Venezuelan oil begins to flow again

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the country's oil production was now at two-thirds of pre-strike levels as more fields were activated and workers returned.

Venezuela's oil output was 2.1 million barrels a day compared with about 3 million barrels a day before the strike began in December.

According to a spokesman for PDVSA, about 9,000 employees have been sacked from the state-owned oil company. PDVSA employed about 37,000 people before the strike began last December.

The spokesman said this number is comprised of adding all the dismissal up across all different departments throughout the country.

The spokesman added that is was unlikely that the government would rehire any of the fired employees under a general pardon.

President Chavez has said he would overhaul the company. He has already divided the company into two different entities and has cut much of the administrative staff at its Caracas headquarters.