What better way to start the week than by enjoying a global round up of good news nuggets?
The Chinese piano virtuoso Lang Lang is donating hundreds of keyboards to schools in the UK, as part of a plan to bring music to deprived areas. The musician, whose 2019 album Piano Book became the bestselling classical album of the year, will establish ‘piano labs’ in state schools through his International Music Foundation. The UK project follows similar programmes in China and the US, where Lang’s foundation has given nearly 200,000 children access to keyboards.
Artists in Ireland are being invited to apply for a weekly basic income of €325 (£270 / $350), which has just launched to support struggling creatives and boost the country’s cultural sector. The income will be available for up to 2,000 artists over a three-year period. Micheál Martin, the Irish prime minister, said: “Ireland’s arts and culture in all its distinctiveness and variety is the well-spring of our identity. The Basic Income for the Arts is a unique opportunity for us to support our artists and creatives, and ensure that the arts thrive into the future.”
Acts of Kindness
An Australian couple were dining with their grandchildren when they noticed a lone elderly man at a nearby table. Something about the sight of the man in his 90s touched their heart so they invited him over to join them for the meal. At the end of the evening, the Australian couple wanted to pay for the elderly man’s dinner too. But to her surprise, another table had noticed what the family had done and paid for all of their meals before leaving the restaurant.
Away from the madness of the world, a stunning ultra-rare Siberian tiger pauses in a quiet forest in this jaw-dropping picture, recently captured by wildlife photographer Sascha Fonseca using a hidden camera trap in the forests of Russia’s Far East. “It turned out that it’s an unknown male which had not been documented yet. So, it's been a great day for conservationists too!" said Fonseca. Around 350 to 400 adult Siberian tigers are left in the wild, with 95 percent of these individuals inhabiting the forests of the Russian Far East, where they play a critical role in both the ecosystem and local culture, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
U May Well Ask Y
The word 'river' in Scandinavian is Å, and both Norway and Sweden have villages with this as their name. Indeed, Norway has 8 villages called Å, whilst Sweden has 6. Poor old Denmark only has one. Sweden also has a village named Ö, which means 'island.' There are places in Madagascar, Tibet and Vietnam called U. Meanwhile, France has a village called Y. The inhabitants call themselves Ypsilonien(ne)s, from the Greek letter Upsilon, which looks like the letter Y. At the last count, there are 40 places in the world with just a single letter as their name.
The Large Hadron Collider has restarted after a three-year hiatus and is expected to resolve a scientific cliffhanger on whether a mysterious anomaly could point to the existence of a fifth fundamental force of nature. The tantalising findings reported last year have reignited hopes that the 20 mile-long collider beneath the France-Switzerland border could deliver a second blockbuster discovery, more than a decade after the Higgs boson. Dr Mitesh Patel, a particle physicist at Imperial College London whose team was responsible for last year’s research, said: “We are going into this run with more optimism that there could be a revolution coming. Fingers crossed.”
UK EV Good News
The rollout of EV charging is gathering pace in the UK. According to figures from the Department for Transport, there are now more than 30,000 public chargers in operation – a 33 percent increase on last year - as electric vehicle sales soar. Figures suggest that more EVs were sold in March than the whole of 2019. Meanwhile, sales of petrol and diesel vehicles continues to slump. The good news is that the move away from combustion engines is accelerating. And, perhaps one day, the 9 Second Charge will become a reality.
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Quote of the Day
"Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love." Sitting Bull
On this Day
25 April 1990: The Hubble Space Telescope, a sophisticated optical observatory built in the United States under the supervision of NASA, was placed into operation by the crew of the space shuttle Discovery.
Dive in Deeper
Musical Mood Booster
Old movie clips cleverly spliced together to Lionel Ritchie's Dancing on the Ceiling.