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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

YEMENI ATTACK
*As Yemeni state television aired a photo montage of President Ali Abdullah Saleh accompanied by background music, the crawl beneath reads: "President Saleh, may God protect him, is in good health and reports of his death are untrue." Al Arabiya and other news outlets reported that Saleh had sustained a minor injury to the back of his head during an attack on the presidential compound on Friday. A source in Saleh's ruling party, the General People's Congress, told the network that Saleh escaped an assassination attempt, accusing the opposition and tribesmen loyal to Sadiq al-Ahmar of orchestrating the shooting.

*At least three people were killed on the attack on the presidential compound in Sanaa, including the mosque imam who was leading the prayers for Saleh and other senior officials when the shells hit.

SYRIAN SLAUGHTER
BBC Arabic reports that 34 people were killed during Friday protests in the conservative city of Hama, where President Bashar Assad's father killed up to 20,000 people during an Islamist uprising in 1982. In the accompanying video report, protesters chant, "the Syrian people are one. One, one, one." In another clip, protesters (including small children) walk through the streets chanting, "the people want the regime to fall."

*Internet service was cut in most of the country. But Al Jazeera interviewed an eyewitness in Hama, who breaks down while recounting that dozens of people were killed when Syrian security forces opened fire on the crowds. Why Hama when protests unfolded around the country, the interviews asks. "I don't know, but probably because of the enormous size of the protest in Hama." The eyewitness said at up to 60 people, including children, were killed by live bullets. "It was deliberate, targeted killing," he says.

EGYPTIAN WAGES
*Egypt's Finance Minister Samir Radwan announced that the minimum wage for public-sector employees will go up to $117 per month. The wage hike is a key grievance of protesters who maintain that the current $67 doesn't come close to keeping up with the cost of living. But the higher wage doesn't apply to the private sector, where most of the workforce is employed. The minimum wage struggle is a hot-button issue in Egypt, where it remained at its 1984 rate of $5.89 per month until last November.

EGYPTIAN ARMY
*Also in Egypt, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the military council ruling the country, said certain unnamed "paid elements' are seeking to "drive a wedge between the people and the army." Tantawi also acknowledged divisions within the armed forces, and said they would be resolved. He pledged that the armed forces would continue to serve as "a protective shield" for Egypt.


June 3, 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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