Global round up of good news snippets.
Teeming with biodiversity: green groups buy vast Belize forest to protect it ‘in perpetuity’. Trees will no longer be cut down in this 950 sq km (236,000 acre) area, after the land was bought by a coalition of conservation organisations to save one of the world’s last pristine rainforests from deforestation. The newly named Belize Maya Forest is part of 150,000 sq km (38m acres) of tropical forest across Mexico, Belize and Guatemala known as the Selva Maya, a biodiversity hotspot and home to five species of wild cat (jaguars, margay, ocelot, jaguarundi and puma), spider monkeys, howler monkeys and hundreds of bird species.
Diseases continue to be a major threat to coral reef health, but a new study by Florida researchers reveals how a common antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections in humans is showing great promise. A recent outbreak of an infectious disease called stony coral tissue loss has affected 20 different stony coral species and has spread throughout Florida’s Coral Reef. But the good news is that amoxicillin has a 95 percent success rate at healing individual disease lesions.
Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield universities are launching a new spin-out investment company to provide a £500m boost to Britain's levelling-up ambitions. Named Northern Gritstone, the investment company will be modelled on Oxford University's successful spin-out fund, Oxford Sciences Innovation. It's expected to become one of the largest investors in spin-out ventures across the UK, helping bring capital to early stage ventures outside of the so-called "golden triangle" of Oxford, Cambridge and London.
Spain has given domesticated animals the same legal status as humans. The new law classifies domestic animals as "living beings" that "have feelings" with regard to inheritances or custody disputes related to divorce. Under the new law, mistreatment of pets will also be regarded as a crime as if the owner had abused another person. If someone finds an abandoned pet, they have a public duty to try to locate the owner or inform the authorities as they would do if they came across a lost child. Spain joins France, Germany, Austria and Portugal as one of the European countries to give pets the same legal status.
Thailand is close to completing one of the world's biggest floating hydro-solar hybrid projects on the surface of a dam, a step toward boosting renewable energy production after years of criticism for reliance on fossil fuels. The hybrid system switches between solar and hydropower, depending on which can generate more electricity, enabling continuous power generation. The solar farm covers 300 acres (121 hectares) of water and Thailand plans to do the same on 8 more dams.
Dive in Deeper
How we eat and shop has fundamentally changed: How Brits eat has been fundamentally changed by the Covid pandemic, says Waitrose Food & Drink report. ‘These changes are here to stay. The ‘new normal’ that we all spoke about last year isn’t new anymore. It’s just normal.’ [2 minute read]. Find out more...
Virtual musical fundraising New York style: A couple, both touring musicians, lost gigs worldwide over the past year. With time to spare, their virtual concerts have raised thousands of dollars for those in need. [2 minute read] Good show...
Is this what the first flight back to Ibiza is going to be like once travel resumes once more? Don't bet against it!