TOP STORIES IN EUROPE SO FAR ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2014

SWITZERLAND-PLANE DIVERTED

GENEVA — An Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot hijacked a plane bound for Rome on Monday and flew it to Geneva, where he wanted to seek asylum, officials said. The Boeing 767-300 plane with 202 passengers and crew aboard had taken off from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, and landed in the Swiss city at about 6 a.m. (0500 GMT). Officials said no one on the flight was injured. By John Heilprin. SENT: 750 words, photos, video.

VATICAN-REFORM

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is opening the most critical week of his year-old papacy: Two commissions of inquiry on Vatican finance will report their recommendations for reform and preparations get under way for a summit on family issues that will deal with the widespread rejection by Catholics of church teaching on contraception, divorce and gay unions. In between, Francis will preside over his first ceremony to formally welcome 19 new cardinals into the elite club of churchmen who will eventually elect his successor. In typical Francis style, the new cardinals hail from some of the poorest places on earth, including Haiti, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 830 words, photos.

ITALY-POLITICS

ROME — Italy's president asked the brash young leader of the Democratic Party, Matteo Renzi, to try to form a government after Renzi engineered the sacking of the previous premier in a power grab within their party. Renzi, the 39-year-old mayor of Florence, met for more than an hour with President Giorgio Napolitano and said he had accepted the challenge with the traditional reservation used for new premier-elects to consult with potential allies. He said he would need a "few days" before formally accepting the job. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 450 words.

CAR-SCHUMACHER-INJURED

PARIS — French investigators have ruled out any criminal wrongdoing in the debilitating ski accident of Formula One great Michael Schumacher, a state prosecutor said Monday. Albertville prosecutor Patrick Quincy said "no infraction by anyone has been turned up" and the probe has been closed, his office said in a statement — responding to questions about whether the Meribel ski station in the French Alps or an equipment maker might have had some role in Schumacher's injury. By Jamey Keaten. SENT: 320 words, photo.

GEORGIA-JAILED POLITICIAN

TBILISI, Georgia — A court in Georgia has convicted a top ally of former President Mikhail Saakashvili of embezzlement and abuse of office and sentenced him to five years in prison. Vano Merabishvili served for nearly eight years as interior minister in charge of Georgia's police force before becoming prime minister ahead of a parliamentary election in 2012. After Saakashvili's party suffered a humiliating defeat in the election and his rival became prime minister, prosecutors filed charges against many of Saakashvili's allies. SENT: 130 words.