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SPOTLIGHT: VENEZUELAN POLITICAL CRISIS INTENSIFIES

Stories about Venezuela's toilet paper shortage are no laughing matter, especially when people are also struggling to access basic food supplies and medicine, and face soaring crime rates and rolling blackouts.


But rather than work together to help alleviate the crisis, President Nicolas Maduro and the political opposition, which controls the legislature, are at each other's throats. Opponents are pushing for a referendum to oust the president. Maduro is using his influence over the Supreme Court to fight back. The high court annulled several parliamentary rulings in recent months. It also denied the opposition the two-thirds "supermajority" it won in December's elections by blocking three lawmakers from taking their seats.


On Friday, the legislature took matters into its own hands and reinstated the missing lawmakers, bypassing the Supreme Court. Furious, Maduro accused his adversaries Monday of carrying out "a parliamentary coup" against the judiciary. He upped the ante Tuesday by threatening to block funding to the legislature. "We can't use public monies on institutions that disregard the law," Maduro said.


The tit-for-tat is doing nothing, sadly, to improve the plight of everyday citizens. Conditions are so dire that an increasing number of young women are opting for sterilization, according to news reports. Desperate times indeed.

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Coronavirus

The Main COVID Risk Now: Long COVID

Death rates are down, masks are off, but many who have been infected by COVID have still not recovered. Long COVID continues to be hard to diagnose and treatments are still in the developmental stage.

Long COVID feels like a never-ending nightmare for those who suffer from it.

Jessica Berthereau

PARIS — The medical examination took longer than expected in the Parc de Castelnau-le-Lez clinic, near the southern French city of Montpellier. Jocelyne had come to see a specialist for long COVID-19, and exits the appointment slowly with help from her son. The meeting lasted more than an hour, twice as long as planned.

“I’m a fighter, you know, I’ve done a lot of things in my life, I’ve been around the world twice… I’m not saying this to brag, but to tell you my background," says the 40-year-old. "These days, I’m exhausted, I’m not hungry, I no longer drive, I can’t work anymore, I have restless legs syndrome.” She pauses before adding sadly: “I can’t read anymore either.”

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