Online gamblers bet on new pope

The world was shaken when the honorable Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would be leaving his post as arguably the most powerful religious icon in the world at the end of February.

The shocking news has had an unintended and amusing side-effect – it has given rise to a wave of online bets as to who will likely replace Benedict XVI as pope.

While some of the candidates are plausible options for the pope’s throne, such as Africa’s Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria and Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, some more light-hearted bets include Oprah Winfrey, controversial cyclist Lance Armstrong and pop star Madonna.

An unlikely suspect voted as likely by the people? Irish-born Catholic Bono, best known as the lead singer for super-band U2.