Daynet

Daynet

Probable cause of mysterious illness among US and Canadian diplomats in Havana found

Dalhousie University and Nova Scotia Health Authority scientists Thursday claimed to have discovered the cause of strange symptoms found in recent years among US and Canadian diplomats in Cuba, according to Radio-Canada's investigative TV program Enquête.

The research, led by Dr. Alon Friedman, from the Department of Neuroscience and Medical Pediatrics of that Canadian university, contends that neurotoxin exposure is believed to have been behind the mysterious cases of lack of balance and vertigo. The sickening chemicals are easy to be found in pesticides used to eradicate mosquitoes.

According to Cubadebate news website, during a meeting held last July in Havana, the Canadian researchers shared their thesis, in a preliminary way, with Cuban authorities and the Committee of Experts that has been studying U.S. allegations for almost two years.

The mysterious symptoms suffered since 2017 caused a diplomatic crisis between Cuba and the United States after Washington that year pulled non-essential embassy staff from the Cuban capital.

In April 2018, Canada withdrew the families of its diplomats stationed in Cuba before also reducing staff.

The findings of the Canadian specialists contradict Washington's theory that their diplomats' brain injuries were due to a “sonic attack.”

The researchers studied 26 individuals, including a control group that never lived in Havana, and discovered a damaged area of the brain responsible for memory and ability to concentrate, among other functions.

“[The results] all support the diagnosis of acquired brain injury in the Canadian diplomats and their families posted in Cuba,” the report said.

In addition, the scientists were able to examine several individuals before and after returning from Havana, and found changes in their brains after their stay on the island.

“There are very specific types of toxins that affect these kinds of nervous systems... and these are insecticides, pesticides, organophosphates – specific neurotoxins,” according to Dr. Friedman.

In 2016, Cuban authorities launched aggressive fumigation campaigns to eradicate mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

In addition, Canadian researchers found that embassies also sprayed their offices, as well as inside and outside the residences of their diplomats, up to five times more frequently than usual.

Doctor Mitchell Joseph Valdes-Sosa, director general of Cuba's Neuroscience Center, told Cubadebate that the hypothesis presented by the Canadian team is a serious attempt to explain the symptoms , "although it is premature to reach conclusions,"

Valdes Sosa added that exchanges have already begun between Canadian scientists and the Cuban Committee of Experts to advance more studies in Cuba in the short term.

“Although the work of the Dalhousie University research team has been carried out with scientific consistency, Cuban specialists believe that by using a small and heterogeneous sample, it is difficult to reach definitive conclusions."

"It is not possible to exclude other explanations based on very common pathologies,” Valdes Sosa said.

  • Published in Now

Venezuela: Another Opposition Party Joins Dialogue with Gov't

Venezuelan Vice President Rodriguez said the installation of the National Dialogue Table generates "great satisfaction" for the Venezuelan people.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez welcomed Pastor Javier Bertucci, representing the party Hope for Change, who will join the Agreement of National Dialogue, which was signed earlier this week in hope of solving the problems that caused the U.S. blockade against Venezuela.

"The only thing we expect from the United States is to recover the path of dialogue with the government of Nicolas Maduro, they have only one way, dialogue and peaceful negotiation," said the vice president, in statements to the press.

In a brief speech at the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry together with Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, Rodriguez slammed opposition groups that want Venezuela to go astray.

She reiterated that Venezuela does not want war. "That sector that today throws stones at the dialogue table is an isolated sector; the vast majority of Venezuelans and Venezuelans are happy with this initiative."

The vice president said the sector that integrates and supports the agreement between the opposition and the Government is the "majority".

She said the installation of the National Dialogue Table generates "great satisfaction" for the Venezuelan people.

Previously, the Hope for Change Movement joined the National Dialogue Table that was installed this Sept. 16 at the headquarters of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry between the government and the Venezuelan opposition.

Javier Bertucci signed the six agreements in the presence of representatives of the Bolivarian Revolution and delegates of the four right-wing political parties that are participating in the recent talks: MAS, Advanced Progress, Solutions, and Change.

"This table has as its main objective generating solutions in a short time, that allows us to verify the will of the government to articulate actions for the benefit of the population and that is an open invitation for all," Bertucci said in a statement to the media.

  • Published in World

Pope Francis warns against overcrowded prisons

Pope Francis warned this Saturday against overcrowded prisons, and advised that ensuring decent living conditions in prisons must be essential to prevent these places from turning into rage sites, rather than recovery places.

In an audience with members of the Penitentiary Police, the Penitentiary Administration and Juvenile Justice and the Community of Italy, the pontiff described the overcrowding in prisons as a serious problem, which 'increasingly triggers in every human being a sense of weakness if not of exhaustion.'

Francis also ruled against the penalty of life imprisonment for considering that 'it is not the solution to problems but a problem to solve' because 'if hope is locked in a jail, there is no future for society.

'Never deprive the right to start over', expressed the Pope, who reminded those present that with their work and service they are witnessing such right to hope and to start over.

  • Published in World

Cuba's President Describes Parliamentary Session as Historic

The president of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel, described on Monday as historic the third ordinary session of the 9th Legislature of the National Assembly, during which new laws are expected to be passed.

In this assembly we must approve three laws, which will give coherence with what we have been saying with respect to broadening the legislative exercise to support the new Constitution, Diaz-Canel affirmed in the Convention Palace of Havana, where the commissions of the Parliament are meeting.

According to the President, the session takes on greater prominence because it is the first to be held after the approval of the new constitution, backed by the majority of Cubans in a popular referendum.

In particularizing on the bills, Diaz-Canel said the Electoral project will have great significance for the country, while the Fisheries includes new economic players who have emerged in the process of updating the Cuban model as the private sector.

He considered necessary the law on National Symbols 'in the current moments in which we face a fierce battle of ideas from all the colonizing platforms that want to impose us destroying our identity.' The bills will be submitted to next Saturday's plenary for analysis and subsequent approval.

From this Monday until Wednesday, the 10 commissions of the National Assembly of People's Power (Parliament) are in session.

  • Published in Cuba
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