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  • This Thursday, May 8, we are happy to have you along for CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz.

  • You might not have heard of synthetic drugs.

  • This can describe a wide range of chemical substances that mimic the effects of other drugs like marijuana or heroine.

  • The U.S. government says synthetic drugs can be even more dangerous than then illegal ones they try to imitate.

  • Synthetic ingredients are sometimes more potent.

  • They are untested. The names in ingredients are often changed to prevent drug busts, but that doesn`t always work.

  • Yesterday, the government announced more than 150 people have been arrested over the past four months for making or selling synthetic drugs.

  • Police seized hundreds of thousands of drug packages and more than $20 million in cash and other assets.

  • The government`s particularly concerned about synthetic drugs in part because a 2012 survey found that one in nine high school seniors said they used synthetic marijuana.

  • That was that group`s second most frequently used drug behind actual marijuana.

  • Next up today, Janet Yellen, she`s the leader of the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank of the U.S.

  • She expects the U.S. economy to grow "somewhat faster than it did last year.

  • But she has some concerns.

  • For one, the U.S. housing market. It`s weak, homes are at selling as well as economists expected.

  • One thing the Fed`s doing is keeping interest rates low to encourage people to borrow money for purchases like houses.

  • Interest rates are one tool at the Fed`s disposal.

  • So, we`ve had that phase that, you know, money makes the world go around,

  • but you may have asked yourself once or twice, OK, well, who makes the money go around?

  • So, the answer is the Federal Reserve or as my friends and I like to call it, the Fed.

  • So, the Fed is pretty much unlike any other U.S. institution that I can think of.

  • It`s run by board of governors based in Washington D.C.,

  • it has 12 (INAUDIBLE) banks located around the main banking centers of the country, some places like New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia.

  • Presidents of these banks and the board of governors,

  • they meet eight times a year to make big policy decisions and to ensure the economy is moving at a stable (INAUDIBLE).

  • So, Congress oversees the Fed, but the Fed doesn`t really answer to Congress.

  • The Fed operates completely independently because it doesn`t care about politics.

  • All it cares about is basically two things:

  • number one, keeping prices stable and number two, trying its best to ensure that everybody who wants the job gets one.

  • So, if the economy is heating up, it tries to cool things down by raising the cost of borrowing,

  • my making it harder to borrow money.

  • And if things are getting too cold, it does the opposite.

  • And if things are getting too cold, it does the opposite.

  • So, you can sort of think of the Fed like Goldilocks.

  • It doesn`t really like things too hot, too cold, it wants everything to be just right.

  • So, you probably want to ring - OK, well, you know, how does the Fed work its magic?

  • What its secret weapon? The answer is, interest rates.

  • So, the way the Fed gets interest rates at just that right level at that sweet spot is through buying and selling U.S. Treasuries and other bonds.

  • So, when it wants to cool the market down it sells you as treasuries.

  • Stashes away the cash, and not reduced the money supply.

  • So, that makes it harder to borrow money, and that basically slows down economic growth.

  • When really wants to heat the market up, it essentially starts buying up U.S. treasuries and other bonds that floods its markets with cash and fuels economic growth.

  • So, it`s not necessarily a perfect system, but it works, at least for now, and as they say on Wall Street, don`t fight the Fed.

  • See, if you can I.D. me.

  • I`m a nation that`s the world`s largest producer of platinum.

  • I have three capitals including Pretoria.

  • You`ll find me in the southern north part of Africa.

  • I`m South Africa, and I`ve been governed by President Jacob Zuma since 2009.

  • Even though 79 percent of South Africa`s population is black,

  • the country didn`t have its first black president until 1994.

  • The reason - Apartheid. South African government policy of segregation.

  • It discriminated against people who weren`t white.

  • It was officially over by 1994 when Nelson Mandela was elected, and his political party was expected to do well in Wednesday`s election.

  • Though scandals surround the country`s current leader.

  • This is the first election since the death of Nelson Mandela.

  • And it`s his party, the Liberation Party, the ANC that is guaranteed to win at the polls and give Jacob Zuma, the president, a second term.

  • But many of these voters have become disenchanted with South Africa 20 years after that first democratic election.

  • Scandals involving the president, for example, have angered many.

  • A recent report has said that the president misused public funds to privately upgrade his own home.

  • So, what does that mean when these people go into these voting halls and mark their ballot paper?

  • Well, the question is how much support will the ANC lose and will opposition party, such as the EFF, and the Democratic Alliance gain more support.

  • But in the end, the ANC will get more than over 60 percent of the votes, say polls,

  • because there`s still deep emotional attachment to the party that liberated South Africans.

  • Robyn Curnow, CNN, Alexandra, South Africa.

  • Next report takes us from Brunei to Beverly Hills.

  • First, a bit about Brunei.

  • This is the South East Asian country that`s a little smaller than Delaware.

  • And it has less than half of Delaware`s population, about 422,000 people live in Brunei.

  • Almost 80 percent of those people are Muslim.

  • And their government just instituted a strict form of Islamic law called Sharia law.

  • Under Sharia law certain acts like leaving Islam or committing adultery are illegal,

  • in some cases they are punishable by death.

  • Not at Beverly Hills. A landmark there, the Beverly Hills Hotel is part of the hotel chain.

  • Brunei`s leader invests in that chain.

  • And because they disagree with Brunei`s Sharia law, a number of celebrities have stopped staying at the hotels.

  • That`s having some side effects.

  • Beverly Hills Hotel employees packing a City Council meeting pleading members to not pass a resolution condemning the laws of a country half a world away.

  • It strangles our livelihood.

  • It causes us to be unable to support our children, our families.

  • My sick grandmother in Vietnam.

  • But the pleads failed to stop it from passing.

  • With tremendous honor -yes.

  • The Beverly Hills City Council resolution targets this man,

  • the sultan of Brunei, a small South East Asian country.

  • Brunei recently enacted new Islamic Sharia law that punishes adultery,

  • abortions and same sex relationships with flogging and stoning.

  • The sultan is reportedly worth more than $20 billion and has the best seat in the hotel chain that owns the story Beverly Hills Hotel.

  • Maybe people just become aware.

  • Celebrities now vowing to boycott the iconic hotel and the entire chain.

  • Richard Branson tweeting, No Virgin employee nor our family will stay at the Dorchester Hotels until the sultan abides by basic human rights.

  • It`s all economic, you know. How big an economic impact will it have?

  • Let`s find out and see.

  • The hotel says the boycott has already cost it more than a million dollars, but will try to avoid layoffs.

  • It`s getting to hurt our employees.

  • And they have - nothing to do with them, no whatsoever.

  • Trojans, tornadoes and eagles - welcome to the CNN STUDENT NEWS Roll Call.

  • We are starting today in Topeka, Kansas, with the Trojans.

  • They are making our roll at Topeka High School.

  • Spinning up to Anoka, Minnesota. Hello to the tornadoes.

  • Thank you for watching it, Anoka High School.

  • And in Tolland, Connecticut, the eagles are soaring over Tolland High School.

  • It`s great to know you all are watching.

  • It`s teacher appreciation week and we are featuring your comments.

  • From our student viewers already on Facebook, Min appreciates Ms. Carey at Buscan International Foreign School.

  • She makes science interesting and inspires me to become a scientist.

  • Mackenzie`s favorite teacher is Mrs. Makos.

  • She`s helped me with my math skills and made me a better student.

  • Sarah writes, Mr. Marquez is one of the best social studies teacher someone could have.

  • You`ll never get lost in his class.

  • Laverrio says, Coach Wingo is world history teacher is very chill and laid back.

  • Any teen would be happy to have him as a teacher.

  • And Sean says Mrs. Hall teaches us a lot about how America came to be and how current event affect us.

  • If you never wondered what it looks like when a relatively small hovering pile of twisted plasma shifts back and forth a little bit before blasting off in the space,

  • well, NASA`s got your answer.

  • You`re looking at a prominence eruption, something that scientists say is pretty common on the Sun and no threat to us here.

  • This view is from NASA`s solar dynamics observatory,

  • an $850 million space craft that orbits the earth, staring at and studying the Sun.

  • There`s plenty of space for puns here.

  • You could say, it really heats up interstellar interest, that it gives a startling view,

  • that it`s plasmatic, enlightening, illuminating, radiant, brilliant.

  • It`s certainly something else and it lets us end our show on a sunny side -

  • hope you make more space again for CNN STUDENT NEWS tomorrow.

This Thursday, May 8, we are happy to have you along for CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz.

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May 8, 2014 - CNN Student News with subtitles

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