Celebrations begin as new Pope is elected
WHITE smoke finally billowed from the Sistine Chapel chimney on Wednesday evening, announcing to the world that cardinals have elected a new Pope.
Crowds in St Peter's Square cheered and bells rang out as the smoke appeared, heralding the start of Argentinian Jorge Mario Bergoglio's reign as new leader of the Catholic Church.
The 266th pontiff has replaced Pope Benedict XVI, who stepped down last month saying he was no longer strong enough to lead the Church.
The 115 cardinals have been in isolation since Tuesday afternoon, and held four inconclusive votes.
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These were signalled with black smoke, as the fascinating traditional ritual continued.
The new Pope was preparing to emerge from the loggia overlooking the square to deliver his first speech.