Getting the week off to a bright start with a selection of good news nuggets.
Good news for Barcelona as the city launches an ambitious 10 year plan to reclaim the city's streets from cars and cut down pollution with the creation of green spaces and public squares. One in three streets in the heavily polluted central Eixample district will become green zones under the scheme, giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists, and 21 public squares will be created at intersections so that no citizen is more than 200 metres from a square or small park.
The founder of the firm behind the coronavirus vaccine breakthrough has said that the jab has “no serious side effects”. The comments by Professor Ugur Sahin, the founder of the BioNTech firm which has developed a vaccine alongside Pfizer, came after promising clinical results last week. “Key side effects” included a mild to moderate pain in the injection site for a few days, and a “mild to moderate fever” for one or two days, he told the BBC. “We did not see any other serious side-effects which would result in the pausing or halting of the study,” he said. “So far, the safety profile seems to be absolutely benign.”
Luxury advent calendars for grown ups: If there was any year when you need to treat yourself, or a loved one, this is it! Let Christmas start early this year...
Kylie Minogue has become the first woman to top the album chart in each of five consecutive decades. Her 15th studio album, Disco, reached No 1 this week, continuing a chart-topping run that she began in 1988 with her debut album, Kylie. Not bad for a girl who started out in Neighbours, an Aussie soap.
Great news for Argentina a they served up one of the biggest upsets in Test rugby when they stunned New Zealand in the Tri-Nations on Saturday in Parramatta, Australia, beating the world champions for the first time in 30 attempts going back 35 years.
San Francisco’s board of supervisors has unanimously voted to ban gas in new buildings, making it the second-largest city in the country to do so. Gas accounts for 40 percent of the city's carbon emissions, so it signals a big leap forward for the environment.
Climate risk assessments to be mandatory for UK firms: The UK will become the first country in the world to require corporations to complete climate change risk assessments, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced. Sunak also revealed plans for the UK’s first green bonds, which will allow the government to borrow money at a low interest rate to fund investment in carbon-reducing projects. “The chancellor’s plans to make disclosure mandatory for companies is right if the rules are compulsory and thorough,” said Greenpeace’s Doug Parr.
Innovative project is bringing high-speed internet to the developing world via beams of infrared light. The latest invention from Alphabet, which owns google and much else, deploys giant towers that use light to send data, like a fibre-optic cable without the cable. Trials are underway in India and Africa.
The fig tree is considered sacred among Kenya’s most populous ethnic group, the Kikuyu. That’s why it was no surprise to see the Kikuyu people and other environmentalists stage protests when the country’s roads agency announced plans to uproot a giant fig tree in order to make way for a Chinese funded highway in the capital Nairobi. Cutting down a century-old fig tree that is four-stories tall would obviously be a tragedy. The good news, however, is that those plans will not go ahead after Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a decree to save the much-loved tree.
Lockdown has been difficult for almost everyone, but particularly so for those stuck in small high-rise apartments. If that predicament includes small kids, and a single father, that makes everything even more challenging. So, here's a wonderful story about a kind couple who lent their beach house to give a family a break from their high-rise confinement.
The number of ‘school streets’ in London has quadrupled. A campaign to have streets outside schools closed to traffic at the start and end of the day has gathered momentum as the number of ‘school streets’ in the capital increased from 81 to 383 between April and October, meaning thousands fewer children are being exposed to pollution at school. And these numbers need to keep rising! School streets was launched in 2019 to cut air pollution and reduce obesity by encouraging parents to use active forms of transport for the school run.
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