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Global Good News Round Up

Summary of last week's most important good news from around the world.

Woman jumping for joy on hearing good news

Reaping The Benefits: Homeowners and pollinators are enjoying the benefits of “right to garden” laws, which states are increasingly passing across the U.S.

Climate Education: New Jersey just made history as the first state in the U.S. to establish an Office of Climate Education, reports Planetary Press. The goal of the office is to improve climate literacy and environmental awareness among the state’s students and educators. The hope is that other states will follow this lead.

Girls' Education: Globally, there are 50 million more girls in school today than there were in 2015. UNESCO data shows that completion rates for girls have increased from 86% to 89% in primary school, and from 54% to 61% in high school. There are five million more girls completing each level of education every year now compared to seven years ago.

Fab Four: Thanks to the magic of AI, one last Beatles song is to be released next week.

NZ Marine Conservation: New Zealand is expanding its area of protected ocean by more than two-thirds with six new marine reserves planned for next year, reports RNZ.

Cervical Cancer Breakthrough: Scientists say they may have made the biggest breakthrough in treating cervical cancer in 20 years, using a course of existing, cheap drugs ahead of usual radiotherapy treatment. Trial findings show the approach reduced the risk of women dying from the disease by 35 percent. Cancer Research UK, which funded the work, called the results "remarkable".

Prostate Cancer Breakthrough: Scientists have made a “tremendously exciting” breakthrough in treating prostate cancer. The research was led by the Institute of Cancer Research, London, which described it as a “major scientific advance”. Lead researcher Prof Johann de Bono said: “This is tremendously exciting, and suggests we have an entirely new way to treat prostate cancer on the horizon.” The study’s findings were published in the journal Nature.

Green Lights: New tech optimizes traffic lights and reduces emissions. It's good news for drivers, pedestrians and the planet.

Humpback Highway: Good news about Humpback whales, as record numbers have been recorded migrating down Australia's east coast. The population, which was once on the brink of extinction due to commercial whaling, is believed to have reached 40,000 or more.

The End of Polio: The European Commission, the European Investment Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation just announced a $1.1 billion package for one final push on polio, reports Reuters. The funds will cover polio vaccinations for nearly 370 million children annually and deliver vital health services to children, along with the vaccinations. 'We are about to wipe polio off the face of the Earth.'

Recycling is About to Get Much Easier: QR codes with hyperlocal recycling instructions will soon show up on your purchases - meaning you'll be able to scan an item, type in your ZIP code and see if it's eligible to go in the blue bin.

Malaria Vaccine: Amazing news from UNICEF, the world’s largest vaccine buyer. They've just signed a long-term agreement with the world's biggest vaccine manufacturer and expect to start immunising kids in mid-2024. This is huge, as half a million children currently die of malaria every year.

Coronation Food Project: King Charles is to make tackling food waste his first major personal project as monarch - an initiative aiming to bridge the gap between food waste and food need.

Yellowstone: A conservation group called Greater Yellowstone Coalition has purchased 1,598 acres of land on the boundary of Yellowstone National Park to save it from gold mining, removing the last viable mining threat in the area, says the New York Times.

Industrial Revolution: In a remarkable turnaround, Britain's old coal mines are now providing green energy.

Maternal Care: Over the last seven years, Kenya has trained over 1,200 nurses, with a big emphasis on midwifery and maternal and neonatal care. It's working. The most recent data shows that under-five mortality in Kenya has more than halved, there's been a significant uptick in vaccinations, 98 percent of women now receive antenatal care, and 89 percent of births are attended by a skilled provider.

SA Education: Some good news from South Africa: SA News reports that the proportion of people over the age of 20 years with no formal education fell from 19% in 1996 to 7% in 2022. During the same period, the proportion of people completing high school rose from 16% to 37%, and those completing tertiary education rose from 7% to 12%.

Link Established: By comparing the bacteria found in fruits and vegetables to those found in the human gut, researchers have demonstrated, for the first time, that consuming fruits and vegetables contributes positively to the bacterial diversity of our gut microbiome. Bacterial diversity in the gut plays an important role in our health.

Rare Leave Type: ​Thanks to a new law, California will now guarantee time off work following a miscarriage or other reproductive loss, including failed adoption, in-vitro fertilization, or surrogacy, reports Bloomberg. This new law commences 1 January 2024 and ensures leave for grieving and recovering would-be parents and passed with largely bipartisan support.

EU Crack Down: The EU has announced further plans to crack down on microplastics after its ban on glitter came into force. The proposal, which tackles tiny pellets used in nearly all plastic products, aims to cut plastic pellet pollution by 74 percent by the end of the decade.

Meteoric Rise: The number of electric cars will jump almost tenfold by the end of the decade as China continues to drive both production and adoption. A new report from the IEA has predicted there will be roughly 220 million electric passenger vehicles on the road by 2030, up from 26 million in 2022, fuelling what it described as an “unstoppable” shift to net zero.

No-Brainer: Solar AquaGrid is preparing to break ground on the first solar-covered canal project in the United States. It looks like a blindingly obvious solution that produces a win win scenario. Namely, clean energy that doesn't require land and panels that greatly reduce evaporation of the precious water.

Digital Chaucer: The entire collection of Geoffrey Chaucer’s works held by the British Library is being made available in digital format after the completion of a two and a half year project to upload 25,000 images of the often elaborately illustrated medieval manuscripts. In a “major milestone” for the library, which holds the world’s largest surviving collection of Chaucer, it is hoped the digital platform will enable new research into the 14th-century poet, courtier, soldier, diplomat, and MP who is most famous for his Middle English epic, The Canterbury Tales.

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