Hollywood resistance, UK quarantine, Japanese cool

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Here’s what you need to know

There is resistance in Hollywood to restarting production. California governor Gavin Newsom had promised to deliver guidelines that will allow filming to resume as early as next week, but suppliers aren’t so sure. “No, the industry is not going to open on Monday,” a Teamster official told the LA Times.

Amazon is hiring 50,000 temporary workers in India. After initial disruption to Indian e-commerce, because of an especially stringent lockdown, the rules have since been relaxed by the government and there’s now a surge in demand for delivery.

For the first time, China isn’t setting a growth target. Two Sessions, the annual legislative event that finally opened today, is instead taking stock of the economy contracting by close to 7%, and unemployment surely at a record high. Meanwhile, e-commerce giant Alibaba posts earnings today.

The UK is introducing mandatory 14-day quarantine for international arrivals. Airlines are furious. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary called the plan “idiotic,” while trade body Airlines UK said it “would effectively kill” travel to and from Britain.

Manchester United’s debt nearly quadrupled. It grew from $154 million to $522 million this year. The English Premier League soccer team has a big hole in its finances because of the pandemic, making it less of a cash cow for its much-criticized American owners, the Glazer family.

Gross National Cool

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In just a few decades, Japan’s global image has changed radically. Particularly in America, which has had a close and complex relationship with Japan since World War II, this image has evolved from fearsome enemy to producer of cheap cars to, finally, a whimsical creative fantasy factory. It took time and the right mix of conditions—economic, certainly, and perhaps social as well—to invent Japan’s global image, Marc Bain reports.

Charting life-changing questions

Changing your life is a big deal. And it’s often very difficult to predict if a dramatic turn will actually make you happier, or shrivel up into little raisins of regret, Sarah Todd writes. That’s an instinct we should fight against, according to the findings of a new study by University of Chicago economist and Freakonomics co-author, Steven Levitt.

The study asked people who were having a hard time making a decision to participate in a randomized digital coin toss. Ultimately, 20,000 coins were tossed—and people whose flip led them to make a big change reported being significantly happier than they were before. Take a look at the top questions that the study’s subjects submitted to the fate of the flip.


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💉 Vaccination: The US government awarded $1.2 billion to UK-based AstraZeneca to speed up the development of a vaccine and reserve 400 million doses—even though the vaccine may never exist.

💳 Finance: Stock prices for the banking giants have leveled off after plunging in April as the number of Covid-19 cases increased exponentially and lockdowns ensued.

✈️ Travel: EasyJet will resume some flights across the UK and France next month. The airline says it will introduce sanitary measures, but continue to fill middle seats.

🧮 Economy: The percentage of borrowers who were falling behind their debts fell in April. The divergence between a crumbling economy and overdue debts probably comes down to forbearance from lenders.

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You asked about virtual reality

When can we start to see AR/VR solutions for events? – Sergio

Big Tech has been saying that virtual reality is on the verge of going mainstream for years. Recent developments—some spurred by the global pandemic–do make it tempting to say this time might be different. Let’s run through a few:

✉️ Do you have a burning question about how coronavirus is changing the world?

Surprising discoveries

A new pygmy seahorse has been discovered.It’s like finding a kangaroo in Norway,” a researcher said.

NASA wants volunteers to spend eight months locked in a mock spacecraft. Participants in the simulated Mars mission will be paid an unspecified amount.

Nearly half of Nigeria’s own tomatoes go to waste. Africa’s second largest producer imports a lot of them, for some reason.

A Sephora worker has Elon Musk’s old cell number. Lyndsay Tucker gets at least three calls or texts a day intended for the Tesla and SpaceX CEO.

Levi’s is selling collector’s item jeans, Willy Wonka-style. Just five pairs of a batch of gold foil-wrapped 501 jeans will have a rare capital E in the brand’s logo.

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