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OGN Tuesday

Today's collection of positive news snippets.

  • The post-Brexit trade and security deal has been unanimously backed by EU member states, paving the way for the new arrangements to come into force on 1 January. At a meeting of ambassadors in Brussels, the 27 member states gave their support for the 1,246 page treaty. The only obstacles standing in the way of the deal now coming into force are votes by MPs and peers in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The UK parliament has been recalled to sit on Wednesday 30 December to debate and vote on the legislation.

  • Supermarkets in England are to be barred from displaying unhealthy food and drinks at checkouts or using them in buy one, get one free offers, as part of a proposed government crackdown on obesity. The planned restrictions were praised by health campaigners as a “bold first step” in Downing Street’s promised campaign against obesity.

  • Drug reverses cognitive decline: Small molecule cognitive enhancer reverses age-related memory decline.

  • Earlier this month Bank of America announced that it will no longer fund oil and gas drilling in the Arctic (becoming the final major US or Canadian bank to make such a commitment), and we now learn that Lloyds, the world’s biggest insurance market, will stop new insurance cover for coal, oil sands and Arctic energy projects by 2022.

  • Starbucks barista learns sign language so she can communicate with her deaf customers. Here's what one of them posted on Instagram: Oh, I gotta love this place. Starbucks woman cashier, she wrote it to me and she knew I am deaf. She asked me "what you want drink?" in sign language.⁠ I am so blessed with her. Please share this post to everyone. I want hearing people to understand about hearing community support for the deaf community.⁠

  • World's largest asset manager, BlackRock, with a $7.8 trillion portfolio, is adding teeth to its climate rhetoric, promising to vote against and oppose the re-election of management who failed to “move with sufficient speed and urgency” on climate matters.

  • British regulatory approval of a Covid-19 vaccine candidate developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca could accelerate the lifting of restrictions, cabinet office minister Michael Gove said yesterday. Gove said that if it was approved there would be a “significant increase” in vaccine available. Britain is already rolling out a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Regulatory approval for the Oxford vaccine is expected on or before 4 January.

  • Good news for the Amazon: Over the last 14 years, a unique public-private initiative has reduced soy farming deforestation in the Amazon, so much so, that almost no soy coming from the Amazon currently contributes to deforestation - saving 7,000 square miles of forest.

  • President Donald Trump has signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package, ending days of drama over his refusal to accept the bipartisan deal that will deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and avert a federal government shutdown.

  • 27-year-old Jonathan Pinkard, homeless and autistic, had lost all hope for survival after he was taken off the heart transplant list, because he didn’t have a support system. Among other things, The United Network for Organ Sharing evaluates if applicants will be responsible enough for their own health after the transplant, as there simply are too many candidates.⁠ When 57-year-old ICU nurse at Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Georgia, Lori Wood, found out that her patient had lost all chance for survival, she offered him to adopt him. Soon after, Jonathan received a heart transplant and hopes to return to work in the New Year. Lori Wood, in turn, was presented with an award for “going above and beyond for her patients, visitors and co-workers.”⁠

  • Sunset Boulevard: You won’t want to miss streaming Leicester Curve’s concert version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, based on Billy Wilder’s classic movie. The tale of a flat tyre, a faded idol and a body in the pool is told with a 16-piece orchestra and stars Ria Jones and Danny Mac. Until 9 January.

  • Whilst you're waiting for the sun to set on the boulevard, how about enjoying Evolution of Piano Music? A brilliant 5 minute video of two pianists demonstrating the evolution of piano music from 1722 to today.

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