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The fumata nera ("black smoke" in Italian) is the announcement to the outer world by a conclave that a Papal election wasn't decisive, by means of burning the ballots together with straw or chemicals to produce black smoke. A fumata bianca ("white smoke") announces the conclave is over because a Pope was elected. Both terms have permeated into Italian culture as political and journalistic jargon for, respectively, "non-decisive vote" and "final, decisive vote", and are widely (ab)used by the press.
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