The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Bookmakers offer odds on papal contenders, including African cardinals - and Bono

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LONDON - Bookmakers have been quick to offer odds on candidates to replace Pope Benedict XVI, with cardinals from Ghana, Nigeria and Canada among the early favourites.

Ghana's Cardinal Peter Turkson, Canada's Cardinal Marc Ouellet and Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria lead in betting with Britain's major bookmakers.

William Hill made Turkson — one of the highest-ranking African cardinals at the Vatican — its 3/1 favourite Monday, followed by Ouellet at 7/2 and Arinze at 4/1. Ladbrokes also had Turkson as favourite, followed by Arinze and Ouellet.

Ireland's Paddy Power also offered short odds on the three, as well as long odds on unlikely candidates — including U2 singer Bono at 1,000/1. It also offered 1,000/1 odds on Father Dougal Maguire, the simpleminded fictional priest from 1990s U.K. sitcom "Father Ted."

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