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Northern Pulp makes plans to close mill –




Northern Pulp and Unifor, the national union that represents 240 of its Pictou County mill workers, voiced deep disappointment with Premier Stephen McNeil’s decision not to extend the Boat Harbour closure deadline.

“Today is a very tough day for those of us at Northern Pulp,” Brian Baarda, chief executive of Paper Excellence Canada, Northern Pulp’s parent company, said at a late-morning news conference Friday at a downtown Halifax hotel.

He said the company would start implementing plans Friday to close the Abercrombie Point mill.

“This decision ensures the closure of Northern Pulp, the devastation of Nova Scotia’s forest industry, the loss of 2,700 rural jobs and a significant impact to another 8,300 forestry jobs across Nova Scotia,” Baarda said.

The premier made the government’s position clear at an earlier news conference.

“There will be no extension,” MacNeil said.

“The company has had five years to get out of Boat Harbour and it is not even close, now it’s decision time.”

Baarda said the company will meet with government early in the new year to talk about what the plant closure will look like. During that conversation, the concept of idling the mill will likely come up, Baarda said, “but we don’t believe that it is possible without continuing to use Boat Harbour.”

‘Five days before Christmas’

“Our thoughts are with our employees, five days before Christmas, we’re going to focus on that,” Baarda said when asked if the company would pursue a lost-earnings claim against the government.

“At this time, for our workforce, we are offering on-site support and counselling to our employees and their families through our employee assistance program,” Baarda said. “Today, we will start the process of delivering layoff and contract-cancellation notices and start implementing plans to close Northern Pulp.”

Baarda cut questions short at the news conference because he was heading to the mill to meet with employees.

Baarda said Northern Pulp had put together an excellent plan based on sound science that showed no meaningful environmental impact from the proposed effluent treatment plant, a plan that represented operational improvement and insured that thousands of forestry workers could remain a vital part of the Nova Scotia economy.

“It also enabled timely closure and remediation of Boat Harbour,” Baarda said. “The premier chose to disregard those facts.”

Baarda blamed the company’s delay in getting its replacement effluent treatment facility plans together on the government.

“It is apparent that Nova Scotia Environment has been unable to provide a definitive process over the last four-and-half years. We have continued to respond to each and every additional request for further science. Our initial investigatory work changed dramatically from seven reports to 68 current individual areas of study. Had Nova Scotia Environment wanted a full environmental assessment from the outset, we would have been prepared to deliver it.”

Baarda said he has great respect for the professionalism and dignity shown by the mill’s workforce throughout the ordeal.

“The people at Northern Pulp have continued to remain focused on the things that matter, delivering on the best safety performance in Paper Excellence, meeting production targets while continuing to protect the environment.”

‘He just decimated rural Nova Scotia’

Linda MacNeil, director of Unifor Atlantic, said it is a sad day for the mill employees and all forestry sector workers in the province.

MacNeil said the premier’s announced $50-million transition fund is not a consolation.

“Let’s put that in perspective,” an angry MacNeil said. “The mill in an annual salary pays out $40 million for 300 employees, $40 million a year. The transition fund, $50 million. That doesn’t include the rest of the forestry sector that is going to be impacted by this irresponsible decision.

“That transition money is basically going to buy bus tickets for employees at the mill to move to another province because, guess what, obviously the premier doesn’t respect those employees or anything to do with rural Nova Scotia because he just decimated rural Nova Scotia.

“If that is the legacy that he wants, he is certainly going to get it.”

MacNeil also took the premier to task for laying blame on the company for not getting its new wastewater treatment facility approved and built in the five years since the Boat Harbour closure was announced.

“The Nova Scotia environment minister and the department have to take some responsibility because there was no clear path going forward,” MacNeil said. “If there had been, it would have been willingly done, that I can ensure, from the company.”

MacNeil said the government decision will not serve the province well in the long term.

“What company is going to look to invest as they see this unfold. Disappointment does not do this justice. Anger, sad, heart-broken and five days before Christmas …”

Baarda offered no comment on the premier’s claim that the company will be on the hook for the $85 million in outstanding loans it owes the province. The Chronicle Herald reported last month that Northern Pulp and an associated company owe the province $85,478,537 in three outstanding loans.


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Pakistan deeply appreciates US announcing it will send 3 million Moderna doses through COVAX: FO – Geo News



Pakistan ‘deeply appreciates’ US announcing it will send 3 million Moderna doses through COVAX: FO

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A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, US, January 29, 2021. — Reuters/Mike Segar
A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, US, January 29, 2021. — Reuters/Mike Segar

The government on Friday said it “deeply appreciates” the United States’ announcement that it is sending three million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through the United Nations’ COVAX vaccine-sharing programme.

“The government and the people of Pakistan deeply appreciate the announcement by the White House to ship three million doses of Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through COVAX,” read a statement by the Foreign Office.

Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, added: “These vaccines will give a boost to the ongoing vaccination drive in Pakistan.”

“This considerate gesture is part of the continued assistance that the US has provided to Pakistan to support our COVID relief and prevention efforts,” he said.

“We look forward to our continued cooperation with the US in our fight against the pandemic,” the statement added.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had announced last month that the Biden administration is donating 80 million surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world by the end of June.

“Thanks to the President’s commitment to playing a leading role in ending the pandemic everywhere, 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will begin to ship to Peru from the United States, and 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will ship to Pakistan,” Psaki said.

The shipment of 2.5 million doses landed in Pakistan on July 2, making it the first time the Moderna vaccine had arrived in the country.

Subsequently, the government had announced the availability of the Moderna vaccine at select vaccination centres across the country, starting July 5.

Criteria to qualify for the Moderna vaccine

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has outlined the criteria that must be met by the recipient of the Moderna vaccine.

The vaccine will be administered to the following categories, provided they are 18 years of age or older and have NOT received any other currently available COVID-19 vaccines.

A. Those with comorbid conditions, e.g diabetes, hypertension, congestive cardiac failure, renal failure, chronic liver disease, malignancy, etc.

– Those who are chronically immunosuppressed

1. Post organ transplantation, the patient may receive the vaccine 3 months after

transplantation procedure.

2. Post chemotherapy, the patient may receive the vaccine 28 days after chemotherapy.

B. Individuals with a mandatory requirement of vaccination for travel

– Overseas workers who have a mandatory need for travel for employment overseas with valid work visas/iqama in a country where Chinese vaccines are not accepted at present

– Students

– Those travelling for official or business purposes

Women who are pregnant and lactating, falling under the above-listed categories CAN receive the Moderna vaccine.

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Ontario reports slight increase in new COVID-19 cases, per cent positivity rate rises – CTV Toronto



Ontario is reporting a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as the province’s per cent positivity rate rises.

Officials are reporting 172 new cases of COVID-19 today with two additional deaths.

The province reported 170 new cases on Saturday and 192 on Friday.

The seven-day rolling average remains at 159, compared to 153 a week ago.

Provincial labs processed more than 13,902 test specimens, generating a positivity rate of at least 1.1 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.

The province’s virus-related death toll stands at 9,313.

Another 144 people recovered from the disease yesterday, resulting in 1,450 active cases across the province.

Right now, there are 88 people in hospital current infected with COVID-19 and 127 patients being treated in intensive care, according to the Ministry of Health.

The hospitalization data presented by the province has been skewed over the past several weeks, which may be explained by a delay in patient reporting.  

Where are the new cases?

Officials are reporting 48 new cases in Toronto, 23 in Peel Region, 11 in Durham Region and 11 in Hamilton.

Update on COVID-19 variants of concern

The Ministry of Health is reporting 131 new cases of the Alpha variant Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to ​​145,386.

Officials reported 16 new cases of Delta variant, B.1.617.2, Sunday and the case total is now 3,913.

Three cases of the Beta variant, B.1.351, were also recorded. So far, there have been a total of 1,492 cases of the Beta variant reported in Ontario.

As for the Gamma variant, P.1, two new cases were recorded today. The total number of Gamma variants recorded in Ontario is now 5,142.

Vaccination update

The province said it administered 103,812 doses of COVID-19 vaccines Saturday.

Throughout Ontario’s seven-month vaccination campaign, over 18.9 million needles have gone into arms.

As of Sunday, 8,569,752 people have received both doses and are considered to be fully vaccinated.



The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.

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Rio Tinto smelter workers go on strike in Kitimat, B.C. – Business News –



Approximately 900 Rio Tinto workers at the company’s aluminum smelting facilities in Kitimat, B.C. have gone on strike.

The walkout began today at one minute after midnight. Unifor Local 2301, which represents the workers, had issued a 72-hour strike notice after nearly seven weeks of negotiations.

Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President, says the strike comes down to what he calls “Rio Tinto’s greed and lack of respect” for the union members working at the Kitimat smelting facilities.

The union says it has proposed the first changes to workers’ retirement income and benefit levels in more than a decade, including moving younger workers to defined benefit from defined contribution pension plans.

It also says negotiations have focused on a backlog of more than 300 grievances resulting from the company’s use of contractors and its refusal to hire full-time workers.

Bargaining had continued up until the strike deadline, and the company had earlier said that it was “committed to working with the union to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.”

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