Good News 2018

Not Male or Female? Germans Can Now Choose: Diverse

14 December, 2018

Not Male or Female? Germans Can Now Choose 'Diverse'

BERLIN - Germans will now be able to choose 'Diverse' as an option for gender on birth certificates and other legal records, after the country's Parliament passed a measure introducing the third category on Friday, in a milestone for people who do not identify as either male or female.

Read the full story at: The New York Times

November, 2018

Spain to close most coalmines in €250m transition deal

Spain is to shut down most of its coalmines by the end of the year after government and unions struck a deal that will mean €250m (£221m) will be invested in mining regions over the next decade.

Pedro Sánchez's new leftwing administration has moved quickly on environmental policy, abolishing a controversial “sunshine tax” on the solar industry, and announcing the launch of Spain's long-delayed national climate plan next month.

Read the full story at: The Guardian

October, 2018

Global Task Force on Cholera Control marks a year of progress toward ending cholera worldwide

GENEVA/ NEW YORK, 30 October 2018 - This month, partners of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control (GTFCC) mark one year since the launch of Ending Cholera: A Global Roadmap to 2030, which targets a 90% reduction in cholera deaths by 2030 and the elimination of cholera in at least 20 countries out of the 47 currently affected.

Read the full story at: unicef

October, 2018

HOW THE WORLD'S MOST MURDEROUS COUNTRY HALVED ITS KILLINGS IN FIVE YEARS

In 2012, Honduras didn't just have the worst homicide rate in the world - it was also witnessing murders more than twice as frequently as the nation with the next worst record, Belize. More than 90 Hondurans out of every 100,000 were murdered that year, compared to 43 in Belize and 42 in El Salvador, third in this ignoble roll call.

Experts blamed the high murder rate on criminal phenomena, the country's weak security and justice institutions, the penetration of the state by organized crime, political polarization and a lack of political will to really tackle the security issue. Criminal impunity in Honduras means that even now only 1 in 10 crimes is investigated, according to experts, which assures many offenders that they will get away with it.

BUT SINCE 2012, HONDURAS HAS BROUGHT ITS MURDER RATES...

Read the full story at: ozy

September, 2018

Black men are succeeding in America

(CNN) In recent years, much of the racial news in America has been sobering, if not depressing. Trayvon Martin. Tamir Rice. Walter Scott. Ferguson. Baltimore. And Charlottesville. While many public commentators, like Ta-Nehisi Coates, have underlined the enduring character of racism in America, and the ways in which America's racial divide has exacted a particular kind of toll on black men and boys, there is today, unheralded, good news about African-American men.

Read the full story at: CNN

August, 2018

Costa Rica Supreme Court rules against same-sex marriage ban

Costa Rica's Supreme Court has ruled that the country's same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional and discriminatory. The court ruling gives the country's legislators a time limit of 18 months to change the current law.

Read the full story at: BBC

UK theme parks to offer half-price entry in exchange for used plastic bottles

July, 2018

UK theme parks to offer half-price entry in exchange for used plastic bottles

Legoland and Thorpe Park among the attractions that have joined Coca-Cola in a trial offering instant incentives for recycling

Visitors to some of the UK's most popular tourist attractions are to be offered half-price entry in exchange for used plastic drinks bottles, as part of a trial starting on Wednesday which gives instant incentives for recycling.

In a tie-up between theme park operator Merlin and drinks giant Coca-Cola, a series of so-called “reverse vending machines” will be installed outside the entrances of Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and Legoland.

In a bid to boost flagging recycling rates and tackle plastic litter, the machines will reward users depositing any 500ml plastic bottle with half-price discount vouchers which can be redeemed at all 30 Merlin attractions in the UK.

Read the full story at: the guardian

Mountain gorilla numbers surpass 1,000 despite challenges

June, 2018

Mountain gorilla numbers surpass 1,000 despite challenges

Rubavu, Rwanda, 31 May 2018 - Numbers of critically endangered mountain gorillas are on the up, following conservation efforts in the transboundary Virunga Massif, one of the two remaining areas where the great ape is still found.

Survey results released today reveal that numbers have increased to 604 from an estimated 480 in 2010, including 41 social groups, along with 14 solitary males in the transboundary area. This brings the global wild population of mountain gorillas to an estimated 1,004 when combined with published figures from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (where the rest of the sub-species is found) and makes it the only great ape in the world that is considered to be increasing in population.

Read the full story at: panda.org

Australia Pledges Millions of Dollars in Bid to Rescue Great Barrier Reef

May, 2018

Australia Pledges Millions of Dollars in Bid to Rescue Great Barrier Reef

Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg said 500 million Australian dollars ($379 million) would be set aside to help the reef, an important ecosystem and a global treasure, after years of devastating damage from warming waters caused by climate change.

“We'll be improving the monitoring of the reef's health and the measurement of its impacts,” Mr. Frydenberg said from the city of Cairns, a popular jumping-off point for reef tourism. “The more we understand about the reef, the better we can protect it.”

Read the full story at: NY TIMES

Scientist creates plastic-free bottle that decomposes in 3 weeks

May, 2018

Scientist creates plastic-free bottle that decomposes in 3 weeks

With the aim to eradicate harmful plastic water bottles, a British scientist has apparently created a single-use plastic-free water bottle that he claims can decompose within three week.

Developed by James Longcroft, the bottle is named as ‘Choose Water'. It hopes to replace the plastic bottles and try saving the world's oceans from the rising plastic waste.

As Business Insider describes, the outer lining of the bottle is made out of recycled paper that are donated by businesses. The waterproof inner lining is made out of a composite material that Longcroft has created himself.

Every element of the bottle can entirely decompose within three weeks, even if left in water or landfill, which is not even harmful and can later be easily eaten by sea creatures, as compared to the plastic bottles that take 1,000 years to degrade. Even the steel cap on the bottle will rust and decompose completely in a year.

Read the full story at: Business Recorder

New Zealand to house country's entire homeless population before winter hits next month

May, 2018

New Zealand to house country's entire homeless population before winter hits next month

Housing Minister Phil Twyford says the goal is to get everyone off the streets by June

New Zealand's government has vowed to get the country's entire homeless population off the streets before winter hits the country next month.

'We're pulling out all the stops to make sure that no one needs to be without shelter or living in a car this winter,' New Zealand Housing Minister Phil Twyford told As It Happens host Carol Off.

'The country's been shocked, I think, by the scale of homelessness, particularly over the last couple winters.'

Read the full story at: CBC

Okayama buses strike by continuing to run and refusing to take anyone's money

May, 2018

Okayama buses strike by continuing to run and refusing to take anyone's money

TOKYO - Bus drivers in Okayama working with Ryobi Group have taken to the streets in an unusual form of protest. While technically on strike, they are continuing to drive their routes while refusing to take fares from passengers.

As a result, Ryobi drivers are feeling threatened and are asking management for improvements to their job security under the added competition. It would seem Ryobi was less than enthusiastic to accommodate and a strike was declared.

In cases such as this, management may use the labor stoppage against the drivers, appealing to the public that they are putting their own needs before the community's. So to show that isn't the case, Ryobi drivers are continuing to clock in, but without performing the part of their job that requires them to accept payment during certain times. In other words, free bus rides for all!

Read the full story at: JAPANTODAY

The EU is banning outdoor use of pesticides that harm bees

April, 2018

The EU is banning outdoor use of pesticides that harm bees

The European Union is banning outdoor use of pesticides that harm bees, with the new restrictions going beyond those put in place in 2013. Member States approved the latest move in a vote on Friday.

Today's measures place a total ban on three substances (imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam) known as neonicotinoids, which scientific studies have shown harm bees when used outdoors. In a statement, the European Commission stated that those substances will only be allowed to be used in permanent greenhouses where contact with bees is not expected.

Read the full story at: The Verge

This is a historic moment

April, 2018

'This is a historic moment': 'Black Panther' breaks Saudi's 35-year cinema ban with men, women seated together

Suha attended the screening with her best friend. “This is a historic moment,” she said. “We no longer need to travel to Bahrain or Abu Dhabi to watch Hollywood movies.”

The first public screening will take place Friday, with tickets available for $13, according to Italia Film, Disney's Middle East distribution partner.

Cinemas are set to follow. The government struck a deal with U.S. company AMC Entertainment earlier this month to repurpose the concert hall in the King Abdullah Financial District and open theaters in 40 Saudi cities over the next five years, up to 100 cinemas by 2030.

Read the full story at: ABC News

Global shipping in 'historic' climate deal

April, 2018

Global shipping in 'historic' climate deal

The global shipping industry has for the first time agreed to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases.

The move comes after talks all week at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.

Shippings has previously been excluded from climate agreements, but under the deal, emissions will be reduced by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

One minister from a Pacific island state described the agreement as 'history in the making'.

Shipping generates roughly the same quantity of greenhouse gas as Germany and, if it were accounted for as a nation, would rank as the world's sixth biggest emitter.

Read the full story at: BBC

New Zealand bans all new offshore oil exploration as part of 'carbon-neutral future'

April, 2018

New Zealand bans all new offshore oil exploration as part of 'carbon-neutral future'

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern says move ‘will essentially take effect in 30 or more years' time'

The New Zealand government will grant no new offshore oil exploration permits in a move that is being hailed by conservation and environmental groups as a historic victory in the battle against climate change.

The ban will apply to new permits and won't affect the existing 22, some of which have decades left on their exploration rights and cover an area of 100,000 sq km.

Read the full story at: The Guardian

Colombia's top court orders government to protect Amazon forest in landmark case

April, 2018

Colombia's top court orders government to protect Amazon forest in landmark case

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Colombia's highest court has told the government it must take urgent action to protect its Amazon rainforest and stem rising deforestation, in what campaigners said was an historic moment that should help conserve forests and counter climate change.

In their ruling on Thursday, the judges said that Colombia - which is home to a swathe of rainforest roughly the size of Germany and England combined - saw deforestation rates in its Amazon region increase by 44 percent from 2015 to 2016.

Read the full story at: Reuters

UK TO INTRODUCE 'TOUGHEST' IVORY BAN IN THE WORLD

April, 2018

UK TO INTRODUCE 'TOUGHEST' IVORY BAN IN THE WORLD

The United Kingdom will introduce a new ban on ivory sales, the government announced today. It will be one of the strictest in the world, allowing for only narrow exceptions. Violators will face up to five years in jail or an unlimited fine.

“Ivory should never be seen as a commodity for financial gain or a status symbol, so we will introduce one of the world's toughest bans on ivory sales to protect elephants for future generations,” said British Environment Secretary Michael Gove in a press release.

Read the full story at: National Geographic

Landmark deal to conserve the world's largest wetland

March, 2018

Landmark deal to conserve the world's largest wetland

During a high level session at the 8th World Water Forum, representatives from Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay signed a landmark tri-national declaration for the conservation and sustainable development of the Pantanal.

Starting today, the three countries will work together to implement actions that will reduce pollution, strengthen water governance, mitigate climate change, and expand scientific knowledge on the Pantanal, while protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

Read the full story at: panda,org

Diu becomes India's first fully solar-powered Union Territory

March. 2018

Diu becomes India's first fully solar-powered Union Territory

Leading the way for the entire country, Diu becomes the first destination to be fully run by solar power. The Union Territory has made such significant progress in the last three years that now Diu produces more than 100 per cent solar power. Diu, which has a geographical area of 42 sq km, has installed solar power plants across 50 acres of its land.

As mentioned in a report by Times of India, the UT generates total 13 MW of electricity from its solar power facilities, out of which 3 MW is generated from rooftop plants, while 10 MW is generated from the rest of the facilities.

Read the full story at: BUSINESS TODAY

China Plans Panda Park That Will Dwarf Yellowstone

March, 2018

China Plans Panda Park That Will Dwarf Yellowstone

SHANGHAI, CHINA: China will create a bastion for giant pandas three times the size of Yellowstone National Park to link up and encourage breeding among existing wild populations of the notoriously slow-reproducing animal, state media reported Thursday.

At least 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) has been secured over the next five years for construction of the Giant Panda National Park in mountainous southwestern China for the nation's favourite creature, the China Daily reported.

Read the full story at: NDTV

Canada's first 'dementia village' is set to open its doors in Langley, B.C.

February, 2018

Canada's first 'dementia village' is set to open its doors in Langley, B.C.

Canada's first community designed specifically for people with dementia is opening next year in Langley.

It's called The Village. Comprised of six, single-storey cottage-style homes and a community centre, The Village will be home to 78 people with dementia, an umbrella term that includes people suffering from Alzheimer's and other degenerative brain diseases associated with aging. Care will be provided by 72 specially trained staff.

Project leader Elroy Jespersen said The Village's design was inspired by Hogeweyk, the world's first dementia village, in The Netherlands.

Read the full story at: National Post

World's first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket

February, 2018

World's first plastic-free aisle opens in Netherlands supermarket

Shoppers in the Netherlands will get the chance to visit Europe's first plastic-free supermarket aisle on Wednesday in what campaigners claim is a turning point in the war on plastic pollution.

The store in Amsterdam will open its doors at 11am when shoppers will be able to choose from more than 700 plastic-free products, all available in one aisle.

Read the full story at: The Guardian

Einstein letter surfaces thanking New Yorker for helping Jews flee Nazi Germany

February, 2018

Einstein letter surfaces thanking New Yorker for helping Jews flee Nazi Germany

Financier David Finck's daughter kept note locked away for 50 years. 'I wanted to show it to my children and grandchildren. Every contribution, no matter how small, is important'

A Chicago woman has revealed a letter Albert Einstein sent her father, thanking him for his efforts to rescue Jews from Nazi Germany.

Read the full story at: times of israel

German cities to trial free public transport to cut pollution

February, 2018

German cities to trial free public transport to cut pollution

“Car nation” Germany has surprised neighbours with a radical proposal to reduce road traffic by making public transport free, as Berlin scrambles to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines.

The move comes just over two years after Volkswagen's devastating “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal unleashed a wave of anger at the auto industry, a keystone of German prosperity.

Read the full story at: the guardian

The world's tallest man meets the world's shortest woman

January, 2018

The world's tallest man meets the world's shortest woman

The world's tallest man met the world's shortest woman in Egypt for a photo shoot in front of the pyramids this week. Sultan Kosen, a 35-year-old from Turkey, stands at 8ft 3in, making him the tallest man on the planet, while 24-year-old Jyoti Amge from India is the shortest woman in the world at just over 2ft tall.

The two Guinness Wold Record holders met in Cairo last Friday as part of a new campaign aiming to revive the country's struggling tourism industry.

Read the full story at: Mail Online

An Italian village is selling homes for $1.25 so it doesn't become a ghost town

January, 2018

An Italian village is selling homes for $1.25 so it doesn't become a ghost town

The Italian town of Ollolai is selling 200 homes for €1 ($1.25) in an effort to lure new residents. The village's population has declined significantly in the last 50 years.

New owners must renovate the homes within three years, which will cost approximately $25,000. Ollolai's mayor hopes that the strategy will help preserve the town's traditions. On the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, the old village of Ollolai is at risk of turning into a ghost town.

Read the full story at: Business Insider

Norway set to become first Nordic country to ban fur farming

January, 2018

Norway set to become first Nordic country to ban fur farming

Norway is set to become the first Nordic country to ban fur industries, as it plans to close all fox and mink farms by 2025.

The pledge was made by Norway's Conservative Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, after partners in the country's new three-part coalition government discussed the terms of their collaboration last week.

Norway's Liberal Party, which is the new and smallest party in the coalition, has been credited for pushing the initiative. Norway is now the 14th European country to phase out fur farming.

Read the full story at: The Telegraph

DANISH WIND POWER BREAKS ALL RECORDS IN 2017

January, 2018

DANISH WIND POWER BREAKS ALL RECORDS IN 2017

Once again, the share of Danish energy consumption provided by wind power increased in 2017. With 43.4 percent of the energy consumption supplied by wind, Denmark breaks its own record.

The past nine out of ten years have been record setting for Danish wind power. In 2017, Danish land and sea wind turbines produced the equivalent of 43.4 percent of total Danish electricity consumption. The new record surpasses the previous 2015 record of 42 percent.

Read the full story at: mfad

Ukraine to launch its first solar plant at Chernobyl

January, 2018

Ukraine to launch its first solar plant at Chernobyl

At ground zero of Ukraine's Chernobyl tragedy, workers in orange vests are busy erecting hundreds of dark-coloured panels as the country gets ready to launch its first solar plant to revive what is now desolate, abandoned territory.

The new one-megawatt power plant is located just a hundred metres from the new 'sarcophagus', a giant metal dome sealing the remains of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the worst nuclear disaster in the world.

Read the full story at: The National

African Conservationists Praise China's Ivory Ban

January, 2018

African Conservationists Praise China's Ivory Ban

NAIROBI - The sale of ivory just became illegal in mainland China, a move heralded by conservationists, who say the legal trade has been providing cover for its illegal counterpart, perpetuating the belief it is okay to buy and own ivory.

Max Graham, CEO of the elephant conservation group Space for Giants, welcomed the news, saying the fact that China has taken this stand means that 'there's a new conservation superpower in the world that is taking its responsibilities seriously.'

Read the full story at: VoA

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