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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


THE BLOGGER & THE ARMY
*A new Google forum tweeted out by Wael Ghonim asks Egyptians to take part in a dialogue with the country's ruling military council, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The discussion forum "is a democratic way to raise questions about the council, its performance and the future of Egypt," the administrators write. Questions include: "Why are the police not being sanctioned for neglecting their duties? Is this not treason?" and "Why has there been no resolution to the issue of local councils, which are full of men from the dissolved National Democratic Party?"

UNIVERSITY & REGIME
*An official from Syria's ruling Baath Party spoke to administrative and scientific personnel from the University of Damascus. During the three-hour encounter, Baath official Said Bekhaytan informed the university employees that the government refuses to revoke Article 8 of the Syrian constitution, which grants the Party a full monopoly as "the leader of the state and society," Al Watn paper reported. "There are other priorities' besides Article 8, Bekhaytan said. If citizens insist on overturning the monopoly clause, they may use the ballot box to vote in representatives to do so, he said. Elections, however, are neither free nor fair in Syria. And Bekhaytan's vow to establish a national dialogue committee within 48 hours is typically a euphemism for slowly killing prospects of change with the lethal weapon of bureaucracy.

*In a separate editorial, Al Watn postulated that "only Syria has remained a solid, harmonious, homogenous nucleus despite the difficulties posed by Western/American/European Zionism."

THE KING OF BAHRAIN*King Hamad of Bahrain stressed the need for a national dialogue after importing soldiers from neighboring countries to help crush an uprising against the ruling family that went on for several weeks. The dialogue will begin in early July, with the "monarch stressing the importance of democracy in his country," CNN Arabic reported.

WAR IN LIBYA (CONT.)
*Sources tell Al Jazeera that NATO bombed ammunitions depots in Libya's southwest while "other strikes took place at dawn in Tripoli." Libyan officials told the network that the bombings resulted in "human and material losses."

May 31, 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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