Concluding the week with an uplifting bundle of good news nuggets.
In good news for the european thrust towards climate neutrality, Germany’s new climate protection minister has called for the nation to pull together to realise the “gigantic task” of creating a climate neutral country, saying it posed a considerable social and financial challenge as well as a big opportunity. Introducing a broad outline of his ambitious plans, the Green party’s Robert Habeck called for a threefold increase in the speed with which carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, arguing Germany faced a race against time and required a “massive national debate” to achieve the goals set out by his ministry.
The population of cheetahs in India once numbered in the tens of thousands. But extensive hunting pushed them to extinction in 1952. Seventy years later, the world’s fastest land animal is now expected to make a comeback in the South Asian country as government officials announce a plan to re-introduce cheetahs. 50 of the big cats will be imported over the next five years, in cohorts of 10 to 12 young cheetahs, at several sites at a time. According to The Hindu, the cubs will come from Namibia or South Africa as a founder stock during the first year.
Chopping onions often reduces home cooks to tears, but red eyes could be a thing of the past as “tearless” onions go on sale in the UK for the first time. Next week Waitrose will start selling Sunions in its stores, a “brown, tearless and sweet” onion variety that is being billed as a “gamechanger” for red-eyed chefs. The onions have taken more than 30 years to perfect by the cross-breeding of less pungent strains of onion. Sunions were launched in the US four years ago and reached mainland Europe last year when the brand was picked up by a number of Spanish retailers.
Following France's president Macron announcing that his government plans to 'piss off' those who don't get vaccinated, Quebec has announced plans to impose a “health tax” on Canadians who refuse to get the Covid-19 vaccination for non-medical reasons. Premier François Legault (pictured) announced the new “contribution” for the unvaccinated this week. “A health contribution will be charged to all adults that don’t want to get vaccinated,” he said. “Those who refuse to get the shot bring a financial burden to hospital staff and Quebecers.”
On the subject of being vaccinated (particularly in order to obtain the appropriate visa for a tennis tournament), here's what one canny credit card suggests...
The Philippines has passed a law prohibiting child marriage, according to the news agency Agence France-Presse. Many readers will wonder what took it so long. An estimated one in six girls in the Philippines enter wedlock before they are 18. However, the new law will make it a criminal offence to marry or cohabit with anyone under 18.
It's time to stock up on olive oil: The first long-term study, including more than 90,000 participants followed for up to 30 years, conducted in the American population on olive oil and mortality, has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. People who reported eating the highest levels of olive oil had a 19 percent lower risk of dying from heart conditions, a 17 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, a 29 percent lower risk of dying from neurodegenerative disease, and an 18 percent lower risk of dying from respiratory disease mortality compared with those who never or rarely consumed olive oil in place of saturated fats (such as margarine, butter or other saturated fats).
The explosives-sniffing African giant pouched rat Magawa - holder of a Guinness World Record for the most land mines detected by that species - has died in retirement. He was 8 years old. Magawa, who was born in Tanzania, was trained to detect explosives. At the age of 3, he moved to Siem Reap, in Cambodia, where he helped clear more than 2.4 million square feet of land over the next half decade. Apopo, the nonprofit that trained the rat, said Magawa had detected 71 land mines and 38 items of unexploded ordnance when he retired.
Quote of the Day
“Optimism is the one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other.” Brian Tracy
On this Day
14 January 1943: Franklin D. Roosevelt travels from Miami to Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill, becoming the first American president to travel overseas by airplane. A painting by Winston Churchill of the occasion was sold by Angelina Jolie for £8.25 million at auction in March 2021.
Dive in Deeper
Stunning 4k animation of the James Webb Space Telescope launch and deployment, on its mission to see back billions of years ago to the begining of time.