Summary of last week's most important good news from around the world.
Female Rights France: President Macron has revealed his government’s plan to present a draft text to France’s highest administrative court by the end of the year, paving the way for constitutional protection of abortion rights. He declared on social media: “In 2024, the right of women to choose abortion will become irreversible.”
Wasabi: New research shows that this Japanese condiment is brilliant at boosting ageing brains.
Decade of Success: The WHO just released a report on 'a decade of success' in responding to neglected tropical diseases in Africa. This is one of the great public health stories of our time. In 2023, 88 million fewer people in Africa require interventions against NTDs than in 2013. 'The successes of the past decade are built on over 70 years of shared experiences and learnings.'
Re-establishing Ties: “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life,” Oscar Wilde once said. He’d approve, then, of the call by Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of Britain's House of Commons, to enforce dress rules requiring a tie. No longer are men “encouraged” to wear a tie, but instead “expected” to wear one. MPs sans tie and louche of collar are, apparently, unlikely to be called to speak.
First Deaf Lawyer: Sarah Sunny just made history when she became India's first deaf lawyer to argue in the country's Supreme Court, assisted by an interpreter - also the first in its history.
Reason For Hope: Despite the widely-held belief that dementia is destined to rise exponentially as global populations age, in the developed world at least, the prospects of avoiding it are much better than they were a generation ago. In Europe and North America, incidence has fallen by 13 percent per decade over the past 25 years, and that trend is now showing up in other countries too. 'There is reason for hope,' reports the Financial Times.
Earthshot Prizes: At a star-studded event in Singapore, the Prince of Wales awarded five enterprises with $1.2 million each in recognition of their innovative solutions for climate and environmental issues. The winners will also receive mentorship, resources, and technical support from the Earthshot Prize fellowship, a year-long programme to accelerate the growth of their projects.
Pothole Problem? In what potentially looks like very good news, potholes are being fixed in two minutes in an innovative new approach being trialled in London in a new technique called “spray injection patching”.
Space Out: Your choice of streaming services has just expanded thanks to NASA’s new streaming channel. NASA+ launched on Wednesday and, happily, doesn't come with any monthly fees or commercials.
Anastrozole: A daily pill that halves the risk of breast cancer is to be rolled out by the UK's National Health Service, allowing women to live in “freedom from fear”. Amanda Pritchard, head of the NHS, says the first-of-its-kind programme heralds “a new era for cancer prevention”. She says the daily 4p (5 cent) pills will follow statins in having a “transformative” impact saving lives.
A Good Decline: Incarceration rates in the US have been declining steadily over the course of this century. From 2000 to 2021, the imprisonment rate fell by 70 percent for Black women and by 48 percent for Black men. There's still a long way to go to overcome racial inequality, but this is genuine progress, says The 19th, an independent, nonprofit newsroom reporting on gender, politics and policy.
Radical New Wind Turbine: An innovative turbine that could halve the cost of offshore wind - and double the amount of harvested energy - is set to begin testing in Norway. The bizarre looking 19m (62ft) contra-rotating vertical-axis turbine is a prototype of a design that could scale to unprecedented size and power.
US Offshore Wind: Joe Biden's administration has approved the largest offshore wind project in U.S. history. The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project will create clean, reliable offshore wind energy that's capable of powering over 900,000 homes.
Goldwind: The world’s largest wind turbine has smashed the record for the most power produced by a single turbine in a day. China's giant Goldwind turbine towers above the sea with its 252 metre (827ft) diameter sweep and just produced enough energy to power roughly 170,000 homes. Just one turbine. In one day.
Cleaner Air: New data shows that London's clean air drive is working.
Unorthodox Fusion: UK startup ENG8 claims a pivotal fusion energy milestone - consistently achieving over five times more energy output than input. This net gain was validated by an independent certification agency, Underwriters Laboratories. If scalable commercially, it could provide carbon-free electricity from readily available resources like water, reports Interesting Engineering. Though still at an early-stage, any viable fusion reactor is something of a holy grail for clean energy. “The results are quite brilliant, the stability of the fusion reaction was incredible, and this development can make the biggest difference to climate change of any other technology on earth. It changes everything - faster than you think,” says Valeria Tyutina, CEO at ENG8.
That's it, you're up to date.