Uplifting News

Climate & Environment
Germany: Hamburg introduces solar obligation for new buildings
Representative image of solar panels
Representative image of solar panels Credit: unsplash.com / MICHAEL WILSON

New electricity from Hamburg's roofs: Hamburg will be the first German state to introduce mandatory photovoltaics from 2023. Starting in two years, corresponding systems must be installed on new buildings or roofs that are being fundamentally renovated. The generated solar power is expected to save over 60,000 tons of CO2 by 2030.

Regional News • Middle East
20 per cent of all Israelis have been vaccinated against Covid-19
20 per cent of all Israelis have been vaccinated against Covid-19
Credit: Ashley Winkler for Pendect

The Israeli Health Minister Juli Edelstein announced that around 1.8 million Israelis had received the first vaccination dose. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also received his second vaccination against the coronavirus on Saturday evening. Israel is currently in its third Corona lockdown, as infection numbers had risen significantly again by the end of the year.

Law
Kazakhstan has abolished the death penalty
Kazakhstan has abolished the death penalty
Credit: http://en.kremlin.ru/, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, has signed parliamentary ratification and with this committed the country to abolish the death penalty. This follows a freeze on capital punishment for nearly 20-years.

Lifestyle • Religion
Religious leaders call for end of gay conversion therapy
Religious leaders call for end of gay conversion therapy
Credit: Jmquez, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Over 370 religious leaders from around the world are calling for an end to the criminalisation of LGBT+ people and a ban on gay conversion therapy, the pseudoscientific practise of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation. The leaders stated that "certain religious teachings have often, throughout the ages, caused and continue to cause deep pain and offence" to LGBTQ+ people and further have "created, and continue to create, oppressive systems that fuel intolerance, perpetuate injustice and result in violence."

Among those who signed are eight archbishops, including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu; over 60 rabbis, including former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen; the Catholic former president of Ireland Mary McAleese and various senior Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus.

Technology • Internet & Web
Airbnb starts nonprofit to help house people "in times of crisis"
Screenshot of Airbnb.org
Screenshot of Airbnb.org Credit: Airbnb

Airbnb has launched Airbnb.org, a nonprofit platform designed to proved housing and shelter for people in emergency situations. After Airbnb hosts have opened up their homes for people in need for years, Airbnb.org will now formally "hosts on Airbnb to provide stays for people in times of need. "

"The program has evolved to focus on emergency response and to help provide stays to evacuees, relief workers, refugees, asylum seekers, and most recently, frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19," so Airbnb in a statement.

Climate & Environment
Road bridge in Indian jungle saves animal life
Road bridge in Indian jungle saves animal life
Credit: BBC

Employees of a forestry authority in India have built a bridge made of jute ropes and bamboo planks over a road in the jungle. This should make the way to the other side safe for small animals.

Further large green bridges are being planned - the first is to be built over the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway. A total of five such green bridges are to be built by 2024.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Scotland announces that first Covid-19 vaccinations will be administered on Tuesday
Scotland announces that first Covid-19 vaccinations will be administered on Tuesday
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter

Nicola Sturgeon, the first First Minister of Scotland, has announced that "initial supplies of the Covid vaccine have now arrived safely in Scotland and are being stored securely" adding that "the first vaccinations are on track to be administered on Tuesday".

Regional News • Americas • United States
Federal judge rules that US Daca program must reopen for new applicants
Federal judge rules that US Daca program must reopen for new applicants
Credit: unsplash.com / rob walsh

A United States federal judge has ruled on Friday that the Trump administration must accept new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as Daca, which protects some young immigrants from deportation. During the 2016 election, Trump promised to rip up Daca immediately, triggering a legal battle that continued throughout his presidency, winding up in the supreme court this year. The supreme court in June blocked Trump's bid to end Daca, calling it "arbitrary and capricious" and saying that it violated federal law.

Health
Scotland unanimously votes in favor of free access to menstrual products
Scotland unanimously votes in favor of free access to menstrual products
Credit: unsplash.com / Gabrielle Rocha Rios

Scotland is the first country in the world to vote for free access to menstrual products. The law, which was unanimously passed in parliament in Edinburgh on Tuesday, obliges the administrations of public buildings to provide hygiene products for women free of charge.

Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, Monica Lennon, has stated that: "This will make a massive difference to the lives of women and girls and everyone who menstruates. There has already been great progress at a community level and through local authorities in giving everyone the chance of period dignity."

Science • Nature
Fourth-largest marine protected area in the world created in the South Atlantic
Fourth-largest marine protected area in the world created in the South Atlantic
Credit: unsplash.com / Yannis Papanastasopoulos

The British South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha has created the world's fourth-largest marine reserve and has banned deep-sea mining and fishing with beam trawls over an area of 627,000 km². This created the largest protected area in the Atlantic Ocean and the fourth largest in the world.

The protected area is part of the so-called blue belt, a protection program for British overseas territories, which the British government is funding with 27 million pounds (approx. 30 million euros). So far, a total of 11.1 million square kilometers have been protected - that is one percent of the world's ocean area.

Health
New drug for HIV prevention
New drug for HIV prevention
Credit: unsplash.com / National Cancer Institute

Worldwide 38 million people are infected with HIV and despite the long fight against the virus and education about it, there are still 1.7 million newly infected people every year. With drugs for HIV prevention, attempts are being made to reduce this number. In clinical studies, the new drug Cabotegravir has now proven to be particularly effective.

It only needs to be injected every eight weeks instead of having to be taken daily in pills as before. Especially for women, the drug is more effective than the previously available pill Truvada, but the new drug is also more effective for men and transwomen

Regional News • Americas • South America
After nearly 40 years Falkland Islands celebrate being landmine free
After nearly 40 years Falkland Islands celebrate being landmine free
Credit: Petebutt / via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The population of the Falkland Islands has been celebrating the removal of an estimated 13,000 mines that were planted by Argentine forces in the 1982 military conflict.

Barry Elsby, a member of the island's legislative assembly, has stated that "This will be another good bit of closure for people who were here when the invasion happened and lived through the horrors of that time" and added that "All the mine signposts were a constant reminder of what happened but now they are all away, it's another return to normality".

Regional News • Oceania
Australia hits a week with no local COVID-19 cases
Australia hits a week with no local COVID-19 cases
Credit: unsplash.com / Dan Freeman

It has been seven days since Australia last recorded a local coronavirus case.

With the last recorded case originating in New South Wales a week ago, the country is on track to open most borders by Christmas.

Comparatively, it has been 224 days since the Northern Territory last had an active local case.

Education • School Education
First school for transgender people opens in Bangladesh
First school for transgender people opens in Bangladesh
Credit: unsplash.com / MChe Lee

In Bangladesh the first Islamic school, where 150 trans people can attend courses free of charge, opens. This is a further step to support the queer community. In 2018, a new law was passed that gave trans people of the "third gender" named there the right to vote and to take up political positions.

Sports
Chris Nikic becomes first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman
Chris Nikic becomes first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman
Credit: Courtesy of Instagram

Chris Nikic wrote sports history in the early hours of German time on Sunday morning. In Florida, the 21-year-old American was the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman.

After two years of training, Nikic completed the 3.86 km swim, 180 km bike ride and a marathon on Saturday in Florida within 16:46:09 hours.

Law
Gender discrimination becomes illegal in the Philippines
Gender discrimination becomes illegal in the Philippines
Credit: Ramon FVelasquez / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Manila's mayor Francisco Domagoso signs a decree making discrimination based on sexual identity or sexual orientation a criminal offence. In addition, the capital of the Philippines is working to establish gender-neutral toilets and will soon decide on same-sex marriages. The Philippines is the largest Catholic-influenced region in Asia, so these decisions are expected to have a pulling effect.

Science • Nature
Coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia discovered
Coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia discovered
Credit: Great Barrier Reef Encounter / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

In the famous Great Barrier Reef in Australia, researchers of the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) have discovered a new coral reef. It is the first new discovery after 120 years. The reef is 500 meters deep - and thus larger than the Empire State Building in New York City. The research team came across the reef by chance when they were making a 3D map of the seabed with the help of the underwater robot SuBastian.

Climate & Environment
Putin aims to meet Paris climate goals
Putin aims to meet Paris climate goals
Credit: kremlin.ru / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In a new decree, the Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to try to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement to fight climate change.

However, all measures need to ensure that Russia can show strong economic development. but stressed that any action must be balanced with the need to ensure strong economic development.

Regional News • Asia
200 days without domestic Covid-19 cases in Taiwan
Taipei
Taipei Credit: Chris (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Taiwan has not reported a domestically transmitted Covid-19 infection since April 12, marking 200 days without any new cases. The country has only recorded 553 Covid-19 cases and seven deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Literature
After Strand Bookstore asked for help, online orders surged
After Strand Bookstore asked for help, online orders surged
Credit: Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Strand Bookstore, one of New York's oldest bookstores, recently asked its customers for help on social media after sales have gone down during the pandemic, writing "for the first time in The Strand’s 93 year history, we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there is a vaccine."

After Strand's call for help, the store received over 25,000 online orders over the weekend and made a total of $170,550 in in-store sales on Saturday and Sunday.