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BBC (UK), XINHUA (China), REUTERS

Worldcrunch

JINAN- Bo Xilai, a former rising star of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and chief of Chongqing Municipality, was charged on Thursday with corruption, abuse of power and embezzlement, reports Xinhua news agency.

The indictment, delivered to the Jinan City Peopl’es Court, marks the latest twist to a political scandal that reached the highest echelon's of power in China, and has also led to the conviction of Bo's wife for the murder of a British businessman.

Bo has been charged with taking advantage of his high position to seek profits for others and accepting extremely large sums of money and properties as bribes.
Bo is also accused of embezzling public money, abusing of his power, and harming the interests of the State and the people.

According to Reuters, in Chinese law, charges must be served to the defendant and lawyers at least 10 days before a trial begins. Even though there was no sign that the trial was about to begin, more than 20 uniformed and plain-clothes policeman were in front of the gates of the courthouse.

A source with direct access to the case told Reuters that no official time had yet been set for the trial.

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Bo Xilai - Photo: VOA

In 2007 Bo Xilai was appointed Party chief of Chongqing. He became a leader of a movement for so-called “red” policies, having advocated more egalitarian economic growth. He was also nationally popular for his zero-tolerance policy against organized crime. However, his style and ambitions earned him a considerable number of political enemies in the high ranks of the Party, especially in the more reform-minded members.

In February 2012 what came to be known as the “Bo Xilai Scandal” erupted when the Chongqing police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to the US consulate in Chengdu and made allegations concerning the death in Chongqing of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Bo was suspected of trying to cover up the murder and was stripped of his positions. Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai was charged with Heywood’s murder and given a suspended death sentence last August. Wang Lijun, for his part, was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment for defection, power abuse and corruption, The BBC reports.

According to Reuters, Bo has been accused of receiving more than 25 million RMB ($4 million) in bribes and embezzlement. This amount is about a third of what former railways minister, Liu Zhijun was accused of. Liu was given a suspended death sentence in earlier this month.

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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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