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Coronavirus: Requests for meat packing from Farmer John plant are closed

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The Coronavirus outbreak attacked Farmer John, 8 other factories in Vernon

Trade unions representing workers at the Vernon meatpacking plant where at least 153 have descended with COVID-19 Monday called for the immediate closure of the facility, saying there was no evidence of steps taken to control the working coronavirus.

The outbreak at the John Farmer factory, a division of Smithfield Foods that produces Dodger Dogs and other pork products, is by far the largest in Los Angeles County that occurs outside nursing homes, prisons or other residences, according to data from the Department of Public Health districts.

The union representing most of the 1,800 factory employees alleged that the company was delaying protection measures until workers were sick and not transparent about what was known about how and to whom the virus had spread inside the facility.

“Smithfield has not provided complete information about what actually happened inside the Vernon plant,” said John Grant, president of UFCW Local 770. “Without information, we cannot make decisions about worker health and safety.”

The union wants Smithfield to continue to pay workers while the company closes the plant for cleaning and an investigation into whether it complies with state regulators and regional health departments.

In a statement Monday, Smithfield said his employees “are very important to our nation’s response to COVID-19. We thank them for keeping food on the American table and for implementing aggressive measures to protect their health and safety during this pandemic. “

At Farmer John, the company has taken steps that it says follow or exceed the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That includes providing personal protective equipment, placing Plexiglas barriers on the production floor and in break rooms and temperature screening. The company has offered free testing, eliminating co-payment for virus-related treatments and workers are paid when they are quarantined.

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“We do everything we can, as fast as we can,” the company statement said.

This outbreak is part of a wave of national infection in a meat packaging plant, where employees work long hours in tight places conducive to the spread of the corona virus. Thousands have come down with COVID-19 at factories, including about one fifth of the meatpacking force in Iowa and South Dakota, according to a CDC study.

At Farmer John, there was an initial outbreak in the ham-boning department last month, but it appears to have been under control until recently, union representatives said, when the number of cases reported to local health officials began to skyrocket.

Balloon cases occur when companies make voluntary testing available to all employees. A spokeswoman for the county Public Health Department, which has helped the city of Vernon in responding to the outbreak, said it was not clear whether the increase in cases was caused by additional testing “or to spread among workers.”

Pedro Albarran, an El Monte resident who has worked at John’s Farm for 25 years, said the company did not start providing masks and face shields until his colleagues were sick and delegations of workers repeatedly went to management.

“We kept asking and asking, and finally we got it,” he said.

While some cutting lines now have a Plexiglas barrier between workers, not all do it, Albarran said. In the row, where the pork shoulder is sliced, the cutters still stand so close that they hit the shoulder when they hold the meat, he said.

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“It’s all day,” he said.

Smithfield Foods said workers outside the health care industry were not advised to wear face masks until the CDC revised its guidelines on April 3. Overnight, the company faced the challenge of procuring masks and face shields when the supply chain was “maximized”. “

“We cannot make these items emerge from thin air. If we can, we will definitely do it, “the company statement said. “The suggestion that we are slow to react improperly and completely ignores troublesome truths – supplies are not available.”

Vernon, an industrial city south of downtown L.A., has witnessed an outbreak in eight other food preparation factories, including a meat packaging plant, a coffee company, a company that manufactures frozen pizza, a pack of green tea and a bakery.

Many who work in Vernon live in the LA southeastern community. with high density, including Bell, Bell Gardens, Maywood and South Gate. Public health officials said they were concerned about factory workers carrying the virus home to relatives and neighbors.

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (KTM) finished the first two free practices of the MotoGP Grand Prix in Assen in 16th place.

Oliveira finished the day with a time of 1.34.676 minutes, 1.402 seconds behind the best rider of the day, Italy’s Francesco Banagia (Ducati). Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (April) was second with 0.178 seconds and French champion Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) was third with 0.305 seconds.

After the first session in the rain, in which the rider from Almada was sixth fastest, the rain stopped before the start of the second session.

The riders started with intermediate tires, but as the track in Assen in the Netherlands, considered the “cathedral” of motorsport, dried up, they installed dry tires (slicks).

Under these conditions, Miguel Oliveira was losing ground in the table, ending the day in 16th place, despite an improvement of about nine seconds from the morning’s record, in rain, in which Australian Jack Miller (Ducati) was the fastest. , fifth in the afternoon.

On Saturday there will be two more free practices and qualifications.

The 10 fastest in the set of the first three sessions go directly to the second stage of qualification (Q2), and the remaining 14 “brawl” in Q1, resulting in the two fastest qualifying to the next stage.

Fabio Quartararo enters this 11th round of the season leading the championship with 172 points, while Miguel Oliveira is in 10th place with 64 points.

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a “natural partner” of the European Union at the moment – Observer

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a "natural partner" of the European Union at the moment - Observer

This Thursday, Portugal’s foreign minister said that at a time when the European Union (EU) seeks to diversify suppliers and markets, MERCOSUR is a natural partner whose importance cannot be “underestimated”.

For Portugal, “the current delicate context makes us appreciate even more the mutual advantages of the Agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR,” João Gomes Cravinho said, without directly referring to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“At a time when the EU is seeking to diversify suppliers and markets in order to ensure greater strategic autonomy, MERCOSUR is a natural partner, whose importance we cannot underestimate“, the minister added at a conference entitled “Brazil and Portugal: perspectives for the future”, which takes place from Thursday to Friday at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is a South American economic bloc created in 1991, whose founding members are Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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But still, within the framework of the European Union, Joao Gomes Cravinho believed that EU strategic partnership with Brazil left ‘untapped’.

The Minister stressed that in the context of the EU, Portugal “always knew how to use its position in favor of strengthening relations with Brazil.”

Therefore, it was during the Portuguese presidency, in 2007, that a “strategic partnership with Brazil” was established, he stressed.

However, according to the head of Portuguese diplomacy, this is “a partnership that has clearly not been used for a variety of reasons and which still retains the ability to position Brazil as Europe’s great interlocutor for South America.”

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With regard to bilateral relations between the two countries, the minister emphasized that “in this context of global turmoil, the wisdom of the central characteristic common to the foreign policy of Brazil and Portugal, which is active participation in many multilateral structures, in recognition of the indispensability of multilateralism, international cooperation and global rules based order.

Portugal meets with Brazil in all areas of Portuguese foreign policy. We are Atlantic, we are Ibero-American and Portuguese-speaking,” he said.

In the Atlantic dimension, “Portugal and Brazil are united by an ocean, which we recognize as growing in importance in the context of new, complex and truly existential issues,” he said.

According to João Gomes Cravinho, “Some of these problems can be answered in the Atlantic Center, co-founded by Portugal and Brazil”, and “the other part of the huge ocean problems will be addressed in detail at the great Summit.” Oceans”, which will be held in Lisbon next week.

“In any of the areas, new prospects are opening up for Portuguese-Brazilian relations,” he stressed.

With regard to Ibero-America, the minister believes that Portugal and Brazil share “an enormous strategic space with the Castilian-speaking countries, where a joint Portuguese-Brazilian reflection is undoubtedly recommended on the potential to exploit opportunities and create synergies”.

“Value of CPLP [Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa] is gaining more and more recognition at the international level – and the evidence of this is the growing number of states that become associate observers” of the organization, he believes.

“Because they want to engage with us and reinforce the value of the linguistic, cultural and historical ties that unify lusophony and create a unique dynamic for relationships with third parties,” he stressed.

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But even at this level, he argued that there was an urgent need to find a “convergence of visions and desires” that “allows us to enhance” our “separate realities.”

The minister also mentioned that “despite the break caused by the pandemic”, Portugal has a “real air bridge” with Brazil, consisting of more than 74 weekly TAP flights, which is a cause and effect of “a dynamic that is being updated and reinvented”. relations between the two countries.

This dynamic, according to Gomes Cravinho, is also reflected in economic and commercial relations.

Thus, “Brazil is the first Latin American export market for Portuguese merchandise and is already the fourth largest merchandise export destination (outside the EU).

“However, the conviction remains that the potential is far from being realized, and that nostalgia for the future entails a vision of a different profile of our exchanges, a technological, creative profile that corresponds to global geo-economic transformations,” he defended. .

At this stage, João Gomes Cravinho also underlined the potential of the port of Sines, “whose strategic importance, which has long been noted, takes on new importance in the troubled times that we are going through.”

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A cycle of Portuguese cinema will be held in New York from Friday.

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A cycle of Portuguese cinema will be held in New York from Friday.

Dand from June 24 to 30, an event called “New Stories from Portuguese Cinema” will present the perspectives of a new generation of filmmakers “whose films embody the artistic, social and political reflections that mark the 21st century,” according to the organization in a statement.

Balad o batrachio by Leonor Teles, Amor, Avenidas Novas by Duarte Coimbra and O Cordeiro de Deus by David Pinheiro Vicente are three of the 20 films that are part of this cinematic cycle.

Pedro Cabeleira, Laura Carreira, Susana Nobre, Joao Rosas, Tomas Paula Marquez, Catarina de Souza and Nick Tyson, Maya Cosa and Sergio da Costa, Christel Alves Meira, Paulo Carneiro, Pedro Peralta, Diogo Salgado, Catarina Vasconcelos and Aya Korezli other directors integrated into this movie cycle.

In addition to FLAD, this event is also the result of a partnership with New York-based Anthology Film Archives, an iconic venue for independent and experimental filmmaking, hosting a Portuguese film cycle featuring Francisco Valente.

“Anthology Film Archives has been a reference space for over 50 years. It seemed to us ideal to promote the works of these directors, emphasizing their uniqueness and quality. We believe that Portuguese cinema can gain more space in the United States and we want to do our part to internationalize it,” said FLAD President Rita Faden.

Francisco Valente, guest programmer, explained that the 18 selected directors are distinguished by “their unwavering commitment to using the screen to express their personal freedom, reflect their racial and gender identity, and develop narratives that comment on and expand our reality.” – in Portugal, in the United States, or in that beautiful and imaginary country called cinema.

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This connection between Portugal and the United States of America is also expressed in the documentary “In the Footsteps of Utopia”, based on the testimonies of “weird” teenagers from Queens, filmed by Catarina de Souza and Nick Tyson, who will come to New York to find out their joint production, which closes this cycle.

The program of the cycle is available in the Screenings section of the Anthology Film Archives “website” (anthologyfilmarchives.org) and on the FLAD “website” (https://www.flad.pt/wp-content). /uploads/2022/02/new_tales_final_bx.pdf).

See also: Michael J. Fox received a humanitarian “Oscar”, and Diane Warren – an honorary “Oscar”.

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