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California gives an extension to a $ 1 billion mask order



California gives an extension to a $ 1 billion mask order

Two months after Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $ 1 billion deal with Chinese car maker BYD to buy respirators, California has not yet received the much-needed N95 mask. And on Friday, state officials announced that they would give the company a second extension to fulfill its promise.

This is the latest complication in an agreement with BYD, which has a US subsidiary headquartered in Los Angeles County, to supply 300 million highly protective respirators during the COVID-19 pandemic. The electric car maker has struggled to have an N95 mask certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. BYD first failed to meet the April 30 contract deadline for its N95 mask to be certified, forcing the company to return half of California’s $ 495 million down payment.

State officials changed the agreement to grant BYD until May 31 so that the N95 mask was approved by federal regulators. The amendments allow the state to extend the deadline or for BYD to return the remaining California $ 247.5 million down payment on Friday. State officials announced Friday that they will now give BYD until June 12 to have a certified mask. The new amendment notes that if the respirator is certified by the new timeline, the country plans to buy 150 million masks, which will be shipped this month and next.

“If a vendor fails to get NIOSH certification in the new timeline, unpaid payments to the vendor will be returned to the country,” Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for the Governor’s Emergency Services Office, said in a statement.

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On Friday, BYD declined to comment on this issue.

In April, California agreed to pay $ 990 million to BYD for 300 million N95 protective masks at a cost of $ 3.30 each. Even though the price was higher than the cost of masks in the non-pandemic period, countries signed contracts during mask shortages throughout the world. Respirators filter 95% of particles, providing important protection for nurses and other important workers.

While state lawmakers said they understood the country’s desire to buy critical supplies, the governor received a bipartisan backlash over how his government handled the agreement.

MPs said they learned about a $ 1 billion contract at the same time as the public, when Newsom continued MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” to announce the agreement. Then, the contract itself is kept hidden for a month. The governor’s office at first refused to reveal documents for lawmakers and journalists – although government contracts are public under state law – citing fears that masks might be confiscated if the information was released.

In recent weeks, Newsom has underestimated the delay and said California taxpayers would not shell out if BYD did not arrive.

“We pay for what we get,” Newsom said on Friday. “We don’t pay for things we don’t get.”

Newsom added that the country was working with other suppliers and would “have reserves.”

In a statement last month to The Times, NIOSH said it told BYD on May 4 that on-site visits to factories and company production facilities in China had resulted in an “unacceptable” rating. The agency also said “the review of the documentation provided to NIOSH for the design, manufacture and quality inspection of the device is cause for concern.”

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NIOSH declined to elaborate on the specific reasons for his refusal, saying the information was confidential under federal rules, but added in a statement that the decision was “based on a number of factors.”

BYD submitted a total of four applications for N95 respirators, according to a letter from the regulatory body. Three applications were rejected and the fourth was withdrawn, an NIOSH official told The Times.

Federal regulators did not respond to requests for comment Friday about the status of BYD mask certification.

Although the state has not yet received an N95 mask from BYD, the company has provided millions of surgical masks to California.

The state agreed to pay BYD $ 54.9 million to buy 100 million surgical masks. So far, more than 90 million have been sent to California, Newsom said. Over the next two months, BYD’s contract with California also gave the country the option to buy an additional 250 million N95 respirators for $ 825 million and 112.5 million surgical masks for $ 61.8 million.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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