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PEOPLE'S DAILY (China)

Worldcrunch

GANSU - What’s the best way to handle the unpleasant view of decrepit roadside housing and poverty? Hide it! is the answer from officials of China's northwestern province of Gansu.

According to China's People's Daily, the local authority in Zhang County in Gansu has begun to build walls to hide the rows of unsightly poor housing straggling along the 212 National Road.

On the way out of this ancient caravanserai of the Silk Road, Zhang County is one of China’s most poverty-stricken areas. In 2011, the per capita annual income of Zhang County was 2960 RMB ($470).

These odd-looking brand new white walls are two meters high with a glazed tile finish on top. “They are shame-hiding walls to spare the leaders who often drive by on this road from seeing our ugly houses,” a farmer told People's Daily.

The government had actually designated the building of these walls as part of an anti-poverty project

Worst of all is that since the walls were built the narrow country road has become even narrower. Many heavy trucks pass though with horns blaring and this raises serious road safety problems for the villagers.

When asked about the project, a Zhang County official finally conceded that “it’s part of the county’s remediation of the houses along this road, which is also undergoing reconstruction. All the neighboring counties are doing it too. The purpose is to beautify the scenery along this road.”

As for the villagers’ complaints, another official blamed ignorance: “Some of these villagers have hardly just become literate. They haven’t got a sufficient level of understanding of the necessity of beautifying the environment. Their knowledge is not yet in place.”   

People’s Daily reports that similar such shame-hiding structures have been springing up over the past few years around China.

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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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