Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

12 March 2013. RIA-Novosti Infographics. How a Conclave Elects a Pope of Rome

00 RIA-Novosti Infographics. How a Conclave Elects a Pope of Rome. 2013


On 12 March, at the Vatican, the first meeting will begin conclave to elect a new pope will hold its first session. The election will bring together 115 cardinal-electors, whose average age is 72. The colour of the smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel reveals the result of the voting. Learn more about an election of the Pope of Rome in this Infographic.

On the first day of the conclave, after Mass, the cardinals, dressed in red vestments and capes, over white surplices (liturgical overtunic), gather in the Hall of Blessings of the Apostolic Palace. They process with the cross and the gospel to the Sistine Chapel, singing a Litany of the Saints. On arrival in the chapel, the cardinal-electors pray that God sends down to them the gift of the Holy Spirit, singing the hymn Veni Creator, then, take an oath to reveal nothing that occurs in the conclave. The rules allow journalists and official Vatican press aides to be in the Sistine Chapel to cover this event.

Possible successors to Pope Benedict >>

After the oath, the Master of Ceremonies says, “Extra omnes” (“All others, leave”), and those who aren’t conclave participants must leave the Chapel. Only the cardinal-electors may be in the Chapel during the balloting, so, soon after the distribution of ballots, the Master of Ceremonies must leave, too. Then, one of the cardinal-deacons locks the door behind him with a key.

Who will lead the Vatican? >>

The only valid form of voting is by secret ballot. An election is valid if any of the candidates achieves a two-thirds majority. If the number of electors participating in the conclave is not a multiple of three, the election of a new pope requires a two-thirds majority plus one.

12 March 2013





Conclave Unable to Elect a New Pope in the First Round of Voting

00 The New Pope. 12.03.13


00 The Election of a Pope. Infographic. 12.03.13


Participants in the Vatican conclave, which shall elect the 266th Pope of Rome, failed to elect a pope in the first round of voting… black smoke rose from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace. When the conclave elects a new First Hierarch of the Roman Catholic Church, the world will know it, for white smoke will emerge from the Sistine Chapel chimney.

History of the conclaves to elect the Pope of Rome >>

115 members of the College of Cardinals are taking part in the conclave. They’ve pledged to adhere to rules for the conclave found in the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis (The Lord’s Whole Flock), and to not reveal anything connected with the election of the pope. To win election to the Apostolic See, the next pope will have to win the support of at least two-thirds of the cardinal-electors, that is, he must win at least 77 votes in the conclave election.

Procedure for the election of the Pope of Rome>>

Despite rain in Rome, a crowd of believers in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican awaited the news of the outcome of the first round of voting, which began after 17.30 CET (09.30 PDT. 12.30 EDT. 16.30 UTC. 20.30 MSK. 03.30 Wednesday AEST) and lasted about two hours.

Chronicle of the first day of the conclave to elect a new pope >>

After voting, the cardinals will serve vespers, then, the “princes of the Church” will go to the Domus Sanctæ Marthæ (St Martha’s House), where they’ll rest until tomorrow morning. On Wednesday, and on all following days, the conclave will hold ballots per day until it elects a new Pope of Rome, but there will only be two burnings of the ballots per day (and, thus, two “smokes” per day)… one in morning, and the other in the evening.

12 March 2013

Sergei Startsev

Natalia Shmakova



Scientists Say “Unclassified” Life Found in Antarctic Lake

00 Lake Vostok drilling. 12.03.13


A Russian scientist told RIA-Novosti that preliminary examination of water samples from ancient subglacial Lake Vostok near the South Pole indicated that a life-form found there is unique; it isn’t found anywhere else on Earth. Sergei Bulat, a researcher at the Laboratory of Eukaryote Genetics at the Boris Konstantinov St Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (PIYaF), said, ”The species of bacteria, whose traces were found in probes of water from Lake Vostok, doesn’t belong to any of the 40-plus known subkingdoms of bacteria. After excluding all known contaminants… we discovered bacterial DNA that doesn’t match any known species listed in global databanks. We call it unidentified and ‘unclassified’ life”.

Seven samples of the same species of bacteria were found in water frozen on the head of the drill that was used in 2012 to reach the lake, which is covered by a 3.5-kilometre-thick ice sheet, but the match between its DNA and any known organisms never exceeded 86 percent, whilst Bulat noted that a match of under 90 percent is already enough to indicate a new species. Attempts to build a phylogenetic tree for the newly discovered micro-organism, which indicates a species’ evolutionary relationship to other species, showed that the Antarctic bacterium didn’t fit any of the main categories of micro-organisms in its taxonomic domain. Bulat said, “If it were found on Mars, people would call it Martian DNA, but this is DNA from Earth”. Bulat told us that tests continue, but are unlikely to disprove the results. He added that we need more samples for conclusive proof; possibly, researchers could find them in water from the lake obtained during a new drilling season earlier this year, which is on its way to Russia by ship.

Suspense over life under the Antarctic ice has built up ever since drilling began in 1989 to reach Lake Vostok, which could’ve isolated itself from the outside world as early as 17 million years ago. Drilling through the ice without contaminating the lake took the Russian team at Station Vostok, located just above the lake, 23 years to complete. Scientists suspected that unique species of extremophile microbes, sustained by geothermal heat and capable of surviving in Vostok’s extreme oxygen concentration, could’ve evolved in the lake. However, an early study of samples of surface water from the lake, published last year, found no unique life-forms, prompting speculation that the lake might be devoid of life after all… a theory that the most-recent findings appear to have disproved.

7 March 2013



What Goes On Inside the Vatican Conclave Where They Choose The Next Pope?

00 Infographic. The Conclave. 12.03.13


Today, workmen are making final arrangements to the Sistine Chapel before 115 Catholic cardinals enter it for the conclave to choose the next pope. Once there, officials will lock the doors, and the participants won’t have newspapers, television, or, for the social media-savvy set, Twitter. They’ll get virtually nothing from the outside, other than food. Technicians have installed mobile-phone-jamming devices to keep the outside world unaware of the cardinals’ politicking. Workers hung red drapes this morning over the window at St Peter’s Basilica, where the world will see the new pope for the first time after the conclave elects him. The rituals of the conclave involve centuries-old customs that’ve changed very little over time. The cardinal-electors in the upcoming conclave will be much more comfortable, surrounded by Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Pope Benedict decreed that a conclave could be held as soon as all voting cardinals are present. All cardinals under 80 when the papacy goes vacant are eligible to participate.

The most gazed-at item at the Vatican this week will be a humble, copper, two-metre (six-foot)- high chimney that’ll send out puffs of smoke to tell the world if there’s a new pope. Black smoke means, “not yet”, whilst white smoke means, “pope elected”. When three Vatican firefighters hoisted the chimney to its perch a few days ago, it was a visual cue that preparations for the conclave to elect Pope Benedict’s successor were in high gear. The Holy See made the Sistine Chapel and its magnificent Michelangelofrescoed ceiling off-limits to tourists. Then, they installed two metal stoves in a far corner, away from the chapel’s altar and the area where the cardinals will write out their picks for the next pope on slips of paper. In the past, counted ballots went into just one iron stove along with damp wood chips or wet clumps of straw to create black smoke if the vote didn’t yield a pope.

However, the smoke signal system was unreliable, triggering nervous cries of “It’s white”, and emphatic choruses of “No, it’s black!” in the various tongues of the faithful and curious who flock to St Peter’s Square for a glimpse of the chimney. Nevertheless, that solution hardly made the distinction between black and white smoke any clearer… and confusion still was the order of the day. It’s a big unknown whether the Vatican has improved its technology this time around. The sequestered cardinals will have a first chance to vote early Tuesday evening. If they fail to pick a pope, the next few days can see as many as two rounds of balloting each morning and two rounds each afternoon, until someone clinches the required two-thirds majority.

In Italy, people are speculating and betting on who’ll be the next Pope. This time, Cardinal Angelo Scola, Archbishop of Milano, tops the list, together with Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, SDB, former Cardinal Secretary of State and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, from Ghana, also has a chance of becoming pope. The conclave will open in the Vatican on 12 March.

French media reported on Monday that French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran would have the honour of announcing the next Pope to billions of Catholics. *Msgr Tauran, the President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, will speak in Latin from a balcony overlooking St Peter’s Square after the conclave of 115 cardinals announces that it’s elected a new pope by sending out white smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney.

*Msgr denotes Monseigneur, NOT Monsignor. The former is a honorific for bishops in Francophone countries, whilst the latter is a courtesy title for Roman Catholic archpriests. The former would be a French-speaking bishop, whilst the latter would be a fat Irish priest with a big cigar driving a late-model Caddy (with ties to all the right pols and bookies).

12 March 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


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