Good morning, Quartz readers!
Here’s what you need to know
It’s the 31st anniversary of Tiananmen Square. For the first time in three decades, the 1989 massacre in Beijing won’t be officially memorialized on Chinese soil following a ban on the mass vigil in Hong Kong , ostensibly over social distancing restrictions. Organizers are calling for alternative forms of commemoration instead, including lighting candles all over the city. Adding to tensions, local lawmakers are voting on a law that would make booing the national anthem a crime.
The European Central Bank is set to ramp up its stimulus… Following Germany’s announcement yesterday of a €130 billion (£ 116 billion) stimulus package, the ECB is widely expected to buy even more government bonds to soak up new debt as part of an effort to cushion the pandemic’s economic fallout, adding to the €750 billion purchasing program announced in March. Meanwhile, UK prime minister Boris Johnson hosts a virtual global summit to raise funds for vaccines.
…and the EU-China summit was canceled. The planned gathering in Germany was scrapped over coronavirus fears, and a new date has not been set. German chancellor Angela Merkel, who earlier planned to use her country’s six-month EU presidency to build stronger ties with China, will instead focus on Europe’s coronavirus recovery.
Minnesota charged three more officers over George Floyd’s death. Prosecutors charged them as accessories to second-degree murder and manslaughter, while Derek Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, faces a new charge of second-degree murder. Separately, former US defense secretary James Mattis denounced president Donald Trump’s handling of the protests.
The US is set to restrict more Chinese media outlets. At least four additional outlets, including top state-owned network Chinese Central Television, are expected to be designated as foreign embassies, which will limit their operations in the US. Five other Chinese outlets were already placed under restrictions in February.
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, shown above, 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.
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 another 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
✦ To gain access to all the stories, presentations, field guides, workshops, and more available exclusively to Quartz members, you can start with a seven-day free trial. ✦
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 Spanish porn star was arrested over a deadly mystic ritual. He was charged with manslaughter in connection with a man who died after inhaling psychedelic toad venom.
Urban foxes in the UK seem to be self-domesticating. When rural red foxes moved from the countryside to the city, they began to evolve dog-like traits.
Post offices used to poke holes in the mail. It was done to expose the envelope’s contents to fumigation, so as to sanitize it.
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.
A dinosaur’s last meal. A mummified stomach from an armored nodosaur revealed carefully chosen herbs, twigs, and some charcoal.
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, dog-like foxes, and mummified leftovers to email@example.com. 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 Mary Hui and edited by Tripti Lahiri.