World News

White Smoke Over Sistine Chapel Signals New Pope

White smoke emerged from a chimney atop the Sistine Chapel and bells pealed in Vatican City Wednesday evening, signaling that a new pope has been chosen to lead the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

The 115 voting members of the College of Cardinals elected a successor to 85-year-old Pope Benedict, who resigned last month saying he did not have the strength to carry out his papal duties.



The candidate had to receive two-thirds of the vote, or 77 ballots, to be chosen to lead the Church.

The cardinals took an initial vote Tuesday. As expected, the first vote did not produce a decision but may have produced a slate of frontrunners. A vote Wednesday morning was also inconclusive.

The 115 scarlet-robed "princes of the church" swore an oath of secrecy requiring, under pain of excommunication, that they would reveal nothing of their deliberations for the duration of the secret conclave.

Featured Story

VIDEO: Top U.S. intelligence officials warn the Islamic State remains a “formidable and brutal threat” even as coalition airstrikes and fighting on the ground begin to erode its strength. But there are also indications that the constant bombardment is starting to take a more permanent toll. VOA National Security Reporter Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Degraded IS Still 'Formidable and Brutal'

US intelligence, military officials say Islamic State group losing ground in Iraq and perhaps elsewhere More