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Russia

Moscow's New 'Silent' Subway Won't Disturb Underground Bolshoi Theater

Moscow is trying to get people out of their cars, with expanded connections and swanky new subway cars. The project also includes special anti-vibration tracks and tunnels designed to protect the Bolshoi Theater’s brand new underground concert call.

A Moscow subway station
A Moscow subway station

Worldcrunch *NEWSBITES



MOSCOW – The Russian capital is as famous for its maddening traffic as for its world-class ballet and borscht. Hoping to ease the congestion, Moscow is set to spend a record 2.2 trillion rubles, ($70 billion) to update the metropolitan area's transport system. That is more then twice the amount spent for any single municipal program in Moscow in the past five years.

The lion's share of the money is going to be spent on new roads, including improvements in Moscow's connections to other regional cities, and the development of the municipal subway system. By 2016, the city expects to have built 474 kilometers of new roads and 85.6 kilometers of new metro lines.

Although the city is planning to expand the roads for private cars, the real hope is that improvements in the public transportation system will entice commuters to leave their cars at home. To make public transport more attractive, the city is making the buses, trams and trolley-buses more comfortable, and replacing 2,373 subway cars and 119 escalators at subway stations.

As part of the improvements in the metro system, Moscow's Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has also promised to install special anti-vibration tracks and tunnels in the area surrounding the Bolshoi Theater. Home to the famous Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera, the theater has been closed for reconstruction since 2005, with the much anticipated reopening set for next month. Part of the reconstruction was a new 330-seat concert hall located underground, less than 30 meters from the closest subway station, and officials consider these special anti-vibration measures necessary to protect the acoustics of the new hall.

In addition to the public transport changes, the city will add 15,000 taxis to the current fleet of 10,000. Getting a cab will also become easier: Passengers will be able to order a cab by sending an SMS, and the wait time is expected to drop from 30 to 15 minutes.

Read more in Russian here and here.

Photo-feserc

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Economy

In Uganda, Having A "Rolex" Is About Not Going Hungry

Experts fear the higher food prices resulting from the conflict in Ukraine could jeopardize the health of many Ugandans. Take a look at this ritzy-named simple dish.

Zziwa Fred, a street vendor who runs two fast-food businesses in central Uganda, rolls a freshly prepared chapati known as a Rolex.

Nakisanze Segawa

WAKISO — Godfrey Kizito takes a break from his busy shoe repair shop every day so he can enjoy his favorite snack, a vegetable and egg omelet rolled in a freshly prepared chapati known as a Rolex. But for the past few weeks, this daily ritual has given him neither the satisfaction nor the sustenance he is used to consuming. Kizito says this much-needed staple has shrunk in size.

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Most streets and markets in Uganda have at least one vendor firing up a hot plate ready to cook the Rolex, short for rolled eggs — which usually comes with tomatoes, cabbage and onion and is priced anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 Ugandan shillings (28 to 57 cents). Street vendor Farouk Kiyaga says many of his customers share Kizito’s disappointment over the dwindling size of Uganda’s most popular street food, but Kiyaga is struggling with the rising cost of wheat and cooking oil.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has halted exports out of the two countries, which account for about 26% of wheat exports globally and about 80% of the world’s exports of sunflower oil, pushing prices to an all-time high, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency. Not only oil and wheat are affected. Prices of the most consumed foods worldwide, such as meat, grains and dairy products, hit their highest levels ever in March, making a nutritious meal even harder to buy for those who already struggle to feed themselves and their families. The U.N. organization warns the conflict could lead to as many as 13.1 million more people going hungry between 2022 and 2026.

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