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British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leaves Millbank Studios after a media interview in London, Britain, May 27, 2022.

REUTERS/John Sibley

Hard Numbers: Sinking Sunak, Mellon's millions for Trump, Israelis bearish on two-state solution, Thousands displaced in Haiti, Chinese carmakers take aim at EU

516: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak might be on the verge of making history … and not in a good way. He could be the first sitting prime minister to lose their seat in a general election, according to a new poll, which predicts Labour could win a whopping 516 seats in Parliament. Meanwhile, the poll suggests that Sunak’s Conservative Party will win just 53 seats.

50 million: Conservative billionaire Timothy Mellon reportedly sent $50 million to Donald Trump's presidential campaign the day after the former president was convicted on 34 felony counts in his hush-money trial last month. Donations disclosed to the Federal Election Commission show that the Trump campaign raked in $68 million from donors in May. Oddly, Mellon has also been the biggest donor to independent candidate Robert Kennedy Jr.’s campaign, having donated at least $20 million to his super pac in the past.

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A U.S. force aircraft arrives with contractors to build a base for a Kenyan-led international security force aimed at countering gang violence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti May 11, 2024.

REUTERS/Pedro Anza

Will international aid stabilize Haiti?

Gang violence continues to escalate in Haiti, prompting calls for the dismissal and arrest of the country's National Police Director Frantz Elbé. In the words of Garry Jean-Baptiste, a police union spokesperson, “Monsieur Elbé has failed.” Jean-Baptiste accuses the chief of incompetence and complicity with gangs, noting that 30 police stations have been attacked and burned in recent months.

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Haiti's new interim Prime Minister Michel Patrick Boisvert holds a glass with a drink after a transitional council took power with the aim of returning stability to the country, where gang violence has caused chaos and misery, on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti April 25, 2024.

REUTERS/Pedro Valtierra

New chapter for Haiti as Henry steps down

Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry formally resigned on Thursday to be replaced by Finance Minister Michel Patrick Boisvert, who will work with a newly sworn in transitional council. Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has been ravaged by gang violence and effectively without a prime minister since March 12.

Get up to speed: Henry agreed to step down last month after gangs blocked his reentry to the country from Kenya, where he was trying to secure a multinational security force to assist him in restoring law and order to the country.

Many of the gangs are led by a man named Jimmy Chérizier, aka Barbecue. They have taken advantage of the power vacuum left by Henry’s absence and are now in control of about 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and large swaths of the country. Barbecue said last month he would consider laying down weapons if armed groups were allowed to take part in talks to establish the new government.

Boisvert and thenine-member council, of which seven have voting powers, have a steep climb to tackle the gang violence. The council will appoint a provisional electoral commission, a requirement before elections can take place, and establish a national security council.

People take cover from gunfire near the National Palace, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 21, 2024.

REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol

Haitians flee capital en masse

Intense violence in Port-au-Prince led over 33,000 Haitians to flee the city in the last two weeks alone, according to the United Nations.

Gangs attacked two specialized police bases in Port-au-Prince on Saturday and continue to make advances. Over 2,500 people have been killed in the fighting this year. Violence has kept the air and seaports shuttered all month, making it difficult for aid organizations to bring supplies in. The World Food Programme now says Haiti faces a record level of food insecurity.

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A police officer patrols near the police headquarters as Haiti continues in a state of emergency, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti March 6, 2024.

REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol

Haiti’s gangs threaten civil war

Prime Minister Ariel Henry is refusing calls to resign and remains stranded outside Haiti while the leader of the country’s largest gang alliance, Jimmy Chérizier, threatens civil war.

Henry visited Nairobi last week in an attempt to secure a Kenyan-led intervention force to help bring peace to Haiti. But heavily armed gangs took advantage of his absence and launched assaults against Haiti’s two largest prisons and the international airport in Port-au-Prince, paralyzing the country. Henry has since tried but failed to return to Haiti.

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El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele


Strongman with a strong mandate? El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele

Since riding an anti-establishment wave to power in 2019, El Salvador’s young, social-media savvy, mano dura (“firm hand”) President Nayib Bukele has tested the limits of his country’s fragile institutions.

He’s sent armed men into congress to pressure lawmakers, harried the opposition with arrests, packed the courts with loyalists, and raised human rights concerns with his jail-first-ask-questions-later approach towards gang violence.

But he’s also done something remarkable: he’s become one of the most popular democratically elected leaders in the world. After three years in office, his approval rating hovers around 90%.

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In El Salvador, security forces continue with the massive arrests of alleged gang members, during an operation called "war against the gangs."


Hard Numbers: Bukele goes after gangs, Banglade​shis sentenced to death, NZ's inflation woes, COVID death toll milestone

10,000: According to President Nayib Bukele, 10,000 suspected gang members have been arrested by police in El Salvador, where officials have declared a state of emergency due to gang violence. This news has alarmed human-rights advocates, who accuse Bukele of authoritarian tactics.
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Gang members are secured during a police operation at Izalco jail.


Hard Numbers: El Salvador vs gang talk, crap demand soars, Delhi sees meat beef, Ukrainians at the US border

15: A new law in El Salvador threatens people with 15 years in prison for sharing information about gangs. The measure, passed amid a state of emergency due to gang violence, is meant to stymie communication between them. But human rights advocates already worried about the authoritarian leanings of President Nayib Bukele say it could be used to stifle free expression more broadly.

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