Written by SK Ashby

(Cartoonist - Nick Anderson)

In other news, the U.S. Senate did something useful and passed additional funding for domestic violence shelters.

Congress’s revision to the Victims of Crime Act -- which now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk -- would add between $4 billion and $7 billion to the CVF by including revenue from deferred- and non-prosecution agreements. It would also raise federal reimbursements to state funds.

Meanwhile, American life expectancy dropped to the lowest level in 20 years because of the coronavirus pandemic according to the CDC.

Finally, officials who spoke to Vanity Fair say Vienna, Austria is now the epicenter of so-called "Havana Syndrome" attacks suspected of being the work of Russian intelligence.

U.S. officials say the number of possible new cases in the Austrian capital—long a nexus of U.S. and Russian espionage—is now greater than the number reported by officials in any city except for Havana itself, where the first cases were reported.

The exact cause of the ailments in Vienna, which U.S. government agencies formally refer to as “anomalous health incidents” or “unexplained health incidents,” remains unknown, but in response to the surge the C.I.A., the State Department, and other agencies are redoubling their efforts to determine the cause, and to identify the culprit or culprits. A C.I.A. spokesperson said that the agency’s director, William Burns, was “personally engaged with personnel affected by anomalous health incidents and is highly committed to their care and to determining the cause of these incidents.” Privately, Burns has called the maladies “attacks” rather than incidents. [...]

Senior officials in the Trump and Biden Administrations suspect that the Russians are responsible for the syndrome. Their working hypothesis is that operatives working for the G.R.U., the Russian military-intelligence service, have been aiming microwave-radiation devices at U.S. officials, possibly to steal data from their computers or smartphones, which inflicted serious harm on the people they targeted. But American intelligence analysts and operatives have so far been unable to find concrete evidence that would allow them to declare that either microwave radiation or the Russians were to blame.

I would like to see a conclusion to this story someday because it has literally shaped our foreign policy. Trump used these attacks to roll back relations with Cuba which were normalized by President Obama.