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story.lead_photo.caption Zimbabweans gather Thursday in Harare to protest the nation’s economic collapse.

Another Canadian ill at Cuba posting

TORONTO -- Canada is considering all options regarding its embassy in Cuba after another diplomat was found to have fallen mysteriously ill.

A senior Canadian government official said Thursday that the latest diplomat affected first reported symptoms in the early part of the summer. Testing then confirmed it.

Canada has confirmed 13 cases of mysterious health problems since early 2017. Twenty-six American embassy workers in Cuba also have been affected, suffering a range of symptoms and diagnoses including mild traumatic brain injury, also known as concussion.

The official said in a briefing for journalists Thursday that senior officials will visit Cuba next week and consider all options to ensure all staff member are protected. They declined to specify the options they are considering. There currently are 12 Canadians at the Havana embassy.

Canada ordered the families of the diplomatic staff in Cuba to return home in April. The 13 Canadians affected include diplomats and some of their family members.

The Cuban government did not immediately respond to Canada's statement but said in April after Canada pulled diplomats' families that, "the Cuban government respects the decision adopted by the government of Canada but considers it lacking in justification, and reiterates that Cuba is a safe, stable and healthy country, for its inhabitants and for the almost 5 million foreigners who visit it every year, among them more than 1 million Canadians."

Cuba is a favorite tourist destination for Canadians, but the Canadian government said there is no evidence of any related ailments among Canadian travelers.

French nuns to abdicate vows in dispute

VATICAN CITY -- Nearly all the members of a French religious order of nuns have decided to renounce their vows rather than live under a Vatican commissioner appointed after a dispute with the local bishop.

The Vatican last year suspended the government of the Little Sisters of Marie, Mother of the Redeemer and removed the superior and novice mistress after an investigation apparently sparked by a dispute over the future of homes for the elderly in southern France where the sisters minister.

The Little Sisters complained that the commissioner the Vatican named to run the order knew nothing of their way of life or spirituality.

In a Nov. 7 letter, 34 of the 39 Little Sisters said they "have no other choice but to renounce our vows."

The Vatican didn't immediately comment Thursday.

China adds to its peacekeepers for U.N.

BEIJING -- China said Thursday that it has assembled a standby force of thousands of United Nations peacekeepers, furthering its leading role in the global body's efforts to tamp down conflicts worldwide.

Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told reporters at a monthly briefing that the 8,000-member force had passed an assessment last month approved by Jean-Pierre Lacroix, head of the U.N.'s peacekeeping operations. That fulfills a pledge made at the U.N. three years ago by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China provides the most peacekeepers of any permanent U.N. Security Council member and is the second-largest contributor to the operation's multibillion-dollar budget, at slightly over 10 percent. The United States is the largest contributor to peacekeeping, but deploys only 50 officers to U.N. missions.

China also has trained more than 1,500 peacekeepers from more than a dozen countries, Ren said.

"The Chinese military is fulfilling its responsibility to safeguard world peace and building a community of shared future for mankind with concrete actions," Ren said. China was ready to increase the number of peacekeepers it contributes as well as their particular skill sets, Ren said.

The U.N. currently runs 15 peacekeeping missions.

With around 2 million members, China's military is the world's largest standing force and the country's defense budget is the second-highest after the United States.

Medics fear for Gazans shot by Israelis

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- A medical aid group says the vast number of patients treated for gunshot wounds from months of violent border protests have overwhelmed Gaza's health care system.

Doctors Without Borders said that thousands are in danger of infection and disability because Gaza hospitals cannot adequately treat them.

Gaza's militant Hamas rulers have been organizing weekly border protests since March in which demonstrators approach the border fence, throwing firebombs at Israeli troops and burning tires.

Israeli snipers have killed about 170 people and wounded thousands.

Doctors Without Borders said most of the 3,000 patients it has treated were shot in the legs, with about a quarter suffering from infections.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

Photo by AP/BRITTA PEDERSEN
Dancers with the Shanghai Ballet perform on a staircase Thursday in the Bode Museum in Berlin ahead of their German premiere.

A Section on 11/30/2018

Print Headline: Canada looks into Cuba outpost illness Another Canada envoy falls ill in Cuba Another Canadian ill at Cuba posting French nuns to abdicate vows in dispute China adds to its peacekeepers for U.N. M...

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