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Venezuela

Venezuela To Public Workers: Stay At Home

April, 27, 2016
April, 27, 2016

Venezuelan public workers woke up Wednesday to newspaper headlines that told them to stay home.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced in a televised address Tuesday that the government is slashing additional working hours for the country's 2.8 million public workers in a bid to save energy, reducing the working week from four to two days. Earlier this month, the government had already reduced the working days from five to four, telling public workers not to come in on Fridays.

"From tomorrow, for at least two weeks, we are going to have Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as non-working days for the public sector," Maduro said. Workers will nonetheless be paid for a full five-day week.

"Non-Working Wednesdays and Thursdays," was the front-page headline on Caracas-based Ultimas Noticias.

The water level in the nation's largest hydroelectric dam — providing for about two-thirds of the nation's energy needs — has fallen to near its minimum operating level due to the severe drought. While officials blame the weather phenomenon El Niñofor the shortages, critics point to an ineffective and corrupt government.

A fully paid two-day working week may sound like a workers' paradise, but it constitutes another blow to the country's faltering economy that has led to shortages of basic items such as milk and medicine, soaring prices and long lines at shops.

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Geopolitics

Meet Brazil's "WhatsApp Aunts And Uncles" — How Fake News Spreads With Seniors

Older demographics are particularly vulnerable (and regularly targeted) on the WhatsApp messaging platform. We've seen it before and after the presidential election.

Photo of a Bolsonaro supporter holding a phone

A Bolsonaro supporter looking online

Cefas Carvalho

-Analysis-

SAO PAULO — There's an interesting analysis by the educator and writer Rafael Parente, based on a piece by the international relations professor Oliver Stuenkel, who says: “Since Lula took the Brazilian presidency, several friends came to me to talk about family members over 70 who are terrified because they expect a Communist coup. The fact is that not all of them are Jair Bolsonaro supporters.”

And the educator gives examples: In one case, the father of a friend claims to have heard from the bank account manager that he should not keep money in his current account because there was some supposed great risk that the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would freeze the accounts.

The mother of another friend, a successful 72-year-old businesswoman who reads the newspaper and is by no means a radical, believes that everyone with a flat larger than 70 square meters will be forced to share it with other people."

Talking about these examples, a friend, law professor Gilmara Benevides has an explanation: “Elderly people are falling for fake news spread on WhatsApp."

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