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Caribbean islands handle water, food shortages after volcanic eruptions | Instant News


KINGSTOWN, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Reuters) – The tiny island in the eastern Caribbean of Saint Vincent was rocked by a fifth-day eruption of La Soufriere volcano on Tuesday as leaders warned about water shortages and the potential needs of hundreds of millions of people. dollars to rebuild.

The explosion occurred around 6 a.m., causing smoke and other billowing ash and pyroclastic currents of ash and rock to slide down the flanks of the volcano. Officials have warned it could continue to be active for months.

Ash covered much of the island, 8 inches (20 cm) thick in parts. It has destroyed crops, contaminated water, killed animals and destroyed infrastructure, as well as rendered some roads impassable, complicating search and rescue efforts.

So far there have been no reports of casualties or injuries. Damage from the 1979 eruption was $ 100 million. But residents are struggling to overcome supply shortages.

“We are still looking for drinking water and food,” said Jenetta Young Mason, 43, who fled her home in a dangerous area to live with relatives.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said some supplies from neighboring countries had started pouring into the island nation of more than 100,000 people during a press conference broadcast on local stations. But more help is needed.

The Central Water and Sewage Authority has been unable to extract water from water sources since the volcano erupted, said government spokesman Sehon Marshall, resulting in more than 50% depletion of water storage.

Several Caribbean islands have shipped cots, food, masks and breathing tanks, and the World Bank says it intends to funnel $ 20 million to the government through an interest-free disaster financing program.

Inactive for decades, the volcano first erupted on Friday, prompting between 16,000 and 20,000 people to flee from surrounding areas, with many living in shelters near the capital Kingstown.

Government efforts to protect people are complicated by protocols to limit the spread of COVID, including restrictions on the number of people and requirements for testing and vaccination.

One of them is the reluctance of residents to take vaccines. Kitron Sam, 34, who fled after the eruption, said officials visited his shelter near Kingstown and offered the vaccine, but no one chose to take it.

Reporting by Robertson S. Henry in Kingstown and Kate Chappell in Kingston; Edited by Sarah Marsh and Lisa Shumaker

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Caribbean islands handle water, food shortages after volcanic eruptions | Instant News


KINGSTOWN, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Reuters) – The tiny island in the eastern Caribbean of Saint Vincent was rocked by a fifth-day eruption of La Soufriere volcano on Tuesday as leaders warned about water shortages and the potential needs of hundreds of millions of people. dollars to rebuild.

The explosion occurred around 6 a.m., causing smoke and other billowing ash and pyroclastic currents of ash and rock to slide down the flanks of the volcano. Officials have warned it could continue to be active for months.

Ash covered much of the island, 8 inches (20 cm) thick in parts. It has destroyed crops, contaminated water, killed animals and destroyed infrastructure, as well as rendered some roads impassable, complicating search and rescue efforts.

So far there have been no reports of casualties or injuries. Damage from the 1979 eruption was $ 100 million. But residents are struggling to overcome supply shortages.

“We are still looking for drinking water and food,” said Jenetta Young Mason, 43, who fled her home in a dangerous area to live with relatives.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said some supplies from neighboring countries had started pouring into the island nation of more than 100,000 people during a press conference broadcast on local stations. But more help is needed.

The Central Water and Sewage Authority has been unable to extract water from water sources since the volcano erupted, said government spokesman Sehon Marshall, resulting in more than 50% depletion of water storage.

Several Caribbean islands have shipped cots, food, masks and breathing tanks, and the World Bank says it intends to funnel $ 20 million to the government through an interest-free disaster financing program.

Inactive for decades, the volcano first erupted on Friday, prompting between 16,000 and 20,000 people to flee from surrounding areas, with many living in shelters near the capital Kingstown.

Government efforts to protect people are complicated by protocols to limit the spread of COVID, including restrictions on the number of people and requirements for testing and vaccination.

One of them is the reluctance of residents to take vaccines. Kitron Sam, 34, who fled after the eruption, said officials visited his shelter near Kingstown and offered the vaccine, but no one chose to take it.

Reporting by Robertson S. Henry in Kingstown and Kate Chappell in Kingston; Edited by Sarah Marsh and Lisa Shumaker

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UPDATE 1-Union Alitalia urges the Italian government to leave EU talks over an overhaul | Instant News


(Adding EU Commission commentary)

MILAN, April 13 (Reuters) – Representatives of the Alitalia trade union on Tuesday urged the Italian government to cancel negotiations with Brussels over an overhaul of the airline, saying the European Commission favors foreign airlines over the group.

Rome has been negotiating with EU executives for months over Italy’s plans to restructure the airline through the launch of a new state-owned company called ITA.

Speaking before the Italian parliament, UILT trade union chairman Claudio Tarlazzi rejected the idea that the new company could accept the European Union’s proposal for restructuring.

“We have to realize that the EU is supporting rival companies, and negotiations (with Brussels) must stop and the company created with all the necessary assets,” Tarlazzi told members of the two parliamentary committees holding joint hearings.

Criticism of the EU’s handling of Alitalia peaked last week, when Brussels approved a French contribution to a 4 billion euro ($ 4.8 billion) support package for Air France-KLM in exchange for a 4% reduction in take-off and landing slots at Paris-Orly Airport.

A Commission spokesman said the looser rules for state aid adopted during the pandemic through the EU’s “interim framework” could not be applied to Alitalia.

“Alitalia was constantly losing money and was in trouble at the end of 2019, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and so was excluded from … receiving assistance under an interim framework,” the spokesperson told Reuters. .

“On the other hand, Air France and Lufthansa will have no difficulties at the end of 2019, which is why they can be recapitalized.”

The commission is in contact with the Italian authorities, he added, without elaborating.

The EU has asked ITA to abandon its Alitalia brand, give up half of its slot at Milan’s city airport, and start without the handling and maintenance division of the old airline, sources said.

ITA management has planned to seek partnerships with rival operators using the negotiating power of the Milan-Linate Alitalia airport slot as a sweetener.

It was supposed to buy some of Alitalia’s old assets using part of the 3 billion euros injected by the government, and started flying on fewer than 50 jets in June.

Representatives from three other unions who attended the hearing agreed with Tarlazzi and said the ITA should start by doubling down on its planned fleet.

Alitalia has posted operating losses annually since 2012, and more than half of its 11,000 employees have been temporarily laid off due to the coronavirus crisis.

$ 1 = 0.8409 euros Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; Edited by Jan Harvey

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Brazilian meat packers have stopped production because beef prices have soared, domestic demand has shrunk | Instant News


SAO PAULO, April 12 (Reuters) – Brazilian beef packers have halted production at certain locations, as rising costs that cannot be passed on to consumer prices have squeezed margins, industry sources and representatives told Reuters.

Several small, medium and large production facilities have experienced outages or remain unemployed as they match supply to demand, said Paulo Mustefaga, president of the Abrafigo trading group, without providing additional details.

“The price of cattle has increased by about 60% over the year and the industry has been able to pass 40% of the cost well,” said Mustefaga. “This sector is having difficulty making ends meet.”

The 15-kilogram Arroba, Brazil’s benchmark for cattle prices, hit a historic high of 320 reais ($ 55.95) in recent days, driven by low animal supplies and heating demand for Brazilian beef exports, especially from China.

Mustefaga said another factor forcing companies to cut back on slaughter is the decline in the purchasing power of Brazilian families, as the coronavirus pandemic is slowing down Brazil’s already sluggish economic activity.

Brazil’s second-largest meat processor Marfrig, which owns National Beef in the United States, confirmed to Reuters it was sending employees on leave at a unit in the city of Alegrete for 30 days. The slaughtering there resumed on April 1.

The company also said it was temporarily suspending a plant in Rondonia state.

Minerva Foods, South America’s biggest beef exporter, suspended the Mato Grosso state facility and has not set a time to return, sources close to the company said on condition of anonymity.

Last month, Minerva shut down a factory in the state of Sao Paulo for 20 days, but production has now resumed.

Minerva declined to comment. ($ 1 = 5,7193 reais) (Reporting by Nayara Figueiredo Written by Ana Mano Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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Shareholders in Brazil’s Petrobras paved the way for a new CEO in a messy meeting | Instant News


RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Shareholders in Brazil’s Petrobras voted on Monday to remove Roberto Castello Branco as CEO, and elect his government-chosen successor to the board of directors, but dissatisfaction among some investors threatens to delay the transition process.

FILE PHOTOS: Roberto Castello Branco, chief executive of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, attending a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil February 28, 2019. REUTERS / Sergio Moraes / File Photo

The dismissal of Castello Branco, although widely expected, is an important step in the government’s plan to place Joaquim Silva e Luna, a retired army general with no oil and gas experience, in charge of state-controlled oil producers.

Shareholders also elect eight people to serve on the board of directors, one of whom will represent non-government shareholders. A rejigged board of seven representing the government – the company’s majority shareholder -, three representing market investors and one representing Petrobras employees, the same configuration as the previous company board.

Three members cannot be re-elected and are automatically retained, bringing the total number of board members to 11.

Castello Branco became CEO in January 2019 and won market praise for selling billions of dollars in non-core assets and sharpening Petrobras’ focus on deep sea oil production.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said in February that he was firing a University of Chicago graduate executive amid a dispute over fuel prices. Castello Branco will remain as caretaker until Monday afternoon.

Bolsonaro chose Luna to lead Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the company’s official title. The career soldier will be selected as chief executive by the new board of directors.

In the securities filing released after the meeting, Petrobras said Board Chairman Eduardo Leal Ferreira had appointed Carlos Alberto Pereira de Oliveira, head of the company’s upstream division, as interim CEO until Luna’s appointment was inaugurated.

COMPLICATIONS

The night was not without drama.

At the start of the trial, Marcelo Gasparino, who was elected as the non-government representative at night, called for the meeting to be postponed due to alleged inconsistencies in the separate preliminary vote counts published by the company prior to the meeting. .

In a LinkedIn post, he said if he was elected he would then resign, a move that could provoke another shareholder meeting under Brazil’s securities law, effectively starting the board selection process from scratch.

The rules governing shareholder meetings in Brazil can be Byzantine, even when they are held in person. Various groups of investors have complained about the complicated rules governing Petrobras shareholder meetings.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday evening.

In his post, Gasparino, the newly elected board member, said he would not step down until the board elects a new CEO, meaning Luna’s official appointment to the top seat is still possible in a short time.

In addition, one of the government-appointed board members, Marcio Weber, was elected even after the Petrobras committee recommended on Friday that he not be given a seat on the board citing conflicts of interest because he was an executive until 2020 of a company. who provide services to Petrobras.

It was impossible to reach Weber immediately on Monday night.

Reporting by Gram Slatery and Marta Nogueira; Additional reporting by Sabrina Valle in Rio de Janeiro and Paula Laier in Sao Paulo; Edited by Will Dunham, Peter Cooney and Karishma Singh

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