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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.



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.


Newsline: Venezuelan president expels top US diplomat

President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said he was expelling the top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela and his deputy for allegedly conspiring against his government and trying to sabotage the country’s recent presidential election. “The empire doesn’t dominate us here,” Maduro said in a televised address, giving charge d’affaires Todd Robinson and his deputy Brian Naranjo 48 hours to leave the country. “We’ve had enough of your conspiring.” Tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela have mounted following Maduro’s victory in presidential elections on Sunday, a vote the White House has branded a “sham.”


Newsline: Diplomats In The US Are Getting Away With Abusing Their Children’s Nannies

Research by Polaris, a national anti-trafficking organization that runs the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline and the BeFree Textline, identified 16 potential victims in a one-year period between 2014 and 2015 on the G-5 visa or the similar A-3 visa (which is for the staff of diplomats on an A-1 or A-2). All 16 victims were females doing domestic work, most of whom were located in the Northeast, and 25 percent were Filipina. (Twenty percent of all A-3 and G-5 visas issued over the past five years were to Filipinos, according to Polaris.) All of the victims were domestic workers. When Polaris takes calls, it distinguishes between victims of labor exploitation who are reporting contract disputes, wage and hour issues and other workplace violations, and victims of human trafficking, who experience economic, psychological and physical abuse or coercion under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Most notably, although there are very few visa holders in this category, all but three of these women were found to be victims of human trafficking, the highest percentage of all visa categories Polaris tracked.


Newsline: Iraq slams U.S. embassy relocation to Jerusalem as “step of war”

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has slammed the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv into Jerusalem, warning that this action provokes feelings of Arabs and Muslims everywhere and represents a step of war. Addressing an extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul, Jaafari said the U.S. embassy relocation decision represents a flagrant violation of human rights and international resolutions on that score. The top Iraqi diplomat further called on the international community to stand up to acts of violence committed by Israeli occupation forces, which left scores of peaceful protesters in Palestine killed and hundreds others injured. “The U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem represents a step of war and provokes feelings of Arabs and Muslims everywhere,” Jaafari noted, warning the U.S. administration not to take provocative or reckless steps that could threaten international peace and security.


Newsline: Diplomat to face legal action in US after road accident in Pakistan

The United States has assured Pakistan that it will initiate criminal proceedings against its defense attaché, who was involved in a road accident in which a young Pakistani was killed in the federal capital. Pakistan has allowed Col Joseph Emmanuel Hall to leave the country quietly on Monday, prompting strong reaction from the opposition, which wanted him to be tried in local courts. The Foreign Office for the first time gave Pakistan’s official reaction on the issue. “Let me explain it. It is not that way. Diplomats enjoy immunity while serving in the country of their accreditation. In this context, Col Joseph was allowed to leave the country based on this diplomatic immunity,” Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal told reporters. “The US has assured us that it will initiate criminal/administrative action against Col Joseph in US courts,” he added. Pakistan initially resisted the US demand to allow Col Joseph to leave the country as his name was placed on the ‘black list’, meaning he could not be allowed to travel without seeking prior permission from the local authorities. Islamabad had demanded from Washington to withdraw the diplomatic immunity being enjoyed by the defense attaché so that he could be tried in Pakistan. However, the US turned down the request but agreed to proceed against Col Joseph back in the states. After assurance, Pakistan finally allowed him to leave the country. There were reports that the US embassy also reached some settlement with the victim’s families.


Newsline: US diplomat involved in accident allowed to leave Pakistan

A U.S. diplomat who was allegedly involved in a traffic crash that killed a motorcyclist has left Pakistan, a U.S. State Department spokesman said Monday, two days after the diplomat reportedly was stopped from leaving the South Asian country. “We can confirm that the American diplomat who was involved in a tragic car accident on April 7 in Islamabad has departed Pakistan,” the spokesman said in an email to Reuters. The spokesman did not identify the U.S. diplomat and provided no further details . Pakistani newspapers reported that the American, identified as a military attache, was blocked Saturday from leaving Pakistan, forcing the U.S. military aircraft sent on his behalf to depart without him.