Meridian Reads: India, coronavirus updates and Katherine Johnson

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Hey there, Meridian Readers. You did it- you made it to another weekend and the beginning of a new month. Let’s celebrate by catching up on the news.

Trump’s visit highlights importance of US-India relationship

Publication: CNBC | By Saheli Roy Choudhury

  • Last week marked President Trump’s first official state visit to India, signifying the the growing strength of a bilateral relationship between Washington and New Delhi.
  • The biggest area of collaboration between the U.S. and India? Defense procurement.
    • India approved plans to purchase 24 military helicopters worth $2.6 billion from American defense firm Lockheed Martin for the Indian Navy, local media reported.
    • New Delhi has inked more defense deals with Washington in recent years, even though India’s longstanding defense supplier had been Russia.
  • Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff Gurmit Singh said India is on the cusp of transforming and modernizing its armed forces, and the country looks at all aspects of security — including its land borders and naval presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • Singh said it’s important the aggregate security apparatus of India is technologically up to par so that the country can monitor its own assets in the area.
    • “The key aspect is that we should be able to carry out effective intelligence, surveillance, and domination of this area,” he said.
  • Expectations of a trade deal between the two countries being announced during Trump’s visit are limited. The president last week said Washington is working on a “very big trade deal” with New Delhi, but that he wasn’t sure if it’ll be done before the November presidential election, according to a transcript released by the White House. Stay tuned.

Coronavirus now spreading faster outside China

A colour-enhanced view of a coronavirus under a microscopePublication: BBC | By Henri Astier, Georgina Rannard and Sophie Williams

  • The virus that originated in Wuhan has now spread to several corners of the world, including Italy, Pakistan, Iran, France, the UK and more.
  • Scientists are racing to develop a vaccine, but the preventative shots often require lengthy testing on thousands of people before they are allowed to be sold.
  • How are countries handling the outbreak?

    • Iranian authorities have announced domestic travel restrictions for people with confirmed or suspected cases.
    • In the UK, tests for coronavirus are being extended to include people displaying flu-like symptoms at 100 GP surgeries and eight hospitals across the country.
    • The French city of Nice has cancelled the finale of its carnival because of coronavirus fears.
  • What about travel bans?
    • Travel bans have been used by some countries to try to stop the spread of the virus. In early February the US and Australia said they would deny entry to foreign visitors who had been to China.
    • However, Dr. Natalie McDermott, an expert in outbreak disease control, told the BBC’s World at One program that they usually don’t work.

NASA’s Katherine Johnson dies at age 101

Know as a ‘human calculator’ and the inspiration behind Hidden Figures, mathematician Katherine Johnson died after over 100 years of life. Learn more about her: