Getting the week off to an upbeat start.
Beautiful bronze sculptures and castings from West Africa have long been exhibited in some of the world's most august institutions, and America's Metropolitan Museum of Art has now announced that it's returning three of these artworks to Nigeria. They include two 16th-century brass plaques created at the Court of Benin, and a brass head produced in Ife around the 14th century. This follows Germany's announcement in May, that it would become the first country to hand back its Benin bronzes, looted by British soldiers in the late nineteenth century.
The US state of Colorado has recorded its first litter of grey wolf pups since the 1940s. The species almost became extinct in the US, but has successfully recolonised the nation thanks to reintroduction programmes. Colorado voters last year approved a measure to have wolves reintroduced to public land by the end of 2023. The latest news appears to indicate that the species is reintroducing itself.
Animal rights campaigners hailed a major victory as Israel becomes the first country to ban the sale of fur. The historic step comes as other nations reconsider their relationship with a controversial material that is fast falling out of fashion. “Israel has made history and put yet another nail in the cruel fur industry’s coffin,” said Mimi Bekhechi, vice president of international programmes at Peta.
Two new drugs are bringing fresh hope for people with breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. A trial of the breast cancer drug Olaparib found it reduced the risk of invasive recurrence, secondary cancers or death by over 40 percent. Meanwhile, the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease for nearly 20 years, called Aducanumab, was approved by US regulators.
Most solar energy panels and equipment are made in China, but US company First Solar is to build America's largest solar panel factory in Ohio. The $680 million investment will be the largest fully integrated solar manufacturing complex in the world outside China and supply a new solar module every 2.8 seconds.
Regenerative agriculture has the potential to meet our world’s future food needs while also serving as a huge carbon sink, but the upfront costs make some farmers wary of adopting these sustainable practices. Now, major agricultural company McCain - the UK’s largest producer of frozen potato products - has committed to implementing regenerative practices across all 370,000 of its growing acres by 2030. Furthermore, the company will also transition to 100 percent renewable energy for its operations by 2030.
Biden is to reverse one of Trump's "most reckless and irresponsible" decisions. Three months before leaving office, President Trump opened up more than half of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, to road building, logging, mining, and other development. Biden intends to put the 20-year-old protections back on the books, so the Tongass will once again be shielded from destructive industry, protecting the people and wildlife who call it home.
Sold! Mystery bidder pays $28m for spare seat on 11 minute space flight with Jeff Bezos in a 10 minute auction, for 20 July trip on Blue Origin with Bezos and his brother.
Race to the top in Australia: Lightweight plastic bags, disposable plastic straws and cutlery, plastic cotton buds and microbeads will be banned in New South Wales from next year, as part of a state government push to drastically reduce plastic litter by 2025. Hours after NSW unveiled its plan, it was upstaged by the Western Australian government, which announced plans to phase out the same plastic items by the end of 2021. The plans follow a national meeting of environment ministers in April that agreed to phase out a range of single-use plastics by 2025.
Dive in Deeper
Giant flying squirrels: Two new species of cat-sized flying squirrels discovered in the Himalaya. It's remarkable that, even in today's world, we're still finding new species. [2 mins] Unexpected twist...
Scientists on the Nautilus team ran into a mysterious creature on an expedition in Hawaii. The strange fish was found nearly a mile beneath the surface.