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Pope in hospital with `breathing difficulty'

POPE JOHN PAUL II, suffering from breathing problems and the flu, was rushed to hospital in Rome late last night.

A Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said the decision to send the pontiff, 84, to hospital was "mainly a precaution". He said the pope was not in intensive care and was staying in the same 10th floor suite of rooms at the Gemelli Hospital where he has been on several previous occasions.

He said the pope has the flu and acute laryngeal tracheitis, acknowledging he had a "certain difficulty in breathing". The spokesman, who has a medical degree, denied Italian news reports that the pope had a CAT scan at the hospital. (AP)