The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, appeared in court to face charges of tax fraud in Milan on 28 March. The trial is the first of four that Berlusconi is due to face in the coming weeks. He is also accused of abusing his office and having sex with an underage prostitute. He denies all charges.
2. Middle East
On 29 March, Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, dissolved his cabinet in response to widespread anti-government protests. The move is the first of a number of concessions by al-Assad, who is trying new means of stopping the tide of dissent after a crackdown that killed dozens of civilians failed to stem the protests.
Eleven Pakistani soldiers were killed in an ambush outside Peshawar, near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, on 28 March. Those killed include a colonel and a captain in Pakistan's Frontier Corps, a unit being trained by US troops.
Forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, president elect of Côte d'Ivoire, have seized six towns controlled by the contested incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, in the country's western cocoa belt. Gbagbo has called for an immediate ceasefire.
5. South America
Chile's government will extend summer time to save energy after an extended dry season caused an energy crisis, due to the country's reliance on hydroelectricity. Clocks will now go back for winter time on 7 May, rather than on 3 April.
6. North America
Video footage of US soldiers killing civilians and posing with their corpses in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan has been published by Rolling Stone. Corporal Jeremy Morlock has been sentenced to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to three counts of murder.
China could overtake the US in the number of scientific papers published by 2013, according to the Royal Society. In 2008, the US produced 316,317 papers, compared with China's 184,080. But this gap is likely to disappear in two years. China now spends more than $100bn a year on scientific research and has upwards of 1.5 million science and engineering students.
Elizabeth Taylor left behind an estate worth between $600m and $1bn when she died on 23 March. She had built up the fortune through business, including her own perfume label.
Leeds Metropolitan University has become one of the first universities to confirm that it will charge less than £9,000 in tuition fees from 2012. The former polytechnic, which is ranked 97th out of 122 in the latest Sunday Times university league tables, will charge £8,500 for all full-time undergraduates.
To mark its closure on 1 April, the UK Film Council has published the results of a survey that it commissioned, which found that older women feel marginalised and that ethnic-minority groups feel stereotyped in film. "Film has the ability to change behaviour and shift opinion," said Mary FitzPatrick, the UKFC's head of diversity.