Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...
No Pope yet.
From the Guardian's live blog:
Father Federico Lombardi, the head of the Vatican press office, is giving a press conference about the papal conclave now.
Lombardi says he was surprised at how many people turned out in St Peter's Square last night for the black smoke, the Catholic News Service says.
He says the emotion and expectation is mounting.
Lombardi recalls that in 2005, when the white smoke went up to mark the fact Benedict XVI had become the next pope, throngs of people began running to St Peter's Square from all over Rome, the Catholic News Service says.
Lombardi confirms that three ballots have been taken so far, without any candidate getting the required 77 votes so far.
In 1939, Pius XII was elected on the third ballot, he says, but it has taken more ballots than that to chose the others since then. Multiple ballots is a sign of a normal process, Lombardi says. The black smoke is not a sign of any "particular division".
Lombardi explains how last night's impressively dark black smoke was produced, giving the chemical composition of the smoke cartridges that are inserted into the stoves. It's not his specialist subject, he says. Lombardi is asked if the smoke harmed the Michelangelo frescoes on the walls of the Sistine Chapel, or the cardinals' lungs.
No, it didn't, he replies.
Lombardi confirms the Italian newspaper reports we mentioned earlier saying that the emeritus pope, Benedict XVI, watched yesterday's conclave events on TV, while praying for the cardinals.
He'll talk about the video and....show his face!
Watch Ed's big tease, AFTER THE JUMP...
Toronto's bi-weekly "Gay Scene Magazine" is closing, Now Toronto reports:
“I’m pretty devastated,” editor Phil Villeneuve told NOW over the phone. “Next year would have been 20 years. It would have been great to make it one more year.”
Villeneuve says the decision stems from larger restructuring efforts at Pink Triangle Press, which purchased Fab in February 2008, and who also publishes Xtra!. The decision the cease publication of Fab was “purely financial,” says Villenueve, and comes along with layoffs across several departments at Pink Triangle.
For now, let's revisit their 'Sexy Beards' video HERE.
New Zealand is poised to pass marriage equality as lawmakers approved the legislation in an overwhelming vote of confidence in the second of three readings today, the AP reports:
Lawmakers supported the bill 77 to 44 in the second of three votes needed for a bill to be approved. The second vote is typically the most crucial one. The third and final vote is likely to be little more than a formality and could be taken as early as next month.
Wednesday’s vote came after a committee of lawmakers considered emails and letters from thousands of New Zealanders.
More than 200 people crammed into the Parliament’s public gallery to watch lawmakers debate the bill before they voted at about 10:15 p.m. The mostly young crowd clapped and cheered for lawmakers who spoke in support of the bill, and sat in silence for those who spoke in opposition.
The New Zealand Herald adds:
The bill is likely to return to Parliament for the committee stage at the end of the month, when MPs would pick through the legislation clause by clause.
It could be passed as soon as next month, after which there was a four-month stand-down period before same-sex and transgender marriages could take place.