OGN Friday

Today's round up of uplifting news nuggets to brighten the day.

  • With travel restrictions likely to disrupt people’s festive plans, many have been seeking clarity as to what they can, and cannot, do. But, to give a better - and an optimistic - understanding of what may occur on 25 December, the Irish government has announced that Santa Claus is an essential worker, and therefore not constrained by limitations to his movement. Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney confirmed the Irish government's decision to the Dáil in a move that will be met with relief and joy by children across the country. Mr Coveney said that Santa Claus has requested permission to fly to Ireland on Christmas Eve, and that the Irish Government has approved his travel plans.

  • We all know how important bees are to the planet's ecosystem, so finding out where problems are likely to arise is key to their protection. Pesticides known as pyrethroids are among the main culprits behind colony collapses but, happily, scientists in Ontario have now discovered a way to ascertain where they are used and then put a stop to it.

  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has just pledged that the country's public sector will become carbon neutral by 2025.

  • The Bean'N'Loaf coffee house in Australia launched a free coffee system so locals who have lost their jobs can still enjoy a cup of coffee.⁠ When a customer wants to pay for someone who cannot afford it at the time, they add a ‘Post-it’ sticker with an uplifting message to a noticeboard. Any passerby can enter the shop, retrieve a sticker, and hand it to the staff in exchange for a cup of coffee.⁠ Nice!

  • Mini has just unveiled a new concept car: It’s called the Mini Vision Urbanaut and it’s a rather delightful, uber-cool little creation that basically acts like a living room on wheels. It would be really good news if it ends up going into production.

  • Former Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan scores yet again! The NBA superstar donated $2 million to Feeding America, the country’s largest hunger-relief outfit which has been particularly busy in recent times.

  • The latest lockdown lingo: As national restrictions are replaced by a disappointingly similar tear (sorry, tier) system, we look at the words that are already driving us to distraction.

  • More good news as Moderna's vaccine demonstrates 100 percent efficacy in severe cases.

  • Pound hits year high against dollar as Brexit trade deal hopes grow.

  • Action for Happiness are hosting a special event on 9 December with author and mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn about how to overcome stress in difficult times. It's online via Zoom at 7pm GMT (donations optional) and open to all. Why not give it a go and register now?

  • Ever since their birth, twins Amber and Autumn, from Tennessee, have done everything together.⁠ They didn’t plan to get pregnant at the same time but the twins gave birth to baby girls on 29 October, which also happened to be their 33rd birthday.⁠ “We wanted our kids to have the same experience that we had growing up. That’s why we wanted to have babies close together,” Amber said. “But we didn’t plan that it was going to be this close together.”⁠

  • For all the heroes out there, over 6,000 strangers from 45 countries submitted a video in three days to sing one song. Glorious!