Austria investigating after 2 dozen US officials in Vienna report Havana Syndrome symptoms

Vienna Austria
Vienna, Austria.

  • Two dozen US officials in Vienna have reported Havana Syndrome symptoms.
  • The ailment refers to mysterious neurological symptoms affecting US officials around the globe.
  • Scientists have long suspected the symptoms are caused by microwave radiation attacks.
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Austria is investigating reports of US diplomats and officials experiencing “unexplained health incidents” similar to the Havana Syndrome.

According to The New Yorker, two dozen US officials in Vienna have reported mysterious symptoms since Joe Biden took office in January, making it the second biggest hotspot aside from Havana.

The Havana Syndrome was first recorded in 2016 and 2017 when US officials in the Cuban capital reported inexplicable symptoms including migraines, vertigo, hearing loss, and other neurological problems.

Since then more than 130 US officials around the world have reported similar symptoms, including in China, Russia, and the US.

Researchers have said that patients have brain injuries consistent with head trauma.

Scientists have long suspected that the affliction is caused by microwave radiation attacks, although this has not been proven.

According to The New Yorker, CIA director William Burns has privately referred to the incidents as “attacks.”

During the Cold War, Austria’s neutrality and location meant that several other countries used it as a base for espionage.

Vienna still has a large diplomatic presence and is home to several major UN agencies and a European security body, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

According to Reuters, this has long made Vienna “a hub for diplomatic activity and spying.”

Austria’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was “working with the US authorities on jointly getting to the bottom of this.”

“We take these reports very seriously. The safety of the diplomats sent to Austria and their families is our top priority,” they said.

A US State Department spokesperson said they were “vigorously investigating” the incidents.

In June, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a government-wide review investigating the causes of the mysterious ailment.

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Austrian soldier imprisoned for sharing photos of the swastika tattooed on his testicle

anti-nazi sign swastika crossed out
Anti-racism swastika signs seen during a demonstration in Dresden, Germany on April 10, 2021.

  • An Austrian court sentenced a solider to 19 months in prison on June 8, according to reports.
  • The man, 29, was accused of posting a photo of a swastika tattooed on his testicle.
  • He had also shown it to military colleagues while drunk in 2019, the reports said.
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An Austrian soldier has been sentenced to 19 months in prison after he shared a photo of a swastika tattoo on one of his testicles, according to reports.

The 29-year-old, who has not been named, posted a photo of the tattoo online after drinking two bottles of whiskey, the Kleine Zeitung newspaper reported.

The man also showed the tattoo, which was done by his brother, to a group of military colleagues while drunk on military exercise on September 13, 2019, the newspaper said.

The use of Nazi symbols, including swastikas, is banned under Austrian law.

At hearing on June 8, Judge Gerhard Pöllinger-Sorré of the Klagenfurt Regional Court sentenced the solider to 19 months in prison, Kleine Zeitung said.

The soldier’s attorney is appealing, it said.

The man was also accused of drawing a swastika on a wall at the Wurzenpass bunker museum, a network of tunnels used by the Austrian army during the Cold War, Austria’s Radio Kärnten reported.

The newspaper said the man was previously sentenced to 2 years in prison for causing serious bodily harm when taking part in a fight.

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A growing number of countries are banning flights from the UK to protect their citizens from the new variant of fast-spreading coronavirus

BA Flight
A British Airways Airbus A319 lands.

  • Fears around a new, more transmissible variant of COVID-19 have prompted multiple countries to cancel flights from the UK.
  • The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Italy, France, Ireland, and Israel are among the nations that have placed restrictions on travel with the UK.
  • Eurostar has canceled all journeys between London, Brussels, and Amsterdam.
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A growing number of countries, including France, Germany, and Ireland, announced that they will be restricting travel with the UK over fears of a fast-spreading variant of COVID-19.

The mutant coronavirus is believed to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain. In order to stop its spread, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that London and surrounding areas would suddenly be plunged into lockdown.

Dutch authorities confirmed at least one case of this COVID-19 variant had reached the Netherlands. Consequently, it was announced that flights carrying passengers from the UK would be banned until January 1, 2021.

Belgium followed suit. The country brought in a 24-hour ban on all UK entrants, starting midnight on Sunday.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo told Belgian broadcaster VRT: “Of course, that could be extended should it appear that we have more conclusive data.” 

Eurostar has since suspended all trains between London, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

On Sunday afternoon, Italian foreign minister Luigi di Maio said that the government would be suspending all travel from the UK to Italy.

He wrote on Twitter: “As a government, we have the duty to protect Italians. For this reason, after having notified the English government… we are about to sign an order to suspend flights with Great Britain.”

Shortly after, the Austrian government confirmed that air travel to and from the UK will be prohibited. The Israeli government has also banned entry to all non-Israelis flying from the UK, and earlier today, Israeli police escorted UK travelers to isolation at state-operated hotels.

Later Sunday, French officials announced that people in the UK would be prohibited from entering France beginning at midnight. Initially, the ban will last 48 hours, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said, to allow for discussion with other EU members states about extra safety measures.

German health minister Jens Spahn announced Sunday that all flights from the UK were banned beginning Sunday at midnight. He said the German government planned to address further restrictions on Monday, according to DW.

And leaders in Ireland on Sunday announced a 48-hour ban on all flights from the UK, though it said it would continue to allow ferries to operate between Ireland and the UK to preserve supply chains, according to a report from RTE. Officials said they planned to reevaluate the travel restrictions Tuesday.

Flights between the UK and Bulgaria were likewise suspended Sunday through the end of January 2021, the Sofia Globe reported, with travelers from the UK required to partake in a 10-day quarantine upon arrival.

Canada, a member of the Commonwealth, also announced a 72-hour halt on flights from the UK, effective midnight.

“While no cases linked to this new strain have been identified in Canada, work continues to identify if this variant is present or has been previously observed in Canada,” government officials said in a statement, according to Reuters.

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