Workers at the Maple Leaf Foods plant in Brandon are calling for a two-week shutdown of the facility, where 70 people have been confirmed to have contracted COVID-19.
Workers have penned an open letter directed at Maple Leaf and the government of Manitoba.
They are demanding an immediate closure to implement a deep cleaning and for all employees to get tested for COVID-19. They also want all employees to be given job security and wage protection while the plant is closed.
“The desperation level of the workers is getting quite high. They feel that they’re being ignored and they’re very worried about themselves but also about their families,” said Diwa Marcelino, an organizer with Migrante Manitoba, which advocates for the rights and welfare of migrants and sent the letter to media on their behalf.
“Up to 10 families are now experiencing COVID-19 illness, so the situation is fairly critical.”
The letter comes as COVID-19 cases surge in Manitoba, particularly in the southwestern Prairie Mountain Health region, which includes Brandon.
Seventy-two new cases were announced Sunday, shooting past the province’s previous record of 42 new cases set on Saturday. Sixty-nine of the weekend cases were reported in the Prairie Mountain region.
“Workers’ voices, especially in this industry, are rarely heard. For the sake of health and safety, especially during a critical COVID-19 outbreak, the government and employers should listen to the voices of those who know their workplace best,” Marcelino said.
Communal areas like locker rooms and washrooms are overcrowded and physical distancing is impossible, and the cafeteria lacks sanitizer or a place to wash hands, the open letter says.
One single parent who is a worker at Maple Leaf cries every day and worries that she may bring the virus home to her son, the letter says.
The meat processing industry in North America has been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, with some of the largest outbreaks happening in those plants.
Earlier this year, an outbreak at the Cargill plant in High River, Alta., infected 950 workers and resulted in two deaths.
There were also outbreaks at a plant in Calgary and in Red Deer.
CBC News has reached out to Maple Leaf for comment.
New measurements show moon has hazardous radiation levels – FOX 8 Live WVUE
Wimmer-Schweingruber said the radiation levels are close to what models had predicted. The levels measured by Chang’e 4, in fact, “agree nearly exactly” with measurements by a detector on a NASA orbiter that has been circling the moon for more than a decade, said Kerry Lee, a space radiation expert at Johnson Space Center in Houston.
China's Chang'e-4 detects hazardous radiation levels on the Moon – CGTN
Space radiation on the moon is two to three times higher than that on the International Space Station (ISS). This could be one of the biggest dangers for future moon explorers, the Chinese moon probe discovered.
A Chinese-German team reported on the radiation data collected by the moon lander – named Chang’e-4 for the Chinese moon goddess – in the U.S. journal Science Advances. Chang’e-4 made the first ever soft-landing on the far side of the Moon in January, 2019.
The discovery provides the first full measurements of radiation exposure from the lunar surface, vital information for NASA and others aiming to send astronauts to the moon, the study noted.
“This is an immense achievement in the sense that now we have a data set which we can use to benchmark our radiation” and better understand the potential risk to people on the moon, said Thomas Berger, a physicist with the German Space Agency’s medicine institute.
Though Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s proved it was safe for people to spend a few days on the lunar surface, NASA did not take daily radiation measurements that would help scientists quantify just how long crews could stay.
The question is now answered.
Astronauts would get 200 to 1,000 times more radiation on the moon than what we experience on Earth – or five to 10 times more than passengers on a trans-Atlantic airline flight, noted Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber of Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany.
“The radiation levels we measured on the Moon are about 200 times higher than on the surface of the Earth and five to 10 times higher than on a flight from New York to Frankfurt,” added Wimmer-Schweingruber.
That means humans can stay at most two months on the surface of the Moon without special protection measures, according to Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber, an astrophysicist at the University of Kiel.
Sources of radiation
There are several sources of radiation exposure: galactic cosmic rays, sporadic solar particle events (for example from solar flares), and neutrons and gamma rays from interactions between space radiation and the lunar soil.
Radiation is measured using the unit sievert, which quantifies the amount absorbed by human tissues.
The team found that the radiation exposure on the Moon is 1,369 microsieverts per day – about 2.6 times higher than the International Space Station crew’s daily dose.
The reason for this is that the ISS is still partly shielded by the Earth’s protective magnetic bubble, called the magnetosphere, which deflects most radiation from space.
Earth’s atmosphere provides additional protection for humans on the surface, but we are more exposed the higher up we go.
NASA is planning to bring humans to the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis mission and has said it has plans for a long term presence that would include astronauts working and living on the surface.
For Wimmer-Schweingruber there is one work-around if we want humans to spend more than two or three months: build habitats that are shielded from radiation by coating them with 80 centimeters (30 inches) of lunar soil.
(With input from agencies)
NASA Is Using Its Astronauts to Help Promote a Cosmetics Company – Futurism
Later this month, NASA is scheduled to launch an unusual payload — 10 bottles of a face cream by cosmetics company Estée Lauder.
The idea is that NASA astronauts will take pictures of the bougie cream, which Estée Lauder will then use in a social media campaign, in a strange echo of the way influencers like the Kardashians take payments from brands in exchange for exposure on Instagram. As SpaceNews reports, the arrangement is prompting questions about whether it’s an appropriate use of NASA’s resources.
On Wednesday, for instance, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen grilled NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine about the project.
“I’m a fan of Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair, like anybody else who might want to benefit from its antigravity properties,” she said, according to SpaceNews. “I guess I’m having trouble understanding how Estée Lauder’s effort is going to support the commercialization efforts of NASA.”
“Can you talk about how shooting a cosmetics commercial advances NASA’s mission?” she asked.
Bridenstine, awkwardly, said he wasn’t aware of the project, but defended it anyway.
“I don’t think that shooting a cosmetics commercial is the intent of that particular mission,” he said.
Furthering the questions around the launch is that Estée Lauder is only paying NASA $128,000 for the launch, according to SpaceNews — chump change by the standards of space travel, and an amount that Shaheen said wouldn’t even cover the costs associated with it.
Astronauts won’t appear in the photos, and they won’t be paid extra for their participation in the stunt, but they will take the photos of the product.
The launch is taking place against the backdrop of the Trump administration’s edict for NASA to develop an economy in space. In one initiative, it’s offering payments to any private companies that can bag up Moon dirt. It’s also involved in a deal in which SpaceX will fly film star Tom Cruise and director Doug Liman to the International Space Station next year, where they’ll reportedly film scenes for an upcoming movie.
But those projects have at least some potential to break new ground or develop new technology. It’s less obvious how the Estée Lauder face cream will do that.
NASA director f commercial spaceflight development Phil McAlister, though, defended the project to SpaceNews.
“In order for those destinations to be sustainable,” he told the site, “they’re going to need customers other than NASA to support their operation. This Estée Lauder payload is one part of NASA’s overall strategy to help making that transition and to help commercial LEO development.”
READ MORE: NASA working with cosmetics company on space station commercialization [SpaceNews]
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