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As campus crumbles and students flee, Venezuela’s main university struggles to survive COVID-19

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By Vivian Sequera



a dining room table: Chairs are seen at the Aula Magna of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), in Caracas


© Reuters/FAUSTO TORREALBA
Chairs are seen at the Aula Magna of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), in Caracas

CARACAS (Reuters) – The corridors are empty and silent at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), the country’s oldest and largest institution of higher education, as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the evacuation of its 32,000 students.



a large building: The library of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) is seen in Caracas


© Reuters/FAUSTO TORREALBA
The library of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) is seen in Caracas

The 298-year-old university is suffering not only the impact of the coronavirus quarantine, but also a six-year economic crisis that has left it struggling with a meager budget and the emigration of 30% of its graduates.

The deterioration of its infrastructure stood out in June with the partial collapse of the roof of an outdoor walkway that is a part of the iconic architecture of the complex, which has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site.



a living room filled with furniture and a fireplace: David Sosa, president of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) student federation, talks with a fellow student in a classroom, in Caracas


© Reuters/FAUSTO TORREALBA
David Sosa, president of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) student federation, talks with a fellow student in a classroom, in Caracas

The institution’s troubles signal that Venezuela risks losing a generation of college graduates, potentially leaving it without the human resources to rebuild a nation where most of the professionals are now in the diaspora.

Many students simply get their degrees and leave the country, said rector Cecilia Garcia.

“It’s bleeding out,” she said.

As the number of students declines, some professors make just $1.50 a month, Garcia said.

“The deterioration is general,” said David Sosa, president of the UCV student federation, walking through corridors dotted with leaky roofs and broken cobblestones.

Video: Some students don’t show up for class as NYC schools begin reopening (ABC News)

Some students don’t show up for class as NYC schools begin reopening

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Ravens QB struggles passing in loss

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At times, Lamar Jackson has resembled something of a superhero on the football field. His latest clash against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, however, ended with him being unable to save the day.

Under the bright lights of Monday Night Football, the reigning AP Most Valuable Player, in the midst of a difficult night, was faced with the daunting task of climbing back from a halftime deficit in a much-hyped showdown against the defending Super Bowl champs.

In the previous nine times Baltimore has faced such odds since drafting Jackson in 2018, it was unable to secure a victory, per NFL Research. Against a Chiefs squad that looked all but unstoppable, the Ravens would again run out of steam, falling 34-20 on a night where Jackson notched a career-low 97 passing yards (15-of-28) and remained winless (0-3) against Andy Reid and Co.

“Well, I’ll say, second half, just like I say always, like we always start cranking up at the wrong time. We gotta come in and finish how we start. Like, we always go opposite against them for some reason. We just got to tighten up and play better. That’s all,” Jackson told reporters postgame after labeling the Chiefs as the Ravens’ “kryptonite.”

As he alluded to, Baltimore began the game on shaky ground, much like last season when it faced a 23-6 halftime hole against the Chiefs. Watching Mahomes’ flame thrower of an arm lead K.C. to a hot start forced Jackson to fight fire with fire. When the smoke cleared, Baltimore trailed, 27-10, entering the third quarter after failing to score a touchdown on six drives. Jackson went 7-of-15 for 35 yards while Mahomes already turned in an evening’s worth of work with 260 yards and three TDs.

The final 30 minutes resembled much of the

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Aaron Nola’s late-season struggles continued in the biggest start of his Phillies career

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Last Monday, as the Phillies embarked on their fateful final road trip with a nearly 75% chance of making the playoffs, Matt Klentak was asked for a self-evaluation of his fifth season on the job as general manager.



a baseball player holding a glove: September has been the cruelest month for Phillies starter Aaron Nola.


© CHARLES FOX/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS
September has been the cruelest month for Phillies starter Aaron Nola.

“I think we’ll have time for the postmortem when the season is over,” he said, “whenever that is.”

Well, here we are.

All that’s left now — after a season-ending 5-0 whimper in Game 60 at Tropicana Field, the Phillies’ seventh loss in eight games — is the autopsy. It could get even more gruesome for Klentak than his bullpen’s 7.06 ERA.

Managing partner John Middleton must be wondering how $207.5 million — the Phillies’ estimated payroll, as calculated for luxury-tax purposes — couldn’t buy entry into a playoff field that grew from five teams to eight to recoup revenue in this pandemic-shortened season.

But while more than half of the National League is headed to the playoffs, the Phillies are going home, just as they have every year since 2011, the second-longest active postseason dry spell after the Seattle Mariners (2001).

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— Scott Lauber ([email protected])

Aaron Nola comes up small again in big start

By every statistical measure, Aaron Nola has been among the best pitchers in baseball since 2018.

You wouldn’t have known that on Sunday.

In the biggest start