Current Affairs

Jeff Bezos announces plans to build private space station

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin on Monday announced it wants to launch a space station that will house up to 10 people in the second half of the decade, as the race to commercialize the cosmos heats up.

“Orbital Reef,” described in a press statement as a mixed-use business park in space that will support microgravity research and manufacturing, is a joint venture with commercial space company Sierra Space and has the support of Boeing and Arizona State University.

“For over sixty years, NASA and other space agencies have developed orbital space flight and space habitation, setting us up for commercial business to take off in this decade,” said Blue Origin executive Brent Sherwood.

“We will expand access, lower the cost, and provide all the services and amenities needed to normalize space flight.”

The private outpost is one of several planned in the coming years as NASA considers the future of the International Space Station after the 2020s…read more.

B.C. to reopen sports arenas, concerts to max capacity

Canucks players will likely be hearing more cheers from the crowd at Rogers Arena than previously expected when the puck drops for the NHL team’s home-opener next week.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday B.C. would return to 100% capacity at indoor sporting events, symphony concerts, movie theatres and more effective October 25.

Patrons will be required to show proof of vaccination upon entry into these locations.

“We’re hoping to leverage the benefits of the vaccine card and this is an important first step,” Henry said.

“We’ll be monitoring carefully and looking at whether we can take away additional restrictions depending on how things evolve over the next few weeks.”

Restrictions requiring everyone to remain at their own tables at restaurants and pubs are also being lifted “to allow a little bit more freedom of movement [due to] the fact that everybody in those situations will be fully vaccinated,” she added.

Henry was also quick to emphasize that other public health restrictions, such as mask mandates, remain in effect…read more.

More price increases coming to a shelf near you. “We do not anticipate any easing of costs.”

What P&G Said about Soaring Costs, Supply Chain Woes, Inflation, and Trying to Keep Shelves Stocked

Procter & Gamble [PG], which makes a broad range of consumer and health-care products, released its quarterly earnings today. Let me give you the short form: Sales up some, costs up a whole bunch, profits down.

The company said that in addition to the price increases announced since April, it would implement more price increases to deal with rising costs. In its outlook, it upped the hit to earnings per share from surging commodities costs and transportation woes.

CFO Andre Schulten explained how the company had to jump through hoops, trying to keep the shelves stocked, including by limiting how much some retailers can buy to prevent hoarding. He complained about driver shortages. “We do not anticipate any easing of costs,” he said.

In April, P&G announced the first batch of price increases “in the range of mid to high single-digits,” on baby care, feminine care, and adult incontinence products, to respond to surging commodity costs and transportation costs. Later, it announced price increases on its family care, home care, and fabric care products. Over the past few weeks, it announced to US retailers price increases on its grooming, skin care, and oral care products. It has been a flow of price increases.

“The degree of timing of these moves are very specific to the category, brand, and sometimes the product form within a brand,” Schulten told analysts at the conference call this morning.

The first price increases started to show up on the shelves in September, and were barely reflected in Q1 ended September 30.

So, for the quarter ended September 30 (Q1 of its fiscal year 2022), P&G reported this morning, compared to Q1 a year ago, in a demonstration of how inflation bites (bold):

  • Sales: +5%
  • Costs of products sold: +13%
  • So, gross profit: -2%
  • Selling and admin expenses: +1%
  • Operating income: -5%
  • But interest expenses fell and income taxes fell
  • Net earnings: -4%.

That 5% sales increase was a result of, well, mostly unrelated to selling more:

  • Actual increase in volume: +2%
  • Foreign exchange: +1%
  • Price increases, which just started taking effect in September: +1%
  • Change in mix to costlier and premium products and to the Health Care business: +1%.

Read More

 

Constitutional challenge mounted against B.C. vaccine passports

A constitutional challenge has been filed in BC Supreme Court challenging the province’s COVID-19 vaccine passport system by two women claiming they cannot receive any vaccines.

The vaccine card orders “ require the petitioners to choose between their own physical health and well being and their civil liberties,” the suit said. “Either choice has negative consequences on their families as well as themselves. The vaccine card orders actively deprive the petitioners of their Charter protected rights and freedoms.”

The suit names B.C.’s attorney general and minister of health as respondents.

Sarah Webb, of both Calgary and Victoria, and Maple Ridge’s Leigh Anne Eliason filed the challenge, saying they have have physical disabilities which require a medical exemption from receiving further vaccines.

Webb, 39, works in hotel management, dividing her time between Victoria and Calgary.

The suit said she received the Moderna vaccine May 2. Six days later, the suit said, she experienced fatigue, cramping, heart arrhythmias, swollen lymphs, severe pain, and a rash which engulfed her arm…read more.

A news report released by CBC Edmonton on how an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) operates which featured a mannequin and was later used for other stories aired on the channel was not filmed inside an ICU and is not evidence that the pandemic is a “scam” despite claims made online.

The report, released on October 2, included interviews and a demonstration featuring a mannequin of how an ICU facility differs from other hospital wards. Some of the same footage within the training facility was later aired in another report about COVID-19 projections for Alberta (here).

Some online users shared an image of the news report and claimed that the use of the mannequin was proof that ICU facilities were not busy in Alberta, and that the pandemic was being overstated by the media…read more.