The New Paper

July 17, 2020

“I still pinch myself when I think about what we've built together – with almost 200 million members and tremendous room for growth.” —Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, on appointing Ted Sarandos as Co-CEO

WORLD

1. India surpassed 1M coronavirus cases yesterday, reaching the third-highest total globally after the US and Brazil. Meanwhile, the US extended coronavirus-driven non-essential travel restrictions between Canada and Mexico through August 21 yesterday, as US coronavirus cases reached a single-day record of 77k.

BUSINESS

2. Netflix added 10M subscribers in Q2, outpacing expectations amid increased demand driven by ongoing shutdowns. However, the streaming giant warned that growth may slow in the remainder of the year, prompting shares to open down over 6% this morning.

More context: Netflix now has 193M paying subscribers globally, up 27% from the same period last year.

Extra: Netflix also announced that Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos will become co-CEO, joining co-founder Reed Hastings in the executive role.

US

3. The Supreme Court declined to block a Florida law that requires felons to pay legal fees before they regain the right to vote while the legislation is reviewed in lower courts. Florida felons (who completed their sentences) regained the right to vote in 2018. However, a subsequent law required that they pay court-related debts before voting, effectively disenfranchising an estimated 774k people.

ECONOMY

4. US retail sales increased by 7.5% in June, nearly returning to pre-coronavirus levels after dropping by 22% between January and April and increasing by 18% in May. The June increase was driven primarily by a 105% increase in clothing store sales, a 20% increase in the restaurant and bar sales, and an 8% increase in auto sales.

More context: Every month, the Census Bureau releases a report measuring the change in retail sales (source). The report is widely used as a barometer for the health of the retail sector, which accounts for ~30% of annual GDP.

Extra: Here’s a chart showing retail sales over time.

QUICK BITS

  • The FBI opened a formal investigation into the widespread Twitter hack that targeted the accounts of ~130 high-profile users earlier this week (including Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Joe Biden).
  • Georgia Governor Brian Kemp sued the Atlanta City Council and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms over an Atlanta rule that requires people to wear masks in public. Kemp noted that the Atlanta rule violates a statewide order that blocks cities from implementing mask requirements.
  • 30-year mortgage rates fell below 3% for the first time on record this week. The recent decline in mortgage rates has been driven in part by the federal reserve maintaining its benchmark interest rate near zero in an effort to combat the economic fallout of the coronavirus. 

BRAIN CANDY

NASA's Solar Orbiter returned the closest-ever pictures taken of the sun. Beautiful, powerful, and a little bit terrifying.

—Editors

P.S. Don't forget to enjoy National Ice Cream Day on Sunday 🍦!