Paraguay's president-elect ordered on bed rest

Paraguay's president-elect, millionaire businessman Horacio Cartes, a political neophyte with alleged drug ties, is on absolute bed rest after doctors discovered he had a herniated disk.

The 56-year-old conservative tobacco baron, of the opposition Colorado Party, underwent an MRI at a private hospital on Tuesday, a statement said, where doctors discovered the problem.

The president-elect will need to make a "temporary suspension of his activities in the coming days, according to medical recommendations," the statement said.

His public schedule was curtailed Monday, after a press conference with foreign journalists, who observed the newly elected leader had difficulty walking and was visibly in pain.

Cartes, who is to take office on August 15, replaces Fernando Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop who was ousted 10 months ago by the opposition-controlled legislature after a police eviction of farmers left 17 people dead.

A mostly rural country of 6.5 million bordered by Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia, Paraguay is plagued by drug trafficking, smuggling and pirating of copyrighted materials like music and movies, and corruption is pervasive.