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The United States Embassy in Havana. Photo: Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Doctors and scientists who have evaluated the U.S. diplomats who suffered strange illnesses and brain trauma after mysterious health attacks in Cuba last year said their symptoms "cannot be faked," but they still don't know what caused them, NBC News reports.

What they're saying: Dr. Michael Hoffer, who was appointed by the State Department to examine the victims and determine what happened, and his colleagues at the University of Miami have released a study revealing that they "have measurable, quantifiable evidence that something really did happen."

  • The doctors said that they still do not definitively know what "weapon" was responsible for the trauma, or if it was a weapon at all. But the study said the patients had inner ear damage and showed "objective signs" that their symptoms were not caused by mass hysteria.

Driving the news: The State Department still does not know who or what is responsible for the attack. Raul Castro, who was president of Cuba at the time of the attack, has denied any involvement.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

6 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
8 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.