Iraqi president to fly to US for medical checkup

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani will travel to the United States this weekend for a medical checkup, a senior Kurdish politician close to the Iraqi leader said Saturday. The politician, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the president's plans, said the checkup at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, had been scheduled for weeks. He said that Talabani, a 73-year-old Sunni Kurd, would fly Sunday from the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah, 260 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. Talabani, 73, was admitted to King Hussein Medical Center in Amman in neighboring Jordan Feb. 25 after he collapsed in Sulaimaniyah. He was unconscious as he was rushed to a local hospital, but recovered enough to be flown to Jordan. Doctors said he suffered from exhaustion and dehydration caused by lung and sinus infections.