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OGN Sunday

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Today's collection of uplifting news snippets from around the globe.

  • The United Arab Emirates has announced reforms to the country’s legal system, including tougher punishments for the harassment of women and an end to lenient sentences for so-called honour killings. In a sign of softening attitudes in the authoritarian Gulf state, its rulers have also lifted the ban on unmarried couples living together, and decriminalised alcohol. The government said the reforms were part of efforts to promote “tolerance principles”.

  • Mark Carney to oversee carbon offset market: With more and more businesses setting net zero emissions targets, the voluntary carbon market needs stronger quality control to scale up, says UN special envoy.

  • An Indian social business that leads Himalayan treks to set up solar micro-grids in remote mountain villages plans to expand its clean-energy work to other countries facing similar challenges, after winning a United Nations climate award. Global Himalayan Expedition has brought solar electricity to more than 130 Indian villages, benefiting about 60,000 people, while setting up home-stays for tourists that have generated more than $100,000 in income for villagers.

  • Did you know that the textile industry generates more carbon emissions than the airline and maritime industries combined? So, it's good news that a number of e-tailers are enabling the resale of pre-loved items to a rapidly expanding number of people seeking a bargain that combines common sense with sustainability.

  • A very curious primate species has been discovered for the first time by scientists in the jungles of Myanmar: the Popa langur. Although these creatures have been in catalogues for over a hundred years, scientists haven’t had the tools or expertise to identify whether or not the Popa langur is an entirely new species of monkey. But by gathering samples and DNA of all other Trachypithecus species (cousins of the Popa langur), scientists were able to confirm the existence of the new species.

  • European governments have approved a roadmap to turn the European Investment Bank (EIB) into a “climate bank” with a €1 trillion green investment package to be spent by 2030.

  • Woman carries swan across New York: A woman just happened to be in the right place at the right time to rescue a sick swan.

  • Twenty years of whale surveys in the South Antarctic Ocean between 1998 and 2018 resulted in only a single blue whale sighting. But a whale expedition this year resulted in 58 blue whale sightings and numerous acoustic detections, raising hopes that the critically endangered mammal is finally recovering five decades after whaling was banned.

  • England's financial powerhouse, the Square Mile, is going green. The City is to be solar powered from Dorset.

  • The good news vaccine re-cap: Hopes that the world will soon emerge from the coronavirus crisis were further boosted last week with the positive news that a vaccine developed by Oxford University triggered a strong immune response in adults in their 60s and 70s, who are among the groups most at risk from the virus. It follows last week’s preliminary analysis of another vaccine, developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which was found to be 90 percent effective (further data released this week suggested it could protect 94 percent of over 65s). Trials are incomplete and more data is needed, but the news has been described as ‘encouraging’ by researchers.

  • You’d imagine that a show that lasted 10 years would have a cast with a close rapport (boosted by a live studio audience) and also a lot of mishaps. There were! Here's Jennifer Aniston getting her skirt stuck in a door, Courteney Cox incapable of saying Dick Clark’s name without breaking into laughter, and more. It's good to laugh! And it's almost as much fun watching other people laugh...

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