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Yeltsin takes rest of week off to recover from bronchitis

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Russian President Boris Yeltsin will take the rest of the week off to recover from bronchitis, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

The 67-year-old Russian leader cut short his first foreign trip in half a year on Monday and spent Tuesday resting at his Gorky-9 residence outside Moscow, the Kremlin spokesman said."I don't expect him back at work before Friday," Dmitry Yakushkin told reporters. "He has been given a restrictive regime, as doctors put it, in other words he's staying at home."

Yakushkin said doctors had confirmed an initial diagnosis of tracheo-bronchitis, an infectious disease caused by inflammation of the bronchial tubes and involving coughing and chest pains.

Russian newspapers said this was not the whole story.

Yeltsin's latest health scare has not unduly rattled financial markets, but it has raised the stakes in the world's largest country's politics and put the spotlight once again on the president's ability to run Russia, particularly given its economic crisis and tensions with NATO over Kosovo.

Highlighting the financial woes, Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov told Russian bankers capital flight was running at $1.5-$2.0 billion a month. He also said it was inevitable foreign banks would expand their activities in Russia.

In Antalya, Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said Russia's crisis could eventually threaten Balkan stability.