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Havana syndrome

  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 26, Aug 2021
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Why in News?

Nearly four years ago a mysterious neurological illness, referred to as Havana syndrome”, started to afflict American diplomats and intelligence operatives in Cuba, China, and other countries.

  • Now, a report by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) has found “directed” microwave radiation to be its “plausible” cause.

What is the ‘Havana syndrome’?

In late 2016, US diplomats and other employees stationed in Havana reported feeling ill after hearing strange sounds and experiencing odd physical sensations in their hotel rooms or homes.

  • The symptoms included nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, and hearing loss, which have since come to be known as “Havana Syndrome”.

What causes the ‘Havana syndrome’?

Directed pulsed RF energy appears to be the most plausible mechanism in explaining these cases among those that the committee considered.

  • The immediate symptoms that patients reported including sensations of pain and buzzing sound apparently emanated from a particular direction, or occurred in a specific spot in a room.

Facts for Prelims:

Badri 313

  • The Badri 313 Batallion is a special commando-style unit that is securing the Taliban’s hold over Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.
  • Badri 313 Brigade is named after the Battle of Badr in which Prophet Muhammad defeated the opponents with just 313 men.

‘Be Internet Awesome’ program:

Google has launched the global ‘Be Internet Awesome’ program for kids in India, wherein it will partner with Indian comic book publisher Amar Chitra Katha to offer Internet safety lessons through popular comic book characters across eight Indian languages.


It is a ‘Geospatial Planning Portal’ portal for facilitating planning at the Gram Panchayat level under MGNREGA. It will work under ISRO’s geoportal ‘Bhuvan’.

  • Bhuvan “Yuktadhara” portal has been launched by the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
  • This platform will act as a repository of assets (Geotag) created under various National Rural Development Programs i.e. MGNREGA, Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Per Drop More Crop and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana etc.