10-minute coronavirus test steps closer to reality; Employer paid leave requirements

In News by wp_sysadmin


Ten-Minute Coronavirus Test Moves Closer to Manufacturing
Alonso Soto, Bloomberg Technology, March 26, 2020

U.K.-based Mologic Ltd. has sent prototypes of a 10-minute coronavirus test to laboratories for validation before it can begin full-scale manufacturing.  The company and its partner, the Senegalese research foundation Institut Pasteur de Dakar, have developed a finger-prick test to determine whether a person had the illness and the state of his or her immune system. The company is also working on a separate saliva test to detect the presence of the virus.  After initial assessment in the U.K., the prototypes will be sent to other laboratories for validation in a process that could take three to four months, said Paul Davis, Mologic’s chief scientific officer.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: Employer Paid Leave Requirements


As Trump Seeks Pricier Oil, China Saves $250 Million Daily
Dan Murtaugh, Alfred Cang, Debjit Chakraborty, Bloomberg, March 25, 2020

As the U.S. finds itself in the unfamiliar position of lobbying for higher oil prices, China’s enjoying what amounts to a major rebate from crude’s crash just as it tries to recover from the coronavirus.  The world’s biggest oil importer is saving about $250 million a day after crude prices crashed this year amid dual demand and supply shocks. It’s coming at an opportune time for its economy, which is expected to post the slowest growth since the end of the Mao era. Should low prices last, benefits could include a boost in consumer spending, a stronger trade balance and less stress on currency reserves, as well as a source of cheap supplies for its strategic reserves.


Investors Are Warming to Natural Gas
Ryan Dezember, Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2020

Traders are backing off their bearish bets on natural-gas prices, stock buyers are flocking to the beaten-down shares of Appalachian producers and analysts are forecasting short supplies of the fuel next year unless those companies get back to drilling.  All this comes with natural gas fetching its lowest price in a quarter-century and a global pandemic crushing demand from power plants and factories. It is also spring, when heating demand from U.S. households typically falls off a cliff.


Kensington mine to quarantine workers traveling to Juneau
Jacob Resneck, CoastAlaska, March 25, 2020

Employees and contract workers at Kensington Mine will now be required to spend 14 days in quarantine in a Juneau hotel. That’s if they arrive from outside Alaska or a coronavirus-infected community.  Coeur Alaska announced the new measures — effective immediately — on Wednesday afternoon for the Juneau-area gold mine.  The move follows a similar protocol by Hecla Greens Creek Mine on Admiralty Island. The workforce at both remote mine sites includes out-of-state workers who transit through Juneau’s airport.


From the Washington Examiner, Daily on Energy:

TRUMP QUIET AS SENATE GOP LOOKS FOR ARMAMENT FOR OIL PRICE WAR: The oil price war remains alive and well after President Trump did not appear to press Saudi Arabia to end it during a rare remote G-20 Summit Meeting on Thursday morning.

The U.S. was expected to leverage Saudi Arabia’s status as head of the G-20 to press it to halt its plan to slash export prices and flood the market with 12.3 million barrels per day next month, worsening a price crash also caused by flagging demand from the coronavirus.

Also participating in the meeting was Russia, the other major player in the price war which split from a Saudi-led OPEC pact to limit production, sparking retaliation from the Kingdom.

Before the meeting, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters the topic of oil would not come up. The U.S. has blamed Russia for the price war, accusing it of seeking to damage American shale producers who have taken market share while the Saudis and Moscow held back production.

Trump and Senate Republicans diverge on Saudi policy: The Trump administration has taken a lighter touch with Saudi Arabia; an ally Trump has held close even as other countries have distanced from the Kingdom after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday, encouraging the Kingdom to embrace a “real opportunity to rise to the occasion and assure global energy and financial markets when the world faces serious economic uncertainty.”

But Senate Republicans from oil states are escalating their calls for the Trump administration to take a tougher line with Saudi Arabia. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska led a letter to Pompeo Wednesday reminding him that the U.S. has “enormously powerful tools at our disposal,” including imposing oil import tariffs and sanctions, withdrawing military aid, and even passing NOPEC legislation that would allow the U.S. to sue the oil cartel for antitrust violations.

“By taking advantage of a confusing situation and desperate time, the Kingdom risks its bilateral relationship with the United States,” the senators said.