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Trump tests negative for coronavirus

Donald Trump, Mike Pence with Brazilian guests
A photo posted to Instagram by Brazil’s presidential communications director, Fabio Wajngarten, shows him at far right, with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Brazilian entrepreneur Alvaro Garnero. (Fabio Wajngarten via Instagram)

President Donald Trump famously downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak at first, but now he’s been tested to see if he’s carrying the virus – and the results show he doesn’t have it.

The ups and downs of the past week illustrate how concerns about coronavirus are being taken more seriously in the White House as the outbreak’s spread has widened.

“I had my temperature taken coming into the room,” Trump told reporters today during a briefing in the White House press room. “I also took the test last night.”

Getting the president to take that test took a while.

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Brazil OKs Boeing-Embraer joint jet venture

Boeing and Embraer jets
The Boeing-Embraer deal would add regional jets such as Embraer’s E190-E2 to a lineup that also includes Boeing’s 737 MAX 7 and larger jets. (Embraer Illustration)

The Brazilian government today approved the creation of a joint venture that would give Boeing control over Embraer’s commercial airplane operation.

That approval is crucial to the $4.2 billion deal, because the government holds a “golden share” in Embraer that could have been used to veto the arrangement. Some observers wondered whether the country’s newly inaugurated president, Jair Bolsonaro, would give the OK.

Today the government said that the agreement “preserves sovereignty and national interests,” and that the “golden share would not be exercised.”

The arrangement calls for Boeing to acquire an 80 percent ownership stake in a joint venture that would take in Embraer’s commercial aircraft and services operations.

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Spaceflight strikes deal for Brazilian satellite launch

Amazonia-1
An artist’s conception shows the Amazonia-1 satellite. (INPE Illustration)

Seattle-based Spaceflight says it’s struck one of its biggest deals for a satellite launch with Brazil’s space research institute, focusing on putting the Amazonia-1 satellite into low Earth orbit in mid-2020.

The contract was awarded on Dec. 18 during a ceremony in São José dos Campos, attended by Brazilian space officials as well as Melissa Wuerl, Spaceflight’s vice president of business development.

Amazonia-1 is designed to make observations of Brazilian territory, with a special focus on the Amazon region, for the National Institute for Space Research, known in Portuguese as the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais or INPE.

It’s the first Earth observation satellite to be completely designed, integrated, tested and operated by Brazil.

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Crowdsourcing saves digital artifacts in Brazil

Funerary mask
A funerary mask from ancient Egypt is among the artifacts from the now-destroyed Museu documented in digital 3-D models. (UFRJ National Museum via Sketchfab)

One of the greatest tragedies in the museum world transpired over the weekend when fire broke out at Brazil’s Museu Nacional do Rio de Janeiro, touching off a mad scramble to save physical and virtual treasures.

Many of the 200-year-old natural history museum’s 20 million artifacts have been destroyed, including irreplaceable fossils and specimens. One heartbreaking videosweeps around a ruined gallery where only a monumental meteorite survived unscathed.

Museum workers managed to save some artifacts from the blaze, and other items survived because they were on loan to institutions elsewhere. But for many of the pieces, the only hope is to build a digital archive containing videos and photos of the museum’s collection.

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Boeing and Embraer forge $4.75B jet venture

Boeing and Embraer jets
The Boeing-Embraer deal would add regional jets such as Embraer’s E190-E2 to a lineup that also includes Boeing’s 737 MAX 7 and larger jets. (Embraer Illustration)

After months of negotiations, Boeing and Brazilian jetmaker Embraer today announced a tentative agreement to form a $4.75 billion joint venture that would bring Embraer’s small-size commercial aircraft operations firmly into Boeing’s fold.

The arrangement is a strategic parry to last year’s move by Boeing’s European archrival, Airbus, to partner with Canada’s Bombardier on small-size jets.

Embraer’s engineering expertise could also come into play as Boeing gears up to design and produce a new breed of midsize jet variously known as the New Mid-Market Airplane, NMA or 797.

“This important partnership clearly aligns with Boeing’s long-term strategy of investing in organic growth and returning value to shareholders, complemented by strategic arrangements that enhance and accelerate our growth plans,” Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s chairman, president and CEO, said today in a news release.

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Boeing-Embraer talks add a twist to trade battle

Embraer jet
Embraer’s E195-E2 jet competes with Bombardier’s CS100. (Embraer Photo)

Boeing and Embraer, a Brazilian regional-jet manufacturer, today confirmed that they’re discussing a “potential combination” in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report suggesting that Boeing was looking into acquiring the company,

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