Sep 21, 2019

Report: Cuba "sonic weapon" could've been mosquito repellent

A member of the Cuban army fumigates against mosquitoes after the Zika virus outbreak in 2016. Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. suggested an "acoustic attack" in Cuba made U.S. staff sick in 2016, but a new report from Canada shows the attack may have been a mosquito repellant from Cuba's war on the Zika virus, reports Reuters.

Why this matters: Cuba denied attacking the U.S. embassy staff, but it still led to increased tensions between the 2 countries, per BBC. It prompted the U.S. to reduce its embassy staff to a minimum, writes Reuters.

What the Canadian report says: The researchers examined Canadian embassy staff who experienced similar symptoms to the Americans.

  • The neurotoxins from mosquito fumigation likely caused the headaches, blurred vision, dizziness and tinnitus people were experiencing, according to BBC.
  • The researchers believe the "low, consistent doses" are similar to exposure from commercial pesticides.
  • The diplomats' illnesses corresponded with an increase in fumigation around where they lived, per Reuters.

Yes, but: The researchers said it's difficult to confirm the "definitive cause" at this time, and that their hypothesis offers a "plausible explanation," according to BBC.

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Trump races toward India trade deal

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and President Trump (R). Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are rushing to finalize trade deal terms ahead of the United Nations General Assembly at the end of the month, reports Reuters.

Why it matters: "A deal between the world's most populous democracies would be a welcome victory for Trump" as a trade war with China rages on, writes Reuters. Modi and Trump have been using tariffs in an attempt to "boost investment in manufacturing" in both countries.

Go deeperArrowSep 21, 2019

Report: Trump orders National Security staff cut

President Trump and Robert O'Brien on Sept. 18. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump "has ordered a substantial reduction" of the National Security Council's staff, Bloomberg reports, citing 5 people familiar with the president's plans.

The big picture: Some of those sources told Bloomberg the staff cuts are "part of a White House effort to make its foreign policy arm leaner under new National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien." But the move also follows a whistleblower complaint released by a CIA officer who was previously detailed to the National Security Council, per the NY Times.

Go deeperArrowOct 5, 2019

Bernie Sanders felt symptoms for weeks, will release medical records

Sen. Bernie Sanders told CNN on Thursday that he felt symptoms weeks ahead of his heart attack that he "should have paid more attention" to, and he will release his medical records "at the appropriate time."

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019