ULTIMAS NOTICIAS
Últimas Noticias is the highest selling daily newspaper in Venezuela. It was founded in Caracas in 1941 after the pro-freedom measures implemented by President Medina Angarita. It has a daily circulation of about 300,000 copies.
Society
Benjamin Witte

Powering Through Appendicitis For Perfect Score On Chile's National Exam

The 18-year-old was doubled over in pain, but her parents thought it was just a case of exam-time nerves. She survived... and then some!

The two-day, standardized exam that Chilean high school students must take to gain entry into university is grueling enough to make anyone a bit sick to their stomach.

Antonia Schmohol, 18, was no exception, although in her case, the abdominal aches that began bothering her on the eve of the dreaded PTU, as the test is called, turned out to be more than just a case of nerves, the Chilean daily Las Ultimas Notícias reports.

Despite her discomfort, the teenager — who hails from Chiguayante, a small city about 500 km south of Santiago — soldiered through the long, first day of the exam. That night, the pain only worsened, but still, Schmohol's family kept insisting that she was probably just anxious.

Having barely slept, the bleary-eyed young woman returned to the testing center the next day, Jan. 9, doubled over in pain at times, nonetheless completed the final portion of the test, the mathematics section.

Antonia Schmohol — Photo: Las Ultimas Notícias

Relieved to finally have the PTU behind her, Schmohol felt sure, nevertheless, that she'd missed at least a few of the answers. She also knew at that point that something was seriously wrong in her stomach area, and soon after went to a nearby hospital, where she was diagnosed with appendicitis and operated on right away.

The determined young Chilena has since made a full recovery. But on Wednesday — just over a month after her gut-wrenching ordeal — the family tale became national news when Schmohol received a call from the Education Ministry: she was one of just 218 students nationwide to earn a perfect score on the PTU's math section. That's the kind of brains — and grit — that you can't teach in school.

blog

Venezuela To Public Workers: Stay At Home

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 â€" providing for about two-thirds of the nation's energy needs â€" has fallen to near its minimum operating level due to the severe drought. While officials blame the weather phenomenon El Niño for 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.