-30- LUNENBURG COUNTY: Highway 103 Highway 103, from Exit 8 to Exit 7, will be reduced to one lane from Thursday, May 24, to Tuesday, July 31, for repaving. Traffic control consists of a pilot vehicle, a flashing light, barrels, cones and traffic control people. A detour is available on Trunk 3 from Exit 6 to Exit 9, between Hubbards and Chester Basin. Work takes place from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Local Area Office: 902-543-7376 Fax: 902-543-5596
by Marcy Gordon, The Associated Press Posted Jul 29, 2016 8:56 am MDT Last Updated Jul 29, 2016 at 11:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US regulators: Still heavy risk in big bank loans WASHINGTON – Federal regulators say risk remains heavy in large loans made by banks and other financial institutions, though lending standards have improved.The Federal Reserve and other agencies cite increasing risks in loans to oil and gas producers as oil prices have fallen to three-month lows. The regulators said their latest examinations also showed continued high risk from loans made to companies that are already heavily in debt.The steep decline in oil prices has hurt many energy companies, making it harder for them to repay their loans. The amount of large oil and gas loans that are at risk of failing or already in default doubled in the first quarter from the same period in 2015, according to the agencies’ semi-annual review released Friday. Those loans jumped to $77 billion from $38.2 billion.Overall, the review found that loans at risk of failing or already in default, plus those showing potential weakness, remained high at 10.3 per cent of the total $4.1 trillion in large loans.That was up from 9.5 per cent of a total $3.9 trillion a year earlier.The review found that the level of problem loans remained higher than in previous periods of economic recovery and growth, raising concern that future loan losses could increase significantly in the near future.The regulators said banks have improved their lending standards for loans to heavily indebted companies — something they have been pushing banks to do.Loans in the oil and gas industry represent 12.3 per cent of total large loans outstanding.U.S. banks posted increased loan losses in the first quarter driven by a huge jump in delinquent energy loans.Oil prices have fallen dramatically over the past couple of years, touching levels not seen since the depths of the recession in 2009. They now are running around $41 a barrel for crude oil, down from a $100 high in mid-2014 — slicing into the profits of energy companies and putting projects on hold. As cash flow from oil sales has trickled, some companies are straining to repay their loans.Regulators are worried about a heavy load of risky loans weighing on institutions’ financial soundness and the potential threat to the broader banking system. By conducting the periodic reviews, they are seeking to prevent the kind of risk-taking that touched off the financial crisis in 2008.Through a series of rules for banks’ increased capital cushions against losses and other requirements, regulators have put into effect the tougher standards mandated by Congress in a 2010 financial overhaul law that responded to the crisis.The semi-annual review is conducted by examiners from the Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. It examines large loans, defined as those worth at least $20 million that are made jointly by three or more financial institutions.
The report urges countries to invest in midwifery education and training to contribute to closing the glaring gaps that exist. Investments in midwifery education and training at agreed international standards can yield – as a study from Bangladesh shows – a 1,600 per cent return on investment.“Midwives make enormous contributions to the health of mothers and newborns and the well-being of entire communities. Access to quality health care is a basic human right. Greater investment in midwifery is key to making this right a reality for women everywhere,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director.When trained and supported by a functional health system, midwives can provide 87 per cent of the essential care needed for women and newborns, and could potentially reduce maternal and newborn deaths by two thirds.WHO says the new report sets a clear way forward to encourage governments to allocate adequate resources for maternal and newborn health services within national health sector plans.Midwives have a crucial role to play in the achievement of Millennium Development Goals 4 (decrease child death) and 5 (increase maternal health).Despite a steady decline in maternal deaths in the 73 countries that are covered in the report – dropping yearly by 3 per cent since 1990 – and newborn deaths – decreasing by 1.9 per cent per year since 1990 – there is more these countries need to do to address the severe shortage of midwifery care.Today, only 22 per cent of countries have potentially enough midwives to provide life-saving interventions to meet the needs of women and newborns, which leaves over three-fourths (78 per cent) of the countries with severe shortages in proper care. As the population grows, so does the gap in critical resources and infrastructure, unless urgent action is taken. “The State of the World’s Midwifery 2014,” launched by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), together with the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the World Health Organization (WHO), also calls for more to be done to address the severe shortage of midwifery care across low- and middle-income countries.The report, launched in Prague at a major conference of midwives, notes visible progress has been made since the inaugural study was released in 2011.Thirty-three of the 73 countries covered in the report have implemented efforts to improve workforce retention in remote areas, and 20 countries are increasing the recruitment and deployment of midwives. Additionally, 52 of the countries have improved data collection to address health staff shortages and education standards.But these countries are home to 96 per cent of the global burden of maternal mortality, 91 per cent of stillbirths and 93 per cent of newborn mortality, yet they have only 42 per cent of the world’s physicians, midwives and nurses.In 2013, an estimated 289,000 women and 2.9 million newborns died – the vast majority due to complications or illnesses that could have been prevented with proper antenatal care or the presence of a skilled midwife during delivery. State of the World’s Midwifery 2014: Challenges …Impact …Key actions
As part of its mine closure obligations, Barrick’s Pierina mine has built two new water treatment plants to safeguard local water quality. The Peru-based mine, which is winding down operations after 18 years, also built a cyanide detoxification plant to treat cyanide contained in the site’s heap leach pad.Jorge Lobato, Environmental and Closure Manager at Pierina explains: “Even when operations at Pierina come to an end, cyanide will be present in the solutions from the heap leach pad and must be treated. The cyanide detoxification plant will operate until all cyanide has been consumed or destroyed on site.”Pierina is located about 300 km north of Lima in a high precipitation region of Peru. Average annual rainfall is 1,200 mm which, combined with natural conditions of the area, make conditions ripe for acid rock drainage. Acid rock drainage refers to the acidification of water that occurs when sulphide-based ore is exposed to air and water. It occurs naturally in the area due to the sulphur-based rock in the region and can be exacerbated by large open pits and waste rock produced during the mining process, if left exposed.The water treatment plants conduct daily water sampling and on-site analysis, measuring various metrics including water acidity, or pH levels, and turbidity.The new treatment plants will replace existing treatment facilities on site and underscore Barrick’s commitment to proper mine closure. “We made a substantial investment to build these plants and we are committed to the responsible closure of this mine,” Lobato says. “This is one of the first experiences in Peru of a large mine closure, and we want to set the standard for responsible, safe and sustainable mine closure.”All water that comes into contact with the mine site is funnelled to the water treatment plants before being discharged off site. Discharged water must comply with new regulations that recently went into effect in Peru. “There are limits for content of various metals, salts and the acidity level of the water,” says Wesley Ubillus, Process and Water Treatment Manager at Pierina.Most of the water treated at the plants is not used by local communities, but some of it is channelled into several communities in the nearby Pucaurán and Pacchac valleys for irrigation use. Both treatment plants at Pierina contain reverse osmosis technology—sophisticated water purification technology that removes sulphate, carbonate and other salts from water.The water treatment plants are an important part of the Pierina closure plan, which will unfold over a period of decades. In addition to the treatment plants, the site’s heap leach pad and existing waste dump will be covered with a layer of clay, topsoil and vegetation native to the area. This will restore the natural landscape and significantly reduce the amount of acid rock drainage.“We can’t control the amount of rain that falls at Pierina, but we can limit the amount of exposed, potentially acid-generating rock, as well as the amount of water that comes into contact with the mine site,” Lobato says.Another way the operation is reducing the amount of potentially acid-generating rock is by backfilling the mine’s open pit. Almost half of the open pit will be filled in non-sulphur material taken from the pit itself. This will not only minimize the potential for acid rock drainage, it will also help ensure the long-term stability of the open pit walls. Work on the pit infill is expected to be complete in 2018.Before work began on the closure plan, Barrick engaged in consultations with local governments, communities and other stakeholders. Brochures explaining the key elements of the plan were developed and town hall meetings were held to help people better understand the process.“We continuously talked to people and informed them of what we were doing,” Lobato says. “This is something we continue to do. People understandably have concerns, and only by implementing best practices—as we are doing at Pierina—and supporting those practices with open dialogue and transparency, will we fully earn the community’s trust.”The water treatment plants conduct daily water sampling and on-site analysis, measuring various metrics including water acidity, or pH levels, and turbidity. The environment team also regularly collects water samples off site and sends the samples to an independent, certified laboratory for analysis. Results from these analysis are reported to authorities on a quarterly basis to ensure Pierina is in compliance with its permit and Peruvian regulatory standards.“In Pierina, we take great pride in living up to our responsibility to leave a positive legacy,” says Rodolfo Najar, General Manager of Pierina.The picture shows a community visit to one of the two new water treatment plants at Pierina.