Jimmy Carter taken to hospital

Jimmy Carter, the former US president, was taken to hospital in Ohio yesterday after becoming ill while flying there, according to media reports. Mr Carter, 85, who served as president from 1977 to 1981, was on his way to Cleveland for a book-signing event.

NewsChannel 5 in Cleveland said an ambulance was called to meet the commercial flight on which Mr Carter was travelling late in the morning, and took him to MetroHealth Medical Centre.

There was no immediate comment from the hospital or from the Carter Centre in Atlanta, the human rights and international aid institution he founded in his home state of Georgia.

President Barack Obama called Carter from Air Force One as he traveled from New Mexico to Wisconsin, White House spokesman Bill Burton said. Carter was feeling great, Burton said.

Since leaving office, Mr Carter has been active in diplomacy, particularly in intervening on behalf of Americans detained abroad and as an observer of foreign elections.

Last month, he went to North Korea to secure the release of an American who had been convicted of illegally entering the country. Mr Carter left Pyongyang with Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who was arrested in January and sentenced to eight years hard labour.