In a surprise move, Vladimir Putin announced that he was withdrawing the bulk of Russian forces from Syria, six months after he sent them there to support his beleaguered ally, Bashar al-Assad. The same day, UN-chaired peace talks aimed at bringing an end to the five-year war began in Geneva. A ceasefire that came into force three weeks ago has largely held.
Gunmen attacked three hotels in Grand Bassam, a seaside town 40km from the capital of Ivory Coast. The attack, which left 18 people dead, was claimed by al-Qaeda's north Africa branch.
South Africa's deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, claimed that he was offered the job of finance minister by members of the Gupta family, who have close ties to President Jacob Zuma. The Guptas, who own a wide range of businesses, have denied this.
An audit of Nigeria's state-owned oil company found that in 2014 it failed to pay $16 billion in oil receipts to the national government.
Marco Rubio pulled out of the Republican presidential nomination race after coming a poor second to Donald Trump in the primary in Florida, Mr Rubio's home state. John Kasich won the contest in Ohio, his home state, and remains in the race, as does Ted Cruz. On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton thrashed Bernie Sanders in the week's primaries.
Mr Trump's campaign was dogged again by racially tinged clashes at his rallies. He had to cancel an event in Chicago after protesters fought with his supporters. Mr Trump said later that if the Republican hierarchy tried to wrest the nomination away from him at July's convention there would be “riots” in the streets.
Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, a federal appeals-court judge, to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Senate Republicans say they won't confirm his nomination; they want the vacancy to be filled by the next president, who won't take office until January.
Myanmar's parliament elected Htin Kyaw as the country's next president, the first civilian leader after more than 50 years of control by the army. He is close to Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy won elections in November. Ms Suu Kyi is barred by the constitution from taking the job, but says she will be the effective ruler.
A court in North Korea sentenced an American student, Otto Warmbier, to 15 years' hard labour for crimes against the state. He was found guilty of trying to steal a propaganda banner from a hotel.
At the end of its meeting, China's rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress, approved a new five-year plan for the country's development, which calls for average annual GDP growth of at least 6.5%. The prime minister, Li Keqiang, told reporters that China would press ahead with “structural reforms” to boost market forces and said the government would try to find new jobs for those laid off.