Behind closed doors. At 5:34 p.m. (12:34 EDT) the heavy wooden doors of the Sistine Chapel were closed and the red-robed cardinals began their conclave to elect the next pope of the Catholic Church. A vote is expected this afternoon, but no conclave in the modern era has ever named a pope on the first day. Some cardinals speculate it may take up to five days to name the successor to Pope Benedict.
Third time a charm? Today, for the third consecutive year, House Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, offered a proposed a federal budget. This one would get rid of Obamacare, reform Medicare for future retirees, create just two tax brackets (10 percent and 25 percent) and balance the budget in 10 years. Of course, the GOP budget has no chance with the Democratic majority in the Senate, which plans to offer its budget plan tomorrow, it’s first since 2009.
Not guilty plea. James Holmes, who is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting, had a his plea of not guilty entered by the judge in the case. Holmes has the option to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity at a later date.
Beverage battle. Despite a judge’s ruling yesterday to stop a ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to fight on. “It wasn’t a setback for me. It’s was a setback for the people who are dying,” Bloomberg told reporters today at Lucky’s Cafe, a restaurant in Manhattan that has voluntarily agreed to comply with the ban.