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Extra! Brazil's Drought Knocking Out Electricity

For months now the southeastern region of Brazil has been experiencing the most severe drought in living memory. The already crippling water crisis was made worse by a mercilessly scorching summer that saw record high temperatures in São Paulo, Brazil's most populous city.

The suffocating heat has complicated matters further still by prompting people to use more air conditioning. That, in turn, adds an extra strain on the area's sometimes rudimentary electrical power system, which is heavily hydro-dependent.

As the magazine Veja notes in this week's edition, "water and electricity in Brazil are conjoined twins, in happiness as well as in distress." The publication warns that the drought in the southeast will "torment millions of Brazilians this year."

There have been reports in recent days of temporary power blackouts across the São Paulo state. Reports of water shortages which pose a serious health threat are beginning to come in as well.

On Wednesday, the daily newspaper Folha de S. Paulo revealed that poeple living in São Paulo and its surroundings have water only for about 14 hours per day. The government, in an effort to cut down on waste, also decided to decrease the pressure in the pipes. Even when people's taps are working, in other words, very little water comes out.

Local authorities worry that unless the area gets more rain they'll soon have to take even harsher measures. There has already been talk of drastic rationing that would leave São Paulo's 20 million residents with no water at all for five days a week.

ABOUT THE SOURCE: Vejais Brazil's leading weekly news magazine. It was founded in 1968 during the country's military dictatorship and was subject to censorship for several years.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

On The Donetsk Frontline, Where Kamikaze Drones Are Everyone's Weapon-Of-Choice

In Ukraine, kamikaze drones have gradually overtaken artillery as the main threat to soldiers — on both sides of the frontline. Meanwhile, a bitter winter is taking over life in the trenches.

On The Donetsk Frontline, Where Kamikaze Drones Are Everyone's Weapon-Of-Choice

Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline.

Guillaume Ptak

DONETSK — In the chilly pre-dawn hours, a mud-stained pickup truck drives along a potholed road in Ukraine's eastern region of Donetsk. Despite the darkness and the ice, the vehicle travels with its lights off, its interior illuminated only by the reddish glow of a lit cigarette.

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Throughout the early morning last Monday, the cracking sound of artillery can be heard echoing intermittently in the distance, followed by the bright trail of a projectile soaring into the cloudy sky.

Inside the truck, four soldiers from the 28th brigade of the Ukrainian army have just left the relative comfort of a small country house to go to the frontline, towards Bakhmut. After a short journey through overgrown fields and devastated villages, the car stops at the edge of a forest.

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