later, one of the officers shot and killed Ronald Madison, a 40-year-old man described by U.S. Justice Department officials as having severe mental disabilities. Madison was trying to flee the scene when he was shot, according to the Justice Department.

Officers Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso were convicted in the shooting along with a fifth defendant, former detective Arthur Kaufman, who was accused of helping the officers cover up the incident.

Annan to brief U.N. Security Council on Syria

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who laid out a plan to end violence between Syrian government forces and government opponents, is scheduled to brief the United Nations Security Council in private on Monday.

Syria last week signed off on the plan from Annan, the U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria. However, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad demanded that those battling his regime pledge to stop their violence too.

Annan's terms of the peace plan included an end to all violence by the government and opposition, the delivery of timely humanitarian aid, the release of arbitrarily detained people, freedom of movement for journalists, respect for peaceful demonstrations and freedom of association.

The United Nations estimates at least 1 million have been affected and more than 9,000 have died since the unrest in Syria began a year ago. Opposition activists put the death toll at more than 10,000 people.

In Turkey over the weekend, leaders from around the world met to discuss ways to ramp up pressure on al-Assad's regime. The United States vowed to nearly double its funding to the Syrian opposition, but a Syrian opposition leader called on the international community to do more.

Widows of bin Laden to be charged

Three widows of the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden will be charged Monday with living illegally in Pakistan, a source familiar with the case told CNN. If convicted, they could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The women were arrested after U.S. Navy SEALs killed bin Laden during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May.

The three have been in Pakistani custody since the raid. Pakistani authorities have started legal proceedings against the widows, alleging forgery and illegal entrance into Pakistan.

Bin Laden's youngest widow told Pakistani investigators that bin Laden fathered four children while on the run following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Hoops, diamonds and greens

Sports fans have plenty to hold their attention this week, starting with the NCAA men's basketball title game between Kansas and Kentucky.

The game is a rematch of the teams' early season meeting, which Kentucky won 75-65 on November 15. Kansas star Thomas Robinson said he was disgusted with himself after that game, in which Kentucky's underclassmen-led team held the junior power forward to 11 points. He is relishing the chance to make amends on Monday, SI.com's Luke Winn writes.

On Wednesday, Major League Baseball will have its stateside opening night, with the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals visiting the Miami Marlins in Miami's new ballpark. It won't be the first game of the season, though - that honor belonged to the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A's, who split a two-game regular season series in Japan last week.

Thursday kicks off the Masters, seemingly good timing for Tiger Woods, who last week won his first PGA Tour event in 30 months. Woods, looking for his fifth Masters victory and his 15th major title (he's currently four away from Jack Nicklaus' record of 18), dominated at Bay Hill last week and may be signaling that he is the man to beat at the Masters, SI.com's Damon Hack writes.

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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
March 25th, 2012
06:23 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:

Supreme Court tackles health care law

The U.S. Supreme court is about to take on what legal observers say is one of the most important cases it has heard in years: the 2010 health care reform law.

The court will hear oral arguments Monday through Wednesday on the law's constitutionality. The court's eventual rulings this year will "not only guide how every American receives medical care but would also establish precedent-setting boundaries of government regulation over a range of social areas," CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears writes.

Among the key issues: The constitutionality of the individual mandate - the requirement of nearly every American to purchase some level of insurance or face a tax penalty of up to about $700 a year; and whether other parts of the law can survive if the mandate is struck down.

The law, among other things, was designed to help millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans receive adequate and affordable health care through a series of government-imposed mandates and subsidies. The federal government will tell the court that 45 million Americans last year lacked health coverage, roughly 15% of the country's population.

Critics have equated the measure to socialized medicine, fearing that a bloated government bureaucracy will result in higher taxes and diminished health care services.

Ahead of nuclear summit, concern over North Korea's planned missile launch

Top officials from 54 countries will meet in South Korea on Tuesday for an international nuclear security summit to discuss how to secure the world's nuclear material and prevent nuclear terrorism. U.S. President Barack Obama will attend.

The message of international cooperation, however, is being somewhat overshadowed by grumblings over North Korea's planned launch next month of a long-range missile, which North Korea says is to carry a satellite into space.

South Korea has said it considers the satellite launch an attempt to develop a nuclear-armed missile, and that the launch would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution that bans the testing of the technology being used in the rocket-powered satellite. The United States has warned the move would jeopardize a food-aid agreement reached with Pyongyang in early March. In that deal, North Korea agreed it would not carry out nuclear or missile tests in return for food aid.


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Ahead of the curve: The next seven days
March 18th, 2012
06:50 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next seven days

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

Illinois primary

One of the larger delegate prizes is up for grabs in Tuesday's Illinois primary. The four Republican candidates will slug it out for the state's 54 delegates to the party's national convention in July.

Flagging frontrunner Mitt Romney on Sunday called himself the "economic heavyweight" in the field, while referring to closest competitor Rick Santorum and President Barack Obama as "lightweights."

For his part, Santorum took to CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" to slap at Romney's inability to put his competitors away despite vast financial resources: "When you have this amount of resources and this amount of advantage, (yet) you can't manage and deliver the mail and win this nomination, that shows a real weakness in his ability to be able to govern," Santorum said.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been concentrating on the March 24 Louisiana primary, including a tour of the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans on Friday.  “With both Santorum and me, (Romney is) now confused as to who he is attacking. It's his only technique," Gingrich said. "I tell people he's like a 4-foot-8 guy who wants to play center and his only technique is to shrink the others, which I think bodes very badly for a general election."

The fourth man in the race, Rep. Ron Paul, is far behind in the delegate count and spent more money than he took in during February. Paul’s self-reported spending of $3.54 million outpaced his fundraising of $3.27 million, and he ended the month with $1.36 million in the bank. His campaign reported carrying no debt.

Queen to make rare speech

Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to deliver a speech to both houses of Parliament on Tuesday. It is expected to be the only time she will publicly acknowledge her Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of the beginning of her reign. (Plenty of others are talking about it, though, including soccer megastar David Beckham.)


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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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
March 4th, 2012
07:01 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:

Netanyahu, Obama to meet amid high tensions with Iran

Days after a trip to Canada in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated that Israel reserves the right to defend itself against Iranian threats, the Israeli leader is due to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday.

Iran is sure to be one of the topics of discussion. Tensions between Iran and the West have risen in recent months over its nuclear program, after a scathing report in November from international inspectors that said Iran could be developing nuclear weapons. A more recent report from the inspectors, noting that Iran was increasing its uranium enrichment capacity, said Iran blocked them from a key military facility.

The United States and its allies have long suspected Iran is developing such weapons, though Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is solely intended for civilian energy purposes.

Israeli leadership, fearing the possibility of its enemy's having nuclear weapons, has hinted that a unilateral pre-emptive military strike against Iran is a possibility. Obama, in a recent interview with The Atlantic, cautioned against such a strike, suggesting it would produce worldwide sympathy for Iran at a time when it has very little. He told The Atlantic, as he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference in Washington on Sunday, that although Iran's having nuclear weapons is unacceptable to the United States, and that he isn't taking any option off the table, different pressure such as sanctions may make Iran change its course.

Netanyahu this week also plans to visit the AIPAC policy conference, a large pro-Israel gathering in Washington. Several U.S. lawmakers also are scheduled to address the three-day conference.

Romney on hot streak ahead of Super Tuesday

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney is on a bit of a roll heading into the Super Tuesday contests, in which 10 states will hold primaries or caucuses and have their say in the Republican nomination race.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, managed to shake off a recent rise in rival Rick Santorum's popularity, winning contests in Michigan, Arizona, Wyoming and Washington state last week. Romney has a lead in the delegate count on the strength of results in early primaries and caucuses.

In Ohio, one of the states with the most delegates in play Tuesday, Romney and Santorum were virtually tied in a poll released Sunday, with Santorum up 34% to 32% among likely Republican primary voters.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he needs to win his home state, Georgia, on Tuesday to stay in the race, and a poll released Saturday showed he had a double-digit lead there over his nearest competitor, Romney.

Other states holding contests Tuesday are Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia.

Literary wunderkind turns 35

Jonathan Safran Foer has enjoyed success with “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” and other works. The novelist has much to be proud of yet remains humble, say those who know him. In the words of one friend, he’s “extremely shy” and “incredibly bold.”

CNN’s Elizabeth Landau’s profile of Foer will hit CNN.com’s homepage on Monday. But you can get a sneak peek here.

Here comes the iPad 3 (we think)

Apple isn't saying whether the "special event" it's planned in California on Wednesday is the launch of the iPad 3. But pretty much all of the journalists covering Apple expect the company to unveil the latest version of the device that virtually defined the tablet market when it was introduced in 2010.

There is speculation that the iPad 3 may come with a stronger, bigger battery - making the new tablet thicker than the previous version, CNNMoney reports. Another rumor is a high-pixel-count screen that's already available on the iPhone 4S. Other reports claim the iPad will come with a faster processor, a better camera, the Siri voice assistant and the ability to run on 4G cell networks - and be about $60 more expensive than its predecessors.

The unveiling would come at a time when competitors are beginning to put up a bit of a fight, CNN's Doug Gross reports. Amazon made a splash with its simpler, cheaper Kindle Fire over the holidays, and rival bookseller Barnes & Noble countered with its popular Nook Tablet. The Acer Iconia A500 offers more memory than the iPad 2, while other companies have  begun flooding the market with devices that are smaller and cheaper than Apple's standard-bearer.

Will Putin avoid a runoff election?

When final results of Sunday's presidential election in Russia are announced this week, Vladimir Putin may not need a runoff vote to reclaim the office.

Russians went to the polls on Sunday, and pre-election polls showed that Putin, who was president from 2000 to 2008, may get more than 50% of the vote, in which case he would avoid a runoff election and win the presidency outright.

Putin has been prime minister since stepping down from the presidency in 2008 because of a law barring him from serving more than two consecutive terms. The current president, Dmitry Medvedev, is not running for another term.

The election comes about three months after parliamentary elections that kept Putin's ruling United Russia party in power, albeit with a smaller majority. The results caused mass protests in Russia, with protesters claiming that the results were rigged in United Russia's favor. The demonstrations were considered, among analysts and political observers, the largest in Russia in the past two decades. Protests are expected again on Monday if Putin is declared Russia's next president

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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
February 26th, 2012
05:32 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:

Polls show tight GOP races in Michigan, Arizona

A recent surge in support for GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum gets important tests this week in Michigan and Arizona, both of which hold primaries on Tuesday, one week before the Super Tuesday contests in 10 states.

A poll taken late last week showed that the overall front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, was leading Santorum 39% to 35% among likely primary voters in Arizona. In Michigan, recent polls show Romney and Santorum neck-and-neck.

Also this week, Wyoming will announce the results of its 20-day caucus process on Wednesday. And Washington state's caucuses are scheduled for Saturday.

Santorum has led Romney in national polling in recent days, thanks in part to strong primary and caucus performances in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri earlier this month. But by Sunday, Santorum's lead was down to 1 percentage point in one poll, with Romney closing the gap after a debate in Arizona on Wednesday.


Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
February 19th, 2012
07:25 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:

Key nuclear meeting in Iran

Officials with the International Atomic Energy Agency begin a second round of meetings Monday with Iranian officials about the country's nuclear program, which has prompted the West to impose new sanctions on the regime and Tehran to retaliate by cutting off crude exports to British and French companies.

Meanwhile, Israel has made clear that it is pondering an attack on Tehran's nuclear infrastructure, with the United States saying such an action would be "premature."

The United States and its allies claim Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, and their claims were bolstered in November by a scathing IAEA report that said Iran could be developing such weapons. Iran has insisted that its nuclear program is solely intended for civilian energy purposes. FULL POST

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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
February 12th, 2012
06:27 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:

Obama to unveil 2013 budget

The White House is expected to release its proposed budget for 2013 on Monday. President Barack Obama's budget proposal will forecast a $901 billion deficit in 2013 and includes plans to make targeted investments in areas such as infrastructure while increasing taxes on the wealthy.

The White House bills the document as a "blueprint for how we can rebuild an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded."


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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
February 5th, 2012
05:05 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

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

Romney targets Obama as Gingrich employs survival strategy

The race for the GOP presidential nomination heads to three states holding contests this week, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney coming off a strong win Saturday in Nevada - his second straight victory and third out of five contests in the still-young 2012 primary/caucus season.

See full Nevada results | Delegate count after first five contests 

Caucuses will be held Tuesday in Colorado and Minnesota, and a nonbinding primary will take place in Missouri. After winning Nevada on Saturday, Romney looked past his three remaining GOP challengers while talking to supporters, spending most of his time hammering away at President Barack Obama. The only time he referred to his GOP opponents was when he said he was the only one who could fix the economy, "unlike other people running for president."

Newt Gingrich, the candidate running second to Romney in the delegate count, laid out a strategy Saturday that focuses less on this week's contests and more on March 6, Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold primary elections. That includes Georgia, which he represented in Congress, as well as neighboring Tennessee. Gingrich predicted he will be close to Romney in convention delegates won after the Texas primary in April.

Wyoming also has caucuses on Thursday, and Maine is caucusing all week. Maine's multiday process ends on Saturday.

Opposition group calls for strike as Syrian violence continues

After the U.N. Security Council on Saturday failed to approve a resolution seeking to halt months of violence in Syria, groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are planning a civil strike for Monday to put more pressure on him.

On Saturday, Russia and China used their veto power in the Security Council to defeat a draft resolution that would have demanded al-Assad stop the killing and answer calls aimed at finding a Syrian-led solution to the 11-month crisis. The United Nations says about 6,000 people have died as a result of months of clashes in that nation. Opposition groups blame the violence on the government, saying it is cracking down on those who have been calling for al-Assad to step down. The Syrian government has consistently blamed "armed terrorist groups" for the violence.

Why Russia, China won't condemn Syria

Hundreds have been killed just in recent days, according to Syrian opposition groups. Arab League Secretary-General Nabil el-Araby insisted that despite the developments in the Security Council, the Arab League and the international community will continue to seek a resolution to the crisis, according to an Arab League official who could not be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

The Arab League had observers in Syria last month to monitor whether al-Assad was abiding by an agreement to end the crackdown, but the league suspended the mission last week because  of a recent sharp escalation in violence.

The mission would have monitored whether al-Assad was abiding by an agreement to end the crackdown, which has resulted in an estimated 6,000 deaths, according to the United Nations.

Trial in death of Virginia lacrosse player begins

The trial of a man accused of fatally beating a University of Virginia women's lacrosse team player - his ex-girlfriend - is expected to begin this week.

George Huguely, who was a member of the UVA men's lacrosse team, faces charges including first-degree murder in the May 2010 death of Yeardley Love, 22. A medical examiner ruled that blunt force trauma killed Love, and authorities allege Huguely caused it during an altercation at Love's off-campus apartment, where a roommate found her dead days before graduation.

Jury selection is expected to begin Monday; the trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Weather posing problems in Australia, Europe

Rescuers will spend at least the early part of this week helping to evacuate thousands of residents stranded by rising floodwaters in the eastern Australian state of Queensland. Heavy rains in recent weeks have swollen rivers beyond their banks, threatening a number of communities in Queensland and New South Wales.

Authorities on Sunday were using a cargo plane and helicopters to evacuate patients from a hospital in particularly hard-hit Queensland town of St. George, where officials were warning about 4,000 residents to get out of the path of what officials say will be a record-breaking flood. The Balonne River is expected to crest Monday at 15 meters (49.2 feet), swamping St. George.

In Europe, many countries are dealing with unusual amounts of snowfall and a powerful cold snap. Dozens have died in Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Poland; Sarajevo in Bosnia canceled school for a week as the Balkan city was hit by the biggest snowfall since 1999; and an Italian valley with 50,000 residents has been paralyzed and without power after 39 inches of snow.

A Mormon feminist pioneer

As a young feminist activist, Joanna Brooks watched her church excommunicate her heroes. For 10 years, she walked away. Now she's an accidental and unauthorized source for Mormonism, a faith and community she both challenges and deeply loves.

CNN's Jessica Ravitz profiles Brooks in a piece that will hit CNN.com's homepage on Monday, but you can get a sneak peek here.

54th annual Grammy Awards

With two of the trophies under his belt, LL Cool J is as qualified as anyone to host the 54th annual Grammy Awards next Sunday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The awards salute excellence in the U.S. recording industry - not only by performers in a wide array of categories, but also in production and packaging. The broadcast will feature performances by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, Adele, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift, all of whom are nominated for awards. It begins at 8 p.m. on CBS, and CNN.com will update winners throughout the night.

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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
January 29th, 2012
05:47 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:

GOP presidential race in Florida, Nevada

This month's first three Republican presidential nominating contests produced three different winners. This week, the candidates will have a chance to distinguish themselves in two votes: Tuesday's Florida primary and Saturday's Nevada caucuses.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who won the New Hampshire primary, is leading his rivals in Florida, according to polls released over the weekend. Romney leads former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the South Carolina winner, by double digits in the Florida surveys, while former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who won Iowa by a razor-thin margin, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas trail the pair.

Romney has benefited from strong debate performances last week and advertisements that harshly attacked Gingrich. The former House speaker has responded by challenging Romney's honesty in the debate and in the anti-Gingrich ads.

The increasingly vitriolic campaign rhetoric caused some Republicans to lament infighting that they fear will hurt the surviving candidate's chances of defeating President Barack Obama in November. In particular, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona called for a halt to the Republican debates - 19 so far this campaign dating back to May - that he said have "turned into mud wrestling instead of exposition of the candidates' views on the issues."


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Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days
January 22nd, 2012
07:06 PM ET

Ahead of the curve: The next 7 days

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

Obama gives State of the Union address, then hits the road

President Barack Obama will deliver his third State of the Union address at 9 p.m. Tuesday before both houses of Congress, along with the Supreme Court justices, the president's Cabinet and the U.S. diplomatic corps.

Among those expected to be in attendance is U.s. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who was shot in January 2011 and who announced Sunday she will resign her position to focus on her recovery. Attending the speech will be one of her last acts in office.

Less than 24 hours later, the president will hit the road to promote his policies with a three-day, five-state tour that will include stops in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver (site of his nomination in 2008); and Detroit.

After Gingrich's S.C. victory, Romney to release tax returns

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Sunday he will release his 2010 tax return and an estimate of his 2011 tax liability on Tuesday. Last week, the former Massachusetts governor told reporters he would release his 2011 tax return in April and estimated his actual tax rate was close to 15%, a promise that did not satisfy his opponents or many voters.

"I think we just made a mistake in holding off as long as we did. It was just a distraction," Romney said Sunday on "Fox News Sunday."

With Newt Gingrich's victory Saturday in the South Carolina primary, three different candidates have won the first three GOP presidential nominating contests. Florida gets the next contest, and this week the candidates will stage two debates there to sway the state's voters.


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