OGN New Year's Day

Bite sized chunks of good news to get 2021 off to a bright start.

  • UK: Tesco has offered to help ministers roll out coronavirus vaccines as the private sector throws its weight behind the biggest immunisation programme in British history. The supermarket’s subsidiary Best Food Logistics is understood to have offered up its network of refrigerated lorries and warehouses as part of a race to give the newly authorised Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine to millions of people by April.

  • 2020 turned the tide towards a global green economy: Amid last year’s gloom, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the climate in 2021. We list the 'big ticket' items.

  • Adam Rutherford - presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Inside Science - predicts that DeepMind's data crunching protein predictors will be the first Artificial Intelligence to win a Nobel Prize. When it comes to designing drugs, or simply understanding how a protein works - or goes wrong in a disease - understanding the protein in three dimensions is essential. And that's been beyond our abilities. Until now.

  • A British artist has created a series of breathtaking snow “drawings” by walking in circles for hours. 61-year-old Simon Beck had to battle the elements in Silverthorne, Colorado while he created the incredible patterns.

  • The improved air quality and reduced ozone pollution that followed the 1970 passage of the US Clean Air Act has saved the lives of 1.5 billion birds across the continent, according to new research - which also shows that regulations that are nominally designed to protect human health provide value for other species as well.

  • Kira Labs, a small business in Florida, is offering a million donations of hand sanitizer to hospitals, schools and nonprofits in need. Interested groups can submit a form at this link to request a minimum of 2,500 and up to a maximum of 20,000 tubes of 70% alcohol hand sanitizer while supplies last.

  • The Body Shop will start hiring the first person who applies for any retail job. No interviews, no background checks, no drug tests. When there is a job available, just answer three yes-or-no questions and the job is yours. It’s a new philosophy called “open hiring” - and it works.

  • In Finland, a coalition of five political parties are all led by women of whom four are under 35 years old, and one of their main priorities is gender equality. In a testament to this goal, the government has announced plans to give new fathers the same amount of paid time off work as new mothers. Dad's paid paternity leave will now be nearly seven months too.

  • In a major win for the green energy transition, the US Energy Information Administration recently reported that the country consumed more energy from renewable sources last year than from coal. Furthermore, according to a new study, the size of global coal power fell for the first time on record, with more generation capacity shutting than starting operation.

  • 2020 was a good year for both wildlife and marine life - two very considerable upsides to the tumultuous year. If you missed these articles earlier in the week, you might like to enjoy them today as you usher in the New Year.

  • With minutes to spare, Boris Johnson's post-Brexit trade deal passes into UK law. Prime minister thanks MPs and peers after Queen gives royal assent to bill redrawing ties with EU.

  • Village decked in lights raises millions: A spectacular 89 acre display of holiday lights is helping kids with critical illnesses this winter.

  • Finnish comedian Ismo Leikola explains how difficult it is for a foreigner to learn the meaning of the word 'shit' - as it has so many wildly different (and subtly similar) permutations. Anyway, if you've woken up today feeling a bit shitty, you'll definitely have a good laugh at this shit.

Happy New Year!