March 13th, 2013
06:25 PM ET

Argentina's Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis

[Updated at 6:25 p.m. ET] That will wrap up our live blog of Francis' debut. For more coverage, check out the links above and read our full story.

[Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET] When Pope Francis is formally installed in a Mass later this month, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be there, leading the U.S. delegation to the event.

Biden is the first Roman Catholic to serve as vice president.

Meanwhile, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has congratulated Pope Francis - a native Argentine - and expressed hope that he will work toward justice, equality and peace for all.

As we noted earlier, the new pope has clashed with the Argentine government over his opposition to gay marriage and free distribution of contraceptives.

A photo from earlier tonight: People react as newly elected Pope Francis appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica.

[Updated at 5:33 p.m. ET] We know a little more about what Pope Francis will be doing tomorrow: He and the cardinals will hold a Mass in the Sistine Chapel at 5 p.m. local time (noon ET), Vatican spokesman the Rev. Tom Rosica told CNN.

[Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET] A Vatican spokesman says Francis will be a reformer, and will call the church "back to basics."

"He knows the Curia, he's been extremely critical of the mess here," the Rev. Tom Rosica said, referring to the Vatican bureaucracy.

[Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET] Here's something that a pope has never had the chance to do before today: Shortly after Francis was elected, he placed a phone call to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, who has been staying at a papal retreat at Italy's Castel Gandolfo since he resigned February 28.

Benedict, 85, was the first pope to resign in hundreds of years.

News of the phone call came from the Rev. Tom Rosica, a Vatican spokesman.

[Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET] We've just been given confirmation about which Francis the new pope is honoring in his choice of name.

The new pope took the name Francis in honor of St. Francis of Assisi because he is a lover of the poor, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Tom Rosica told CNN.

Also, the new pope should be known as Pope Francis, not Pope Francis I, Rosica said.

[Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET] Let's take a look at what might be next for Pope Francis:

Before Francis was elected, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said that the new pope will “very probably” say Mass this Sunday at St. Peter’s and do the traditional Angelus blessing, Lombardi said before the election.

It will take several days before there is an installation Mass, because it will take time for world leaders to arrive, Lombardi had said.

[Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama has weighed in.

Obama offered his prayers and "warm wishes" Wednesday to newly elected Pope Francis. Obama called him "a champion of the poor and the most vulnerable among us," and also said his election as "the first pope from the Americas ... speaks to the strength and vitality of (that) region."

[Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET] The pope's election has caught the attention of the Internet crowd, to put it lightly. Facebook says that its users' top terms about 70 minutes ago were:

1) Pope; 2) Jorge Bergoglio; 3) Vatican; 4) White smoke; 5) Cardinal; 6) Catholic; 7) Decision; and 8) Papal.

[Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET] Latin Americans in St. Peter's Square are thrilled.

"As a youth, and as a Catholic student, and as a Mexican, I am absolutely overwhelmed with emotion (at) the fact that we have a new pope that will represent that part of the (world)," a woman from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, told CNN. "That is something very exciting. I feel that Mexico has been a country that has suffered a lot, and so has Latin America, but it is a people that has always put trust in God, so it is absolutely wonderful to represent our part of the world this time around."

Beside her, a woman from Mexico City said her heart jumped when she heard the announcement that a pope had been picked.

"I'm so excited," she said. "It's a reason of being proud tonight, because Latin America is a very important Catholic area and now it's going to be totally represented here, so I'm so proud and I'm so happy today. ... It's going to help a lot, a Latin American pope, it's going to help. It's going to rebuild many things, and it's a new start."

Check out more Latin American reaction here.

[Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET] Let's take a look at some reaction to Francis' election. Here's what Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York - by some accounts a pre-conclave contender for the papacy - had to say, shortly after he participated in the conclave:

“Pope Francis I stands as the figure of unity for all Catholics wherever they reside," Dolan said in a statement released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis I. The bishops of the United States thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the inspired choice of the College of Cardinals.”

And the Church of England, the country's official church denomination, offered a prayer Wednesday for the newly elected pope.

"Guide him by by your spirit, give him grace to lead people in prayer and zeal, and to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, your son our Lord," the prayer read.

[Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET] CNN Vatican expert John Allen has reported previously, for the National Catholic Reporter, that the new pope may have been the runner-up in the 2005 election that saw Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger become Benedict XVI. Allen noted that there's no official account of that election - it is officially secret, after all - but various reports had Bergoglio coming in second in 2005.

Pope Francis asked the crowd in St. Peter's Square to pray for him. "Before I give you a blessing, I ask you for a favor - I want you to bless me," he said.

[Updated at 3:51 p.m. ET] Choosing the name Francis is powerful and ground-breaking, CNN Vatican expert John Allen says.

As noted earlier, this is the first Pope Francis. Also, the name parallels one of the most venerated figures in the Roman Catholic Church, St. Francis of Assisi.

Allen described the name of Pope Francis as "the most stunning" choice and "precedent shattering."

"There are cornerstone figures in Catholicism" such as St. Francis, Allen said. Figures of such stature as St. Francis seem "irrepeatable - that there can be only one Francis," Allen added.

Read more about the new name, from CNN's Michael Martinez.


March 13th, 2013
07:33 AM ET

Vote for pope resumes after lunch

Will the Roman Catholic Church's cardinals elect a pope today, the first full day of their conclave? If so, they'll have to make it happen in their afternoon session.

Black smoke rose from the chimney fixed to the roof of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday morning, indicating that the cardinals' first two votes of the day were inconclusive. The cardinals also didn't come to a conclusion on Tuesday evening, which was their first vote.

They will have two more opportunities to vote on Wednesday afternoon, after they have lunch.

We have a number of features to inform you about the process. Our full story on Wednesday's activities can be found here. But also check out:

Wednesday's conclave schedule

Video: Millions bet on pope

How a pope is chosen

The contenders

Video: Papal conclave 101

Cover-up claims disturb conclave

March 12th, 2013
02:47 PM ET

No new pope on conclave's first day

[Updated at 2:47 p.m. ET] In a not-so-surprising result, there will be no new pope tonight.

Black smoke has risen from a chimney over the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, indicating that no one collected enough votes Tuesday to be elected the successor to the retired Pope Benedict XVI. The Roman Catholic Church's cardinals held their first vote in the chapel today.

The cardinals will vote again tomorrow.

[Updated at 12:46 p.m. ET] The process of selecting a new pope of the Roman Catholic church has begun.

The 115 cardinal-electors have gathered in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, and the doors to the chapel have closed, marking the beginning of today's election session.

This session is scheduled to last two hours, assuming no pope is chosen before then. The cardinals would then go at it again tomorrow.

[Updated at 7:43 a.m. ET] The wait is nearly over: It's time for the cardinals to get down to the business of choosing a pope.

The Catholic Church's cardinals are set to begin their secret election, or conclave, in Vatican City on Tuesday. The process to choose a successor to the retired Benedict XVI could take days.

We have a number of features to inform you about the process. Our full story on Tuesday's activities can be found here. But also check out:

How a pope is chosen

The contenders

Video: Papal conclave 101

Cover-up claims disturb conclave

March 8th, 2013
11:57 AM ET

Cardinals set pope election date

The Catholic cardinals gathered in Rome voted Friday to begin the secret election, or conclave, to elect a new pope next Tuesday afternoon, the Vatican said.

The 115 cardinal-electors taking part in the conclave will enter the closed-door process after a morning Mass, the Vatican said. Only those younger than 80 are eligible to vote.

Last cardinal-elector due at Vatican tomorrow
A prayer service is held in the Sistine Chapel on October 31, 2012. The papal conclave will happen here.
March 6th, 2013
07:38 AM ET

Last cardinal-elector due at Vatican tomorrow

Slowly but surely, the Catholic Church's cardinals are putting themselves in position to elect a new pope.

All but two of the 115 cardinals eligible to elect the new pope are now in Rome, Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi announced Wednesday. One more is due to arrive this afternoon, and the last one on Thursday, he said.

No date has yet been proposed for the secret election, or conclave, to select the successor to former pontiff Benedict XVI, who resigned last week. For more on today's developments at the Vatican, read this story.

Interactive: A look at possible papal contenders

How is a new pope elected?

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Filed under: Catholic Church • Christian • Religion • Vatican
Abuse victims' group blacklists cardinals
Archbishops (purple hats) and cardinals (red hats) sit in St. Peter's Square on February 27, 2013, in Vatican City.
March 6th, 2013
05:48 AM ET

Abuse victims' group blacklists cardinals

A group representing survivors of sexual abuse by priests on Wednesday named a "Dirty Dozen" list of cardinals it said would be the worst candidates for pope based on their handling of child sex abuse claims.

Their presence on the list is based "on their actions and/or public comment about child sex abuse and cover up in the church," the group said.

The list includes cardinals from several countries.

SNAP, the Survivors' Network of those Abused by Priests, said as it released the list Wednesday that its accusations were based on press reports, legal filings and victims' statements.

The cardinals on the list have not yet responded to the move by SNAP.


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Filed under: Catholic Church • Christian • Religion
February 28th, 2013
02:10 PM ET

Benedict: I'm 'simply a pilgrim' now

  • Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the first pope to resign in nearly 600 years, takes effect at 2 p.m. ET (8 p.m. in Rome)
  • Benedict now in papal retreat 15 miles from Vatican; tells crowd he's starting the last part of his pilgrimage on Earth
  • Benedict, 85, met with cardinals Thursday morning, pledges his "unconditional obedience" to the next pope
  • Updates below; full story here; see CNN Mexico's coverage in Spanish

[Updated at 2:10 p.m. ET] Uniformed police officers have now taken over the task of guarding the pope emeritus. When his papacy ended 10 minutes ago, Swiss Guards left their posts, closed the doors of Castel Gandolfo, and hung up their halberds.

[Updated at 2 p.m. ET] The papacy of Benedict XVI is now officially over, ending a pontificate in retirement rather than death for the first time in nearly 600 years.


January 29th, 2013
08:05 AM ET

Britain ready to send troops to train Mali military, defense chief says

The United Kingdom is prepared to deploy up to 40 troops to a European Union military training mission in Mali, and up to 200 troops as trainers in English-speaking West African countries, British Defense Minister Philip Hammond told lawmakers in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

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Filed under: Mali • United Kingdom
Radical cleric Abu Qatada released from jail
Muslim cleric Abu Qatada has been described as "more radical than Osama bin Laden."
November 13th, 2012
06:28 AM ET

Radical cleric Abu Qatada released from jail

Radical cleric Abu Qatada was released from jail on bail today, following a successful appeal Monday against deportation from the United Kingdom to face terror charges in Jordan.

It's the latest stage in a long-running battle over British efforts to deport the man accused of funding terrorist groups and said to have inspired one of the 9/11 hijackers.

July 31st, 2012
11:47 AM ET

UK police: Girl's call about collapsed mother was hoax

A call to police in England that sparked a frantic search for a 3-year-old girl who said her mother had collapsed was a hoax, police said after spending nearly 30 hours trying to trace the call.

Two 10-year-old girls were being questioned Tuesday, West Yorkshire police said after the urgent hunt in the city of Leeds.

July 24th, 2012
08:22 AM ET

Former Cameron aide, Murdoch ally charged with phone hacking

British prosecutors said Tuesday they will charge eight journalists with illegally eavesdropping on voice mail, including a former aide to British Prime Minister David Cameron and a close confidant of media baron Rupert Murdoch.

Cameron's former director of communications Andy Coulson is among eight journalists facing charges, as is Rebekah Brooks, the former chief executive of Murdoch's News International.

The names of the suspected hacking victims announced by the Crown Prosecution Service include some of the world's biggest celebrities, including Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Paul McCartney, soccer star Wayne Rooney and actor Jude Law.

Coulson and Brooks are former editors of the defunct Murdoch tabloid the News of the World, which was shut down last year in the face of public outrage at the hacking scandal.

Brooks, who will be charged with conspiracy to intercept voice mails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, vigorously denied the charges, saying she was "distressed and angry."

Gordon Brown lashes out at Rupert Murdoch, son and tabloid
June 11th, 2012
01:44 PM ET

Gordon Brown lashes out at Rupert Murdoch, son and tabloid

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown lashed out Monday at press baron Rupert Murdoch, his son and his British newspapers, raising the stakes in a highly charged and very public battle between the two men.

The conflict could affect whether Murdoch keeps control of the British part of his media empire.

During his testimony before the Leveson Inquiry, the former British leader flatly denied the most sensational claim that Murdoch made when he testified at the media ethics inquiry this year: that Brown had "declared war" on Murdoch's company when a top-selling Murdoch newspaper endorsed the Conservative party rather than Brown's Labour party in 2009.

"This conversation never took place. I am shocked and surprised" that Murdoch said it had when he was grilled at the inquiry in April, Brown said Monday. "There was no such conversation."

Brown repeatedly insisted that there was "no evidence" of the phone call, basing his assertion on phone records from his office when he was prime minister.

The media tycoon said in April that Brown had phoned him and threatened him when the Sun newspaper pulled its support for Labour and switched to the Conservatives.

"He said, 'Well, your company has made - declared war on my government, and we have no alternative but to declare war on your company.' And I said, 'I'm sorry about that Gordon, thank you for calling.' End of subject," the News Corp. chairman testified.

After Brown essentially accused Murdoch of lying under oath, News Corp. said its chairman stood by his testimony.

April 26th, 2012
06:03 AM ET

Murdoch admits phone-hacking 'cover-up'

Global media baron Rupert Murdoch admitted Thursday that there had been a "cover-up" of phone-hacking at his News of the World tabloid, and placed the blame on people at the newspaper itself, without naming them "because they may still face criminal charges."

January 10th, 2012
11:08 AM ET

Libya granted more time on Gadhafi question

Libyan authorities were granted more time Tuesday by the International Criminal Court to say whether they plan to hand over the deposed leader's son, Saif al-Islam Gadhafi.

The ICC decision came as a deadline loomed for Libya's government to respond on the issue.

The late Moammar Gadhafi's son, once seen as his heir apparent, was captured in November after the fall of his father's regime in August. He is being held in the Libyan city of Zintan.

He was facing an arrest warrant from the ICC at the time of his capture, and the court is still seeking to prosecute him.

The ICC asked Libya last month whether Gadhafi was arrested because of the international warrant, if he was being held incommunicado, and if an ICC representative could meet him.

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December 20th, 2011
09:41 AM ET

News International: Murdoch newspapers settle with phone hacking accusers

Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers has settled with seven people who accused his newspapers of phone hacking, its parent company News International announced Tuesday.

The claimants included James Hewitt, a former lover of Diana, Princess of Wales.

December 19th, 2011
10:18 AM ET

Czechs bid farewell to anti-communist hero Havel

The coffin of former Czech President Vaclav Havel went on display in St. Anna's Church in central Prague Monday for people to pay their respects, the Czech News Agency reported.

Havel died Sunday at the age of 75, and his funeral has been scheduled for Friday, the agency said.

Admirers poured into the streets of Prague Sunday night with candles and flowers in memory of Havel, people on the scene said.

The former dissident playwright helped topple communism in eastern Europe through the power of his words, insisting, "Truth and love triumph over lies and hate."

His longtime friend and translator Paul Wilson remembered him as a "a very shy and gentle man with a will of steel, who was fearless when confronting a regime that tried, relentlessly, to crush his spirit."

December 18th, 2011
06:53 AM ET

Vaclav Havel, Czech dissident, playwright, politician dead at 75

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel, one of the leading anti-Communist dissidents of the 1970s and 1980s, has died at the age of 75, Czech Television announced Sunday.

Havel, a puckish, absurdist playwright turned political activist, spent four and a half years in prison for opposing Czechslovakia's Communist government before emerging as a leader of the Velvet Revolution that swept it aside in 1989.

He went on to become president of Czechoslovakia, and of the Czech Republic when the country split in two at the end of 1992.

A deeply serious thinker given to long, rambling statements in presidential speeches and conversation, Havel also had an impish sense of humor, reportedly whizzing through the long corridors of Prague Castle on a scooter after becoming president.

It was his love of rock and roll as much as his moral outrage at the Communist system that brought him to prominence.

He co-wrote the influential Charter 77 anti-Communist declaration in protest at the arrest of a Czechoslovak rock band, the Plastic People of the Universe.

A perennial contender for the Nobel Peace Prize, Havel never won, but remained active in anti-Communist causes from Cuba to China until his death.

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December 13th, 2011
10:43 AM ET

James Murdoch warned over phone hacking, e-mail shows

The editor of the News of the World tabloid e-mailed proprietor James Murdoch in 2008 about a phone-hacking case, saying, "Unfortunately it is as bad as we feared," according to a copy of the correspondence published by Parliament Tuesday.

Murdoch concedes in a letter to lawmakers that he replied to the e-mail but does not admit having read it.

Murdoch is at the center of a scandal over illegal eavesdropping by the newspaper, which he shut down in July in the face of public fury at phone hacking.

Police: Norway mass murder suspect insane, cannot be sentenced to prison
November 29th, 2011
07:23 AM ET

Police: Norway mass murder suspect insane, cannot be sentenced to prison

[Posted at 7:23 a.m. ET] Norway mass murder suspect Anders Behring Breivik cannot be sentenced to prison or preventive detention because he is insane, but can be confined to a mental hospital for the rest of his life, police said Tuesday.

He suffers "grandiose delusions" and "believes he is chosen to decide who is to live and who is to die," police announced, saying psychiatrists had found Breivik paranoid and schizophrenic.

Experts based their decision on 36 hours of interviews with Breivik, police said.

He will still be tried to determine whether he committed the murders, police said.

[Posted at 7:15 a.m. ET] Anders Behring Breivik, the man accused of killing 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage in Norway in July, is insane, police said Tuesday.

He was psychotic at the time of the attacks and during 13 interviews experts conducted with him, they said.

Experts based their decision on 36 hours of interviews with Breivik, police said.

He is accused of killing dozens of people in a bomb attack in Oslo followed by a shooting rampage on nearby Utoya island.

Most of the victims were at a political summer camp held by the youth wing of the governing Labour Party at the time of the July 22 shooting attack.  Most survivors made it out alive by hiding among rocks or diving into the chilly waters around the island. The victims were aged from 14 to 61, with an average age of 21, the government said.

Eight people were killed in a bombing in Oslo; 69 young people were killed on Utoya island, in the deadliest attack in Norway since World War II.
November 1st, 2011
08:56 AM ET

Pakistan cricketers guilty of corruption

Pakistan cricket player Salman Butt was found guilty Tuesday of taking money to fix a major international competition against England last summer, a British crown court said.

Another player, Mohammad Asif, was also found guilty of conspiracy to cheat, in a scandal that rocked the international sport.

The Pakistanis were accused of spot-fixing, which involves deliberately throwing parts of a game, rather than the whole match.

The News of the World, the British tabloid that first reported the allegations, said players deliberately bowled "no balls," or fouls, at specific points in the game and that the alleged ringleader made 150,000 pounds (about $230,000) in the scam.

The News of the World has since folded in an unrelated scandal.

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