Today's uplifting collection of positive news snippets from around the world.
The Queen has made a "generous” private donation to help the people of Ukraine, as part of the Disasters Emergency Committee humanitarian fund. The palace did not announce the donation and declined to say how much it was, but the charity has publicly thanked the Queen for her generosity in "continuing to support" its work. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also reported to have made a private donation. The financial support of the Queen and her family will be seen as a significant boost for the charity appeal, bringing it to wider public attention and encouraging others to follow in their footsteps if they can afford to do so. The Prince of Wales has also made personal donations to the British Red Cross, of which he is president.
Disabled Gran's Lego
Disabled by a car accident 25 years ago, Rita Ebel had long been frustrated by the number of shops and cafés inaccessible to wheelchair users. So the 62-year-old grandmother from Hanau in Germany came up with a simple solution: building ramps made of Lego. Helped by her husband, they've constructed dozens of made-to-order Lego ramps for shop entrances by sticking together hundreds of the brightly coloured, interlocking plastic bricks. “I’m trying to sensitize the world a bit to barrier-free travel,” she says. “It’s a brilliant idea,” says Malika El Harti, who has one of Rita’s ramps installed at the entrance to her hair salon. “You can see from afar that you can get in here without any problems.”
Stumpy is a golden labrador who was destined for a career as a guide dog. Sadly, problems with a deformed leg meant it wasn’t to be. But then Stumpy found a new way to help others: by giving blood. The nine-year-old labrador has saved more than 100 canine lives by donating blood for emergency transfusions. Stumpy has been crowned the UK's most prolific blood-donor dog. He has a negative blood type which is especially valuable because it allows his blood to be given to any dog. Stumpy’s owner, vet Elly Pittaway, says: “Stumpy obviously has no idea what he’s doing it for, but if he did, I’m sure he’d be very proud of himself.”
When companies burn coal to produce steel, they spew carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - approximately 8 percent of all direct emissions from fossil fuels. But one Swedish steel company has figured out how to make steel without coal. Stockholm’s SSAB recently announced that it has produced the world’s first fossil fuel-free steel, using hydrogen and electricity from renewable energy sources. Automakers Volvo and Mercedes-Benz have signed up for the first deliveries, and SSAB hopes to be able to produce the steel on an industrial scale by 2026.
The Dutch city of Arnhem is changing its layout to protect itself from the extremes of climate change, such as flooding and heatwaves. Under a 10-year plan, 10 percent of the city’s asphalt will be replaced by grass and other greenery to help dissipate heat and improve absorption of rainfall. The city aims to absorb 90 percent of rainwater into the soil rather than it running off into sewers.
A new and simple method for upcycling plastic waste at room temperature has been developed by a team at the University of Bath. They hope the new process will help recycling become less energy intensive, and thus more economically viable. While recycling rates are growing across Europe, traditional methods remain limited because the harsh remelting conditions reduce the quality of the material each time they’re recycled. But this new rapid chemical recycling process for polycarbonates can be completed in 20 minutes at room temperature. The waste can then be converted into its chemical constituents, helping to preserve its quality for reuse over an infinite number of cycles. Presently, the technology has only been demonstrated on a small scale, however, the team is now working on catalyst optimization and scaling up the process.
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Quote of the Day
"I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three."
On this Day
9 March 1796: Napoleon Bonaparte, future emperor of France, married Joséphine.
Dive in Deeper
A collection of bronzes sculpted by Renaissance master Donatello has been moved for the first time from the Italian churches where he installed them 600 years ago so that they can be displayed at a spectacular new exhibition in Florence. Read on...
Someone Like You
Adele's wonderful song stitched together over 10 years of performances: 2011-2021.