Good News Nuggets

Updated: Jul 18

Today's collection of upbeat news nuggets to get the day off to a bright start.

  • After decades of being exploited by loggers, a vast, cross-border area of breathtaking beauty in the Balkans, centered around the Sharr Mountains, is to be a new national park spanning 240,000 hectares (just under 600,000 acres). It will be one of the largest in Europe and range through Albania, North Macedonia and Kosovo, providing a refuge for bears, wolves and lynx (pictured).

  • How green are your greens? A new traffic light system that gives food products an eco rating will soon let European shoppers know. The front-of-pack environmental scores are to be trialled in the UK from September, with a view of rolling them out across the continent in 2022. Products including meat, milk and vegetables will be graded on their carbon emissions, biodiversity impact and water usage from farm to supermarket.

  • He is the celebrated deep-sea explorer who discovered the Titanic, as well as the German battleship Bismarck and other historic sunken vessels around the world. Now Dr Robert Ballard is pioneering cutting-edge technology - autonomous underwater vehicles that will “revolutionise” the search for more than three million shipwrecks that lie scattered across ocean floors, according to a UNESCO estimate. Many will offer new insights into life on board at the time of sinking, hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

  • Five of the world’s leading reef and climate scientists have thanked UNESCO for recommending the Great Barrier Reef be listed as world heritage 'in danger', saying it was the right decision in part because Australia had not “pulled its weight” in reducing emissions. Indeed, Australia is a laggard in getting on with dealing with climate change issues so, whilst it's bad news that the reef might be in danger, the good news is that it may spur the country into pulling its proverbial finger out and doing something about its responsibilities.

  • A hidden underground tram station in the centre of London that stood in as the Avengers HQ on the big screen is to open to the public for the first time since its closure almost 70 years ago. People will be able to tour the platforms and halls of the Kingsway station, which allowed passengers on doubledecker trams to interchange between the once-comprehensive networks north and south of the Thames, which closed after the second world war.

  • Following recent news that Hollywood movie star Leonardo DiCaprio was kindly stumping up $43m to help preserve the Galapagos Islands, the lesser know Chip Wilson, the Lululemon founder, has generously stepped in to purchase two islands in the Salish Sea off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island - to stop them being developed - and donated them to charity. The islands contain rare, coastal Douglas fir ecosystems that can contain trees upwards of 400 years old, and are critical habitat for at-risk species that also rely on those ancient forests.

  • Football expressed in kettles: When England played Germany last Wednesday kick-off was at 17.00, and the match triggered a 1GW surge in power demand at half-time and around 1.6GW after full time - equivalent to 888,000 kettles being switched on for a cup of tea. Beating Germany 2-0 meant England progressed to the quarter finals in Rome on Saturday night, with kick-off three hours later at 20.00. Electricity use spiked to 1.4GW - enough to power around 800,000 kettles - at the 45-minute bell and 1.1GW when the final whistle blows. Thus proving that opening the fridge door at full time to grab a celebratory beer uses much less power than a kettle.

  • Germany now has 1 million electric cars on the road, the Economy Minister told Tagesspiegel daily, saying subsidy programs had boosted demand.

Dive in Deeper

World's Smallest Cat

Watch a rusty spotted cat, the world's smallest cat, explore his forest home in Sri Lanka in this charming 2 minute BBC film.