Church has New Pope, Pope Francis I !

Church has New Pope: Francisco I: Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio!

VATICAN CITY: White smoke poured from the roof of the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday and the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica pealed, signalling that cardinals had chosen a new pope to lead the troubled Roman Catholic Church after only five ballots.

The decision by 115 cardinal electors came sooner than many faithful expected because of the large number of possible frontrunners identified before the vote to replace Pope Benedict, who resigned in February.

The name of the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics was expected to be announced in around half an hour from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica.

The secret conclave began on Tuesday night with a first ballot in the Renaissance splendour of the chapel and four ballots were held on Wednesday. The white smoke indicated the new pontiff had obtained the required two thirds majority in the fifth ballot.

Following a split ballot when they were first shut away amid the chapel’s Renaissance splendour on Tuesday evening, the cardinal electors held a first full day of deliberations on Wednesday. Black smoke rose after the morning session to signal no decision.

Cheers arose from hundreds of people sheltering from incessant rain under a sea of umbrellas in St. Peter’s Square as the white smoke billowed from the narrow chimney.

The cardinals had faced a tough task in finding a leader capable of overcoming crises caused by priestly child abuse and a leak of secret papal documents that uncovered corruption and rivalry inside the Church government or Curia.

The wave of problems are thought to have contributed to Pope Benedict’s decision to become the first pontiff in 600 years to resign.

The last four popes were all elected within two or three days.

Seven ballots have been required on average over the last nine conclaves. Benedict was clear frontrunner in 2005 and elected after only four ballots.

The cardinals were shut inside for the secret election under Michelangelo’s luminous frescos on Tuesday after a day of religious pomp and prayer to prepare for the task.

The initial inconclusive vote about two hours later was seen as a way of filtering the choice down to frontrunners for discussions among the supporters of the various candidates.

No hint emerged before the pope was chosen. The Vatican had taken precautions, including electronic jamming devices, to prevent any leaks from inside the conclave.

The new pope will take up a burden that Benedict declared in February was beyond his physical capabilities.

Apart from an child abuse scandals and the “Vatileaks” case, the Church has been shaken by rivalry from other churches, the advance of secularism, especially in its European heartland, and problems in the running the Vatican bank.

The former head of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, is attending the conclave despite calls for him to stay away because of a sex abuse case that led to his censure by his successor Archbishop Jose Gomez in January. He was stripped of all public and administrative duties as punishment.

On Tuesday, lawyers for the victims in four sex abuse cases said the diocese, Mahony and an ex-priest had agreed to pay nearly $10 million to settle. Mahony was accused of helping a confessed paedophile priest escape prosecution.

Frontrunners at the conclave included Brazilian Odilo Scherer – who would be the first non-European pope since Syrian-born Gregory III, nearly 1,300 years ago – and Italy’s Angelo Scola, who would return the papacy to traditional Italian hands after 35 years of the German Benedict XVI and Polish John Paul II.

In preparatory meetings before the conclave, the cardinals seemed divided between those who believe the new pontiff must be a strong manager to get the dysfunctional bureaucracy under control and others who are looking more for a proven pastoral figure to revitalise their faith across the globe.

Milan Archbishop Scola, who has managed two big Italian dioceses without being part of the Vatican’s central administration, could be well-placed to understand the Curia’s Byzantine politics and introduce swift reform.

Scherer is said to be the Curia’s favoured candidate and would satisfy those who want a non-European, reflecting the future of a Church shifting towards the developing world.

A host of other candidates from numerous nations have also been mentioned as potential popes – including U.S. cardinals Timothy Dolan and Sean O’Malley, Canada’s Marc Ouellet and Argentina’s Leonardo Sandri.

All the prelates meeting in the Sistine Chapel were appointed by either Benedict XVI or John Paul II, and the next pontiff will almost certainly pursue their fierce defence of traditional moral teachings.

“Four more years”: President Obama declares victory on Twitter,The Most Popular Tweet Of All Time!

US President Barack Obama swept to re-election on Tuesday, creating history again by defying the undertow of a slow economic recovery and high unemployment to beat Republican foe Mitt Romney.

In late September, Media Bistro’s All Twitter blog tabulated the most popular tweets of all time – as gauged by retweets. The winner was Justin Bieber, who as of this writing had 223,376 retweets for this tweet.

In the past hour, President Obama shattered that record with this tweet upon the media calling Ohio for him.

The retweets are still coming , but when I took a screenshot a minute ago, he had blown past Justin Bieber’s record, and I imagine that this will be tough to top.

That’s yet another victory for Obama’s social-media savvy campaign team, who dominated Romney in most social media metrics.

First 2012 Presidential Debate Saw 10.3M Tweets And Gave Politics A New Dimension!

Yes, we know that tonight was a record-setting night for Twitter. The first 2012 Presidential Debate was the most tweeted about political event in company history. Whether you care or not, this is significant and worth noting.

We’re seeing a shift in not only media, but in major historical moments like political campaigns. What Twitter does is add a new dimension of participation, allowing people from all over the world to share their thoughts and feelings in real-time about something that’s really important. In this case, it’s the next President of the United States.

Here’s what Twitter had to say about tonight’s action:

As conversation on the Denver stage and on Twitter ranged from Medicare to Big Bird, there were more than 10 million Tweets this evening, making this first of the 2012 presidential debates the most tweeted-about event in U.S. politics.

The specific moments that generated the most discussion on Twitter were:
-Moderator Jim Lehrer quips “Let’s not” when Governor Romney requests a topic
-President Obama quips “I had 5 seconds” when Lehrer gives time limit
-The discussion about Medicare and vouchers

The chart below plots the pulse of conversation throughout the debate:

What Twitter has done is removed the political trends and influence out of the hands of journalists and into the hands of regular folks like my Mom and friends in Philly. You don’t need a blog to be passionate and informative, you don’t have to be someone “special” with publishing rights at a big important publication like my stupid ass to make a difference.

All you have to do is be you. Tonight, I “met” a bunch of really smart, funny and insightful people during the debate. I also found some people that annoyed and challenged me, which is equally awesome.

We don’t have to wait for FOX to tell us what was “important” during the debates, because WE get to decide…as it happens, and that better scare the shit out of networks. I don’t have to wonder why Twitter is signing media deals left and right, it’s the networks that want to work with them, not the other way around.

Watching the debate on TV with the latest iteration of Twitter was like wearing 4D glasses. I saw things I’d never seen before, heard things I’d never heard before and met people I’d never met before. The walls fell down, and we had open discussions, laughed and created Big Bird memes. Real decisions could have been on hard-hitting political agendas for voters, and we all worked it out and explained it to one another.

In my opinion, the format and moderation of the debate were pretty bad. Future debates can learn from this, because networks will see the reactions from us, the viewers, in both real-time and in chronological fashion.

That. Is. Powerful.

I could be snarky about how Twitter touts numbers and engagement like this, but I won’t…because it gets me excited for the future of communication.

James Holmes to Police: I’m The Joker

We have a disturbing update on James Holmes, the 24-year old suspected of killing 12 people and injuring dozens more inside an Aurora, Colorado movie theater this morning.

Holmes

  • The shooting took place at approximately 12:38 a.m. local time.
  • Holmes protected himself with a ballistic helmet, a vest, a throat protector, a gas mask and black tactical gloves
  • Officials believe Holmes acted on his own: “We are not looking for any other suspects,” said Oates. “We are confident he acted alone.”
  • Holmes possessed three weapons when he was arrested behind the theater: an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington shotgun and a 40-caliber Glock handgun. All were purchased legally.
  • Holmes’ hair was painted red and he told police, upon being apprehended, that he was “The Joker.”

At last count, 71 people were wounded in this gunman’s attack. President Obama addressed the nation earlier today, honoring the victims and asking America’s to treasure the fragility of life.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has also made a speech in which he offered his “deepest condolences” to those affected by the tragedy and added:

“I stand before you today not as a man running for office but as a father and grandfather, a husband, an American. This is a time for each of us to look into our hearts and remember how much we love one another and how much we love and how much we care for our great country. There’s so much love and goodness in the heart of America.”

Dark Knight Rises Premiere Shooting Leaves 12 Dead in Colorado!

Tragedy struck the town of Aurora, Colorado early this morning, as a gunman opened fire at a movie theater during a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

At the moment, 12 people are confirmed dead and 50 wounded as a result of the incident.

According to various witness accounts and police reports, the suspect tossed some kind of smoke bomb into the theater and opened fire in front of the screen. He was reportedly wearing a gas mask and a bullet proof vest and carrying at least a rifle and a handgun.

The unidentified, alleged murderer is in his early 20s, a police spokesman says, and did not put up a fight when apprehended.*

“We will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family,” said President Obama in a statement, adding:

“All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come,” said Obama, promising he would do everything in his power to bring those responsible to justice.

“We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded.”

Aurora is a Denver suburb and is approximately 13 miles from Littleton, Colorado, the site of the Columbine High School shooting in April 1999.

*UPDATE: The suspect has been identified as a 24-year old named James Holmes.