Getting the week off to a bright start with an eclectic bundle of positive news nuggets.
World's Oldest Tree
Scientists in Chile believe that a conifer with a 4m thick trunk known as the Great-Grandfather could be the world’s oldest living tree, beating the current record-holder by more than 600 years. A new study carried out by Dr Jonathan Barichivich, a Chilean scientist at the Climate and Environmental Sciences Laboratory in Paris, suggests that the tree, a Patagonian cypress, also known as the alerce milenario, could be up to 5,484 years old. Maisa Rojas, Chile’s environment minister, hailed the news as a “marvellous scientific discovery”.
Sitting on a Fortune?
You may be sitting on a flat-pack fortune if you went shopping at Ikea a few decades ago. Rather remarkably, it looks like certain furniture items from the famous Swedish behemoth are becoming sought after antiques after a £20 ($25) armchair sold for a whopping £15,500 ($19,500) at auction. The Cavelli armchair was purchased from Ikea in 1959. It wasn't the only item that went for hundreds of times its original purchase price, so it might be worth taking a look at what you've got sitting around your house.
Every day this week we will be featuring one of the winners of the Goldman Environmental Prize. Today it's the turn of Nalleli Cobo, who led a coalition to permanently shut down a toxic oil-drilling site in her community in March 2020, at the age of 19 - an oil site that caused serious health issues for her and others. Her continued organizing against urban oil extraction has now yielded major policy movement within both the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which voted unanimously to ban new oil exploration and phase out of existing sites. Cobo, now 21, is studying political science at university, and plans to run for US president in 2036.
US Meat Shift
A gradually waning appetite for meat over the past twenty years has pushed the greenhouse gas emissions of US diets down by 35 percent, finds a surprising and hopeful new study. The country’s emissions still far exceed the suggested national limit to keep global temperatures in line with the Paris Agreement. But the results of the new research suggest that tapping into this emerging sustainable consumption trend could be one promising route to help the US reach its climate targets.
Phubbing: The impolite habit of ignoring someone while answering emails or scrolling on a smartphone. The word, a contraction of “phone snubbing”, was coined by behavioural experts.
Male TV presenters in Afghanistan are wearing face coverings on screen to show solidarity with their female colleagues, after the Taliban decreed that all women must cover their faces in public. In a protest dubbed #FreeHerFace, male anchors on news channels have been donning masks to veil their faces. Mina Lawangeena Sharif, a women’s rights activist, says: “Afghan men showing up for Afghan women is not just a gesture. It’s a turn in the story that will change everything. Brave brothers.”
In the sleepy town of Arthur, Illinois, there's been a life-changing surprise for hundreds of workers at a garage-door maker, C.H.I. Overhead Door. The company's private equity owner, KKR, is selling the company in a $3 billion deal. The sale is generating a massive windfall for both the firm and - uniquely - C.H.I.'s employees, from truck drivers to factory workers. On average, hourly workers will receive $175,000, with the most-tenured receiving rather more. The idea of giving rank-and-file workers equity grants in a sale is a positive move forward and KKR now uses an employee ownership model in all of its US buyouts and is hoping to convince its peers to do the same.
South Korean cinema went from strength to strength on Saturday, scooping two major prizes at Cannes for the first time in the country’s history. Park Chan-wook clinched the best director award for his erotic crime movie Decision to Leave, while Song Kang-ho, best known for his role in the Oscar-winning Parasite, picked up the best actor award for Broker.
Quote of the Day
"Let the judgments of others be the consequence of your deeds, not their purpose."
On this Day
30 May 1922: The Lincoln Memorial - honouring Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, and “the virtues of tolerance, honesty, and constancy in the human spirit” - was dedicated in Washington, D.C.
Dive in Deeper
Vicarious Adrenalin Rush
Guinness World Records confirms that Sebastian Steudtner, 37, surfed the world's biggest wave.