Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for May 23, 2018

Newsline: US diplomat in China shows symptoms of ‘mild’ brain injury

A US government employee in southern China has shown signs of a “mild traumatic brain injury” after reporting abnormal sounds and air pressure in a case that recalls the mystery illness that hit American diplomats serving in Cuba. In an emailed notice to American citizens in China on Wednesday, the State Department said it was not currently known what had caused the symptoms in the staff member, who is based in the US consulate in Guangzhou. “A US government employee in China recently reported subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure,” the notice said. “The US government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event.” Jinnie Lee, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Beijing, said that between late 2017 and April 2018, a US government employee assigned to Guangzhou reported a variety of physical symptoms. “The employee was sent to the US for further evaluation,” Lee said. “On May 18, 2018 the embassy learned that the clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury. “The US State Department is taking the incident very seriously and working to determine the cause and impact of the incident.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2147448/us-diplomat-china-reports-mystery-symptoms-case-echoes

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Newsline: Angola fires diplomats for attending Jerusalem event on eve of US embassy move

Angola fired two senior diplomats after one of them attended an event celebrating the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem last week, state-run media said. Angola’s Foreign Minister Manuel Augusto dismissed João Diogo Fortunato, a senior adviser and the number 2 figure in the Angolan Embassy in Tel Aviv, according to Angolan state-run media. Augusto also fired the director for Africa, Middle East and Regional Organizations in the Luanda foreign ministry, Joaquim do Espírito Santo, who authorized Fortunato’s attendance at the May 13 party in Jerusalem. Fortunato was one of twelve envoys from African countries and one of 33 ambassadors and chargés d’affaires to participate in an event organized by Israel’s Foreign Ministry to celebrate the next day’s US embassy’s relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/angola-fires-diplomats-over-attendance-at-event-for-us-embassy-move/

Newsline: US to retaliate for Venezuela expulsion of diplomat

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. will respond reciprocally to President Nicolas Maduro’s expulsion of the top American diplomat in Venezuela. Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the State Department received formal notice Wednesday that charge d’affaires Todd Robinson had been declared persona non grata. He said the U.S. would act in kind, suggesting it would remove Venezuela’s top diplomat in Washington as well. Maduro said Tuesday he was expelling Robinson and his deputy Brian Naranjo for allegedly conspiring against his government by pressuring opposition groups to boycott Sunday’s presidential election that he won by a landslide. He gave the two career diplomats 48 hours to leave the country. Venezuela and the U.S. haven’t exchanged ambassadors since 2010.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuelan-president-expels-top-us-diplomat-amid-tensions/2018/05/22/fb4caaa6-5e23-11e8-b656-236c6214ef01_story.html?utm_term=.de2d79b4e374