2A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Black smoke signals no new pope NEWS IN BRIEF
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Black smoke poured
from the Sistine Chapel's chimney yesterday eve-
ning, signaling that the cardinals sequestered
inside for the first papal conclave of the new mil-
lennium failed to elect a new pope.
The black smoke emanating shortly after 8 p.m.
meant the 115 voting cardinal "princes" of the church
would retire for the night and return to the chapel this
morning for more balloting in their search for a suc-
cessor to Pope John Paul II.
If two morning ballots fail to produce a pope, the
cardinals could hold two more votes this afternoon.
Some 40,000 people who packed St. Peter's Square
to stare at the stovepipe jutting from the chapel roof
shouted, "It's black! It's black!" and snapped photos
with their cell phones.
White smoke will tell the world that the church's
265th pontiff has been chosen -to succeed John Paul,
who died April 2 at age 84.
The cardinals, from six continents and repre-
senting 52 countries, began their secret delibera-
tions late in the afternoon after the ceremonial
closing of the massive doors of the chapel, which
is decorated with frescoes by Michelangelo and
wired with electronic jamming devices to thwart
The excitement built as darkness set in and pilgrims
watched close-ups of the chimney on giant video
screens in the square.
As the smoke began pouring from the chimney, shouts
of "e bianco! e bianco!" - "It's white! It's white!" - rip-
pled through the crowd. But the cries quickly gave way to
sighs of disappointment as the smoke blackened.
"At first it seemed that we had a new pope, so I had
a lot of emotions. But of course we didn't really expect
to have a pope on the first day," said Alessia Di Caro,
a 23-year-old university student.
There was initial confusion when a Vatican Radio
commentator said, "It seems white," as the first puffs
emerged from the chimney. But as thick, darker smoke
followed, the station proclaimed it black.
"At first it seemed that we had a new pope, so I had a lot
of emotions. But of course we didn't really expect to have a
pope on the first day."
- Alessia Di Caro
Twenty-three-year-old university student
"It looks like the stove wasn't working well at first,"
an announcer joked a few minutes later.
Before shutting themselves inside, German Car-
dinal Joseph Ratzinger led his fellow cardinals in
reading aloud an oath of secrecy. One by one, they
then filed up to a Book of the Gospels, placed their
right hands on it and pronounced a second oath to
keep their sessions secret.
Ratzinger's admonition read, in part: "In a par-
ticular way, we promise and swear to observe with
the greatest fidelity and with all persons, clerical
or lay, secrecy regarding everything that in any
way relates to the election of the Roman Pontiff
and regarding what occurs in the place of the elec-
tion, directly or indirectly related to the results of
the voting; we promise and swear not to break this
secret in any way..."
Ratzinger - a powerful Vatican official often men-
tioned as a leading candidate for pope - began by
reciting a prayer at the palace. The cardinals chanted
the Litany of the Saints as they made the short walk to
the chapel, led by altar servers carrying two long, lit
white candles and a metal crucifix.
In a stately and colorful procession carried live on
television, they walked past a pair of Swiss Guards in
red plumed hats standing at attention at the entrance
to the chapel and took two steps into the voting area,
where special devices were installed beneath a false
floor to block cell phone calls or bugs in an unprec-
edented effort to secure the proceedings.
Most of the cardinals were clad in crimson vest-
ments and hats except for two Eastern Rite prelates
- Lubomyr Husar of Ukraine and Ignace Moussa
I Daoud of Syria - who wore black. Ratzinger
entered the chapel last - an honor bestowed upon
the dean of the College of Cardinals.
Before the procession, Ratzinger asked for prayers
from the church that a pastor fit to lead all of Christ's
flock would be elected.
"May the Lord lead our steps on the path of truth,
so that through the intercession of the blessed Virgin
Mary, the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul, and of all
the saints, we may always do that which is pleasing to
him," he said in Latin.
With Michelangelo's "Last Judgment" as a back-
drop behind the altar, depicting a muscular Jesus
amid masses of people ascending to heaven and
falling to hell, the cardinals took their assigned
places behind their name placards, with a copy of
the conclave ritual on their desks.
They then placed their red, three-cornered square
birettas on the tables, leaving only their crimson skull-
caps on their heads.
"I slept well, and now my ideas are clear," French
Cardinal Paul Poupard said as he headed into a special
pre-conclave Mass held earlier yesterday at St. Peter's
Basilica. "I have realized the seriousness of the elec-
tion. The Holy Spirit will do the rest."
In his homily at the Mass, Ratzinger, who presid-
ed from the main altar usually reserved for a pope,
generated applause from fellow cardinals as he asked
God to give the church "a pastor according to his own
heart, a pastor who guides us to knowledge in Christ,
to his love and to true joy."
Berlusconi won't resign as predicted
Premier Silvio Berlusconi defied predictions that he would quit as head of his
weakened center-right government yesterday, prompting opposition charges that he
was turning Italian politics into a joke.
Berlusconi's meeting with President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi - to whom he
would have to submit his resignation - topped a day of intense talks as the
media magnate tries to find a way out of the worst political crisis of his four years
When asked by reporters if he had handed in his resignation, Berlusconi
responded, "No," the ANSA news agency reported. Berlusconi was quoted as
saying he would explain the situation in parliament, but it was unclear when he
would do so.
Resigning to form a new government is a technique often used by Italian pre-
miers to strengthen faltering coalitions, but Berlusconi has always resisted, sensing
it would dent his image as a new-style politician.
The premier's decision not to step down surprised friends and foes, and left the
country wondering whether he was closer to solving problems with his conserva-
tive allies or still locked in a stalemate with them.
Japan, China attempt to defuse tensions
Japan and China considered yesterday whether their leaders should meet this
weekend to try to defuse the worst dispute in decades between the Asian powers,
but at the same time they traded more angry words over anti-Japanese protests and
Tokyo's wartime history.
China said Japan proposed that its prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, meet
one-on-one with President Hu Jintao during a conference of Asian and African
leaders in Indonesia.
"We are still considering it," said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu
Suggesting that plenty of work lay ahead before either leader might commit,
Koizumi warned in Tokyo that "if it's going to be the exchange of harsh words, it's
better not to meet."
The heated rhetoric and sometimes violent protests aimed at Japanese interests
in China have raised worries about the potential effect on the economic relation-
ship between Asia's two biggest economies, which are linked by billions of dollars
in trade and investment.
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Sharon may postpone Gaza withdrawal COLUMBIA,SeC.
Bush's social secuity pitch finds resistance
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gestures during a train ride from the
southern town of Ashkelon to Jerusalem yesterday.
clarification from the government of
Israel" on both issues.
"Mr. Sharon reiterated his commit-
ment to the 'road map' just last week in
Crawford (Texas) and his commitment
to the president's two-state vision,"
Sharon told reporters he would dis-
cuss the possible delay in the Gaza
pullout, which is currently scheduled
to begin in late July, at a meeting with
top ministers today. Israel TV reported
he has decided to delay the evacuation.
It did not cite a source.
Talking to reporters earlier, Sharon
hinted he would support the delay to
allow settlers to observe a three-week
Jewish mourning period culminating
with Tisha B'Av, the date on the Jew-
ish calendar marking the destruction
of the biblical temples. Tisha B'av is
Aug. 14 this year.
"We have to take every step to make
it easier for the settlers," Sharon said.
"These are difficult days today." ,
Until now, Sharon has refused calls
to delay the pullout, which calls for
removing 9,000 Israelis from all 21
settlements in the Gaza Strip and four
small settlements in the West Bank.
Under the proposed change, the four-
week operation would begin Aug. 15
instead of July 25.
Yonatan Bassi, who heads the
administration responsible for com-
pensating and relocating settlers slated
for evacuation, suggested the delay
Sunday at a Cabinet meeting.
Bassi raised the issue after "an inter-
nal struggle and talking to rabbis,"
said his spokesman, Haim Altman.
Bassi, an observant Jew, explained that
Jews are not allowed to move to a new
home during the Tisha B'Av mourning
Israel Vice Premier Shimon Peres
said he was caught off guard by the
"We knew all of these events before-
hand. Why did they wait until the last
minute?" he said on Israel Radio.
Military officials involved in prep-
arations for the operation said they
opposed any change in the timeline.
The Palestinians have welcomed
the planned Israeli pullout from areas
they claim for an independent state
but want assurances that Sharon will
resume peace talks after the withdraw-
al is complete. The Palestinians claim
all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip
for an independent state.
Sharon has said he remains com-
mitted to the U.S.-backed "road map"
peace plan. He says Israel will retain
major West Bank settlements under
any final peace agreement.
Yaakov Harel, spokesman for the
Israel Lands Authority, said yesterday
the agency was seeking bids for con-
structionof the new homes inElkana,.
a settlement near the Israel-West Bank
boundary. Construction could begin
within three months, he said.
The announcement drew U.S. and
"What the president said last week
remains our policy, namely under the
road map settlement activity must
cease," said U.S. Embassy spokesman
Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestin-
ian official, said the latest West Bank
construction plan "is undermining the
efforts to realize the vision of a two-
"We urge the American administra-
tion that while they focus on the Gaza
disengagement they should not close
their eyes to units being added in the
hundreds in the West Bank," Erekat
President Bush yesterday made a fresh pitch for his Social Security overhaul in
this Republican-friendly state, yet a Republican congressman made clear that Bush
still faces resistance within his own party.
While Bush still hasn't offered a specific plan to strengthen the nation's retire-
ment benefit system, he encouraged more lawmakers to offer their ideas as South
Carolina's two Republican senators have.
"These men have been leaders in the debate," Bush told a joint session of the
South Carolina Legislature in this conservative state. "They've stepped up and
said, 'Here are some ideas I want you to consider.' "
Bush wants to allow younger workers to divert some of their Social Security tax
contributions into private accounts invested in stocks and bonds, but some Repub-
licans have been slow to embrace the idea.
Armstrong to retire after Tour de France
Lance Armstrong will retire from professional cycling after this summer's Tour
de France, ending one of the great careers in all sports.
"Ultimately, athletes have to retire ... the body doesn't just keep going and
going," Armstrong said yesterday at a news conference.
The 33-year-old Texan will attempt to win his record seventh straight Tour de
France in July. Before Armstrong, Miguel Indurain's five straight Tour de France
wins were the record.
Eddy Merckx of Belgium and Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil of France
are the only other riders to win five Tour de France races overall.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports
a i .l1. Fib 6 AML.
based on Jewish holiday,
catches officials off-guard
JERUSALEM (AP) - Prime Min-
ister Ariel Sharon said yesterday he is
"positively inclined" toward delaying
Israel's planned withdrawal from the
Gaza Strip this summer by three weeks
out of respect for a Jewish mourning
period that marks the destruction of
the biblical temples.
Sharon's statement came as govern-
ment officials confirmed Israel plans
to build 50 new homes in a West Bank
settlement, a week after President
Bush demanded a freeze on such con-
In Washington, White. House
spokesman Scott McClellan said the
Bush administration "will be seeking
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