March 2016: news highlights

4th March - Relationship status


Facebook said that it will change its tax arrangements, and will now report sales that it makes through its UK subsidiary in the UK, rather than in lower-tax Ireland. Tech companies have faced criticism for moving profits around Europe and offshore in order to pay less tax. In 2014, Facebook paid just £4,327 in corporation tax, while Amazon paid £11.9 million in the same year, despite making sales of more than £5 billion in the UK.

5th March - Korea war games

korean war games

South Korean and US troops began their largest-ever joint military exercises, after North Korea tested a nuclear warhead and said that it had developed the technology to place it on a missile. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un said that his country stands ready to make a pre-emptive nuclear strike if provoked.

7th March - Bloomberg bows out

Bloomberg bows out

Billionaire former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg ended speculation that he might contest the US elections as an independent, saying that he could not take the risk that his bid would split the Democratic vote and help Republican candidates Donald Trump or Ted Cruz win the presidency.

10th March - Grace and favours

grace and favours

The Vatican announced that it would overhaul the process of conferring sainthood, after two investigative journalists revealed that the cost of the process of verifying miracles and deeds had reached more than £400,000. Leaked documents showed that the process is largely without financial oversight.

13th March - Côte d’Ivoire terror

cote d'ivoir

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for an attack on a beach resort in Grand-Bassam. It is the third time since November that the group has struck at tourist sites in West Africa, following attacks in Burkina Faso and Mali. The terror franchise had a foothold and was driven out of Mali in 2013.

14th March - Russia withdraws

russia withdraws

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the end of his country’s six-month bombing campaign in Syria, declaring that its objectives had been achieved. The Kremlin had weighed into the conflict in support of its ally,  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,  in September 2015.

15th March - Myanmar’s new president

Myanmar's new president

Htin Kyaw was elected Myanmar’s first civilian president, ending 54 years of military rule. He is a long-time friend and adviser to the country’s long-time opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is barred from the presidency by the constitution and is widely seen as being the power behind the new government.

16th March - Budget brouhaha

budget brouhaha

Chancellor George Osborne’s 2016 budget introduced further cuts to welfare and a plan to turn all English schools into academies by 2022. After intense criticism and the resignation of work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, the government backed down on reductions to disability benefits.

19th March - Istanbul attack


Five people were killed and more than  30 injured in a suicide bombing on a busy shopping street in Istanbul. It followed an earlier car bomb attack on the capital, Ankara, on March 13, which killed at least 37 people. The Ankara attack was claimed by a Kurdish militant group, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons.

20th March - Cuba Libre

cuba libre

Barack Obama became the first US president to visit Cuba since 1928, landing in Havana to meet President Raúl Castro. The US imposed a trade embargo on the country in the 1960s after its 1959 Communist revolution, and the restrictions survived for a quarter of a century after the fall of the Soviet Union.

24th March - War crimes

war crimes

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić was sentenced to 40 years in prison at a United Nations tribunal in The Hague, after being found guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – including the 1995 killing of more than 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica – during the Bosnian War.

25th March - I.S. Deputy killed

i.s deputy killed

The second-in-command of the so-called Islamic State, Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, was killed in Syria by US forces. He is the second high-ranking figure to be targeted in less than a month, after the group’s military strategist Abu Omar al-Shishani was killed in an airstrike.

27th March - Lahore bombing

lahore bombing

At least 70 people were killed and hundreds more injured after a suicide bomber struck at an amusement park in Lahore, Pakistan. The attack appears to have been timed to target crowds of Christians celebrating Easter, and has been claimed by the Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar.

29th March - Family affairs

family affairs

A man hijacked an EgyptAir flight from Alexandria to Cairo, diverting it to Cyprus and sparking a state of emergency. The hijacker asked for asylum and demanded to speak with his estranged wife before being arrested. A spokesman from the Egyptian foreign ministry said: “He’s not a terrorist, he’s an idiot.”

Photos: Chung Sung-Jun; Oli Scarff; SIA-KAMBOU; Irina Sokolova/TASS; Ye Aung Thu/AFP; Dan Kitwood; Sven Creutzmann/Mambo Photo; Michael Kooreen/AFP; Farooq Naeem/Stringer – All Getty Images