5-speed listening (Level 5)

Venezuela introduces 2-day working week






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Venezuela has taken a drastic step to deal with the country's growing energy problems. It has told all state employees to work just two days a week. Public workers were already on four days a week after Fridays became a no-work day two months ago. The country's 2.8 million public workers will now have five days off a week. The president said in a televised statement: "From tomorrow, for at least two weeks, we are going to have Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as non-working days." Employees will still be paid in full, despite the reduced working week.

The government blames the energy crisis on droughts and on El Nino. Water in dams is dangerously low. The Guri region, home to the nation's biggest dam, was likened to a desert. Critics say bad management, a lack of investment and corruption are behind the current mess. Venezuelans are facing daily disruptions to their lives. The government asked women to use hair dryers less and shopping malls to use their own electricity generators. Electricity is rationed in most of the country. The president even turned the clocks back to provide half-an-hour of extra evening sunlight.

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