Hey, Justin — can you really beat Stephen Harper?

Answer:

 


 

Vatican denounces reports of pope's collusion during Argentina's "Dirty War"

Rome Bobble Heads
A selection of the bobble heads available for purchase from the street vendors outside St. Peter’s Square (David Akin / QMI Agency)

The Vatican responded swiftly Friday to stories that have resurfaced accusing Pope Francis of essentially colluding with the murderous Argentine junta of the late 1970s.

A typical example of the stories that have infuriated the Vatican is this one,: Jorge Bergoglio’s sinful role in Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’

But then are also stories like this one at WashingtonPost.com that quotes a Argentinian Pulitzer Prize-winning human rights activist: Continue reading Vatican denounces reports of pope's collusion during Argentina's "Dirty War"

In the West, the decline of politics

Jonathan Hopkin writing at ForeignAffairs.com

It would be unwise to dismiss the election results as yet another Italian anomaly. All across Europe, membership of political parties is at its lowest level since the World War II. Voters are also less loyal than ever to traditional parties — they are more likely to switch votes to a rival party or an entirely new one. Only days after Grillos triumph, the UK Independence Party, which campaigns for British withdrawal from the EU, came to within 2,000 votes of winning a by-election held to replace a disgraced Liberal Democrat MP, pushing the ruling Conservatives into third place. And the success of the Pirate Party in Sweden, the anti-Islam party led by Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and more established populist parties such as the French Front National, confirm that Italy is far from being an outlier.

via Italy Did Not Just Send in The Clowns | Foreign Affairs.

Harper cabinet minister quits over questionable campaign donations

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue just released the following statement:

Statement from Peter Penashue on his resignation
from the House of Commons and Cabinet

“Due to mistakes that were made by an inexperienced volunteer in filing the Elections Canada return from the last campaign, I appointed a new Official Agent to work with Elections Canada to make any needed amendments to my campaign return.

During the examination we became aware that there were ineligible donations accepted by the former Official Agent.

Although I was unaware of the inaccuracies in the return, I believe I must be accountable to the people who elected me and therefore I am stepping down as the Member of Parliament for Labrador and will seek re-election through a by-election. I will also be stepping down as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. Continue reading Harper cabinet minister quits over questionable campaign donations

Video: From St. Peter's Square, a report on Pope Francis and the "Days of Surprise"

Here’s a print version of what I’m talking about above:

VATICAN CITY – Like anyone nearing the end of a business trip, Jorge Bergoglio’s morning routine Thursday involved picking up his own luggage and heading to the front desk where he paid his own bill. Continue reading Video: From St. Peter's Square, a report on Pope Francis and the "Days of Surprise"

Electing a pope: The voting rules explained

For those who have asked:

  • A 2/3 majority is required to elect a pope. All the time. No exceptions. (During the conclave that elected Benedict, the first few ballots were 2/3 and then the threshold dropped to a simple majority.)
  • There are four rounds of voting on any given day the cardinals are voting. Two in the morning and two in the afternoon. White smoke will come immediately after any ballot that produces a pope. Black smoke, though, only comes after every two ballots — once after the morning rounds, once after the afternoon rounds.

Here’s what the Vatican Press Office issued a few days ago which explains this in more detail: Continue reading Electing a pope: The voting rules explained

I know what black and white smoke means, but what about green? Or Purple?

An Ottawa friend of mine came up with this today. He asked to remain anonymous but I thought this was just great and he agreed to share it his “smoke guide” for those who may be unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the colours that could come out of the Sistine Chapel chimney:

BLACK = No Pope, try again later.
WHITE = Pope.
PURPLE = Jupiter returns, Continue reading I know what black and white smoke means, but what about green? Or Purple?

Hermits, nuns and priests: Tuesday morning mass at St. Peter's

Nun praying on St. Peter's Square
A nun prays on St. Peter’s Square, Tuesday morning, just hours before cardinals begin their first round of voting for the next pope. (DAVID AKIN/QMI Agency)

I’ve put up a collection of pictures I took this morning on St. Peter’s Square, including the one above, at my Facebook site. Continue reading Hermits, nuns and priests: Tuesday morning mass at St. Peter's