No poncho for the pope

When a head of state meets the pope at the Vatican, the encounter unfolds according to a fairly strict program, usually ending with an exchange of gifts.

Paraguay’s President Nicanor Duarte Frutos packed a gift for the pope in his luggage, but it was nowhere to be seen when he met Pope Benedict XVI earlier today.

The luggage apparently was a victim of strike-induced airport chaos in France, where Duarte had stopped before traveling to Rome.

Reporters traveling with the president said the gift was a traditional, vibrantly-colored poncho. Paraguay’s ambassador to the Vatican promised to deliver it when it arrives.

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