All you need to know today.
1. Coronavirus updates: US passes 3 million cases
The US has passed the 3 million cases mark. Amid the rapidly growing cases,
New applications for unemployment benefits exceeded 2 million people last week, according to Labor Department data issued Thursday. The numbers are still high, and this has been going on for over 16 weeks, the impact of the pandemic is still enormous. In total, nearly 33 million Americans were getting jobless benefits as of June 20. Things were fairing better in recent weeks, but as states begin to see a resurgence of the virus, more and more businesses are re-closing.
In San Francisco, indoor dining and re-opening bars are still banned, leaving the immediate future of bay area dining to be “outside or to-go”.
Disney World is planning for re-opening this weekend though, despite the uptick of cases in Florida. The public concern centers around the nearly 114,000 new coronavirus cases that were reported in the last two weeks, with hospital reaching almost full capacity, as well as ICUs.
California had 7,697 new infections based on the seven-day moving average, which is more than 26% higher compared with a week ago.
Across the globe in Japan, the country is also seeing continuous upticks of cases, yesterday reporting over 200 cases of covid-19 in Tokyo. However, the country won’t be placed on another lockdown.
The government has said the recent spike is mainly due to more people getting tested, especially those working at nightlife entertainment facilities, such as host clubs and hostess bars.
2. Seoul city mayor found dead
Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon was found dead and found by Seoul police this morning after a seven hour search. His daughter reported him missing a day prior after finding a note that read like a will.
As mayor of the city of nearly 10 million people, Park was one of South Korea’s most influential politicians and played a significant, high profile role in the battling of the pandemic. Police do not suspect any foul play, but further investigation may be needed as the death was sudden.
South Korea’s new agency reported that a former secretary of Park had filed a complaint on Wednesday over alleged incidents of sexual harassment. No correlation can be made during this time, and the sudden death is a tragedy for his family.
Park was seen as a potential presidential hopeful for the liberals in the 2022 presidential elections.
3. Facebook’s own internal audit results didn’t fair well
Imagine failing your own test. That’s what happened to Facebook during its independent Civil Rights audit, after two years of work. The auditors found that the company simply hasn’t done enough to combat hate and abuse on its platform.
This is not good, especially as the November US Presidential election is only a few months away.
The audit, which was commissioned by Facebook at the urging of civil rights leaders and politicians, comes amid a growing advertiser boycott of the platform.
The report is an important one for Facebook’s reputation, but it isn’t binding. Facebook can choose to implement the recommendations in the report or to dismiss them
Facebook systematically chooses to prioritize the speech of politicians over shutting down harmful and hateful rhetoric, which hurts its users overall. This isn’t a good move to execute, as it fails to fact check politicians, take down hate speech, racism and more. When you value the very basis of “Free Speech” above all else, it can cause systemic problems.
Facebook’s audit highlights that the company has a long way to go in combating hate speech, particularly around white nationalism. The company has a team of 350 people who work exclusively on combating dangerous groups on Facebook apparently, but it’s simply not enough. The company has to realize that whatever happens on the platform, can lead to harmful real world consequences.
4. Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy
People are moving further and further away from mid level high street brands as Brooks Brothers joins the likes of J Crew in filing for bankruptcy.
The brand is over 200 years old, and remains one of the few left with factories in the US.
Brooks Brothers, known for its preppy casual attire, business suits and white pressed shirts have been a staple in American corporate culture for generations, but as many workplaces shift to more casual wear, the brand started to lose its footing. Then, came the pandemic.
“Retailing has been changing a lot in the last four to five years, and we were in the process of adapting to that new environment. When coronavirus came, there was really no way to sustain things,” said owner Claudio Del Vecchio.
it seeks a buyer and restructures its debts, Brooks Brothers said it has secured a $75 million debtor-in-possession loan from WHP Global.
Like many retailers before it, Brooks Brothers was already suffering pre pandemic, the company had about $1 billion in revenue in 2019, and about a quarter of its sales came from ecommerce. It has 500 stores around the world and roughly 200 in North America and closed 50 stores amid the pandemic.
The latest today? Brooks Brothers has found two potential buyers, Sparc Group and mall owner Simon Property Group is considering bidding to buy Brooks Brothers.
Both potential bidders are planning to keep most Brooks Brothers stores intact, betting that the retailer’s survival is tied to a strong brick-and-mortar presence.