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Monday's Upbeat News

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

An upbeat collection of positive news nuggets to help get the week off to a sunny start.

Miley Cyrus singing on stage
The Ex-Factor

Miley Cyrus can buy herself flowers, she can write her name in the sand. She can take herself dancing, and she can hold her own hand. That’s the message the pop star imparts in her new single, Flowers, which smashed Spotify’s one-week streaming record with more than 96m streams last week, and topped charts around the world including in the UK, Australia, Canada and China. The song, reportedly about Cyrus’s divorce from the Australian actor Liam Hemsworth, has become an anthem for female empowerment after heartbreak.

First Kings of Europe

Nearly 100 years ago, the Chicago Field Museum acquired a bronze sword from Europe, but it was thought to be a well-made replica. While preparing for First Kings of Europe, a special exhibition opening at the Field Museum in March 2023, Hungarian archaeologists working alongside Field Museum scientists asked to see the “replica” sword that had been retrieved from the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary in the 1930s. Now a new analysis has revealed that the sword is the real deal, dating back 3,000 years to the Bronze Age, and likely belonging to a warrior in the upper strata of society. And the ancient sword will be in pride of place at the entrance of the forthcoming exhibition.

Dazzling Progress

Almost all children in Western and Central Africa now attend primary school, with enrolment rising from 50% in the 1990s to nearly 90% today. Enrolment in high school is increasing too, more than doubling in the last decade to 55%. “With close to universal access in the primary cycle, the progress made is dazzling,” says the World Bank.

Rewilding England

A rewilding charity that launched in lockdown has acquired its first site in Somerset, where it will create a new nature reserve – the first in a series it plans to establish in every English county. The site, to be called Heal Somerset, aims to tackle the nature and climate crises, while creating new jobs and allowing for food growing. The charity wants to create a nature recovery site in all 48 English counties by 2050, together covering almost 25,000 acres.

Queen Rule

The golden age of rock, where the latest and greatest hits came blasting out of your local jukebox, is behind us. But the undisputed GOATs of its various subcategories continue to inspire new acts while comforting ageing dads. While grunge, metal, beat pop and poodle rock acts are among today's most listened-to, the top rock band of all evades clear categorization. Are Queen art rock, prog, glam, psychedelic or opera? Somehow, they dabble in each while always sounding like Queen. According to Liberty Games, they are the most listened-to classic rock band in the world by a margin of over half a billion annual streams globally.

Tuk-Tuks Go Electric

Thailand’s iconic, gas-guzzling tuk-tuks are being replaced by a greener, more energy efficient model, offering travellers a more environmentally friendly way of getting around what is one of the world’s worst countries when it comes to air pollution. “The benefits are quite clear in terms of the environment”, says Krisada Kritayakirana, co-founder and CEO of start-up Urban Mobility Tech. “When you use traditional tuk-tuks, you can smell the gas and it sometimes could be unpleasant. With the electric tuk-tuks, basically you don’t have any noise and you don’t have any emission from tailpipes.”

Colombia Commitment

Colombian government has announced that it will no longer approve new oil and gas projects. Irene Vélez, Colombia’s minister for mines, said: “We have decided not to award new oil and gas exploration contracts, and while that has been very controversial, it’s a clear sign of our commitment in the fight against climate change. This decision is absolutely urgent and needs immediate action.”


"It's not the will to win that matters - everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters." Paul "Bear" Bryant

On this Day

30 January 1847: Previously known as Yerba Buena (the name of a plant, meaning “good herb”), San Francisco was given its current name.


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