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POPE REMAINING IN HOSPITAL A FEW EXTRA DAYS AFTER SURGERY

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Pope John Paul II will remain in the hospital for three or four extra days as he recovers from hip surgery, his spokesman said Saturday.

When the pope was admitted April 29, doctors said he would have to stay three weeks, which ended Friday. The pope was operated on after slipping in the bathroom and breaking his thigh bone.Spokesman Joaquin Navarro announced the delay on Friday, and specified Saturday it would be three or four additional days.

Navarro said spending the extra time in the Gemelli Polyclinic will help the pontiff's recovery since he plans to go immediately back to work at the Vatican, instead of seeking repose at the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo.

The pope received Premier Silvio Berlusconi in the morning. It was Berlusconi's first public act since gaining Parliament's final approval for his government Friday night.

Berlusconi said the pope seemed well but had difficulty walking.

Berlusconi's conservative coalition is just short of a majority in the Senate and needs the help of former Christian Democrats, now called the Popular Party, to pass legislation. The party has longtime ties to the Vatican.