World Briefs: No-work Fridays to cut Venezuela's power use

No-work Fridays to cut Venezuela's power use

CARACAS • Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has decreed that all Fridays for the next two months will be holidays, in a bid to save energy in the blackout-hit Opec country. "We'll have long weekends," he said in an hour-long appearance on state television on Wednesday night, announcing the measure as part of a 60-day plan to fight a power crunch.

A severe drought, coupled with what critics say is a lack of investment and maintenance in energy infrastructure, has hit the nation, which depends on hydropower for 60 per cent of its electricity.

Venezuela's opposition slammed the four-day work week as reckless in the face of a bitter recession, shortages of foods and medicines, and triple-digit inflation.

REUTERS


US asks Iran to help end wars in Yemen, Syria

MANAMA (Bahrain) • US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Iran yesterday to help end wars in Yemen and Syria, where Teheran and its Gulf Arab rivals are backing opposing sides. He said at a news conference that Teheran should "prove to the world that it wants to be a constructive member of the international community and contribute to peace and stability".

Last year, Iran struck a landmark deal with world powers on its nuclear ambitions, which has led to the lifting of international sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, whose government accuses Iran of stoking protests among the kingdom's Shi'ites, echoed Mr Kerry's call.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2016, with the headline 'WorldBriefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe