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

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FILE - In this April 19, 2005 file photo, black smoke billows from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, indicating that the cardinals gathered in the Conclave for the second consecutive day have not yet chosen the new pontiff. White smoke signals that cardinals have chosen a pope and he has accepted. The Vatican announced Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 that Pope Benedict XVI, who was elected pope in the 2005 conclave, is stepping down on Feb. 28, becoming the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. The conclave to elect a new pope must begin 15-20 days after Benedict's resignation. (AP Photo/Diether Endlicher, File) (The Associated Press)

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

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 favorite Monday, followed by Ouellet at 7/2 and Arinze at 4/1. Ladbrokes also had Turkson as favorite, 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."