OGN Monday

Collection of uplifting news snippets to ensure a bright start to the week.

  • Looks like the ideal place to be right now! Hungarian snapper Irene Becker was handed a commended accolade for this picture of 'the River House' holiday home on the Drina River near Bajina Basta, Serbia, in the 2020 Travel Photographer of the Year contest.

  • Health care workers in Oregon made sure not a single drop of precious Covid-19 vaccine went to waste during treacherous winter weather. A snowstorm stranded them as they came back from a clinic with six leftover doses of the vaccine that were now in danger of expiring. To keep them from going to waste, the workers went from car to car in the backup, offering free jabs. Imagine that conversation! "Terrible weather we're having! Would you like a Covid vaccine?" All of the doses got used, and an ambulance was standing by just in case anyone had an adverse reaction.

  • In mid-December, Norway's government agreed to invest £1.5bn ($2bn) on a CO2 storage facility beneath the North Sea. Described as a game-changer, it gives the the hard-to-decarbonise industries the chance to clean up their emissions.

  • Tackling the spread of misinformation is one of the challenges of today. Finland has an interesting plan. Spurred by seeing the damage caused by fake news in neighbouring Russia, the Finnish government introduced teaching critical thinking to secondary schools in 2014. Students are asked to gather information on a topic before evaluating the source and content. Is it working? It’s too early to say for sure, but signs are encouraging.

  • One good turn deserves another: Jewish man bequeaths nearly £2m to French village that sheltered him from the Nazis as a child. Eric Schwan, who died on 25 December at the age of 90, left a large part of his fortune to Chambon-sur-Lignon, a remote mountain village in south-east France that took in some 2,500 Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. The small village has become famous for the extraordinary courage of its people during the Vichy regime and Nazi occupation. The village said Schwan had asked that the money be used to fund scholarships and other educational and youth initiatives.

  • Unhappy with the apparent lack of transparency over AstraZeneca's perceived failure to deliver its full compliment of doses, EU leaders spent a frustrating weekend poring over the contract and stuck on hold trying to get answers. Warning: Ha Ha / Fake News.

  • Snowy owl spotted in Central Park for first time since 1890. Scientists aren’t sure why the bird ventured this far south and then all the way into the crowded metropolis. The quiet of lockdown perhaps. Its appearance is a delightful reminder of the wonders of nature during this difficult time and the beauty of the natural world amidst one of the planet’s busiest cities.

  • What if China could halve its meat consumption? As livestock farming produces 20 to 50 percent of all man-made greenhouse gases, finding alternative protein sources is crucial to meeting global reductions in emission targets. Halving China’s animal-agriculture sector could result in an annual 1 billion metric-ton reduction of CO2 emissions. That's more than the total emissions of the global airline industry.

  • This is a great idea: Similar to a classic pregnancy test, a colour-changing strip may, in the future, be includeded within face masks to detect the presence of Covid-19 in the air you breathed that day, allowing everyone to self-monitor the environments they pass through. The 'smart-mask' concept is being trialed by scientists in San Diego.

  • Benefits of 4 day week: With productivity increases close to zero since the 2008 financial crisis, there's is a growing expectation that a broader shift to shorter working hours will happen in 2021.

  • A study from a team of European researchers has found that more trees planted in a city correlates with fewer antidepressant prescriptions. This research further supports the assertion that adding more trees and green space to urban areas is a cost-effective and influential public health measure. Not to mention it’s good for the planet as well.

  • We love street art, particularly if it's interactive: