Plane’s passengers cleared of suspicion

Malaysian police have ruled out involvement of any passengers in the disappearance of a missing jetliner, while Australian officials warned that bad weather and a lack of reliable information were impeding efforts to find wreckage from the plane.

On Wednesday, as many as 10 planes and nine ships from half a dozen countries scoured a stretch of the Indian Ocean roughly the size of Britain where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is thought to have crashed more than three weeks ago.

Authorities have not ruled out mechanical problems as causing the disappearance, but say all the evidence suggests that the plane was deliberately diverted from its scheduled route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Malaysia’s police chief said the investigation was now focusing on the cabin crew and pilots after clearing all 227 passengers of possible involvement.

— Reuters

Militant attack kills at least 8 in Aden

Suspected al-Qaeda militants attacked an army complex in southern Yemen on Wednesday, killing at least six soldiers and two civilians, officials said.

The attack in the port city of Aden started when militants detonated an explosives-laden car at the complex’s gate, then fired on the troops, military officials said.

Hospital officials said three of the attackers also died in the subsequent shootout.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that seven other attackers were killed during a chase by troops, and two were detained.

— Associated Press

Putin formally divorces wife: Russian President Vladi­mir Putin has formally divorced his wife, Lyudmila, after more than 30 years of marriage, a Kremlin spokesman said Wednesday, following a surprise breakup announcement last year. “The divorce has taken place,” Dmitry Peskov said, without giving any further details. Putin and his wife announced that their marriage was over last June in a live broadcast on Russian state television, confirming long-standing speculation that they had separated.

Hollande’s former partner named to cabinet: Faced with a voter backlash at the polls, French President François Hollande is looking to revive his sputtering presidency with help from a surprising quarter:
Ségolène Royal, his former partner and mother of his four children. Royal, a high-profile Socialist in her own right, was tapped Wednesday to take over as minister of environment and energy in the new government named by Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Hollande, following a crushing defeat for their Socialist Party in municipal voting Sunday.

Fire destroys more than 100 homes in Sao Paulo: Brazilian firefighters were battling a blaze that had destroyed more than 100 homes as it swept through a shantytown in Sao Paulo. The fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in a slum located in front of several apartment buildings under construction on the city’s east side. There were no reports of deaths or injuries. A Sao Paulo fire official said the blaze may have been caused by a short circuit or a cooking gas canister that exploded.

— From news services