Currency devalued again
Venezuela devalued its currency Wednesday amid questions about how the government can get a grip on 22-percent inflation and satisfy growing demand for dollars to pay for imported goods. Some economists predict that the devaluation won’t solve problems such as a dearth of dollars for imports and shortages of some staple foods. The country’s fifth devaluation in a decade established a new government-set rate of 6.30 bolivars to the dollar, replacing the previous rate of 4.30 bolivars. Venezuela also has a flourishing black market in which bolivars are being traded for more than three times the new official rate. Vice President Nicolas Maduro, whose role has expanded during the past two months while President Hugo Chavez has been away in Cuba for cancer treatment, has said the government has enough dollars from oil earnings to meet all the needs of the economy.
7 soldiers die in fighting
At least seven Colombian soldiers were killed and five others were wounded in fighting with rebels who tried to seize a town on Wednesday, the military said. The gunbattle erupted when rebels tried to take over Milan in the southern state of Caqueta and were repelled by dozens of troops, army Gen. Emiro Barrios said. It was the deadliest clash between Colombian troops and rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia so far this year. On Jan. 29, four soldiers were killed in fighting with rebels elsewhere in the country. The violence came while the Colombian government and FARC rebels are pursuing peace talks in Cuba.
5 killed in airplane crash
A passenger plane carrying soccer fans headed for a match skidded past the landing strip and overturned in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Wednesday, killing five people, officials said. The small, Soviet-designed AN-24 plane was carrying 44 passengers and crew from the Black Sea port of Odessa when it crash-landed shortly after 6 p.m. local time, the Emergency Situations Ministry said on its website.
Compiled from wire reports.