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Possible Sanctions against Russia for Military Intervention in Ukraine; Violent Protests in Caracas, Venezuelan Government; Fighting Poachers in Congo; New Budget Presented by President Obama

Aired March 5, 2014 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: It`s worldwide Wednesday on CNN STUDENT NEWS. Not just in our "Roll Call", but in the countries we`re reporting on today. We`re starting in Eastern Europe, moving to South America. Stopping in North America and heading to Africa. It all starts right now.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: If Russia does not choose to deescalate, if it is not willing to work directly with the government of Ukraine as we hope they will be, then our partners will have absolutely no choice, but to join us to continue to expand upon steps we have taken in recent days in order to isolate Russia politically, diplomatically and economically.


AZUZ: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visiting the Ukrainian capital, speaking about Russia`s involvement in Ukraine. It`s a nation divided between people who want closer ties with Russia and people who want closer ties with Europe. The U.S. government has sided with the pro-Europe Ukrainians. But Ukraine is also important to Russia. It has Russia`s only warm water port in the Black Sea. It gives Russian ships access to the Mediterranean. Russia says it will not fight Ukraine, but the U.S. says Russian troops have entered the European country and that it`s considering sanctions against Russia.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As Russian troops push further into Ukraine, the West pushes back economically, not militarily. That`s adding to the pressure on Russia`s main stock market. The MICEX tanked almost 11 percent on Monday, wiping the equivalent of $60 billion off the value of its biggest companies, and that`s more than the estimated cost of hosting the Olympic Games in Sochi. Well, since then the MICEX has rebounded slightly. Meanwhile, the ruble has lost ten percent of its value since the beginning of the year raising fears of inflation and painful memories of previous currency devaluation. But that may not be a concern for President Putin.

REGIS CHATELLIER, DIRECTOR, GLOBAL MARKETS SOCIETE GENERALE: He`s perfectly aware of the cost it can have, you know, over the next few years. It could even trigger the recession outside.

I`m not sure that he would be blamed for, let`s say, two percent recession over the next three years compared to the rest of Ukraine or some part of Ukraine joining Russia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For its part, the international community believes sanctions could be the best move. They calculate it will (INAUDIBLE) Russia, but avoid war.

Despite its oil wealth, Russia is increasingly reliant on the West. That country imports more than 50 percent of all its goods from Europe, and Europe is its most important investor. But if the West piles on too much economic pressure, Russian President Vladimir Putin could respond by cutting off Russia`s oil and natural gas exports to the E.U. with potentially disastrous consequences.


AZUZ: Across the Atlantic, in Venezuela, the carnival season was not all celebration. Divisions deepened and violence flared between the government and those who want it changed. Venezuela`s last two presidents have moved their country towards socialism, increasing the government`s control. Some Venezuelans have seen better living conditions and education opportunities. Others have seen jobs dry up, the economy suffer and crime flourish.



KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Opposition protesters are beginning to throw up these street barricades in preparation for potential clashes with government security forces.

We can now see a lot of movement behind the security barricades. Riot cops on motorcycles are beginning to draw up.

The protests in Venezuela are now almost a month old. (INAUDIBLE) as a call to the government to curb spiraling crime, and also to rescue a tanking economy.

The government accuses these groups of being radical right wing agitators. They say, they are simply students.

(on camera): Protests has been (inaudible) down for much of the afternoon. (INAUDIBLE) The students say that they (INAUDIBLE). The riot police on foot, and on motorbikes (INAUDIBLE).

(voice over): The potential for political turmoil to worsen this week is high, as a divided Venezuela gets ready to mark the first anniversary of the death of the death of (INAUDIBLE) leader, Hugo Chavez. He was a hero to some, and a villain to others.

Karl Penhaul, CNN, Caracas.


Now, to North America. In the U.S. capital, the U.S. president has presented a budget. President Obama`s proposal would spend just under $4 trillion for the 2015 fiscal year. It would increase government spending on things like roads and education and pay for that by raising taxes on people who make more than $200,000 a year. The president says his proposal would reduce the government`s deficit and help the middle class.

The Republicans say, it has too much spending, too much borrowing and taxing and that it would hurt the economy and cost jobs.

Here`s what`s interesting: the president`s budget has very little chance of getting through Congress. What it does, is give Democrats points to debate as they try to hold on to a slim Senate majority in this year`s midterm elections.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, if you can I.D. me. My official language is French, because I got my independence from France in 1960, but I`m located in Western Africa. My borders tough Angola, Cameroon, Gabon and the Atlantic Ocean. I`m the Republic of Congo, a nation of 4.5 million people.

Almost half of those people leave below the poverty line. Unemployment in the Republic of Congo is 53 percent. That`s why there is so much poaching, illegal hunting. In this case, hunting of endangered animals like the African forest elephant. Their tusks are ivory. It`s a valuable material that poachers are willing to kill them for, even at the risk of the hunters` own lives.


ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It`s been eight grueling hot hours on this river, chasing poachers in hunting connected and affected by events in the nation that`s about the Republic of Congo`s largest national park.

For these eco guards, disappointment follows disappointment.

(on camera): When you put your hand inside, it`s actually still quite warm, which means that they probably left earlier in the morning.

(voice over): Finally around the bank signs of activity. Smoke rising along the bank. They rush ashore and fan out into the jungle. Within seconds, a gunshot.

And the pursuit begins. The terrain is dense and disoriented. The men force their way through the undergrowth and sloshed through knee-deep water. Our CNN team can barely keep up.

(on camera): They`ve all gone forward, trying to chase down what seems to be a poacher who at least most definitely is armed. They apparently have caught him completely by surprise.

(voice over): Matthew Akal (ph), head of the park`s antipoaching division, brandishes the weapon captured by one of his men.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) trying to shoot him.

DAMON (on camera): There is elephant meat in the boat.

(voice over): The men find the poacher`s canoe, weighed down with fresh elephant meat. The non-profit group African Parks, which runs Odzala estimates that Central Africa has lost 62 percent of its forest elephants in the last decade. In this park alone, thousands have been killed in the last five years. In the week we spend here, we only saw one alive.

The park about the size of Connecticut is patrolled by just 76 eco guards, not nearly enough, but some 40 percent of them are former poachers themselves.

They eco guards torch the camp to send a message. These men often find themselves pursuing people they once worked with, friends, neighbors and even family members. In the ever-evolving fight against the ivory trade out here, it`s now personal. Arwa Damon, CNN, Odzala National Park, Republic of Congo.


AZUZ: On Wednesdays, as you know, we go worldwide for the CNN STUDENT news "Roll Call." We`re starting today in Eastern Europe where we are online in Serbia. Hello to all the students at the International School of Belgrade. Thanks for watching.

Next to Baja, California. It`s part of Mexico, it`s where we are happy to have viewers at the Discovery American Academy. And hopping over the Pacific, we are greeting everyone in Jitu (ph), South Korea. We`re happy to see you at Jitu foreign language high school.

Yesterday was National Grammar Day, a day to encourage proper speech and writing. Why is this important? Well, there are obvious perils for anyone who works in an office. I love how they felt the need to label this, to begin with. When it comes to dining out, some folks might not be lured in by starting anew with Alaskan salmon. Parking is hazardous with unattended vehicles and ride in a parting lot, and you might be parted from your bike or your board. Finally, I just don`t know where to start with this one. Everyone`s free to make mistakes from time to time, you all. After all, it`s not the United States of Grammarica. I remember teachers telling me ain`t a word only to find it ain`t (INAUDIBLE) from a dictionary. In school, in letters, on resumes, in articles it`s a fine idea to practice proper grammar. But if you tweet me not to end the sentence with a preposition - I ain`t going to write nothing back, because that is the way I like to be tweeted to. Have a great Wednesday.