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BREAKING NEWS ~ Pope elected

[JURIST] Following what appeared to be a puff of white smoke coming from the Sistine Chapel a few minutes ago, bells are now ringing at the Vatican indicating that Roman Catholic cardinals have elected a new pope, as yet unidentified. Observers had suggested that an election in the first days of balloting in the conclave could mean the elevation of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger [Vatican profile] of Germany, an early favorite of conservatives and Dean of the College of Cardinals. An announcement is pending from the Vatican. For the very latest developments, listen to Vatican Radio live [in Italian].

12:43 PM ET - In the traditional "Habemus Papam" proclamation from a balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square, the new Pope has just been named as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, taking the name of Benedict XVI. EWTN-TV, the US-based Catholic television network, is providing live video.

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