A bundle of good news presents for you to unwrap before Christmas.
Christmas came a few days early for researchers in Scotland as they receive a £1m grant to help them unlock the secrets of a stunning Viking-age hoard. It will enable them to examine the provenance of the 10th century haul that lay undisturbed for a thousand years before being unearthed by a metal detectorist. The haul contains an unparalleled range of precious metal and jewelled items, including a rare gold ingot, a unique gold bird-shaped pin and a decorated silver-gilt vessel, the only complete lidded vessel of its type ever discovered in Britain and Ireland.
Santa's reindeer are all female. Except, possibly, Rudolf. Here's the proof...
How about this for Christmas kindness: The owner of a hot dog stand in British Columbia donated a kidney to a customer last week. "He was a customer for almost three years before I knew his name," Skully White told the Vancouver Sun. "One day his wife called me up and said he had some medical issues and I wasn't supposed to feed him without her permission." After learning of the health crisis, White said he would donate one of his kidneys if he was a blood match. He was!
The team behind the award-winning Ocean Bottle, which removes 1,000 ocean-bound plastic bottles with every sale, has just announced the collection of over 1,000,000kg of plastic since its beginnings - the equivalent of seven blue wales in weight. The brand, whose commitment to stopping ocean plastic has garnered a number of sustainability and business awards, is hoping to have collected an incredible 80million kgs by 2025.
The North Atlantic right whale is one of the planet’s most endangered species, with only about 360 of them left in the world. That’s why the recent sightings of two calves of this elusive whale species is such good news. One was spotted off Florida, one off Georgia. These two coastlines are the whales’ only known calving grounds, where they arrive in winter from the feeding grounds off New England and Canada to give birth.
In a first for the UK, a popular Yorkshire swimming spot to get 'bathing water' status. It's a major success for campaigners trying to stop releases of untreated sewage into inland waters. It should pave the way for many more rivers to achieve the same status and be subject to much tougher regulatory regimes.
Christmas kindness in Kansas: Police received multiple calls about a woman walking beside the road in the freezing December cold. Christine Wheeler was walking 12 miles to and from work four days a week to be able to feed her children. On Tuesday, the local Sheriff's Office surprised her with a free van, insurance and taxes paid for a year. Nice!
Spain: It's been another good year for Lionel Messi, the 'best footballer in the world'. At the weekend, his 644th Barcelona goal saw him eclipse Pele's record of goals for one club. That's quite an achievement but not as amazing as this stat: Only 10 Premier League teams (that's teams, not individuals!) have scored more goals than Messi since he started playing.
Christmas miracle in Alabama: "Ok y’all so I work at Walmart at the service desk and today the most amazing thing happened! I looked up and saw this black dog go running by. She was looking at everyone like she was looking for someone. I first thought she was dumped and she was looking for her people! Well she was!! She ran right up to Mrs June, one of the cashiers. She was so happy and started crying saying she had been missing for 3 weeks!! Her name is Abby! I tell you what Abby is one smart girl she came to her mommies work to find her!! I’m so glad she found you Mrs June!! Such a wonderful story I just had to share with everyone."
Best news bloopers 2020: Like all such collections some of these bloopers are hilarious (and some less so) but if you've got time to spare and fancy a good laugh, click play!
Happy Christmas from everyone at OGN!