Vietnam’s cardinal arrives
The last cardinal who will participate in the conclave to elect the next pope arrived in Rome on Thursday, meaning a date can now be set for the election. One U.S. cardinal said a decision on the start date is expected soon.
Some American and other cardinals had said they wanted to continue the pre-conclave meetings that have been going on all week for as long as it takes so they can discern who among them has the stuff to be pope and discuss the problems of the church.
Some Vatican-based cardinals, defensive about criticisms of the Vatican’s internal governance that have been aired recently, seemed to want to get on with the vote, arguing there’s no reason to delay.
Once the conclave starts, there is very little time for discussion. Cardinals take two votes in the morning, two votes in the afternoon — all of them conducted in silent prayer, not chatter, amid the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel. As a result, setting the date for the start of the conclave is akin to setting the deadline for when pre-conclave deliberations will finish.
World temperatures spike
A new study looking at 11,000 years of climate temperatures shows the world in the middle of a dramatic U-turn, lurching from near-record cooling to a heat spike.
Research released Thursday in the journal Science uses fossils of tiny organisms to reconstruct global temperatures back to the end of the last ice age. It shows how the globe for several thousands of years was cooling until a dramatic spike in the 20th century.
Study author Shaun Marcott says his data show that 1900 to 1910 was one of the coolest in the past 11,300 years. Yet 100 years later, the decade was one of the warmest.
Lion mauls intern to death
Authorities are trying to determine what provoked a lion at an exotic animal park in Central California to attack and maul to death a 24-year-old woman, who had been on the job as an intern there for just a few weeks.
The woman was attacked and killed Wednesday when she entered the male African lion’s enclosure at Cat Haven about 45 miles east of Fresno, authorities said.
Sheriff’s deputies responding to an emergency call from Cat Haven found the woman severely injured and still lying inside the enclosure with the lion nearby, Fresno County sheriff’s Lt. Bob Miller said.
Syrian rebels post videos
Several United Nations peacekeepers who were abducted by Syrian rebels said in videos posted online Thursday that they are safe and being treated well, even as activists reported clashes and shelling in the tense border area with Israel where the Filipino troops were being held.
Opposition fighters detained 21 peacekeepers near the village of Jamlah in the Golan Heights on Wednesday — the first time U.N. troops have encountered trouble since they began patrolling an Israeli-Syrian armistice line dividing the plateau nearly 40 years ago, said Timor Goksel, a Beirut-based former United Nations official in the region.