A lot of developments in the U.S. presidential nomination process. That`s coming up later today on CNN STUDENT NEWS.
First up, in the South American nation of Venezuela, there`s a rationing in place. Residents say that if they want to buy flour, rice or milk at a government supermarket, they have to wait in line, sometimes for an entire day, and they`re limited on the days when they can do that.The drop in oil prices in a country whose revenue is dependent on oil sales caused major deficits. The government tried to make up for those by printing money. That led to severe inflation when the value of currency goes down and the price of goods goes up.There are food shortages. People can`t get medical care. They`re buying medicine on the black market.Electricity has been rationed in many areas, shutting down power for hours a day. There had been riots. Stores had been looted, and there`s effort going on to remove President Nicolas Maduro from office.
Officially, Venezuela is a federal presidential republic. But the government`s move in recent years toward socialism, extended government controls over major industries.
This economic crisis has been years in the making. The socialist government here is being accused of really discouraging investment in this economy and what`s happened over the last years is we`ve seen severe shortages of food.What really made things dramatic though was when oil price plunged about a year and a half ago now. Venezuela depends on the selling of oil for almost all of its government income.On top of that, it is now so reliant on imports of almost everything. They are not taking in enough money to pay for all the imports that they need.And that has now led to rampant inflation. The IMF says at least 700 percent by the end of this year.
Staying in the Western Hemisphere, and jumping to Northern Canada. An entire city in the province of Alberta has been evacuated. Eighty-eight thousand people have been told to leave their homes and whole neighborhoods have been scorched by an explosive wildfire.The city of Fort McMurray has been the hardest hit. Officials don`t know yet what started the fire. But they know what`s made it worse, extreme temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit, bone dry conditions and high winds. Seventy-four hundred acres and 1,600 buildings and houses have been destroyed. But there had been no reports of deaths or no injuries, and cooler weather in the 60s later this week should help firefighters.
U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to Flint, Michigan, yesterday and took a sip of filtered water. His aim: to reassure residents that the federal government isn`t ignoring them.The city`s had a water crisis since its supply was switched two years ago to the polluted Flint River. It wasn`t treated properly and caused lead, a dangerous toxic metal, to seep into Flint`s water supply. It`s been switched back but problems continue. Residents blamed local and state officials for causing them and a complaint was filed against the Obama administration last week saying the Environmental Protection Agency knew about the lead poisoning months before residents were notified.President Obama called on Congress to pass emergency funding to help the city. U.S. lawmakers are debating a package worth $150 million for water system repairs and health care assistance.