Today's eclectic bundle of upbeat news nuggets to brighten the day.
Queen Vic's Mail Box
Queen Victoria’s miniature mailbox, dating from the 1880s, which she used to send letters and cards during her reign 140 years ago has been discovered. The 30 inch tall box, which was carved into the style of a Royal Mail’s ‘pillar box,’ was recently discovered in a cottage in Surrey, just outside London. The beautiful wooden table letterbox, engraved with the royal cypher ‘VR’ (Victoria Regina), comes up for auction later this month with an estimate of £4,000 to £6,000. Sounds like a bit of a bargain. Queen Victoria’s letter box will be offered at auction by Hansons London on 28 January. Catalogues/bidding: hansonslive.co.uk
The hole in the Earth’s ozone layer, once the most feared environmental peril facing humanity, is set to be completely healed over most of the world within two decades following decisive action by governments to phase out ozone-depleting substances, a new UN assessment has found. The loss of the ozone layer, which risked exposing people to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, is on track to be completely recovered by 2040 across the world, aside from the polar regions, according to the report. The poles will take a little longer – the ozone layer will fully bounce back by 2045 over the Arctic and by 2066 over the Antarctic.
After Afghanistan's ruling Taliban announced that women would no longer be able to study at universities and higher education establishments, a number of British universities have teamed up through FutureLearn to offer the women in Afghanistan free access to digital learning platforms. Girls and women with internet access will be able to study more than 1,200 courses from top institutions at no cost to themselves.
It's been a good couple of years for Theresa May, Britain's famously dull Prime Minister. She has earned more outside parliament since leaving Number 10 than any other MP, and nine times more than she earned in her two years as prime minister. May has been paid £2.5 million ($3m) for speaking engagements since 2019. That includes a six-figure fee for a speech in Saudi Arabia and is more than double the outside earnings of Boris Johnson (the famously entertaining Prime Minister) since his stint in Downing Street - although he is expected to overtake her soon.
It was supposed to be a dirty autumn and winter, with European nations scrambling to replace Russian gas with high-polluting coal. But according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, the cold season has so far been the cleanest in more than 30 years.
England's Plastics Ban
Single-use items like plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene trays will be banned in England, the government has confirmed. It follows similar moves by Scotland and Wales. Government figures suggest that 1.1 billion single-use plates and more than four billion pieces of plastic cutlery are used in England every year.
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On this Day
11 January 1878: Milk was delivered for the first time in glass bottles in New York City.
Donald Trump: The Muppet Show Mashup!