US News Mystery illness see diplomats' families leave Cuba

09:05  17 april  2018
09:05  17 april  2018 Source:   Sky News

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  Russia congratulates Yulia Skripal on recovery after attack The Russian embassy to the UK has congratulated Yulia Skripal on her recovery from a nerve agent attack that Britain and an array of Western allies blamed on Russia. Yulia Skripal was released from hospital on Tuesday after she and her father, a former Russian double agent, were poisoned in Salisbury in southern England last month.  Your browser does not support this video require(["binding"], function (binding) { binding("wcVideoPlayer", "#video_player_124c62c3-1629-481e-806f-783246f5c2dc").

Congressional officials say they are working on plans for a drawdown of staff from the embassy in response to a series of unexplained incidents which have left 21 US diplomats and family members with symptoms including hearing loss, dizziness and nausea.

However, there are fears that even a partial evacuation may be seen as an indication that the US is unhappy with the way Cuban authorities are dealing with the situation. Washington is not blaming Cuba but they have reminded authorites in Havana of their obligation to protect diplomats and their families .

Only 'emergency personnel' are allowed to remain at the US embassy in Havana © Reuters Only 'emergency personnel' are allowed to remain at the US embassy in Havana

Canada is removing diplomats' family members from its Cuban embassy over a mystery illness - amid fears some could be suffering from a new type of "acquired brain injury".

The embassy will now be designated an unaccompanied post, meaning diplomats will have to live there alone.

The post in Havana will now rank alongside those in Iraq and Afghanistan as being too dangerous for diplomats' loved ones. Canadian officials will also review the 15 roles at the embassy to see whether some staff can be brought home.

People pass by Canada's Embassy in Havana, Cuba, April 16, 2018 © Reuters People pass by Canada's Embassy in Havana, Cuba, April 16, 2018

Ten Canadians, including children, have been affected by the illness, with symptoms including headaches, nose bleeds, loss of hearing, short-term memory loss, nausea and dizziness.

Russia congratulates Yulia Skripal on recovery after attack

  Russia congratulates Yulia Skripal on recovery after attack The Russian embassy to the UK has congratulated Yulia Skripal on her recovery from a nerve agent attack that Britain and an array of Western allies blamed on Russia. Yulia Skripal was released from hospital on Tuesday after she and her father, a former Russian double agent, were poisoned in Salisbury in southern England last month.  Your browser does not support this video require(["binding"], function (binding) { binding("wcVideoPlayer", "#video_player_428075f5-8797-4bef-baf0-899546d259b6").

The US State Department has ordered more than half its Embassy staff and all diplomatic family members to leave Cuba because of a mysterious “specific attacks” that have caused myriad health problems to 21 diplomats . Investigators have struggled to unravel the mystery .

However, there are fears that even a partial evacuation may be seen as an indication that the US is unhappy with the way Cuban authorities are dealing with the situation. Washington is not blaming Cuba but they have reminded authorites in Havana of their obligation to protect diplomats and their families .

Researchers found some of those affected heard a "novel localised sound at the onset of symptoms in their homes or hotel rooms," and many described it as "intensely loud, and with a pure and sustained tonality".

Some 24 US diplomats have also been affected, some as far back as late 2016, with the country deciding to cut its Havana staffing numbers by two thirds in October due to the uncertainty.

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Former secretary of state Rex Tillerson said at the time that there had been "targeted attacks".

Russia congratulates Yulia Skripal on recovery after attack

  Russia congratulates Yulia Skripal on recovery after attack The Russian embassy to the UK has congratulated Yulia Skripal on her recovery from a nerve agent attack that Britain and an array of Western allies blamed on Russia. Yulia Skripal was released from hospital on Tuesday after she and her father, a former Russian double agent, were poisoned in Salisbury in southern England last month.  Your browser does not support this video require(["binding"], function (binding) { binding("wcVideoPlayer", "#video_player_da2e18f0-083e-41a7-95a4-369dfba1ca2e").

Many victims have shown improvement since leaving Cuba and some suffered only minor or temporary symptoms. And the U.S. hasn't stopped sending new diplomats to Cuba even as the victim list grows. "We haven't seen that yet."

However, there are fears that even a partial evacuation may be seen as an indication that the US is unhappy with the way Cuban authorities are dealing with the situation. Washington is not blaming Cuba but they have reminded authorites in Havana of their obligation to protect diplomats and their families .

Canadian officials said there had been no new instances since 2017 but families who had returned to Canada had continued to suffer symptoms, sometimes improving before their illness returned again.

The cause is unknown but initial suggestions from American experts of a sonic attack or psychosomatic causes have been dismissed as unlikely.

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Air and water have also been tested but no clues were found.Computer scientists at the University of Michigan said the problems may have been caused by eavesdropping devices and the ultrasonic distortion they produce, which can be harmful.

In a statement, Global Affairs Canada, which oversees the country's international presence, said medical specialists who examined the sufferers had "raised concerns for a new type of a possible acquired brain injury".

They added: "Additional research is needed to better understand this. The cause remains unknown but could be human-made."

No tourists appear to have fallen ill and Canadian officials maintain Cuba is safe for holidaymakers.

The Cuban Government has said it does not know what is behind the illness and has been working with US and Canadian officials to investigate.

Ex-spy's daughter discharged from hospital .
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