Marine Le Pen's far-right Front National party made sweeping gains in the French local elections last night but Nicolas Sarkozy's party stood up well and Le Pen was beaten into third place nationwide by the centre-right and the ruling Socialists.
The 2016 race for the White House began in earnest as Ted Cruz, a fiery Republican senator from Texas, launched his presidential campaign with a deeply religious speech at the world's largest evangelical Christian university.
A German passenger jet crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 passengers and crew. The Airbus A320, operated by the budget airline Germanwings, was en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it vanished off radar screens. A major recovery operation was launched to recover the bodies.
'Top Gear's' Jeremy Clarkson faced charges by North Yorkshire police after aiming a punch at producer during a row. The presenter was sacked by the BBC for his "unprovoked physical and verbal attack" on the show's Irish producer, Oisín Tymon.
A major overhaul of flight safety got under way after it emerged that the Germanwings airline catastrophe was caused by the deliberate actions of a depressive co-pilot, who was left alone in the cockpit. The black-box tapes revealed how the captain desperately tried to break down the door to prevent the air disaster in the Alps.