Colin Dwyer

The Russian Embassy in London drew an uncommon scene Tuesday, gathering crowds of people, vans and diplomatic cars at its gate even as the building saw the departure of a number of far more familiar faces: the 23 Russian diplomats expelled by the British government. Russia's state-run news agency, TASS, reports that the diplomats and their families departed the compound to the strains of a Russian patriotic march.

Constantin Reliu, a dead man, has been having himself a rough year.

The Turkish government deported him in January for having expired documents, sending him back to a Romania he says he hadn't seen since the late 1990s.

And you can imagine his surprise when, upon his return, he found out he died back in 2003. There was an official death certificate registered by his wife and everything.

DeAndre Harris, a black man brutally beaten after a white nationalist rally last August in Charlottesville, Va., has been found not guilty of misdemeanor assault for his role in the incident. The city's General District Court handed down the ruling Friday.

Former South African President Jacob Zuma had avoided a host of corruption charges for roughly a decade, in the meantime winning and serving for years in his country's highest elected position — but on Friday, just over a month after Zuma resigned the presidency under significant political pressure, those criminal charges finally caught up with him.

The Syrian war crossed a wretched threshold Thursday, marking seven years since the start of the protests against President Bashar Assad's regime. Within months Assad had sent troops to crush the uprising, sparking a civil war that has gathered antagonists at a rate only exceeded by its human costs — which, by many estimations, have left roughly 400,000 people dead and displaced half the population.

Strap in, purists. This game is about to get a good deal faster.

At least, that's what Minor League Baseball officials are hoping. The league announced Wednesday that it plans to institute some pretty big rule changes for the 2018 season — including beginning extra innings with a runner automatically on second base and, in certain situations, shaving five seconds off the pitch timer the league had already instituted in triple- and double-A ball.

Sure, Norway may have dominated the Winter Games last month in Pyeongchang, handily sweeping the Olympic medal count — but the country has just been knocked from its perch atop another international ranking: the World Happiness Report. The country's Nordic neighbor, Finland, has unseated the Norwegians with a smile.

As of this writing, the Finns are the happiest people in the world.

More than a year and a half after Omar Mateen opened fire at an Orlando nightclub, leaving 49 victims dead and ultimately dying himself in a shootout with police, attorneys delivered their opening statements on the sole person charged in the massacre: Mateen's widow, Noor Salman.

Seven weeks into Turkey's Operation Olive Branch, a mission to clear Kurdish fighters from Syrian regions along its southern border, the Turkish military says its troops and Syrian rebel allies have nearly surrounded Afrin. They announced Tuesday that the central section of the border city and other "critically important areas" have been seized from the principally Kurdish militia known as People's Protection Units, or YPG.

Updated at 5:47 p.m. ET

President Trump is making his first visit to California since taking office, using the whirlwind trip to view prototypes for his signature border wall proposal and promote his defense policies to troops stationed in San Diego.

In an unusual step, President Trump has signed an executive order blocking Broadcom's $117 billion bid to buy Qualcomm. The order released Monday cited "credible evidence" that led Trump to believe the Singapore-based Broadcom, in purchasing America's largest mobile chipmaker, "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."

From even Thursday's earliest moments, just after midnight, demonstrators across the world began gathering to mark International Women's Day. In the hours since, there have been marches, rallies, presidential speeches and even a nationwide strike.

They were all inspired by the same celebration, but what demonstrators campaigned for, and how, covered a wide range.

Editor's Note: This post contains graphic descriptions that some may find disturbing.

Peter Madsen, the Danish inventor accused of murdering a Swedish journalist aboard his private submarine, pleaded not guilty to the charge Thursday at the start of his trial. The opening comments marked a new phase for a gruesome case that has for months drawn investigation and intense international attention.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

When President Trump pulled the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, spurning the massive free trade agreement in one of his first acts in the Oval Office, most analysts figured the deal was dead.

Late at night, in the gathered shadows of your bedroom, you may have heard it. Or, perhaps you heard it over breakfast with your family in the kitchen, the sound rising unbidden from over your shoulder in a corner of the room you had thought — and now, desperately wish — to be empty.

Laughter. Quick, inhuman laughter.

At least, that's what Amazon Echo owners say they've been hearing lately. In recent weeks, many of them have hit social media saying their smart speakers have been laughing spontaneously, unprompted by commands.

The Trump administration has lifted a ban on importing sport-hunted trophies of elephants from certain African countries, just over three months after President Trump appeared to pause a first attempt to do so amid public uproar. In a memo dated March 1, the U.S.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

After more than a week of shuttered classrooms, the teacher strike in West Virginia is set to come to an end.

The state's governor and teachers union announced Tuesday they had reached a deal to implement a 5 percent raise for state employees across the board. And a little later in the day, lawmakers passed the measure with a unanimous vote.

Gov. Jim Justice is expected to quickly sign the deal.

The first day back in the classroom went quickly. The half-day for students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was their first at school in two weeks — but what the day lacked in length, it balanced with heartbreak and hope.

For the first time since a gunman claimed the lives of 17 of their classmates and teachers, wounded 14 others and took aim at many more, the survivors gathered again Wednesday to resume studies the killings put on pause.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani opened an international conference Wednesday in Kabul with a substantial overture to his government's longtime antagonist: If the Taliban comes to the negotiating table and recognizes Ghani's government, the Afghan leader would in turn offer the insurgent group a role as a legitimate political party and release Taliban prisoners.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods say they won't sell guns to customers under 21, and both are putting new restrictions on ammunition sales.

Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the largest sports retailers in the U.S., has announced it is immediately ending its sales of military-style semi-automatic rifles and is requiring all customers to be older than 21 to buy a firearm at its stores. Additionally, the company no longer will sell high-capacity magazines.

The South Korean women's curling team, hometown rock stars of these Winter Games, put on quite a show for a rollicking arena in Pyeongchang on Friday. The team defeated Japan in the semifinals, 8-7, claiming the nail-biter victory only after both teams went tied into an extra end.

For the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar and what authorities describe as a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing, the prospect of returning to their home villages might be more than just daunting. As satellite photographs show, a return home might be simply impossible.

It wasn't the Miracle on Ice, exactly — but when the U.S. men's curling team squared up with their Canadian counterparts in the Olympic semifinal, few could have expected what happened next. Canadian men have won gold at each of the past three Winter Games, after all, and Americans had never — ever! — won an Olympic semifinal.

That all changed Thursday.

The U.S., led by captain John Shuster, shocked the traditional powerhouse in the close contest, riding a late surge of momentum to win 5-3.

Russian police detained Alexei Navalny for less than an hour Thursday, the prominent opposition leader tweeted Thursday. Navalny said that during the brief arrest, which came just as he was leaving a dental appointment, officials warned him that he faces up to 30 days in prison for organizing illegal protests.

"They offered me a lift somewhere," he said, according to a translation by Reuters, "but I declined and have gone to work. I don't understand what happened, and why it took seven people to detain me."

Aleksandr Krushelnitckii has officially lost his Olympic bronze.

As evening settled over eastern Ghouta on Tuesday, the suburb just outside Damascus lay battered by 48 hours of sustained airstrikes. And the approaching night promised still more horror for one hospital.

By 5 p.m. local time, the Syrian American Medical Society says, barrel bombs had begun to fall in a downpour about the medical facility.

The NCAA has confirmed the University of Louisville must give up its 2013 national championship in men's basketball, denying the school's appeal of a decision last year that penalized the Cardinals' program for "arranging striptease dances and sex acts for prospects, student-athletes and others."