The Pope is to resign at the end of this month in an entirely unexpected development, the Vatican has confirmed.
The 85-year-old became Pope Benedict XVI in April 2005 following the death of John Paul II.
The reasons behind the head of the Catholic Church's surprise resignation have yet to emerge.
Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but this is the first in the modern era, which has been marked by pontiffs dying while in office.
Source: BBC News
Wikipedia on Papal resignations:
**update 7.07am** Top Candidates for Pope:
Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson
Cardinal Angelo Scola
Cardinal Tarsicio Bertone
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn
Cardinal Marc Ouellet
Cardinal Timothy Dolan
Cardinal Albert Malcolm Ranjith
Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera
Source: Business Insider, which lists even more candidates.