Good morning. We’re covering political turmoil in Haiti, orphaned children in India and another broiling heat wave in the U.S.
Haiti on the brink
Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last week, political chaos has gripped Haiti. On Sunday, the country hurtled toward a constitutional crisis, as its top leaders both jockeyed for control.
The interim prime minister, Claude Joseph, has tried to parlay words of support from the U.S. into the appearance of a mandate, but Haiti’s last remaining elected officials have organized to block him. Only 10 of Haiti’s 30 Senate seats are filled, but eight of the remaining senators have signed a resolution calling for Joseph Lambert, the Senate president, to temporarily take control. Here are live updates.
“We can’t let the country go astray,” a woman said to be Martine Moïse, the president’s widow, said in an audio clip posted to Twitter. She suggested those behind the killing “do not want to see a transition in the country.”
Haiti has asked the U.S. and the U.N. to send troops and security assistance, a move criticized by intellectuals and members of Haitian civil society, who argue that international support has often added to the country’s instability.
U.S. response: Biden administration officials are reluctant to send even a limited American force into the midst of disorder. Instead, a team of American government investigators will assess how they may assist the investigation into the assassination.
Power: Rony Célestin, a senator and one of Moïse’s political allies, purchased a $3.4 million villa in Canada. The home has become a potent emblem of the growing gap between Haiti’s impoverished citizens and its wealthy political elite.
Covid orphans in India
Thousands of Indian children lost their parents during a calamitous wave of coronavirus infections this spring. Many of the more than 3,000 orphans face the risk of neglect and exploitation when attention inevitably fades.
But advocates worry about long-term protections. The traumatized children often find it difficult to obtain death certificates to qualify for government benefits. Some may struggle to return to school or avoid human trafficking and child marriage.
An empty line: Kahkashan Saifi, 9, lost both of her parents and then her home, as the landlord locked her and her siblings out over unpaid rent. Nearly every day, Kahkashan picks up the phone and dials her mother, talking to her as if she were on the other end. “Mother, when will you come?” she says.
Regional sweep: Countries across the Asia-Pacific region are grappling with outbreaks fueled by the Delta variant of the virus. Indonesia and Malaysia are cracking under the strain. Japan and South Korea are enacting harsh new restrictions.
In other developments:
A choking U.S. heat wave
After a recent spike in temperatures killed nearly 200 people in Oregon and Washington State, the Western U.S. broiled under another “heat dome” that increased temperatures this weekend, the third wave to sweep the region this summer.
Death Valley, Calif., clocked 130 degrees Fahrenheit, one of the highest temperatures ever recorded on Earth. In Arizona, two people who were helping to fight a 300-acre wildfire died on Saturday when their plane crashed.
The heat waves, which scientists say would have been virtually impossible without the influence of human-caused climate change, have exacerbated a widespread drought, set the stage for what is expected to be another catastrophic fire season and killed off marine wildlife en masse on the Pacific Coast.
Other climate news: In Turkey, the Sea of Marmara, fabled for centuries for its sapphire blue color, is brimming with pollution and suffocating under a slimy secretion caused, in part, by warming waters.
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An inked-on memory
As the pandemic ends, some people are getting tattoos in commemoration, permanent totems to loved ones who died, their own survival or lessons from this strange time outside of time.
Samantha Barry, the editor of Glamour magazine, got a small depiction of the New York City skyline, a homage to the walks that kept her going. “We will talk about 2020 when we are old and gray, and now I have something on my body that symbolizes where I was,” she said. Rachael Sunshine, a 44-year-old with a degenerative nerve disease, survived Covid-19 twice. She got a tattoo of a heart surrounded by coronavirus spike proteins, which is the logo of a group that connects survivors. “The tears were just coming down my eyes,” she said.
Katie Tompkins, who works for a medical lab, took a different approach. For her first tattoo, she got a little toilet paper roll.
“I wanted to have something to look at and go, ‘Oh my God, remember when all that crazy stuff happened?’” she said. “It’s my way of bringing light to a not great situation.”
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