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Russia the main suspect in US diplomats’ illness in Cuba: NBC

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Cuba (cubanismovineyards.com)

Russia is the main suspect in U.S. agencies’ investigation of mysterious illnesses in American personnel in Cuba and China, NBC News reported on Tuesday.

Evidence from communications intercepts has pointed to Moscow’s involvement during the investigation involving the FBI, CIA and other agencies, NBC reported, citing three unidentified U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the probe.

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The evidence, however, is not conclusive enough for the United States to assign blame publicly to Moscow, according to the NBC report.

FBI and CIA officials did not immediately return a request for comment on the report.

U.S. officials said in July that they are still investigating health problems at the U.S. embassy in Cuba, and do not know who or what was behind the mysterious illnesses, which began in 2016 and have affected 26 Americans.

Symptoms have included hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, headaches and fatigue, a pattern consistent with “mild traumatic brain injury,” State Department officials have said.

The State Department said in June it brought a group of diplomats home from Guangzhou, China, over concern they were suffering from a mysterious malady resembling brain injury.

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Cuban officials, who are conducting their own investigation, have denied any involvement or knowledge of what was behind it.

The United States believes sophisticated electromagnetic weapons may have been used on government workers, possibly in conjunction with other technologies, NBC reported.

The U.S. military has been trying to reverse-engineer the weapon or weapons used to harm the diplomats, including by testing various devices on animals, NBC said, citing Trump administration officials, congressional aides and others.

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Part of the work is being done at the directed energy research program at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, where the military has giant lasers and laboratories to test high-power electromagnetic weapons, including microwaves, NBC said.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Susan Thomas

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Trump’s lenders forgave hundreds of millions in debt — but he paid virtually no taxes on it: NYT

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On Tuesday, The New York Times released the latest in a lengthy series about their findings within President Donald Trump's tax returns — this time, how he managed to punt or avoid millions of dollars in debt from constructing the Trump Tower in Chicago, while still not paying taxes on the amount he was forgiven.

"The president’s federal income tax records, obtained by The New York Times, show for the first time that, since 2010, his lenders have forgiven about $287 million in debt that he failed to repay. The vast majority was related to the Chicago project," reported David Enrich, Russ Buettner, Mike McIntire, and Susanne Craig. "How Mr. Trump found trouble in Chicago, and maneuvered his way out of it, is a case study in doing business the Trump way."

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2020 Election

Militia leader denies that flying a Confederate flag is racist in NBC News exposé

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On MSNBC's Deadline White House Tuesday, correspondent Cal Perry spoke with a militia leader in Kentucky who denied that carrying a Confederate flag was a form of racism.

"There are photos of you carrying Confederate flags," Perry said.

"Some people don't. People in my group are Puerto Rico, Blacks, Cubans, I've got a mixture," said Tara Brandau of the National Patriotic Defense Team militia.

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White House science office boasts Trump ‘ended’ COVID-19 pandemic

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On Tuesday, Politico reported that the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy is touting "ending the COVID-19 pandemic" among the list of supposed accomplishments of President Donald Trump's first term.

"The list, included in a press release from the Office of Science and Technology Policy, credits the administration for taking 'decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease,'" reported Brianna Ehley. "It’s the latest inaccurate claim from the administration on the severity of the pandemic, which Trump has downplayed throughout his reelection campaign, and as Vice President Mike Pence’s office is dealing with an outbreak."

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