Pope and Zapatero prepare for first showdown

7th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

7 July 2006, VALENCIA — Pope Benedict XVI and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero are to have a face-to-face meeting this weekend which is unlikely to prove friendly.

7 July 2006

VALENCIA — Pope Benedict XVI and Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero are to have a face-to-face meeting this weekend which is unlikely to prove friendly.

The Pope has repeatedly criticised the social reforms of Spain's socialist government.

Since Zapatero came to power in a shock election victory in 2004, policies such as the legalisation of gay marriage, the speeding-up of divorce and allowing stem-cell research have provoked the ire of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI and Zapatero will meet behind closed doors in Valencia during the pontiff's two-day visit for a conference on the family.

The Pope is also going to say prayers at the site of the metro accident which claimed the lives of 42 people on Monday.

The victims were 37 Spaniards, an Argentine, a Colombian, a Venezuelan, a Paraguayan and a Bulgarian. Another 46 were injured with some in critical condition.

The autopsy conducted on the driver, who was suspected of having fainted or become indisposed and therefore not able to reduce the train's speed, showed "nothing out of the ordinary," said the head of the Valencia regional government's health ministry, Rafael Blasco.

"There is no evidence that allows us to engage in any speculation about anything," he said.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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