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Monday's winter storm brought 9 inches of snow to Philadelphia and up to 8 inches to NYC.
Monday's winter storm brought 9 inches of snow to Philadelphia and up to 8 inches to NYC.
Worldcrunch

KARZAI HAD SECRET MEETINGS WITH THE TALIBAN
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has held covert negotiations with Taliban officials, aimed at forging a peace agreement without the participation of Western allies, The New York Times reports. The discovery of these meetings seems to explain Karzai’s recent combative behavior toward the U.S., the Timesreports, citing his refusal to sign a security agreement that he himself had negotiated with Washington, his releasing Taliban members from prison, and his claims that the United States is guilty of war crimes.

HOLLANDE RETREATS ON FAMILY LAW REFORM
After some 100,000 protesters took to the streets of Paris and Lyon over the weekend, French government officials are saying they won’t, as previously planned, present legislation this year calling for family law reform to reflect “diversity” such as gay marriage, which is now legal in France. Many protesters wrongly believed the reform would mean that gay couples would be eligible for state-financed fertility services. President Francois Hollande, the most unpopular French president in modern history, is believed to be backtracking for the moment to mitigate further animosity toward his administration. Read more from France 24.

UKRAINE PARLIAMENT SEEKS TO LIMIT PRESIDENTIAL POWERS
As the Ukrainian parliament begins a new term today, opposition members are calling for scrapping the current constitution and resurrecting an earlier one that gives the legislative body more power over the formation of government — and therefore the ability to call for new elections. President Viktor Yanukovych’s authority has grown increasingly weak, as his prime minister and entire cabinet have already resigned amid protests against him that have continued since November. Read more from the BBC.
Here is a recent Die Welt/Worldcrunch piece: Tortured In Kiev: A Maidan Activist's Brutal Account.

FOOD AID HEADS TO NORTHEAST SYRIA
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today that it is airlifting enough food to feed close to 30,000 displaced people for a month from Iraq to Qamishli in northeast Syria.

NORTH KOREA’S HARSH WORDS FOR JAPAN’S ABE
An editorial by North Korea’s official news agency characterizes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an "Asian Hitler.”

U.S. SNOW STORM
A winter storm across the East Coast on Monday brought 9 inches of snow to parts of Philadelphia and 8 inches to New York, causing school closings, flight cancellations and power outages. The National Weather Service expects the East Coast to receive even more snow today and Wednesday and is also predicting that a similar blast is headed to the Midwest today, with accumulations expected to be heaviest in Kansas and Missouri.

IS SOCHI READY?
The New York Times delivers a pretty devastating story today about the construction projects in Sochi related to the Olympic Winter Games, some of which seem far from ready ahead of Thursday’s opening competitions. The good news is that the sports stadiums are primed, but some hotels and other developments appear a long way from complete.

JOAN MONDALE DIES
Joan Mondale, the wife of former Democratic Vice President Walter Mondale and a lifelong patron of the arts, has died at age 83.

A DRAMATIC RISE IN CANCER CASES
World Cancer Day today brings despairing news. The UN’s World Health Organization has issued a report projecting that new cases of cancer will rise by half by 2030, to 21.6 million per year compared to 14 million in 2012.

MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD


CROCODILE ON THE LOOSE IN THE UK
Police are searching for a crocodile who was spotted under a bridge in Bristol, UK, Monday. The Independent reports that the elusive reptile has amassed significant interest, and even has its own Twitter page — Chris the Croc, with handle @TheBristolCroc, which has already amassed more than 1,000 followers.
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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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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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