To ensure the weekend gets off to a positive start, here's a collection of bite sized chunks of good news from around the world.
The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is on track for launch in mid-December, officials say. The James Webb Space Telescope cost $10bn to develop and will be one of the grand scientific endeavours of the 21st Century. Its mission is to image the very first stars to shine in the Universe at the beginning of time.
“Whatever happened to the hole in the ozone layer?” a headline in Discover Magazine recently asked - as if the hole in the ozone layer were a pop star from the 1980s. The short answer is: it has mostly disappeared. How did that happen? We can thank a 1987 global cooperative effort to ban chlorofluorocarbons. The human race pulled together and stopped a calamity. We've done it before, we can do it again.
One day there will be a chart that shows what stage every country is at as regards attaining their goal of being carbon neutral. For most nations, this accomplishment is slated for 2045 or 2050, but for a select few, carbon neutrality is not on their minds - because they’re already carbon negative. The exclusive club of carbon negative countries is currently very small, including only Bhutan and Suriname, but Panama is expected to be certified by the end of the year, forming an impressive coalition of countries demonstrating that hard work and dedication can yield very real climate accomplishments.
About 5,000 public phone boxes around the UK will be protected from closure, under plans drawn up by Ofcom, the regulator. The communications watchdog said it would ban BT from scrapping payphones in areas where they are still needed, namely locations with poor mobile coverage, high accident rates, or higher-than-average use. There are about 21,000 of the iconic phone boxes across the country.
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but let’s not forget that a stick is a dog’s other best friend. So, when Andrew Taylor noticed that there was a lack of good sticks at his local park, he decided to take matters into his own hands. The dad from Kaiapoi, New Zealand, had been chopping off excess branches from some trees in his yard when he decided to make them into a “Stick Library” for all the pups who visited the park in search of a good stick.
And, in more good news for dogs everywhere, they now have their own TV station. To keep them from feeling lonely when they're not playing fetch with sticks in the park, a new television channel, named DogTV has been created, helping dogs adjust to life at home when their owners aren't around. Shows on DogTV are classified as “stimulating” or “relaxing”, offering images and sounds catering to dogs’ senses. There's a monthly subscription but you can try it for free before committing. Woof!
Minks, foxes, weasels, and other furry creatures can breathe a collective sigh of relief -Ireland is to go ahead with its fur farming ban, which will be enforced in 2022. This makes Ireland the 15th European country to do so.
An 'incredibly rare' painting of Elizabeth I's chief adviser William Cecil has been discovered behind the walls of a pub that dates back to 15th century. Conservators carrying out restoration work at The Star in Hertfordshire, discovered six Elizabethan wall panels. One of the panels is believed to show a painting of Cecil, who bought the Grade II-listed building in 1580. Another of the paintings shows a woman that looks like Queen Elizabeth I, however the identity of the person has not yet been confirmed by historians. William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, was Elizabeth I's principal adviser, the Lord High Treasurer and a central figure in the Kingdom of England during the Tudor monarchy. Queen Elizabeth I was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his second wife Anne Boleyn. She ruled from 1558 until her death in 1603.
Take inspiration from this 87 year old grandmother of seven who emigrated from Sri Lanka as a child and has just earned a master's degree at Canada's York University - where she turned her passion for peace and learning into a political science degree, reports CNN. "It has been interesting. On the first of November, I was just an ordinary lady going about my ordinary life. On the second of November, when I graduated, everything changed."
In an effort to combat child obesity, Spain has now banned the advertising of unhealthy junk foods and beverages. According to Spain’s consumer organization, nine out of 10 food advertisements are targeted at children and promote unhealthy products. This is undoubtedly a contributing factor to the high rate of Spanish children between the ages of six and nine who qualify as overweight (40 percent) and obese (17 percent).
Portugal has banned companies from contacting their employees outside of working hours. The new labor laws approved last week are a response to the rise of working remotely as a result of the pandemic. However, the modification of the Labor Code on the "right to disconnect" applies to all workers and not only to those who work remotely. Under the new rules, employers will face penalties for contacting workers outside of office hours.
It will no doubt come as a pleasant surprise to Londoners, but seahorses, eels, seals and sharks are living in the tidal Thames, according to the most comprehensive analysis of the waterway by the Zoological Society since the river was declared biologically dead in the 1950s.
Ten years ago, the “cost of capital” for developing oil and gas as compared to renewable projects was pretty much the same - about 9 percent. But not anymore. The threshold of projected return that can financially justify a new oil project is now at 20 percent, while for renewables it’s dropped to roughly 4 percent, according to Michele Della Vigna, a London-based analyst at Goldman Sachs, reports Bloomberg. “That's an extraordinary divergence which is leading to an unprecedented shift in capital allocation,” Della Vigna said. “This year will mark the first time in history that renewable power will be the largest area of energy investment.”
Keep an eye out for the OGN Sunday Magazine tomorrow for an upbeat collection of good news articles to read at your leisure.
Wise Words: "Never give in. Never, never, never." Winston Churchill.
More Good News
Why not surf around the OGN website? Enjoy some of our recent positive news articles:
Beautiful 4 minute clip from the BBC Earth series Animal Attraction, showing humpback whales dancing - before the party gets interupted.