Getting the week off to an upbeat start with a collection of good news nuggets.
Spying ain’t what it used to be. The head of MI5, the UK spy agency, revealed that the “tap on the shoulder” recruitment method is no more. Gone are the days when reliable recruiters, hidden among Oxbridge dons, would select suitable candidates from the brightest undergraduates. Ken McCallum, Director-General of MI5, has declared that his service’s chosen method is now that “everyone applies - no one is chosen”. Having said that, MI5 recently released a series of comical job application letters from children determined to become the agency's next James Bond.
The absence of humans has been good news for wildlife almost everywhere, including western Albania's Divjaka-Karavasta Lagoon. The badly needed peace and quiet for endangered pelicans has resulted in population growth. Environmentalists say nesting pairs have increased by one-fifth in the last two years, from 68 in 2019 to 85 this year, as numbers of human visitors to the lagoon have halved. They're huge birds, reaching up to six feet (nearly 2m) in length and 11 feet (more than 3m) in wingspan.
Becoming a grandmaster in chess is no small feat. There are only around 1,500 grandmasters in the world, and you have to reach a certain chess rating and tournament milestones to earn the title. So hats off to Abhimanyu Mishra from New Jersey who has done all of that at the tender age of 12 years, becoming the youngest grandmaster in the world.
China’s 70-year campaign to combat malaria finally paid off this week, as the World Health Organization confirmed that the country had defeated the disease.
Good news for London as it reclaims its crown as Europe's top share trading hub in a symbolic victory for the City after it fell behind Amsterdam in the wake of Brexit. The Square Mile's recapture of the top spot represents a return to normality after it was knocked out of pole position because of Brexit, when swathes of activity were forcibly relocated by a European Union ban on the bloc's stocks from being traded outside its jurisdiction.
A 'bike highway' running between Daejon and Sejong in South Korea is a sight - or rather, a concept - you surely haven't thought of before. It stretches for 20 miles (32 km), and not only shields cyclists from the sun but also generates power. It's true that a bicycle lane in the centre of a highway is an unusual location, especially with three lanes of traffic on either side of it, yet it works and is a win for green energy. The bike lane produces more than enough electricity to power the highway lighting and the electric vehicle charging stations.
Sticking to the subject of cyclists, the spectator responsible for causing a devastating 50-bike pile-up in the Tour De France has been apprehended, with officials adding that she may have been responsible for a lot more than just a few mangled bicycles and a number of grazed cyclists. “We’re certain you’ve all seen the footage of this individual holding out a sign saying hello to her grandparents while gurning for the camera, before a speeding bicycle crashed into her” said one TDF official, while reporting that the as-yet-unnamed woman is being charged with egregious stupidity and 3rd degree attention seeking. The official added that she is also being charged with and blamed for Brexit, Trump’s 2016 election victory, the cancellation of Seinfeld, and the disappearance of Amelia Earhart.
As the space race between the world’s richest men continues, Richard Branson appears to have rocketed ahead. The British business magnate has announced that he’s flying to space on 11 July, just a few days before fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos.
UK government has announced that coal will not be used to generate electricity from 1 October 2024, a year sooner than originally planned.
Dive in Deeper
Son of Hubble: It's just shut itself down after 30 years, but its replacement is blasting into space later this year to peer even further back in time to the origins of the universe. [2 mins] Beginning of time...
When a petrel attacks them, emperor penguin chicks stand together against it. Watch out for the rescue mission from a particularly feisty Adelie penguin!