On a relaxed June morning, the Gifted Four were chit-chatting in their dorm room. As they drifted from topic to topic, they began fondly recollecting their trip to Germany, a country in Europe. Scorch said, “Oh, what a fantastic adventure it was! I look good in a dirndl, Germany’s folk costume!”

“Mysticals! Have I told you about the new government initiative in Germany?” said Verum, “Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government has introduced €9 tickets for citizens. Germans will be able to travel around the country at this reduced rate for the next three months! The ticket includes transportation via all regional and local trains, buses, and metros.

But inter-city trains aren’t included in this initiative. Inter-city trains are fast long-distance trains that connect major German and other European cities.”

“Is the aim of the initiative to boost tourism within the country?” said Orak.

“No, that’s not the case. This initiative aims to tackle the rising cost of living in Germany,” replied Verum, “Many countries of the world have been affected by rising fuel prices. According to the German government, these prices have risen due to Russia’s war on Ukraine.”

On February 24, Russia began invading its neighbor Ukraine immediately after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech. Three months later, the war is still going on and has caused widespread destruction in Ukraine.

Russia is the largest exporter of oil exporter in the world. But countries like the United States (US) and Canada have banned Russian oil imports. The European Union (EU) has imposed sanctions on Russia. Sanctions are penalties applied by one country or a group of countries to another country for disobeying or breaking the law. Oil prices have increased because of this.

“Oh, now, I understand,” said Felix, “The German government is trying to ease the pressure on its people.”

“Yes, exactly,” said Verum, “The initiative is a success. Over seven million tickets have been sold so far!”