VENEZUELA

Water woes bring rationing and blame

As Venezuela's dry season extends longer than usual, the water level at one of the three reservoirs ringing Caracas has fallen to near record lows. That prompted authorities on Wednesday to implement a rationing plan that will leave some of the capital's six million people without water for as many as three days a week.

The government doesn't expect water at the Lagartijo reservoir to return to normal until August or September.

But opponents of the socialist government said President Nicolas Maduro and not Mother Nature is to blame.

Carlos Ocariz, mayor of the capital's Sucre district, said there hasn't been a single reservoir built during 15 years of socialist rule. Instead of waiting for storage ponds to dry, the government should have implemented a less burdensome plan months ago, he said. - AP

IRELAND

Justice minister out

Ireland's justice minister resigned Wednesday in a surprise blow to the country's three-year-old coalition government after a state-ordered investigation concluded that he mishandled the complaints of a police corruption whistle-blower. Alan Shatter said in a letter that he was quitting to ease criticism of the government when the more than 300-page report is published later this week.

- AP
SAUDI ARABIA

Blogger punished

A state-linked Saudi newspaper says a Saudi blogger has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes on charges related to accusations that he insulted Islam on a liberal online forum he created. The Jiddah Criminal Court also ordered Raif Badawi to pay a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals, or about $266,000. Badawi has been held since mid-2012, and his Free Saudi Liberals website is now closed. - AP