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Friday's Upbeat News

Updated: Jan 1

Concluding the week with some bite-sized chunks of uplifting news.

Spiritual Home

A court in Ecuador has ruled in favour of the Siekopai Nation’s claim to their ancestral homeland, Pë’këya, on the border of Ecuador and Peru, restoring property title for 42,360 hectares (164 square miles) of some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, reports El País. "Our elders and our youth are so happy to finally return to our home, our spiritual heartland where our myths and the spirits from other dimensions await us. Although colonizers have tried to uproot us from this territory, they have failed. Now we have officially been able to recognize our land for the Siekopai, the Multi-Colored People."

David Hockney's Christmas lights on Battersea Power Station
Credit: Apple
New Festive Lights

British artist David Hockney has unveiled two digitally animated Christmas trees projected onto the 328-foot-tall chimneys of London’s former Battersea Power Station - it's now been transformed into a blend of apartments, shops and offices. The work, titled Bigger Christmas Trees, was created on an iPad and features ten minutes of animation. Hockney’s festive trees are now lighting up the building's facade, home to Apple’s new UK headquarters, and will run every evening from 17.00 - 22.30 until Christmas.

Improving Lives

Growing up in a small village in southern Ghana, Osei Boateng watched many of his family members and neighbours struggle to access basic health care. In many regions of the country, it can take hours to get to the nearest hospital. Boateng said many people lost their lives due to preventable or treatable diseases. His grandmother and aunt were among them. Feeling an urgent call to help, Boateng decided he would make it his life’s mission to bring health care to remote communities in Ghana. He worked hard in school and got a scholarship to study biology at Cornell University in the US. He started his nonprofit, OKB Hope Foundation, and in 2021, he converted a van into a mobile doctor’s office and started bringing health care directly to thousands of people in need in remote areas.

Remarkable Achievement

A few years ago, Egypt had the world’s highest burden of hepatitis C, with around one in ten (nine million) Egyptians chronically infected, reports the New York Times. In one of the greatest-ever public health accomplishments by a country, it has screened its entire population, brokered a deal for drugs and cured almost everyone, and now it's trying to help other African countries do the same.

Planting mangroves near Jakarta
Credit: World Bank
Major Restoration

Paying local residents to plant mangroves in Indonesia has raised incomes, increased fishery output, protected coastal areas, and contributed to efforts to mitigate climate change. Now, says the World Bank, the government has launched a new program to restore 150,000 acres (600,000 ha) of mangroves by 2024 - the world’s largest mangrove restoration ambition to date.

Darth Gator

In the heart of the Florida Everglades, where nature thrives in its untamed beauty, lies a haven for rescued alligators that doubles as an unexpected stage for one particularly unique reptilian resident - Darth Gator. This alligator, with a name that pays homage to a certain iconic dark lord, has an extraordinary talent - he responds to the Imperial March. Yes, you read that right; the imposing notes of the Imperial March from Star Wars are his cue to make an appearance, reports Miami Herald.


“I heard a bird sing in the dark of December. A magical thing. And sweet to remember. We are nearer to Spring than we were in September. I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.” Oliver Herford

On This Day

8 December 2010: The American aerospace venture SpaceX became the first commercial company to release a spacecraft - the Dragon capsule - into orbit and successfully return it to Earth.


Mood Booster

Endangered birds learning to fly and being shown which way to migrate.

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