OGN Saturday

Updated: Jan 17

Kick starting the weekend with a collection of uplifting news nuggets.

  • A New Zealand farming family has gifted 900 hectares (2,200 acres) of pristine land by the edge of Lake Wakatipu to the crown, saying it is “the right thing to do”. The stretch of land at the foot of the Remarkables range will become open to everyone in 2022, after being handed over to the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust for “the benefit and enjoyment of all New Zealanders”. The owners, Dick and Jillian Jardine, whose family have worked the land for 98 years, want to see it protected and loved for another century. Despite having numerous offers from overseas developers, the Jardines declined.

  • We have all marveled at the speed at which the new Covid vaccines have been produced. A process that normally takes 10 years has been achieved in less than one year. And, in further good news, two of the vaccines have used a new, pioneering technology that's likely to be very useful for other diseases too.

  • The Queen fancies her gin, so we're told, treating herself daily to a cocktail of gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon. So, it's perfectly natural that she's just launched a specialty dry gin distilled from botanicals on her Sandringham country estate. Priced at £50 per bottle, the gin includes Sharon fruit (also known as Chinese Persimmon) and foliage from myrtle plants.


  • This amazing two acre indoor vertical farm produces yields that would normally require a 720 acre ‘flat farm'; and it's done with 95 percent less water, and produces nutritionally richer fruit and vegetables.

  • Free virtual carol concert hosted from the candle-lit St Martin-in-the-Fields church in London. It's organised by Shelter, the homeless charity, and everyone is invited to what they hope will be the UK’s largest carol concert. Tune in from the comfort of your own home at 7pm on 3 December.

  • The air in Europe is getting cleaner, according to the European Environment Agency, which announced this week that efforts to reduce pollution have prevented around 60,000 premature deaths per year since 2009. “Investing in better air quality is an investment for better health and productivity for all Europeans,” said Hans Bruyninckx, the agency’s executive director. “Policies and actions that are consistent with Europe’s zero pollution ambition lead to longer and healthier lives and more resilient societies.”

  • Belgium: Design studio has created a fabulous circular track called Cycling Through The Trees to provide a little extra magic along the cycling network in the province of Limburg.

  • Olive Veronesi, 93, ran out of beer during lockdown so asked her relatives for more. A member of the family took this hilarious picture and posted it on social media.⁠ It went viral, and soon, representatives from Molson Coors popped round and delivered 150 cans of her favorite beer. Sorted!


  • Good news for small business website owners and wannabe marketeers: You can save a ton of cash learning how to maximise your website's performance courtesy of a great new Google deal: Google Analytics Masterclass Bundle.

  • Two American comedians have snapped up DonaldJTrump2024.com but have offered to give the president the domain name “if you tweet ‘My name is Donald Trump and I lost the 2020 election by A LOT. I am a loser. SAD!’”

  • The community rallied around in Washington DC when they heard the news that Kazi Mannan’s restaurant was suffering due to lockdown. Kazi had helped the community for many years, including serving free food to the homeless. Now they helped him. He set up a GoFundMe page and the news was picked up locally, then nationally and internationally. The page has now raised almost $300,000, and has hundreds of supportive comments. “I am overwhelmed,” Kazi told The Washington Post. “People are angels, they understood my pain and came in and rescued me.”

  • Using advanced technologies such as lidar - also used in autonomous vehicles - a new assistive device is aimed at helping visually impaired people navigate their environment.

  • Sir Martyn Lewis ruffled feathers at the BBC back in 1993, when as one of its high-profile newscasters, he suggested that news was too grim and needed leavening to stop audiences switching off. He was given short shrift, and left the broadcaster a few years later. These days the BBC does have a team dedicated to solutions-focused news, and has seemingly made efforts throughout the Covid crisis to ensure that more constructive stories of optimism and hope peek through. Lewis remarked on this during a recent encounter with a senior executive: “I know the BBC moves slowly,” Lewis told him, “but even by its standards 27 years is a long time to get something off the ground.” It's not known if Martyn Lewis reads OGN Daily.