Biden Rescinds Trump’s Sanctions on Iran | Voice of America 

Acting U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council on behalf of President Joe Biden saying the United States “hereby withdraws” three letters from the Trump administration culminating in its September 19 announcement that the United States had reimposed U.N. sanctions on Tehran.

Mills said in the letter obtained by The Associated Press that sanctions measures terminated in the 2015 council resolution endorsing the nuclear deal with six major powers, but restored by Trump in September, “remain terminated.”

Source: Biden Rescinds Trump’s Sanctions on Iran | Voice of America – English

Pfizer Vaccine Shows New Results After First Dose & More in Today’s News

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Las Notis is a daily news column that gets you up to speed on the political, media + other going ons in Latin America and the diaspora—all in one quick digest. Here’s your glimpse at what’s going on today: As countries, including the U.S., try to ramp up their vaccinations, new research shows that the […]

The post Pfizer Vaccine Shows New Results After First Dose & More in Today’s News appeared first on Remezcla.

Civil Disobedience Against Military Rule in Myanmar Paralyzes Banking Sector

Protests against the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar have crippled its economy, as businesses struggle to conduct commerce without physical cash and a banking system that is now unreliable, sources in Myanmar told RFA.

Since Feb. 1, the day of the coup, protesters have mounted a civil disobedience movement (CDM) including a refusal to work. The labor stoppage across all private and public sectors is disrupting some of society’s most critical functions.

With nearly all private bank employees participating in the CDM, businesses that require bank transactions are dealing with setbacks and delays.

“GDP losses may be in the billions [of U.S. dollars] as the situation worsens each day,” economist Soe Tun told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

“I don’t know the exact figures, but losses are likely huge as most businesses have to stop operating because of the banking freeze. Some businesses are still open, but they are facing great difficulty. A lot of businesses have come to a stop,” said Soe Tun.

“The COVID-19 pandemic made it so that only a third of the economy had been running over the past several months, but now it seems everything has stopped,” he added.

Myanmar, a nation of 54 million, recorded a GDP of $75 billion in 2020, making it among the poorest countries in Southeast Asia.

The banking sector’s setbacks have started a ripple effect, with most businesses still running are short on physical cash with no way to pay employees.

“We cannot do any business right now,” a local businessman who requested anonymity for security reasons told RFA.

“Transactions at banks have stopped and cash in circulation has come to a trickle. As we are faced with more delays and difficulties, the incomes of salaried employees as well as daily wage workers will fall drastically,” the businessman said.

“We just hope all this will end very soon. Only then will we be able to get business back out there and prop up the economy,” he added.

Banks will need to come up with drastic solutions if they cannot get back on line soon, an economic analyst who requested anonymity to speak freely told RFA.

“If this current situation drags on, the country’s economy will be in serious trouble. There could be some solutions to the problem, like using coupons for transactions instead of using the kyat currency,” the analyst said.

“The banks could issue guarantee documents. They could issue, for example, 10-million-kyat [1409 kyat = $1] security coupons or 30-million-kyat security coupons and so on to keep the ball rolling. There could be a disaster if we go on like this,” said the analyst.

The lack of physical cash could also be detrimental in the approaching harvest season, leaving many rice traders with no way of operating.   

Since Feb 1, the value of the kyat has fallen dramatically. The central bank has had to sell $6.8 million to private banks and money traders. It then auctioned off treasury bonds on Feb. 16.

On the 17th, the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), a group formed by lawmakers elected to the parliament that was dissolved by the coup, issued a warning saying that the bonds were not legal, and buyers could suffer losses.

A report published by the Reuters News Service said that fuel imports have also come to standstill. A source quoted in that report said that Myanmar may rely on foreign sources for 98 percent of its fuel, and the country could run out of oil in two months.

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

AH Company International Distribution, Inc., Recalls Pork Products Imported Without the Benefit of Inspection

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2021 – AH Company International Distribution Inc., a Garden Grove, Calif. firm, is recalling approximately 30,081 pounds of pork pâté products that were imported from an ineligible establishment and distributed in the United States without the benefit of FSIS import re-inspection.

The following heat-treated shelf stable pork pâté items are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]

  • 240-gram cans of Monique Ranou Pâté de Foie
  • 240-gram cans of Monique Ranou Pâté de Campagne
  • 180-gram jars of Monique Ranou Pâté de Campagne Supérieur

Source: AH Company International Distribution, Inc., Recalls Pork Products Imported Without the Benefit of Inspection

Canada vows to be next country to go after Facebook to pay for news | Reuters

Canada vowed on Thursday to make Facebook Inc pay for news content, seeking allies in the media battle with tech giants and pledging not to back down if the social media platform shuts off the country’s news as it did in Australia.

Source: Canada vows to be next country to go after Facebook to pay for news | Reuters

John Kerry says Earth has 9 years to avert the worst consequences of climate crisis: “There’s no faking it on this one” – CBS News

As secretary of state in 2016, John Kerry signed the Paris climate accord. Now, after the Trump administration withdrew, the U.S. is recommitting.

Source: John Kerry says Earth has 9 years to avert the worst consequences of climate crisis: “There’s no faking it on this one” – CBS News

‘Mama Amy,’ beloved nurse at West Covina hospital, dies of COVID-19 complications

RIP

  • Amelia Baclig, a nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, died from complications from COVID-19 on Jan. 22. She was 63 and the first nurse at the hospital to die as a result of COVID-19 complications. (Photo courtesy of Aubrey Joy Baclig)

  • Amelia Baclig, a nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, died from complications from COVID-19 on Jan. 22. She was 63 and the first nurse at the hospital to die as a result of COVID-19 complications. (Photo courtesy of Aubrey Joy Baclig)

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  • Friends, family, members of the West Covina Police Department and hospital staff attend a memorial for Amelia Baclig, a nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital who died from complications from COVID-19 on Jan. 22. The caravan memorial was on Saturday, Feb. 13. (Photo courtesy of Antoinette McDaniel)

  • Friends, family and leaders in West Covina, including Mayor Letty Lopez-Viado, center, attend a car caravan memorial for Amelia Baclig, a nurse who died from complications from COVID-19, at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina on Saturday. (Photo courtesty of West Covina)

  • Amelia Baclig, a nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, died from complications from COVID-19 on Jan. 22. She was 63 and the first nurse at the hospital to die as a result of COVID-19 complications. (Photo courtesy of Aubrey Joy Baclig)

  • Amelia Baclig, a nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina, died from complications from COVID-19 on Jan. 22. She was 63 and the first nurse at the hospital to die as a result of COVID-19 complications. (Photo courtesy of Aubrey Joy Baclig)

  • Friends, family, members of the West Covina Police Department and hospital staff attend a memorial for Amelia Baclig, a nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital who died from complications from COVID-19 on Jan. 22. The caravan memorial was on Saturday, Feb. 13. (Photo courtesy of Antoinette McDaniel)

  • Friends, family, members of the West Covina Police Department and hospital staff attend a memorial for Amelia Baclig, a nurse at Queen of the Valley Hospital who died from complications from COVID-19 on Jan. 22. The caravan memorial was on Saturday, Feb. 13. (Photo courtesy of Antoinette McDaniel)

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For almost 30 years, Amelia Baclig was known as “Mama Amy” to the team at Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina.

Baclig, 63, kept fellow nurses well-fed and well cared for and served as a beloved mentor to younger members of the team. “She just cared,” said Daisy Martinez, a friend and fellow nurse. “She just gave her all.”

On Jan. 22, Baclig became the first nurse from Queen of the Valley to die from COVID-19 complications. She was infected at least six weeks earlier, before she had a chance to be vaccinated.

“Before she died, I Facetimed with her,” said coworker Juliet Baltazar, who knew Baclig for more than 30 years. “I start crying and she also cried. (I said) ‘You’re so short of breath, I have to stop the conversation because I want you to rest so you can get better and strong and come back to work.’ We talked five minutes only.”

About a week after she was diagnosed with COVID-19, Baclig was taken by paramedics to St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton. Daughter Aubrey Joy Baclig said she and her mother wanted her to go to Queen of the Valley, but the hospital was over capacity, like so many medical centers during the relentless winter surge.

“My mom has been a nurse there for almost 30 years,” Aubrey said. “We knew, my mom knew, too, that was where she would feel comfortable. She was very firm. (She said) ‘If I need to go to the hospital, I need to go to Queen of the Valley.’”

The paramedic crew didn’t have a choice; their computer directed them to St. Jude, where Baclig spent five weeks, three of them in the intensive care unit, her daughter said.

“I can imagine how scared she was,” Martinez said. “It just breaks my heart. I myself, having COVID, it was just very traumatic. I can just imagine. When she got admitted at St. Jude, it would have been wonderful for her to be admitted at our hospital so that we could have been there with her. It didn’t work out that way.”

Her peers recalled Baclig as a dedicated, compassionate healthcare worker and a motherlike figure who offered guidance to new nurses, encouraged them to continue their education — and always made sure everyone had something to eat. She spoke three languages, kept them team laughing even during the toughest of times and hosted memorable parties at her home.

“She was just very dedicated, she never complained,” Martinez said. “She loved her job. She really loved her patients. She really loved her work family. We see the worst of the worst. We were always there to try to support each other. She was there always to reassure us.”

“It’s so painful for me to lose her,” Baltazar said. “I’m not expecting that’s she going to pass away. It’s so hard to get over it. We were always happy together.”

The hospital and her family organized a three-hour car caravan memorial, featuring about 20 cars, with friends and family leaving flowers and condolences. West Covina Mayor Letty Lopez-Viado and members of the city’s Police and Fire departments also participated.

A van driven by a family member played the song “Always and Forever,” the song Baclig sang during karaoke at parties, said her daughter.

“There was no way I was going to miss the memorial,” said Martinez, who said she was battling fever and chills after getting her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine just before the memorial.  “We cried and we laughed and remembered what a beautiful person and supporting person she was and how much we are going to miss her.”

Another 50 people participated in a Zoom vigil that day. Zoom prayer meetings were held for nine days, too, with as many as 100 people attending each night. Nearly 150 called in for the final session.

“Every night I was able to share something about my mom’s life, something different every time,” Aubrey said. “On the final night, we had a few people singing. My mom’s sisters were singing with their choir. The last night was pretty big.”

Antoinette McDaniel, labor representative for the California Nurses Association, said the pandemic has taken its toll on healthcare workers.

“Especially during the time of the surge,” she said. “It was putting nurses at even a higher risk because of the amount of patients that they had to care for.”

“Heroes do work there,” said Lopez-Viado. “They do save lives. They sacrifice. They come in and they take care of others unselfishly.”

Coworker Marisol Streams also tested positive with COVID-19, back in December.  “I got sick with COVID first,” she said. “About four days later, (Baclig) called me at my hotel, telling me ‘I’m sick, too.’ She asked me the process of what does she do, how to get tested.”

Streams helped Baclig get tested and guided her through the process of reserving a hotel room if she needed to quarantine.

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Weeks later, Streams still battles shortness of breath, low energy and body aches. And she misses her teammate.

She recalled how hard Baclig worked to keep her team’s spirits up. Among her favorite moments: When Baclig recreated scenes from her favorite movies, including “Coming to America.”

“When she would imitate a scene, being her age, being who she is, and her imitating Eddie Murphy. That’s funny, that cracks me up. She was amazing,” Streams said.

“We all loved her,” she said. “We still love her.”

Amelia Baclig is survived by her husband, Nestor Baclig, three children, James Anthony Baclig, Aubrey Joy Baclig and Joanne Mae Baclig, two grandchildren, Trixia Baclig and Styke James Baclig, four sisters and two brothers.

Coronavirus tracker: California reported 7,244 new cases, 425 new deaths and 410 fewer hospitalizations on Feb. 18

The end-of-day totals from California public health websites for Thursday, Feb. 18, reported 7,244 new cases, bringing the total number of cases there have been in the state to 3,492,363.

The 14-day total of new cases, 9,283, is down 78% from the Jan. 1 high of 42,268.

There were 425 new deaths reported Thursday, for a total of 48,349 people in California who have died from the virus. The 14-day average of 374 deaths as of Thursday is down 31% from the Feb. 1 high of 543 average new deaths.

There were 8,156 people needing hospital care Thursday, a 64.3% drop since the Jan. 1 high of 22,853.

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Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Johns Hopkins University, the World Health Organization, the California Department of Public Health, The Associated Press, reporting counties and news sources

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Miro – Bringing jobs home | RNZ – (blueberries year round – grown around the world-New Zealand too)

At four o’clock every morning Ivy Habib’s alarm wakes her and she gets ready to drive the 45 minutes to work at Te Teko in Bay of Plenty.

Ivy’s a supervisor on a blueberry farm, built on her trust’s land in partnership with Miro, a company set up to improve productivity on Māori-owned land and to create jobs for local people.

Ivy’s daughter, grandsons, cousins and aunties also work on the orchard.

Miro has 30 shareholders, all Māori entities, trusts, iwi and hapū that want to use high-value horticulture to create career opportunities for their people.

It currently has 12 orchards in the North Island growing 50 hectares of blueberries in tunnel houses.

Source: Miro – Bringing jobs home | RNZ