US-China tensions escalate, Trump vs. Twitter, quarantine breath

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Here’s what you need to know

US-China relations entered uncharted territory… In a matter of hours, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that the US would no longer certify Hong Kong’s autonomy; the House sent a Uyghur human rights bill to Donald Trump; a Canadian court cleared the way for extradition proceedings against Huawei’s CFO to go forward, and the US and China went head to head at the UN Security Council over Hong Kong.

…and China moves forward with a national security law for Hong Kong. Despite mounting international objections, the National People’s Congress is almost certain to give the go ahead to impose the law on the semi-autonomous city on the last day of the “Two Sessions” meetings. A bill making it an offense to disrespect the national anthem is also expected to pass in Hong Kong’s legislature today.

The UK launches its test-and-trace system. People who have Covid-19 symptoms will now be able to arrange for a test, and those who have been in close contact with the person will be contacted. The government says some 25,000 contact tracers are available to help with the process.

Trump will sign an executive order on social media. The details of the order are unclear, but the announcement comes after the US president railed against social networks for censoring conservative voices, and after Twitter attached a fact-checking notice on two of Trump’s tweets.

Charting spacecraft cost

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One small seat for a human equals one giant leap for humankind—more astronauts that can be sent to space means more experiments and more science. And the relatively low per-seat cost of SpaceX’s crew Dragon spacecraft means that Earthlings could see SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s dream of sending humans to other planets become a reality much faster.

But what about monetizing space as an environment, such as with the reportedly planned film collaboration between SpaceX, NASA, and Tom Cruise? Or SpaceX’s space tourism dealings with Axiom? Despite the relative per-seat cheapness, the astronomical cost involved means that the return on investment would likely be far too low, particularly when the safety risks skyrocket with each additional passenger.

The crewed Dragon launch may have been postponed, but that just means more time for you to get caught up. Quartz’s Tim Fernholz is taking us there for a per-seat cost of free during this exciting time for space enthusiasts. Click the button below to sign up for our Space Business email.👇

For Quartz members

How do you make a hit series during a pandemic?

Studios are figuring out how to start up TV and film production in time to continue the efficient release of content, and Netflix has already resumed filming on shows in Iceland and Sweden. Here’s what a day on the set looks like for actors:

  • Voluntary testing for Covid-19
  • Temperature tests every morning
  • Self-quarantining for 14 days before shooting
  • Isolating with crew for the duration of the two-week shoot
  • Boxed meals instead of buffets
  • Single-use, disposable makeup applicators
  • Visual effects swapped in for some live scenes

It isn’t surprising that Netflix, a business predicated on at-home entertainment, benefited from consumers staying at home. But is a crash inevitable? Pop some popcorn, pause your favorite show, and read our field guide on what’s next for Netflix.

✦ Get access to this field guide and a lot more when you become a Quartz member. (Try a seven-day free trial.) ✦

You asked about bank stability

What keeps all banks from going under when the grace period for not paying rent or house payments finally occurs and people aren’t able to pay? —C.A.P.

For now, the world’s big investment banks are expected to stay modestly profitable despite the virus breakout, according to a report published in April by Moody’s Investors Service. These lenders have been fortified with capital since the financial crisis and many have suspended share repurchases, and they’ve been socking away loan-loss provisions by the billions. But you’re right, it can’t last forever, and everything depends on whether economic conditions start looking up by the end of this year.

Local bank branches, which were already in decline, will have a much tougher time—John Detrixhe, Daniel Wolfe, and Dan Kopf came up with a fascinating, if rather dispiriting, tool to help you determine the likelihood yours will close down by July.

For more from John Detrixhe, you may want to check out the Quartz field guide on how to save the economy (✦). It’s free for Quartz members (and non-members, if you sign up for a seven-day free trial).

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

Surprising discoveries

People in Thailand are ditching Twitter for a crypto social network. A privacy scare and fears of government censorship have prompted an exodus to Minds.

No one is worried about bad breath right now. Hershey’s gum and mint sales are way down.

An app lets Japanese soccer fans cheer (or boo) from a distance. It pipes their remote reactions into the stadium’s speakers.

Carnivorous dinosaurs ate their own kind. Paleontologists found the toothmarks of giant meat-eating dinosaurs in fossils dug up in the west of the US.

The Babysitters’ Club is coming back, with adjustments. The 1990’s young adult series is getting some tech updates in its Netflix adaptation—but there’ll still be a landline.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, cordless phones, and soccer cheers to Get the most out of Quartz by downloading our app on iOS or Android and becoming a member. Today’s Daily Brief was written by Isabella Steger and edited by Tripti Lahiri.