President Barack Obama nominated a successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but GOP leaders aren't budging on their resolve to block anyone Obama picks. Elsewhere in the political world, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton dominated in Tuesday primaries, painting a clearer picture of the direction the race for president is going.
Here's a look back at those stories and other highlights — in the form of five handy charts:
Putin Orders Russian Military Pullout From Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared mission accomplished Monday and saidhe is withdrawing his troops from war-torn Syria now that peace talks are underway. Putin's declaration came as United Nations-led negotiations got underway in Geneva, Switzerland, to end the brutal and bloody civil war that has left thousands dead and sent millions more into exile. Putin warned Thursday thatRussia could rebuild its forces in Syria "in a few hours" if necessary, and would continue striking extremist groups.
Trump, Clinton Score Big Wins in Tuesday Primaries
The direction of the 2016 presidential campaign gained more clarity Tuesday night as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump scored big wins in multiple states and increased their delegate leads in the Democratic and Republican nominating contests. Clinton won a clean sweep of the five major contests in Missouri, North Carolina, Illinois, Ohio and Florida. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio suspended his presidential run after falling to Trump in his home state of Florida.
GOP Leaders Double Down to Block SCOTUS Pick
Congressional Republicans reiterated on Wednesday that they have no intention of taking any action on Obama's Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland — a defiant position that foreshadows a tense confirmation fight. The president nominated Merrick Garland, a 63-year-old chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, to the Supreme Court on Wednesday.Garland has nearly two decades of judicial experience and was once the prosecutor who oversaw the Oklahoma City bombing and "Unabomber" terror cases.
SeaWorld to End Breeding Program for Killer Whales
SeaWorld announced Thursday it will end its killer whale breeding programs and take a "new direction" amid changing social attitudes. The company said the 24 orcas it currently has in three parks would be SeaWorld's last generation, a long awaited move following intense criticism from animal-rights campaigners over keeping the whales in captivity. The company has been under pressure about its orcas since the 2013 release of the documentary "Blackfish," which argued that placing the whales in captivity made them violent, neurotic and decreased their life span.
Paris Terror Suspect Salah Abdeslam Captured
Fugitive Paris attack suspect Salah Abdeslam was captured in a terror raid in Belgium on Friday, Belgian officials announced. Abdeslam, 26, has been on the run for more than four months. He was believed to be the only suspect in the attacks still at large. The coordinated ISIS attacks in Paris killed 130 people who were out enjoying a Friday night on Nov. 13, 2015.