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The anniversary of Tiananmen Square. For the first time since the 1989 massacre in Beijing, the protest won’t be honored by a group vigil in Hong Kong, though organizers are encouraging alternative forms of commemoration. Taiwan has publicly said China should apologize for the original incident, which the latter country denounced as “nonsense.”
China gave the UK its own warning. The two countries have traded threats over China’s actions in Hong Kong, with the UK recently offering to welcome refugees from its former colony and promising to form an alliance of countries to resist China if it didn’t reconsider its national security law plans. Beijing responded by saying London’s threats would “backfire.” British-based banks HSBC and Standard Chartered have both come out in support of China’s law.
The US will suspend flights from Chinese airlines. The Trump administration said China has not allowed American carriers to resume operations so it will halt inbound passenger flights from China-based carriers starting June 16.
SoftBank will invest in people of color. The new Opportunity Growth Fund, which tops $100 million, will be used expressly for investing in companies run by people of color, which currently only make up 1% of VC-backed startups.
Warner Music had the biggest-yet US IPO of 2020. The world’s third-largest music publisher saw its stock lift around 20% from its initial price of $25 a share, valuing the company at around $15 billion in a show of strength for the resurgent music industry.
Reading the signs
A well-made sign is a potent weapon in the effort to fight the spread of Covid-19. As you consider what signage might make sense for your place of business, consider these tips from Tim Fendley, creative director of the London-based consultancy Applied Wayfinding:
- It’s not about branding. Forget matching colors or fonts to complement a corporate logo. A good warning sign needs to be visible, direct, and clear above all.
- If you have to think about what a sign means, it’s already failed. Applied took the CDC’s red coronavirus ball and translated it into a graphic. As shown above, they used it to indicate where the invisible virus might be present.
- The principle of progressive disclosure. Instead of creating a big poster listing all the rules at the front of an office, it’s better to guide people through a space with a series of visual prompts, like encouraging hand washing near sinks.
Charting diversity at Nike
Nike was among the earliest companies to put out a statement of solidarity with the black community amid ongoing US protests. And although the company has internally acknowledged the blight of racism in the past, it also has admitted that its executive ranks aren’t as diverse as they should be. While about 22% of all Nike employees are black, according to the diversity statistics it publishes, the proportion shrinks as you move up the corporate ladder. When you get to the level of vice presidents, 10% are black and 77% are white.
Even so, Nike’s leadership may still demonstrate greater diversity than much of the US business world. Black Enterprise found 187 companies in the S&P 500—or about 37%—did not have a single black board member in 2019.
We’re obsessed with national anthems
Uniting and dividing all over the globe. National anthems are supposed to be rousing ballads of unity, but ever since the rise of the nation-state, they’ve also been contentious symbols of national identity. In recent years, we’ve seen how powerfully symbolic a national anthem can be, as US football players knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 2016 to protest police violence against minorities. On the other side of the world, the fight over China’s national anthem has become a flashpoint in relations between Hong Kong and Beijing. Sit, stand, kneel—whatever you like—it’s the Quartz Weekly Obsession.
For Quartz members: An Africa post-Covid dejargonizer
The challenge of the coronavirus pandemic for African countries hasn’t necessarily been about the health of their citizens, but about the wellbeing of their balance sheets. The fallout could be devastating, but could also lead to some positive, transformative effects if handled with strategic competence from governments, policymakers, and the private sector. Read more in our field guide on Africa after Covid-19, but first, let’s get familiar with some key terms and entities.
Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): An agreement which aims to enable seamless trade among the 54 member states of the African Union by creating the world’s largest free trade area since the World Trade Organization
“Softer money”: Financing with better terms being sought by small to medium-sized businesses in Africa to try to get through the coronavirus pandemic
DFI: International development finance institutions (DFI), such as the UK’s DFiD or Germany’s GIZ, which are major sources of investment capital on the continent
Debt-trap diplomacy: The concern that China has been coercing developing countries, particularly in Africa, into taking credit on onerous terms, which could see China grab control of state assets if the loans are not repaid as agreed
Mask diplomacy: The soft power move to win goodwill by sending teams of hospital workers to struggling countries, along with donations of masks and other medical equipment
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You asked about Wuhan’s testing
Wuhan set itself a goal to test every resident in the city in 10 days. They started on May 16th and reputedly achieved their goal. What were their findings? —John
In case you missed the news John is referring to, when a new cluster of Covid-19 cases emerged in May in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the pandemic is believed to have started, officials vowed to test every resident to head off a potential second wave of the virus. It took a bit longer than 10 days to reach the goal, but the results are finally in—and 9.9 million tests in 19 days is nothing to sneeze at (too soon?).
The good news for Wuhan is that it found just 300 asymptomatic coronavirus cases, all of whom were placed in isolation until they test negative. There were no positive tests among the 1,174 close contacts of the new asymptomatic cases.
✉️ Do you have a burning question about how coronavirus is changing the world?
A dinosaur’s last meal. A mummified stomach from an armored nodosaur revealed carefully chosen herbs, twigs, and some charcoal.
The last US Civil War pensioner has died. Irene Triplett’s father fought for the Union Army (long before she was born), which qualified her for monthly veteran funding.
The earliest known Mayan structure was found with lidar. The sheer size of the 3,000-year-old platform suggests the civilization developed more quickly than archaeologists had previously assumed.
Cambodia doesn’t want those dollar bills. The country’s national bank said it had far too many $1, $5, and even $2 banknotes in its stockpiles.
Hitler’s house is becoming a police station. The project will be completed in 2022.
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