Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans on covering this week:
Martin Luther King Jr. documents go online
Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, one of 10 national holidays in the United States.
Besides marking the day as a federal holiday for the 26th time, January 16, 2012, begins a new age of online accessibility for those wanting to know more about King and his work.
The King Center Imaging Project, which makes 200,000 of¬† the civil rights leader's documents quickly accessible online, goes live Monday. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech and his letter from a Birmingham, Alabama, jail are among the documents available.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-violent Social Change in Atlanta and JPMorgan Chase & Co., working in partnership with AT&T Business Solutions and EMC, are responsible for the project.
Taking King at his words
The memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. has sparked controversy, and perhaps this is fitting. He was a controversial man whose humanity - and words - still speak volumes today.
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Polls show Romney ahead as New Hampshire prepares to vote
A slimmer field of GOP presidential candidates is fighting for votes in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, the second contest of the 2012 nomination calendar.
Mitt Romney, a former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, had a double-digit lead in Granite State polls less than a week after he pulled out an eight-vote victory over former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in the Iowa caucuses.
Six major candidates are still in play, with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota having suspended her campaign after a poor showing in Iowa.
Romney, Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman will be looking for traction in New Hampshire ahead of a January 21 primary in South Carolina.
Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Presidential contests kick off with Iowa caucuses
The GOP‚Äôs first step in nominating a challenger to President Barack Obama takes place Tuesday.
Iowa‚Äôs caucuses will kick off the 2012 presidential primary and caucus calendar. Candidates will be looking to meet or beat expectations to gain momentum for the next contest, which is New Hampshire‚Äôs primary on January 10.
Late last week, an NBC News/Marist poll indicated that 23% of likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers supported former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with 21% backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. The survey is similar to a CNN/Time/ORC International poll, released Wednesday, that also indicated Romney and Paul were basically tied for the top spot, with former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum surging and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich fading, among likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers.
On Saturday, four days after the caucuses, GOP candidates will take part in an ABC News debate in Manchester, New Hampshire.
New year, new laws
With the start of a new year this week, many new laws ¬†- including some that cover some of the nation's most contentious issues -¬†will take effect across the United States.
Among those taking effect Sunday, CNN's Josh Levs reports, is a controversial California provision requiring that schools add "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans" to the list of those whose contributions "to the development of California and the United States" must be taught in schools.
In New Hampshire, starting Sunday, minors will have to inform a parent before getting an abortion or seek a court order to avoid parental notification.
Van der Sloot's trial begins
The trial of a Dutch man charged with killing a¬†21-year-old woman in Peru last year is expected to begin Friday in Lima.
Joran van der Sloot is accused of killing Stephany Flores in his Lima hotel room last year. Police say he took money and bank cards from her wallet and fled to Chile, where he was arrested a few days later.
He was charged in September with "qualified murder" and simple robbery, which carry sentences of 28 years and two years, respectively.
Van der Sloot also was once the prime suspect in the case of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway, who vanished while on a graduation trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005. He was arrested twice but never charged in connection with Holloway's disappearance, which is still unsolved.
He also faces extradition to the United States. In June 2010, a federal grand jury in Alabama indicted van der Sloot on charges of wire fraud and extortion after allegations surfaced that he tried to extort $250,000 from Holloway's mother. He was given a total of $25,000, and authorities believe he used that money to travel to Peru and participate in a poker tournament, where he met Flores.
Mubarak's trial resumes
A trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is scheduled to resume in earnest Monday in Cairo following a months-long break.
One session was held on Wednesday - the first since the trial was put on hold. During the break, families of slain protesters tried to have the judge disqualified, though that attempt was unsuccessful.
Mubarak, 83, is charged with ordering the killing of protesters to try to quash the uprising that ended his 30-year rule in February. He also faces corruption charges and has pleaded not guilty. Former Egyptian Interior Minister Habib El Adly, six of his aides and two of Mubarak's sons are also on trial on a variety of charges.
Mubarak's trial proceedings are expected to be held daily starting Monday, a lawyer connected with the case has said.
2012: Predicting the future with hindsight
What will the new year hold? No one can say for sure, but a look ahead can be informed by a look back. Whether it's a presidential election or another Olympics, there's no doubt history will repeat itself, somehow.
For CNN.com's Monday Profile, Todd Leopold takes a look at 2012 and the¬†historical anniversaries the world is likely to celebrate. The story will hit CNN.com's homepage on Monday, but you can get an advance look at it here.
Middle East peace talks
Israeli and Palestinian representatives will meet in Amman, Jordan, on Tuesday.¬† It's an effort to relaunch negotiations between the two sides after more than a year of deadlock.
"Jordan's efforts are based on the belief that the two-state solution, which leads to the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian national state, is a top Jordanian interest," a spokesman for the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said, according to the country's state-run Petra news agency.
Peace talks between the two sides fell apart over a year ago over disagreements on the issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
College bowl games roll through week
Couch in position? Check. Chips and salsa ready? Check. Variety of beverages chilled? Check. TV subscriptions up to date? Check.
OK, you're ready for college football's bowl week. Here are the main contests on tap in the next few days (all times Eastern):
Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN plans to cover this week:
Storm death toll rising in Philippines; many survivors lack clean water
Aid workers are scrambling to help survivors of a tropical storm that the Red Cross says killed more than 650 people in the southern Philippines late last week.
Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon, who said the situation was a "severe humanitarian crisis," planned to travel to the affected area Monday.
Flash flooding overnight Friday, following 10 hours of rain, fueled the devastation. As much as 8 inches of rain fell within 24 hours in some areas.
Survivors in the hardest-hit areas are contending with no electricity or clean drinking water.¬†An estimated 100,000 people are displaced, according to the country's Department of Social Welfare and Development.¬†Authorities have started distributing food rations for some 10,000 families affected by the storm while also handing out thousands of blankets and mosquito nets, the Red Cross said.
Blizzard watch issued for Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado
A wintry storm brewing in the Southwest is expected to bring blizzard conditions and heavy snow accumulations of more than 1 foot to the southern High Plains Monday, making travel across the region dangerous if not impossible, CNN meteorologist Sean Morris reported.
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Former Penn State coach due in court
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will appear in court at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday for a preliminary hearing, where his alleged victims are expected to testify.
A grand jury report made public last month detailed 40 charges of rape and molestation against the former coach in a child sex abuse scandal that, at the time, involved eight alleged victims.
Sandusky was arrested for the second time Wednesday and charged with four counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and two counts of unlawful contact with a minor, allegedly involving two men who were boys at the time of the encounters.
All of the alleged victims came into contact with Sandusky through his Pennsylvania charity, The Second Mile.
Each count is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. The former coach also faces one new count of indecent assault and two counts of endangering a child's welfare, each punishable by up to seven years behind bars and $15,000 in fines.
Sandusky's former boss, renowned head coach Joe Paterno, who was fired in November, was admitted to a hospital Sunday morning after fracturing his pelvis in a fall at home Saturday night, a source close to the Paterno family said. Paterno also is being treated for lung cancer.
Syrian opposition: Bloodbath could be imminent in Homs
The Syrian government has warned protesters in the city of Homs to stop demonstrations, hand in weapons and surrender defecting military members by Monday night or face bombardment, an opposition leader said.
The Syrian National Council, the country's leading opposition movement, had warned earlier of a potential bloodbath at the hands of the Syrian regime in Homs.
"If the world continues to watch, then the massacre of Hama in the '80s will be repeated," said Lt. Col. Mohamed Hamdo of the Free Syrian Army. Hamdo referred to 1982, when Syria's military - acting under orders from current President Bashar al-Assad's father, Hafez al-Assad - launched an assault on the city, killing thousands.
Here is a look at some of the stories that CNN.com plans to follow this week:
Cairo tense ahead of Egypt's parliamentary elections
Streets in Egypt's capital, where violence broke out this month as demonstrators rallied for a quicker transition to a civilian-controlled government, were tense Sunday a day ahead of parliamentary elections.
The first stage of elections for Egypt's parliament is expected to go from Monday to Tuesday. With protesters still packed in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said elections would go ahead as planned, and that he would not allow the military "to be pressured by any individual or entity," state media reported.
A military council took charge of Egypt after protesters ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February, and the military promised that eventually a civilian government would be elected and take over. But many demonstrators are pushing for a quicker transition. They are concerned that the military, which would continue to be Egypt's top authority until a president is in place, wants to keep a grip on the country. Many also have voiced anger about a proposed constitutional principle that would shield the military's budget from scrutiny by civilian powers.
Results of parliamentary elections are expected to be made final on January 10.
At least 42 people have been killed in recent demonstrations in Egypt, including at least 33 in Cairo. An additional 3,250 have been wounded, the Ministry of Health's Dr. Hisham Shiha said.
Syria faces sanctions from Arab League nations
A committee of Arab League officials is expected to meet in the coming days to work on details of economic sanctions that the league voted to impose on Syria over the weekend.
Foreign ministers of 19 Arab League nations on Sunday voted to impose the sanctions after Syria declined to allow league observers into the Middle Eastern country to monitor the government's response to civil unrest. The league had given Syria a deadline of last Friday to comply.
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What is next if deficit ‚Äėsuper committee‚Äô blows deadline?
The U.S. congressional "super committee" charged with coming up with at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts for the next 10 years might announce Monday that it will miss Wednesday‚Äôs deadline to recommend a plan, aides say. ¬†Regardless of whether some type of plan is offered before the deadline, the consequences of the panel‚Äôs actions will be the subject of much discussion in Washington this week.
The panel was created over the summer as part of an agreement to raise the nation‚Äôs debt ceiling. If the committee doesn‚Äôt approve by Wednesday a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years, and if Congress doesn‚Äôt pass that plan by December 23, then $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts are supposed to start in 2013. Those automatic cuts would be evenly divided between defense and non-defense spending and are said to be painful enough that neither Republicans nor Democrats would like to see them.
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Afghan tribal elders to discuss relationship with U.S.; Taliban threatens
Afghan tribal leaders are set to gather this week for a vital meeting to discuss Afghanistan's long-term relationship with the United States and possible¬†peace talks with the insurgency.
The Taliban, however, have threatened to disrupt the days-long event, called the loya¬†jirga, which is scheduled to start on Wednesday.
The meeting is considered by many an important step in obtaining Afghan consent to a reduced but long-term U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and any possible peace deal with elements of the insurgency. Hundreds of community leaders have been invited from across the country. Their conclusions will likely influence Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
A shuffle of Greece's government and questions over how it will deal with its debt ‚Äď which could drag down larger European economies - will be in a spotlight this week as the country's prime minister prepares to resign. Here is a look at this and some other stories CNN plans to follow this week.
Greece dealing with government shakeup, questions about debt
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is expected to resign this week after the makeup of a new coalition government is decided. He narrowly won a confidence vote last week after announcing he would seek a new government, and he's agreed to resign - after talks with the opposition - on the condition that a controversial 130 billion euro bailout deal is approved.
Papandreou found himself in turmoil when he announced he would put a European bailout package for his country - a deal that would slash half of Greece‚Äôs 100 billion euro debt - to a referendum. He later backed off the referendum, and he says implementing the package is a priority, but the fate of the deal still isn‚Äôt clear.
The bailout deal, reached October 26, comes with strings that would require Greece to slash government jobs, privatize some businesses and reduce pensions. If Greece ever were to decide it doesn‚Äôt want to meet those conditions, it could decide to default.
Relief agencies fear disease in flooded Thailand
Charities working in Thailand have warned of the risk of water- and insect-borne diseases in the coming weeks in Thailand, which is battling what the government is calling the nation's¬†worst flooding in half a century.
The floods, caused by monsoon rains that saturated rivers, have killed at least 373 people nationwide and affected more than 9.5 million¬†of the country's roughly 66 million people.
Areas in Bangkok's outlying districts were covered with waist-deep water Sunday. Thais have questioned whether resources may be dwindling, including whether electricity and tap water will be available to residents, with a water utility saying algae is slowing down its tap-water processing. ¬†But the prime minister assured residents Saturday that tap water and electricity would be available, though with disruptions.
The prime minister said the flood waters would likely reduce by this week if relevant agencies control the drainage.
NATO ending Libya military mission on Monday
After seven months of an aerial bombing campaign that helped depose longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi, NATO is¬†scheduled to end its mission in Libya on Monday.
NATO's move comes after the United Nations Security Council last week rescinded its March mandate for military intervention to protect civilians targeted during anti-regime protests.
NATO is scaling back its air-and-sea Libyan military operation following last week‚Äôs death of ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi as the country‚Äôs interim leaders make plans for a future government. Here is a look at this and other stories CNN plans to follow this week.
NATO to set formal date for end to Libyan operation
NATO is expected to formally decide early this week when to end its military operation in Libya. The alliance's secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, already has set a preliminary end date of October 31. NATO forces will be on standby until the end of the month to continue to provide assistance to civilians if needed, he said.
The alliance in March began targeting military targets through airstrikes and missile launches, and enforced a no-fly zone and arms embargo after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution mandating the protection of Libya‚Äôs civilian population. The resolution came as pro-Gadhafi forces advanced on a rebel stronghold; NATO action by air and sea helped anti-Gadhafi forces in Libya to push back.
NATO aircraft on Thursday struck a convoy of vehicles, one of which contained Gadhafi, though the alliance says it didn‚Äôt know Gadhafi was in it at the time. Libyan revolutionary fighters captured Gadhafi after the strike, and Gadhafi died a short time afterward. The United Nations and two major human rights groups have called for an investigation into the circumstances of his death.
As Occupy Wall Street-style rallies continue in the United States¬†and spread across Europe¬†and parts of the rest of the world, more protests are expected in Greece ahead of a Thursday vote by lawmakers on whether to approve major changes, including wage and pension cuts and tax hikes. Here is a look at this and other stories CNN plans to follow this week.
Protests expected ahead of Greek austerity vote
Greek lawmakers, trying to address a severe debt problem, are expected to vote Thursday on austerity measures that are unpopular with a large portion of the Greek public. Protests similar to previous demonstrations in that country this month are expected Wednesday at the latest.
Finance ministers with the Group of 20, meeting in Paris, pledged over the weekend to take "all necessary actions" to stabilize global markets and ensure that banks are well capitalized. But with debt crises spreading in Europe -¬† debt problems are prompting austerity plans in Greece, Italy, Spain, Ireland and Portugal - thousands across the continent spent part of the weekend to protest against¬†corporate power, grinding poverty and government cuts.
GOP presidential candidates head west for debate
Most of the Republican U.S. presidential candidates will be in Las Vegas this week for a televised debate and to speak at a conference of GOP members from Western states, with one candidate boycotting the event.
Economic and money issues are front and center in the coming week.¬†The focus¬†begins early Monday, when the Nobel Memorial Prize for economics is awarded in Sweden, and wraps up next weekend when a coalition of religious, civil rights and education groups join labor unions in a march on Washington for "jobs and justice." In between, the NBA faces a deadline for a labor agreement, and Republican presidential candidates will debate about the economy.
Nobel Memorial Prize for economics to be awarded
The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences will be announced Monday morning by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
The economics prize was established in 1968 by Sweden's central bank in memory of the founder of the Nobel prizes, Alfred Nobel. It has been awarded 42 times to 67 laureates.
Last year, three men - Peter A. Diamond, Dale T. Mortensen and Christopher A. Pissarides - shared the prize for their work developing models that help people "understand the ways in which unemployment, job vacancies, and wages are affected by regulation and economic policy," according to the academy.
You can watch the webcast of the announcement here at 7 a.m. ET.
NBA labor talks push regular-season deadline
The National Basketball Association needs a labor agreement between owners and players by Monday night, or league Commissioner David Stern is expected to cancel the first two weeks of the regular season.
Talks between the players union and the owners stalled last Tuesday, even though reports said the two sides had gotten closer to a revenue split they could both accept.
According to a report from SI.com's Chris Mannix, the NBA offered the players a 50-50 split of all basketball-related income. But players union sources disputed that number, saying the split was 49-51 in favor of the owners and that the owners rejected a counteroffer from the players. The talks then ended and no new meetings were scheduled.
With appeals over the constitutionality of health care reform representing just one potentially explosive topic that could be tackled this year, the U.S. Supreme Court's new term, which begins Monday, may be "the most interesting one in a century," a prominent appellate attorney tells CNN.¬†Here is a look at this and other stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Big cases await Supreme Court as new term kicks off
The Supreme Court's new term begins Monday with plenty of intriguing cases scheduled for the next several months, including those involving TV indecency (whether current policies violate the free speech and due process rights of broadcasters, over profanity and sexual content) and electronic surveillance (whether the government violated a drug suspect's Fourth Amendment rights by installing a GPS tracking device on his motor vehicle).
And the potential addition in the coming months of cases that the court hasn't yet scheduled - such as issues related to religious symbols on public land, travel to Cuba, gay marriage and health care reform - could make this an especially big year for the high court.
Few doubt that the high court will take at least one appeal relating to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the signature accomplishment thus far of Barack Obama's presidency, CNN's Bill Mears reports.¬†An eventual Supreme Court ruling can be expected by June, right in the thick of a presidential race.
U.S. lawmakers are flirting with the possibility of a partial government shutdown by the end of this week - and watching the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster relief funds run dry as early as Monday - as they fight over new spending legislation. Here's a look at this and other stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Congress faces deadlines to stop shutdown, keep FEMA funded
Both chambers of Congress must agree on new spending legislation to avoid a partial government shutdown after the close of the current fiscal year on Friday. Late last week, legislation that passed the GOP-controlled House was rejected in the Democratic-controlled Senate, in part because Democrats opposed spending cuts that House Republicans championed.
The legislation also is needed to replenish FEMA's disaster relief fund, which will be relied on to help states hit hard by Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, and a series of recent wildfires and tornadoes. FEMA could run out of funds as early as Monday, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
FEMA says that if the fund runs out, the agency would shut down disaster recovery and assistance operations until Congress gives it money.¬†Reid said he would push for a new vote Monday on a compromise package.
This is the third time this year that the country has come to the brink of a shutdown. Legislators nearly forced Washington to start closing its doors in mid-April and again during a debt-ceiling fight in August.
Eyes on Europe debt crisis
With concerns about the sovereign debt of Greece and some other European nations upsetting financial markets around the world, Germany's parliament on Thursday is expected to take a critical vote on a second Greek bailout and an overhaul of a fund meant to help struggling European Union nations.
World leaders will gather in New York to speak at the United Nations General Assembly this week, and one of the more major developments there could be the Palestinian Authority‚Äôs expected move to seek some sort of upgraded status.¬†Here is a look at this and other stories that CNN plans on following this week:
Palestinians expected to seek upgraded status at United Nations
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas¬†said last week¬†that he would seek full U.N. membership¬†for the Palestinian territories, likely after he speaks to the General Assembly on Friday. That request would go to the U.N. Security Council, where the United States has vowed to veto the move.
But the Palestinian government also could go to the General Assembly, where only a majority vote would be needed, to gain a lesser status. That would be of a permanent observer state, similar to the position that the Vatican holds. A vote in its favor would be all but assured.
The Palestinians currently hold the status of a permanent observer entity. As an observer, the delegation can speak in the General Assembly but not vote.
Social Security might be one hot point of contention when eight GOP presidential candidates participate in Monday‚Äôs debate in Tampa, Florida. Here‚Äôs a look at this and other stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Social Security battle, round 2?
Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney might continue their war of words over Social Security during Monday‚Äôs ‚ÄúTea Party Republican Debate‚ÄĚ at the Florida State Fairgrounds, produced by CNN and the Tea Party Express.
During a debate last week, Perry, who became the GOP front-runner in national polls after his recent entry into the race, stood by his previous characterization of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme that shouldn't be described as something that will be around for today's young workers. Romney countered that GOP candidates should be committed to saving Social Security, and other candidates distanced themselves from Perry's stance.
On a week that Americans take a holiday to honor workers, President Barack Obama and a prominent GOP challenger for the White House are scheduled to unveil their plans to create jobs in a country with a 9.1 percent unemployment rate. Here is a look at this and other stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Obama, Romney to detail jobs plans
In front of a joint session of Congress on Thursday, President Barack Obama is expected to deliver a plan to create jobs and strengthen the economy , including longstanding proposals to boost infrastructure projects; complete free trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama; and extend unemployment benefits.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters last week to expect the president to announce both unilateral steps he can take and legislative proposals that would require passage by Congress.
With more than 4 million people having lost power, many areas dealing with dangerous flooding and major transportation systems still not at full speed, much of the U.S. East Coast has plenty to do get past the effects of the former Hurricane Irene. Here is a look at this and other stories that CNN plans to follow this week:
Flooding a concern after Irene
The U.S. government estimated that the cost from wind damage alone from Irene - which made its first U.S. landfall as a hurricane Saturday morning in North Carolina before slamming into New Jersey on Sunday morning - is expected to top $1 billion.
Wind damage isn't the only problem. Flooding is expected to get worse Monday morning in the area of Vermont's capital, where water could rise as high as 20 feet - above the 17.5 feet that led to substantial flooding in May in Montpelier. Flood warnings and watches were in effect Sunday night for much of the Northeast, and people in parts of North Carolina are dealing with homes left awash by storm surges and overflowing rivers.
The video of a child trying to hijack a CNN correspondent's report got us thinking. What other scene stealers are there? You've gotta watch how these children and animals take center stage - sometimes unintentionally.