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ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing
Kristen Gillespie

A R A B I C A ارابيكا


TRUTH AND/OR BETRAYAL
*Omar Suleiman, the man who headed Egypt's feared intelligence services for 20 years, and who announced President Hosni Mubarak's resignation on live television in February, testified in front of a criminal court that the former president had "full knowledge of every bullet fired into Tahrir Square at protesters." Mubarak "knew about every person, including children, killed and injured by the bullets," Suleiman said, adding that "at no point did he order it to stop."

CIVIL AND/OR TRIBAL WAR
*Just hours after ordering his tribal supporters not to delay any further, armed tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar raided and captured a major military base belonging to the elite Republican Guard led by President Ali Abdullah Saleh's son Ahmed. In a speech to tribesmen on Friday, al-Ahmer announced a truce between him and Saleh. But he also warned, "if Saleh wants a peaceful revolution, we are ready for that, but if he wants war, we will crush him."

POLICE STATE IN SYRIA
*Lebanon's A-Safir newspaper quotes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad telling a youth gathering in Damascus that the country "must pass through several stages before it reaches an ideal situation." During the meeting, the president made more of his typically vague and stilted declarations, acknowledging "the need to develop developmental thinking and to realize this through projects carried out by young people, assuring in this context that the reform process, although delayed, will continue and that there is no going back."

*Meanwhile, Syrian security forces shot and killed at least eight civilians during protests around the country following Friday prayers.

PIOUS POLICE IN SAUDI ARABIA
*The Al-Riyadh newspaper reports that the German Tourism Commission withdrew its participation in the Riyadh International Travel Exhibition after one of its female representatives was unduly harassed by the religious police. Members of the Committee to Prevent Vice and Promote Virture stormed into the exhibition hall, and ordered the German woman to go and change out of her abaya, the black cloak, because it had a red stripe on it. The men also ordered the woman "not to speak with any of the men at the event," the paper reported. "We are ending our participation in this exhibition because of the strange behavior of the strange men who entered the hall in a frightening manner," said one of the German commission's representatives.

May 27, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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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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