Uplifting selection of good news nuggets.
Oxford University reports that it has admitted a record proportion of students from socio-economically disadvantaged areas (16 percent), compared to 8 percent five years ago. Over the same period, the proportion of state school pupils studying at the university rose from 58 percent to 68 percent, while the proportion of students identifying as black and minority ethnic rose from 16 percent to 24 percent.
Dracula’s castle in Transylvania is famous for its bloodthirsty occupants but, these days, visitors are more likely to experience a Covid-19 jab than a vampire bite. The Romanian government set up a vaccination centre at the castle in the Carpathian mountains in an effort to encourage more citizens to get their vaccine.
New York bans the use of mini plastic toiletry bottles in hotels, joining California which passed the same law in 2019. Hotels are expected to start using alternatives, such as larger, refillable dispensers - thus significantly curbing the quantity of plastic waste every guest produces.
In the aftermath of the UK local elections it was easy to overlook the smaller stories of progress lurking behind the major headlines. Such as the appointment of Joanne Anderson, who made history by becoming Liverpool’s and the UK’s first black female mayor.
Following similar legislation in Europe, the US Federal Trade Commission is looking to introduce a 'right to repair' bill. Ultimately, this will encourage Americans to maintain their stuff instead of replacing it, resulting in less environmental harm and electronic waste.
California is the biggest producer in the world planning to go beyond oil. Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a plan to phase out oil and gas production in California by 2045.
There are growing calls for ‘ethical algorithms’ to help stop online radicalisation. Along with France, New Zealand is leading a push to rid the world of extremist and terrorist content online. Jacinda Ardern and her co-chair, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, yesterday hosted world leaders and tech company executives in a virtual summit known as the Christchurch Call. US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, were among those attending. Ardern said the agreement, which brings together countries and tech companies to try to de-radicalise online spaces, had “such momentum”.
Literacy skills have actually improved in the pandemic, with children reportedly picking up more challenging books and getting lost in fiction to combat isolation, a study from the UK has shown. A major study by learning and assessment provider Renaissance Learning analyzed the reading habits of more than 1.1 million pupils across the UK. The study showed reading skills have improved over lockdown periods, with many children picking up longer books of greater difficulty.
The US National Women's History Museum is accepting submissions to determine the next series of American heroes to grace quarters produced by the US Mint. The American Women Quarters Program (creative name choice, that) has already kicked off with two chosen honorees: poet Maya Angelou and astronaut Sally Ride. The museum is welcoming suggestions of women known for their work in civil rights, science, the arts and abolition, with an emphasis on women from "ethnically, racially and geographically diverse backgrounds," according to the Mint.
Dive in Deeper
Conservationist Jane Goodall gets a lovely, deeply emotional farewell embrace from a chimp she's saved and is now releasing back into the wild.
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