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Turks Pile Into The Dollar, Gold And Stocks As 67% Inflation Savages "Worthless Lira"; Retired NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Talks About Her Record-Breaking Time In Space; Two Natural Events Collide In Iceland. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired March 29, 2024 - 04:00   ET


COY WIRE, CNN 10 ANCHOR: What`s up, sunshine? Happy Friyay. Make that a good Friday.

I`m Coy. This is CNN 10. Let`s start today by talking about inflation. It`s an economic situation many countries have been confronting in recent years,

but we want to specifically focus on Turkey, where that country is witnessing particularly high inflation.

According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, annual Consumer Price Inflation, or CPI, soared to 67% last month compared to February of last

year. But there are unofficial estimates that believe inflation has skyrocketed to more than 100%.

For some perspective, similar CPI numbers in the U.S. were right around 3% for February. The value of the Turkish currency, called the lira, is

falling, while gold and the U.S. dollar are now in high demand for Turkish market traders. All of this economic uncertainty comes as local elections

are set to take place this weekend, and many are concerned about how the government will fight this high inflation.

Our Scott McLean is in the streets of Istanbul, where locals are struggling because of surging prices.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Ottoman arches and domes of Istanbul`s Grand Bazaar are a good reminder that

empires rise and fall. When it comes to the value of the Turkish Lira lately it only falls.

"Right now, our money is almost worthless," he says, "because people haven`t seen inflation fall. They don`t trust the Turkish lira anymore."

But this ancient city never lost faith in a currency that`s endured through the ages. Gold, coins, bars, even tiny 1-gram chips.

"People used to buy real estate or land," says this dealer. "But right now, because the interest rates are so high, they`d rather put money in the bank

or buy gold."

(On camera): The Turkish Central Bank has hiked the interest rate now to 45% in an effort to tame inflation, but so far, it hasn`t. The official

inflation rate is now 67% and unofficial estimates suggest it is much higher.

(Voice over): In January to help the poorest Turks cope, the government doubled the minimum wage from a year ago just ahead of the coming local

elections. But some economists believe that has only made inflation worse.

KERIM ROTA, ECONOMIST: In order to break that cycle, you have to do something. So we will see after the elections if the government is serious

about fighting inflation or not central bank increase the credit card rates last week is monthly 5%, monthly 5% means 80% on an annualized rate. And if

you add up the taxes is around 113%.

MCLEAN: Who can afford that?

ROTA: Nobody can afford that.

MCLEAN (voice over): Across the Bosphorus on Istanbul`s Asian side people are stocking up on Iftar essentials this Ramadan freshly baked P-day fish

and meat. Prices are crazy this year it`s too much, this woman says.

You can say you`re young, you can work, but I do work and I still can`t make a living. And I have two jobs this man tells me.

MCLEAN: Do you keep your money in Turkish lira or do you keep it in America?

MELEK ALKES, PRE-SCHOOL TEACHER: I can`t keep anything. I can`t save.

MCLEAN (voice over): Pre-school teacher Melek Alkes also has credit card debt at sky high interest rates.

MCLEAN: How do you dig yourself out of that hole?

ALKES: You see, she`s asking for the money for bread.


WIRE: Pop quiz hotshot. What nation launched the first woman into space?

Soviet Union, China, United States, or Germany?

If you said the Soviet Union, you`re out of this world. Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova rocketed into the history books spending three days alone in

space in June of 1963.

Today, we continue our Women`s History Month journey recognizing just a few of the many remarkable female changemakers who have made a difference in

our world.

And as March draws to a close, we turn our lens toward Dr. Peggy Whitson. This retired NASA astronaut has spent more time in space than any other

American. And she was the first woman to command the International Space Station.

We sat down for an inspiring talk about chasing our dreams, shooting for the moon and walking among the stars.


WIRE: 675 accumulated days in space, what went through your mind when you realized what was happening and tell me about that experience?

PEGGY WHITSON, ASTRONAUT, DIRECTOR OF HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT, AXIOM: Being in space is actually just really special.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And liftoff, Peggy Whitson rocketing towards the International Space Station.

WHITSON: It`s not like anything we experience here on the ground. There`s no gravity, you don`t sit in a chair, your papers don`t stay on the table.

It becomes a real adaptation to living in a completely different environment.

WIRE: Where did your dream begin to float among the stars?

WHITSON: When I was nine years old, I was watching the first lunar landing. Our Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took those first steps on the

moon`s surface. And when I graduated high school, NASA picked the first female astronaut.

And for me, that was like, hey, maybe this is real. Maybe I can -- it`s not just a dream. It`s going to be my goal to become an astronaut.

I applied to be an astronaut for 10 years. And every two years I got soundly rejected until that 10th year.

WIRE: What was it like for you in a male dominated world, male dominated field to have to find a way to carve a path for yourself?

WHITSON: There was definitely challenges. You know, when I first started working at NASA, I was, a lot of times the only female in a meeting, et

cetera. But I had some great role models.

There were female astronauts out there. There were female leaders at NASA. It was really powerful for me to feel like I can do this, too. I just have

to be like these guys and be successful. So basically prove your skills. Remember, your path isn`t always a straight line. And learn from all those

stops along the way.


WIRE: For today`s story getting a 10 out of 10 aurora borealis volcano style. Videographers in the Icelandic town of Grindavik captured an

incredible time lapse of a volcano eruption happening at the same time as the Northern Lights. This celestial display known as the Northern Lights is

caused by a geomagnetic storm. So what causes these geomagnetic storms? Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This time lapse video shows the eruption of a volcano in Iceland with the Northern Lights dancing in the background. The Northern

Lights are more visible than usual because of a geomagnetic storm which disrupted the Earth`s magnetic field. Such storms happen when strong surges

of solar winds called coronal mass ejections reach Earth.

Side effects of increased solar activity are the auroras that dance around Earth`s poles. And the timing of this geomagnetic storm with an erupting

volcano in Iceland puts nature on full display.


WIRE: All right, we want to put some of you on full display. Hey, Sparkman Middle School, how y`all doing in Toney, Alabama? Go Cougars.

And Mrs. Bolin (ph), can we just say thank you to you and all of your pulchritudinous peeps at Farmington High School in Farmington, Arkansas.

Keep flying high, Cardinals. Much love. Many blessings to you. Hope you all have an awesome weekend. Have a happy Easter weekend as well. Keep shining

y`all. Remember, you are more powerful than you know.

I`m Coy. This is CNN 10. It`s been a blessing to spend this week with you.