Chatter: Pope vote begins




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Pope vote. It's on. Cardinals have assembled in Rome, and will begin voting today to elect a new pope. The 115 cardinal-electors will enter the Sistine Chapel for the secret conclave, and vote four times a day until two-thirds of them can agree on a pope to replace Benedict XVI. 

There is no clear favorite, but among the contender names being bandied about are Brazil's Odilo Scherer, Angelo Scola of Milan, and Marc Ouellet, a Canadian hockey player turned priest.

There's also US Cardinal Timothy Dolan, though he told one interviewer that anyone who thinks he has a chance "must have been smoking marijuana." Let the watching of the chapel chimney smoke begin.


Pump it up. Sudan and South Sudan have agreed to resume the output of oil within two weeks. 

Both Sudan and landlocked South Sudan, which became an independent country in July 2011, rely heavily on oil for revenue. But oil production shut down more than a year ago in a bitter dispute over fees.

Dear Old Blighty. Falkland Islands residents have voted overwhelmingly to stay British. The results of the historic referendum, while not unexpected, come at a time of increasing pressure from Argentina over its claims to the South Atlantic islands, 31 years after the Falklands War.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has urged Argentina to respect the wishes of the Falkland Islanders. But Buenos Aires dismissed the vote as meaningless in international law, saying it would not affect its claims on what it calls the Malvinas.

Big Gulp ban blocked. A New York judge has blocked mayor Michael Bloomberg's planned ban on giant sodas, calling the move to restrict soda servings "arbitrary and capricious."

Bloomberg, who has championed the super-sized soda ban as a measure to help curb soaring obesity rates, denounced the judge's decision as "clearly wrong," and said the city would appeal.


"Not too bright." That's how teachers at a high school in Israel described an 11th grade student on a list revealing their true thoughts about their pupils. 

Teachers at Yitzhak Rabin High School, in the town of Kfar Saba, described another student as being a "big baby," called another a "sick-o," and accused one of having "a thing for boys."

The teachers shared the list with each other by email, a few students accidentally receiving the list. Who's "not bright" now?

The understandably upset students protested outside the school with the teachers' descriptions pinned to their shirts, demanding — and receiving — an apology.