OGN Tuesdsay

Today's selection of upbeat news snippets.

  • Good news for sea lions as the New Zealand city of Dunedin closes busy road for a few weeks to let sea lions nest safely. The month-long closure has been welcomed by locals, many of whom urged the council to make it permanent to protect vulnerable wildlife.

  • Amazon this month unveiled a new Housing Equity Fund, investing more than $2 billion to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in three communities where the company has thousands of employees - Washington State’s Puget Sound; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Oil and gas producers who refuse to commit to reducing their carbon emissions to “net zero” will be excluded from North Sea drilling licences, Britain's new Business Secretary has signalled. Kwasi Kwarteng said a “quid pro quo” with the sector meant it would only get government support if it took “decarbonisation very seriously indeed”. Oil and gas producers in the UK have been under growing pressure to cut their methane and carbon dioxide emissions, which accounted for 4pc of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2018.

  • Over half of public transport users in the UK say they will continue to avoid buses and trains after the pandemic is over in favour of cycling or walking, a study of consumer habits reveals.

  • It's believed that Joe Biden's first overseas trip as president will be to a tiny Cornish seaside town, Carbis Bay, which has a population of just over 3,000. It's for the G7 summit in June, the first in-person meeting of the G7 in almost two years. The 125 acre Carbis Bay Estate - which encompasses a luxury hotel - will be the main location of the summit, but the seaside village will be supported by neighbouring St Ives a mile away, along with other towns across the region. The event is expected to inject as much as £50m into the local economy.

  • 'Discord' may be the future of social media: Whilst there is undoubtedly much discord on and about social media at the moment, an app called Discord may be the future.

  • Ivory Coast announces its first 1,000 square mile marine protected area. It's the first of five that its government has designated for protection. Marine protection levels in West Africa are generally low, so the hope is that these new protections will set an example for the value of environmental preservation in the entire region.

  • Success story: Newcastle becomes first UK city to vaccinate all care home residents; and speed of universal UK vaccine rollout accelerates with London to start trialling 24-hour Covid vaccination centres this month.

  • Joe Biden's plan to vaccinate 100m people in 100 days ‘absolutely doable’, says Dr Anthony Fauci.

  • There are probably thousands of heart-shaped gems made for gifts on Valentine’s Day, but this amethyst crystal didn’t need any carving or polishing. When miners broke it open they found an extraordinary heart already prepared by Mother Earth. Workers discovered the amazing quartz geode at the border of Uruguay and Brazil when they split open a rock to discover a beautiful purple heart on each side of it.

  • Delightful tale of compassion an acceptance: Gene McGehee couldn't believe his good fortune. When the 91 year old stepped outside his house in Vidalia, Louisiana, this week, he discovered a bunch of kids from the daycare across the street who were willing and wanting to include him in their fun.

  • Around half a million people from Hong Kong are expected to move to the UK in the next year, and just over one million across five years, says British government. And it's expected to spark an investment boom.

  • Mercedes have unveiled a new, futuristic dashboard: the Hyperscreen. A single sheet of glass that runs the full width of the car, crammed with tech and display screens.

  • A History of Water in the Middle East: The Royal Court has released a new audio version of Sabrina Mahfouz’s poetic, political lecture-cum-gig, first staged at its Theatre Upstairs in 2019. It explores - as the first of its several songs observes - the way water and imperialism have shaped “landscapes, lives, legacies”. Mahfouz is a compelling host and keeps the fact-filled story flowing, switching from personal to global perspectives, for this hour long gig, directed by Stef O’Driscoll. Listen until 30 January.

  • A film by Gaëtan Piolot: 'I spent 3 weeks travelling across the Alps, in France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. This video presents the amazing places and landscapes I discovered along the journey. Welcome to some of the most beautiful lakes and mountains in the world...'