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Italian PM Giorgia Meloni during a press conference in Rome.

LaPresse / Roberto Monaldo/Sipa via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: Meloni’s migrant moves, a cartel for rainforests, Haiti’s hope for fuel

Meloni draws a line on migrants

Since becoming Italy’s prime minister two weeks ago, Giorgia Meloni has pushed back against media attempts to portray her as a far-right nationalist euro-skeptic troublemaker. Aware that Italy needs cash from the EU, she’s presented her government as ready to negotiate with Brussels on outstanding issues in good faith. She’s made clear her support for Ukraine and NATO. Yet, she does stand ready to strike a harder line on migration policy as asylum-seekers continue to arrive by boat. (Italy has already received 85,000 migrants from across the Mediterranean this year.) On Sunday, two rescue ships that made port in Sicily were told that children and people with medical problems were allowed off the ships, but able-bodied men were not considered “vulnerable” and must remain on board. The ships were then ordered to leave, but their captains refused to budge. Rights groups and Italian opposition politicians say Italy’s decision violates EU law and the Geneva Convention. Meloni knows that many Italians expect a harder line on asylum policy and that greenlighting the entry of all migrants encourages more people to take the risky journey across the Med. This standoff is just the beginning of the Meloni government’s battle with EU officials and aid groups over an issue that provokes strong emotions on both sides.

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Hell in Haiti

The Caribbean state of Haiti has been in a persistent state of pandemonium for decades. Yet, what’s happening now on the island nation of 11 million reflects a profound new wave of instability that’s threatening to spill over into neighboring countries.

Thousands of Haitians have recently taken to the streets calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, while large swaths of the capital, Port-au-Prince, are being ruled by rival gangs vying for power. Forget democracy or autocracy – lawlessness is rampant in Haiti.

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People march during a protest against the government and rising fuel prices, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


What We’re Watching: UN mulls Haiti intervention, petrol workers join Iran protests, Biden tightens tech exports to China

Haiti pleads for help

Haiti’s spiraling social unrest has prompted Prime Minister Ariel Henry to appeal to the international community for “specialized armed forces” to help quell demonstrations and gang violence wreaking havoc across Port-au-Prince, the capital. Henry’s request comes a month after planned cuts to fuel subsidies amid an economic crisis unleashed a torrent of unrest across the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. (Protesters are demanding the resignation of Henry, who has been implicated in the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and has failed to hold fresh parliamentary elections.) Making matters worse, gangs recently stormed a key fuel terminal in the capital, preventing the distribution of millions of gallons of gas, and have also looted food aid centers. As a result, hospitals and schools have been forced to close. The US, for its part, has not shut down the request, but it seems unlikely that President Joe Biden will support sending boots on the ground. Still, the deteriorating situation in the Caribbean country is not something he can afford to ignore given the uptick in Haitian migrants arriving at the US southern border over the past year. Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres supports sending a rapid action force, but some experts warn that this would further inflame the situation. Indeed, Haitians have little love for the UN, whose “peacekeeping” forces (2004-2017) reportedly raped hundreds of Haitian women and girls and unleashed a cholera outbreak that killed thousands.

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A mink at a Danish farm.

Ritzau Scanpix/Mads Claus Rasmussen via REUTERS

Hard Numbers: Danish snap vote, South Korean arms sales boom, global trade slowdown, Haitian anarchy

7: On Wednesday, Danish PM Mette Frederiksen called a snap election seven months before the end of her term, with the ruling center-left bloc tied in the polls with the center-right opposition. Frederiksen's approval has tanked recently due to her role in the government's illegal and botched attempt to cull the country's entire population of … mink.

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A newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's "morality police" is seen in Tehran.


Hard Numbers: Iranians protest Amini death, Ukrainian troops leave… DRC, tumult in Haiti, French spiderman

67: Iranian internet connectivity was curbed to 67% of ordinary levels to limit coordination via social media as protests broke out at the funeral of Mahsa Amini, an Iranian woman reportedly beaten to death in Tehran by the Islamic Republic’s morality police for failing to comply with the regime’s strict head covering requirements. Protesters shouted “death to the dictator” and some tore off their headscarves at the funeral held in the western province of Kurdistan.

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Dutch farmers block food distribution sites with tractors in Woerden, Netherlands.

Robin Utrecht via Reuters

Hard Numbers: Dutch farmers roar, Biden offers Griner swap, EU gas prices soar, Teva’s opioid settlement, carnage in Haiti

24.6 billion: Dutch farmers resumed protests Wednesday over the government’s plan to rein in emissions produced by livestock, which they say will decimate the agriculture industry. The Netherlands has earmarked $24.6 billion to help reduce emissions, but the farming sector says it is being unfairly targeted while the aviation, construction, and other industries are getting off scot-free.

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The Graphic Truth: National leaders killed since 1972

Japan is mourning Shinzo Abe’s assassination. A private funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, followed by bigger ceremonies in Tokyo and Abe’s hometown in Yamaguchi Prefecture, where he was first elected to Japan’s House of Representatives in 1993. But the country has only begun to come to grips with the violent murder of its beloved former leader. While political assassinations often lead to greater instability — as in the case of Haiti’s late President Jovenel Moïse — Japan went to the polls on Sunday and delivered a resounding victory for Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party in the upper house. We look at countries where current and former heads of state have been killed in the past 50 years.

This article comes to you from the Signal newsletter team of GZERO Media, a subsidiary of Eurasia Group that offers balanced, nonpartisan reporting, and analysis of foreign affairs. Subscribe to Signal today.

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