Round up of good news snippets from around the globe.
The first Covid-free transatlantic flight is scheduled to touch down at London's Heathrow at breakfast time today, raising hopes that ministers will give the green light to a crucial travel corridor between London and New York. United Airlines will run a pilot scheme over the next four weeks that guarantees all passengers do not have the virus. Findings will be shared with officials on both sides of the Atlantic.
Climate Hero: Spain. The country has picked up the pace from a gentle jog to a sprint in its break from fossil fuels this year, and is now one of the countries leading the European pack. This is the first of our daily 'Climate Hero' features this week. It's all good news for humanity!
Just a week after pharma giant Pfizer announced that it had succeeded in creating a vaccine which protects 90 percent of people, the US biotech company Moderna said its version was successful in 94.5 percent of trial participants. The Moderna drug is far easier to distribute than Pfizer because it can be kept in usual freezer conditions of -4F (-20C), whereas Pfizer's jab needs to be stored and transported in dry ice at around -103F (-75C).
'Granny Mave' became the oldest woman to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats (a 960 mile ride from Britain's furthest point south to furthest point north) completed in 23 days, cycling 50 to 70 miles a day, raising £75,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and securing a Guinness World Record in the process.
After the promising news around Pfizer’s vaccine, it's good news to know that AstraZeneca’s vaccine also targets the so-called “spike protein”, the biological tool that Covid uses to invade our cells. The fact that this mechanism has been proven to be effective offers hope AstraZeneca’s will also work. Wouldn't it be fabulous news if both came to humanity's rescue in the next few weeks, as appears increasingly likely.
In the age of split-second communications, it's astonishing to hear that a Belgian racing pigeon has just been sold at auction for €1.6m (£1.4m / $1.87m). Bidding started at €200 on 2 November, but rose to €1.31m in less than 90 minutes. Two wealthy Chinese collectors then fought it out on Sunday and the top bidder coughed up €1.6m to secure the prize bird.
Moon dust turns into oxygen: If mankind ever wants to support human life on the Moon, it will require breathable oxygen. A British company has figured out how to extract oxygen from the lunar soil.
Good news for poor nations as charity says it has already reserved 1 billion vaccine doses for low- and middle-income economies. Vaccine Alliance says it's received $360 million from the European Commission, France, Spain, South Korea, and the Gates Foundation to bring its total fundraising revenue, so far, to $2 billion. It's hoping to raise an additional $5 billion by the end of 2021 to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines to those that otherwise can't afford them.
Psilocybin versus Anti-depressants: New study indicates that the active ingredient in 'magic mushrooms' (psilocybin) is 4 times more effective as a therapy than anti-depressants.
An independent advisor to the UK government has said that achieving net zero emissions is likely to be much cheaper than previously thought, thanks to the falling cost of renewables and other technologies such as electric vehicles. Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, predicted it would be cheaper than 2 per cent of GDP, which is what the UK government previously estimated it would cost to slash emissions by 80 per cent. And, if it's true that costs are likely to be lower in the UK, it's probably the case everywhere.
The world's first transparent Sky Pool suspended 115 feet above London between two tower blocks is nearing completion, and expected to open next summer. The aquarium-style pool was lifted into place two months ago by one of the world's largest mobile cranes and swimmers will eventually be able to enjoy views across central London while completing lengths between buildings in a new residential neighbourhood in Nine Elms, Vauxhall, next to the new US Embassy.
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