TGI Friday! Today's collection of inspiring, upbeat, good news nuggets.
Next spring, California condors will soar in northern California for the first time in a century. Four young condors will be released in Redwood National and State Parks, reintroducing this critically endangered species to what was once only the middle of a vast range that stretched from Baja California all the way up to British Columbia. But if it weren't for the Yurok Tribe, who have fought for the return of this culturally and ecologically important bird for the past 13 years, the condor's Pacific Northwest homecoming might never have happened at all.
The ‘Amazon of Europe’ is a major victory for nature. After 12 years of international effort, a transborder UNESCO Biosphere Reserve will span 4,000 square miles and is the world's first to cover five nations. Protecting the valuable and vulnerable riverine and estuarine ecosystems of the Rivers Danube, Mura, and Drava, the reserve spans Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, and Slovenia. Similar to its famous “World Heritage Sites,” UNESCO Biosphere Reserves represent a high level of international protection and recognition for the finest ecosystems in the world, and ones which are critical to maintaining the biosphere - the global web of life.
A 3,500-year-old clay tablet discovered in the ruins of the library of an ancient Mesopotamian king, then looted from an Iraqi museum 30 years ago, is finally headed back to Iraq. The $1.7 million cuneiform clay tablet was found in 1853 as part of a 12-tablet collection in the rubble of the library of Assyrian King Assur Banipal. The Gilgamesh tablet is part of a section of a Sumerian poem from the Epic of Gilgamesh. It is one of the world’s oldest works of literature, and one of the oldest religious texts. Officials believe it was illegally imported into the United States in 2003.
Greta Thunberg has mocked world leaders - including Boris Johnson and Joe Biden - at a youth climate summit, saying the last 30 years of climate action had amounted to “blah, blah, blah”. The Swedish activist was speaking at the Youth4Climate forum, held as dozens of ministers prepare to gather in Milan for a final high-level meeting before the Cop26 climate talks in Glasgow in November. It would be very good news if her goading words helped spur world leaders into serious, committed action at Cop26.
Talking of teen sensations: Emma Raducanu, the US Open champion, will make her return to the tennis tour at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells next week. Raducanu had been mulling over where to make her first appearance since her stunning US Open victory and news came this week that the 18-year-old Briton has been given a wildcard into the prestigious event.
At the recent general election in Iceland, 48 percent of the seats were won by women - the highest percentage in Europe. Only a handful of countries have a majority of female lawmakers. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Rwanda leads the world with women making up 61 percent of its Chamber of Deputies, with Cuba, Nicaragua and Mexico on or just over the 50 percent mark.
Australia: Indigenous traditional owners win back Daintree rainforest in historic deal. The Daintree is one of the world's oldest rainforests, estimated to be more than 130 million years old, and is near the Great Barrier Reef. It now joins landmarks like Uluru and Kakadu, where First Nations people are custodians of UNESCO world heritage sites. The Daintree national park is part of 160,108 hectares (395,467 acres) of land that was handed back by the Queensland government to the traditional owners, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji, at a ceremony this week.
The gondolas that ply the waterways of Venice haven't changed much in centuries but, if the famous French designer Philippe Starck has anything to do with it, gondolas of the future will be sleeker and rather more hi-tech - with an enclosed, clear cabin, so it would be cosy all year. Starck, who has lived on the Venetian island of Burano for the past 50 years, envisions the updated gondola being constructed from laminated compressed bamboo due to its durability and strength "which means that it needs no maintenance and has a lifetime durability," he says. Furthermore, the boat would run on a mini electric turbine, which would be powered by solar energy and a hydro-generator - to help the gondolier power the boat with less effort. Lastly, to compensate for the natural twist at the hull of the gondola, Starck imagines that a gyroscope – a device that helps to stabilise the boat and eliminate unnecessary swaying – would be installed.
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Funny Talking Animals
Comedians add hilarious voice-over to wildlife footage. Excerpts taken from the BBC show 'Funny Talking Animals - Walk On The Wild Side'.