The World Today for May 30, 2023

Listen to Today's Edition
Voiced by Amazon Polly


The Meanest of Streets


Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva recently called for the richest countries in the world to help Haiti, the violence-wracked, impoverished, politically unstable nation in the Caribbean.

“In Haiti, we need to act quickly to alleviate the suffering of a population torn apart by tragedy,” said Lula at the G7 summit in Japan. “The scourge to which the Haitian people is subject is the result of decades of indifference to the country’s real needs.”

Last year, explained the Miami Herald, Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the United Nations asked the international community to deploy troops to assist Haitian security forces. The US supported the idea, but, due to the long history of American interventionism in Haiti, hoped Canada and other nations would supply troops. But they have not. Now Lula might be the leader to send peacekeepers.

In the meantime, the situation is perilous. A French and Creole-speaking country that shares an island with the Dominican Republic, Haiti is on the “brink of a civil war,” warned the humanitarian group Mercy Corps, citing violence between criminal gangs and civilians, reported Al Jazeera.

Vigilantes sick of criminals running their neighborhoods are now triggering more fighting on the country’s mean streets. For example, after thugs killed and dismembered a relative, a gardener named Jean Baptiste recently recounted to the Washington Post how he and his neighbors took up machetes and established a shift schedule to police their Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Turgeau. They have killed 27 gang members so far, he said.

Citing UN figures, the Caribbean Media Corporation reported that 600 people died in violence in April in Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital, and almost 850 people in the first three months of the year. Such clashes are why the US recently issued a warning, telling Americans in Haiti that they should consider leaving due to the rising danger of kidnappings, crime, unrest, and poor health infrastructure.

Gang rule is destroying Haitian society, casting a pall of “gloom and hopelessness” on the population, wrote Mark Green, president of the Wilson Center, in a blog post. Children can’t go to school as rival clans fight in the streets. Commerce can’t occur. Infrastructure can’t be maintained, let alone improved.

Food production and distribution is one of the most vital sectors that is crumbling under mob rule. Today, more than 115,000 children in Haiti are expected to suffer malnutrition and “severe wasting,” reported Voice of America, citing UNICEF. A cholera outbreak is also devastating supply networks.

It’s hard to imagine how things could get worse. But they can and they will.


The Purge


Polish President Andrzej Duda is set to sign a bill that will create a powerful commission aimed at investigating Russia’s influence in Poland, raising concern that the ruling Law and Justice party will use the measure against opponents ahead of parliamentary elections this year, the Associated Press reported Monday.

The bill, approved last week, could reverse administrative and business decisions, as well as impose punishments such as banning accused politicians and officials from positions of power.

Duda said the bill’s approval follows discussions about Moscow’s influence on politics being held in other countries, including the US and other European Union member-states.

He recommended that a similar commission be established at the EU level to look into Russian influence on European institutions and bloc nations.

But opposition politicians and legal analysts said the legislation violates Poland’s constitution and called it another example of the governing party’s efforts to use the law for its own ends.

Critics believe the law will target opposition leader and former Prime Minister Donald Tusk as the country prepares for elections later this year.

The Law and Justice party has accused Tusk of being too friendly toward Russia during his 2007-2014 term and making gas deals favorable to Moscow.

The Unwanted


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Monday signed into law a controversial anti-LGBTQ bill that will allow the death penalty for some same-sex relations, a move that could put the African country in jeopardy with international donors, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The new law was first passed in parliament in March before lawmakers amended it earlier this month following a request by the president.

Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda under a colonial-era law that punishes sexual activity “against the order of nature” with life imprisonment, the Associated Press added.

The recent legislation will impose new penalties for a number of offenses, including prison sentences of up to five years for touching another person “with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.”

Individuals that allegedly promote homosexuality could face up to 20 years in prison.

The law also imposes capital punishment for what it calls “aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as instances of sexual relations involving people infected with HIV, as well as with minors and other categories of vulnerable people.

Still, the legislation does not criminalize people who identify as LGBTQ, one of the key concerns of the bill’s critics, who condemned an earlier draft of the bill as a severe attack on human rights.

Officials praised the new law but Western nations and human rights organizations have described it as “draconian and overly broad.”

LGBTQ rights activists fear that the bill – apart from violating human rights – will make it harder for health organizations to provide information on the prevention and treatment of HIV and other health conditions.

The United Nations and other aid groups warned that it would also lead many in the community to reject testing and treatment for AIDS to avoid arrest.

Observers added that the Ugandan government risks its relations with international donors that annually contribute about $2 billion to support health services, the reconstruction of conflict-hit areas, and a large community of refugees from neighboring countries.

Letting Go


One of Hong Kong’s largest and most prolific pro-democracy parties disbanded itself this week following China’s harsh crackdown on dissent and the arrest of its members, the BBC reported.

Members of the Civic Party voted to disband the group, a move one of its founders, Albert Lai, described as “a symbol of the end of Hong Kong’s nativistic democracy movement.”

Founded in 2006, the Civic Party was once the second-largest opposition party in Hong Kong’s legislature. It represented the city’s professionals – such as lawyers and accountants – and was considered to be more moderate than the larger Democratic Party, which still exists.

But the party’s downfall began after some of its members were arrested for participating in the 2019-2020 Hong Kong mass protests against Beijing’s increasing control in the semi-autonomous territory.

In 2020, China passed a controversial national security law to curb dissent in the city. That move also resulted in the ousting of four Civic Party lawmakers from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council over allegations of being “unpatriotic.”

This triggered mass resignations from other opposition politicians in protest. The city later overhauled its electoral system to only allow “patriots” to hold public office. This resulted in the party losing dozens of spots on district councils.

The party had announced plans to dissolve last year after failing to create a new executive committee.

Despite the dissolution, Lai said, “the failure does not mean the movement was meaningless.”


Rembrandt’s Touch

Fans of Rembrandt can get a very special – and painful – gift when they visit the Dutch artist’s house in Amsterdam next month, the Smithsonian Magazine reported.

The Rembrandt House Museum is working with local tattoo artists to offer visitors ink inspired by the art of the 17th-century painter.

For a sum between $109 to $272, tourists and locals can get a variety of Rembrandt-inspired designs, including portraits by the artist, his signature, and the house.

The initiative, known as the “Poor Man’s Rembrandt Project,” is part of an effort to connect with new artists and audiences in Amsterdam.

“It’s about the challenge for every museum: to reach the next generation,” Milou Halbesma, director of the Rembrandt House Museum, told the Guardian.

Henk Schiffmacher, one of the project’s tattoo artists, said the ink he and his fellow artists are applying will pay homage to Rembrandt’s unique style: The renowned painter used a drypoint technique, which involved scratching directly onto the printing plate using a needle.

Born in 1606, Rembrandt was an influential Dutch Golden Age painter who spent many years making art in Amsterdam. He was known for his artwork spanning various mediums and different types of subject matter, including self-portraits and landscapes.

Famed French sculptor Auguste Rodin called him a “colossus of art,” while Dutch post-Impressionist pioneer Vincent van Gogh described Rembrandt as a “magician,” according to My Modern Met.

For Schiffmacher, creating tattoos at the prolific painter’s house is a great honor.

“You can’t get any closer to an artist,” he told local media.

Thank you for reading or listening to DailyChatter. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can become one by going to

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at