Uplifting News

Climate & Environment
2020-07-14T00:30:02+00:00
Prime Minister of Canada announces ban of single-use plastic by 2021
Prime Minister of Canada announces ban of single-use plastic by 2021
Credit: unsplash.com / Jasmin Sessler

The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada will ban single-use plastic "such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks" in 2021 "and take other steps to reduce pollution from plastic products and packaging".

In a press release, the Government states that less than 10 percent of the plastic in Canada gets recycled and that by reducing plastic waste a reduction of "1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution" could be achieved, as well as the creation of assumed 42,000 jobs and "billions of dollars in revenue" as a result of investments in new and innovative technologies.

Politics • African
2020-07-12T06:00:02+00:00
Sudan criminalizes mutilation of female genitalia

Sudan's Sovereign Council has banned and criminalized the practice of female genital mutilation. The transitional government had previously approved multiple amendments to the criminal code of Sudan, including the ban on female genitalia mutilation.

The justice ministry stated that the practice "degrades the dignity of women" and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok that the change is "an important step in reforming the justice system".

Climate & Environment
2020-07-11T19:46:01+00:00
Over two million Indians have planted 250 million trees while socially distancing
Farm Fields of Munnar, India
Farm Fields of Munnar, India Credit: unsplash.com / Ravi Pinisetti

In order to work against climate change over two million people have gathered in northern India to plant 250 million trees. The government has initiated the project and officials in Uttar Pradesh have provided the saplings across the state.

According to Associated Press the volunteers, lawmakers and government officials that participated maintained social distance as the Covid-19 pandemic is still going on with India the country with the fourth most infections in the world.

Politics • American • US
2020-07-06T14:29:22+00:00
District Court shuts down Dakota Access oil pipeline
District Court shuts down Dakota Access oil pipeline
Credit: Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ordered that the Dakota Access oil pipeline must be shut down and emptied of oil within 30 days by August 5.

The court stated that the National Environmental Policy Act requirements have not been met with the existing federal permit for the pipeline.

Mike Faith, a tribal chairman for the American Indian tribes that fought against the pipeline for the past years has stated that "Today is a historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many people who have supported us in the fight against the pipeline" adding that "This pipeline should have never been built here. We told them that from the beginning".

Climate & Environment
2020-07-03T05:30:02+00:00
Japan implements mandatory fee for plastic bags
Japan implements mandatory fee for plastic bags
Credit: unsplash.com / Brian Yurasits

The Japanese government has implemented a mandatory rule for all retail outlets to charge costumers for plastic bags. The previously free plastic bags will now only be handed out for a fee.

The goal is to reduce plastic waste as the bags often end up in oceans and decompose there into microplastics which enter the food chain.

Politics • European • United Kingdom
2020-07-01T15:30:02+00:00
Bristol Pub Named After Edward Colston Renamed 'Ye Olde Pubby Mcdrunkface'
Former Colston Arms Pub asking for name suggestion on Facebook: "All suggestions welcome & encouraged. #theartistformallyknownas #blacklivesmatter #colstoninthdrink #pubbymcdrunkface"
Former Colston Arms Pub asking for name suggestion on Facebook: "All suggestions welcome & encouraged. #theartistformallyknownas #blacklivesmatter #colstoninthdrink #pubbymcdrunkface" Credit: Facebook: Colston Arms

A Colston Arms Pub in Bristol, named after slave trader Edward Colston with the Royal African Company, has temporarily rebranded as 'Ye Olde Pubby Mcdrunkface'. The pub had previously placed a sign outside its doors that read "We are listening. Black Lives Matter."

"There hasn't been a lot of chatter about our name since the statue came down, but I thought we'd be inundated with suggestions. We thought we'd give the pub a temporary name to kick off some discussion about it and get the ball rolling," Paul Frost, Colston Arms' landlord, told Bristol Live. "Myself and pub owners Admiral Taverns are going to listen carefully to people's suggestions before settling on a new name," he added.

Politics • African
2020-06-30T11:16:02+00:00
Gabon: Senate voted to decriminalise homosexuality
Gabon: Senate voted to decriminalise homosexuality
Credit: unsplash.com/Teddy Österblom

Gabon senate voted in favor of decriminalising homosexuality. The bill is now awaiting ratification by President Ali Bongo Ondimba.

"Parliament is restoring a fundamental human right for its citizens: that of loving, freely, without being condemned. The Republic defends respect for everyone's privacy and remains One and indivisible beyond feelings. Yes to dignity, no to hate. #Gabon" – Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, the president's wife, voiced her support on Twitter.

Climate & Environment
2020-06-29T06:16:02+00:00
Ocean Voyages Institute removes 103 tons of fishing nets and consumer plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Plastic fished out of the ocean on a ship
Plastic fished out of the ocean on a ship Credit: Ocean Voyages Institute

The Ocean Voyages Institute has more than doubled their previous record during the 48-day expedition and removed 103 tons of finish nets and consumer plastic from the ocean before returning to Honolulu, Hawaii. The executive director and founder of the group, Mark Crowley has stated that he is "so proud of our hard working crew" and that they exceeded their "goal of capturing more than 100 tons of toxic consumer plastics and derelict ‘ghost’ nets—and in these challenging times, we are continuing to help restore the health of our ocean, which influences our own health and the health of the planet".

Climate & Environment
2020-06-25T22:30:02+00:00
Germany and Netherlands to ban disposable plastic in 2021
Germany and Netherlands to ban disposable plastic in 2021
Credit: Twentyfirstidentity (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The State Secretary Van Veldhoven of the Netherlands has announced that the country will ban disposable plastic such as cups and cutlery from July 3, 2021.

The ban is part of a directive by the European Union which requires all EU countries to put similar measures in place to reduce plastic waste. Germany had already announced similar measures.

Lifestyle • Travel
2020-06-25T08:47:19+00:00
Eiffel Tower reopens after longest closure since World War II
Eiffel Tower reopens after longest closure since World War II
Credit: Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (SETE)

The Eiffel Tower reopened on Thursday after the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Paris landmark’s longest closure since World War II.

Access to the tower's first and second level is only possible via staircases until early July, while lifts are closed to ensure a safe distance between people to limit infection risk. The summit of the iconic monument will remain off-limits to the public for now.

Also, visitors over the age of 11 are required to wear face masks.

Science • Space
2020-06-25T07:30:01+00:00
NASA headquarters to be renamed after its first female African American engineer, Mary W. Jackson
Mary Winston Jackson (1921–2005) successfully overcame the barriers of segregation and gender bias to become a professional aerospace engineer and leader in ensuring equal opportunities for future generations.
Mary Winston Jackson (1921–2005) successfully overcame the barriers of segregation and gender bias to become a professional aerospace engineer and leader in ensuring equal opportunities for future generations. Credit: NASA

When Mary W. Jackson started working for NASA in 1958, she was the first female African American engineer at the agency and now, 62 years later, the NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. will be named after her. Jackson, a mathematician and aerospace engineer, was a key figure in influencing the hiring and promotion of women at NASA and was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.

Jim Bridenstine announced the renaming of the agency's headquarters building on Wednesday and praised Jackson's time at the agency: "Mary W. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. Mary never accepted the status quo, she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology."

Politics • African
2020-06-24T23:30:02+00:00
Gabon lawmakers decriminalize homosexuality
Libreville, Gabon
Libreville, Gabon Credit: Kennedy8kp (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The National Assembly of the central African country Gabon has adopted an amendment to criminal legislation and removed the prohibition "sexual relations between persons of the same sex".

In total "48 deputies voted in favour of decriminalisation, 24 against and 25 abstained" according to the news agency AFP. The adoption of the Senate into law is still pending.

Science • Animals
2020-06-22T05:26:31+00:00
Endangered smoky mouse that had been feared to be extinct discovered alive

After the Australian bushfires in the beginning of 2020 the critically endangered smoky mouse had been feared have become wiped out. Now the New South Wales Office of Environment has spotted multiple of them alive in the Australian Kosciuszko national park. Matt Kean the New South Wales environment minister has stated that "We are relieved and delighted by this news as we were fearing the worst as more than 90% of their habitat was burnt".

Climate & Environment
2020-06-19T13:30:01+00:00
Spanish government proposes new energy plans, aims for 100% renewable electricity
Spanish government proposes new energy plans, aims for 100% renewable electricity
Credit: unsplash.com/Nicholas Doherty

The Spanish Government has proposed a new energy plan to surpass the efforts made by the European Union. The goal is to cut greenhouse gas reductions by 20 percent compared to 1990, which would be six points higher than the requirement of the European Union. In addition, Spain aims to revoke all fracking permits after 2040, ban the registration for CO2-emitting vehicles by 2040 and in the same year abolish all subsidies for fossil fuel emissions.

Business • Economy
2020-06-19T10:30:02+00:00
Target to raise minimum wage to $15/hour
Target Store in Oregon
Target Store in Oregon Credit: MB298 / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Target will raise its hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour by July 5. This will impact 275,000 employees working in Target stores and distribution centres. Furthermore, hourly employees will receive a one-time $200 bonus "for their efforts throughout the coronavirus pandemic".

Politics • European • United Kingdom
2020-06-18T04:00:01+00:00
10,000 families in the United Kingdom will receive free internet access to help pupils with online studies
10,000 families in the United Kingdom will receive free internet access to help pupils with online studies
Credit: unsplash.com / Glenn Carstens-Peters

To combat inequality and disadvantages within pupils as they are forced to study remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, the telecommunication provider BT has announced that 10,000 families in the United Kingdom will receive vouchers for internet access for half a year. The Department of Education will distribute these vouchers to families as School Standards Minister Nick Gibb stated that the goal is to "make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of coronavirus".

Politics • European • United Kingdom
2020-06-17T02:30:02+00:00
United Kingdom announces "Covid summer food fund" after celebrity campaign
Marcus Rashford, FIFA World Cup 2018
Marcus Rashford, FIFA World Cup 2018 Credit: Oleg Bkhambri (Voltmetro) / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

After a public campaign by Manchester United's player Marcus Rashford, the spokesperson of prime minister Boris Johnson has stated that "the prime minister welcomes Marcus Rashford’s contribution to the debate around poverty, and respects the fact that he has been using his profile as a sportsman to highlight important issues". This came after Boris Johnson had announced that the food program providing free school meals would be extended over the summer at a cost of £120m. The program had previously been extended over the Easter break and every entitled family would receive a voucher at the end of the term over £15 per week that can be spent in supermarkets.

Health
2020-06-16T22:00:01+00:00
Covid-19 breakthrough: Dexamethasone proves first life-saving drug
Dexamethasone
Dexamethasone Credit: melvil (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Researchers in the United Kingdom said they have the first evidence that a drug can improve Covid-19 survival.

The effect of dexamethasone was most striking among critically ill patients on ventilators. Those who were receiving oxygen therapy but were not on ventilators also saw improvement: their risk of dying was reduced by 20%.

Shortly after the results were released, the UK government announced that it had immediately authorised use of dexamethasone for patients hospitalised with Covid-19 who required oxygen, including those on ventilators.

Health
2020-06-16T17:00:02+00:00
American Red Cross starts tests for Covid-19 antibodies in blood donations
Press Release Image
Press Release Image Credit: American Red Cross / Website

The American Red Cross has announced that it'll test "all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies" for a limited amount of time.

The goal is to give donors feedback if they have been exposed to the virus. Patients will be able to see their test results through the Red Cross Blood Donor App or at their donor portal at redcross.org.

Politics • American • US
2020-06-15T18:00:02+00:00
Supreme Court grants LGBTQ workers federal job protections
Portland, Maine residents carry the large rainbow flag down Congress Street
Portland, Maine residents carry the large rainbow flag down Congress Street Credit: Mercedes Mehling

In a 6-3 opinion, the Supreme Court further advanced the cause of LGBTQ rights Monday, ruling that a landmark civil rights law barring sex discrimination in the workplace applies to gay, lesbian and transgender workers.

The decision was written by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Donald Trump's first nominee to the court. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and the court's four liberal justices. Associate Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh dissented.

"An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex," Gorsuch wrote.

Science • Space
2020-06-09T09:03:02+00:00
The D.C. BLM mural can be seen from space
Screenshot of Planet's Tweet showcasing the BLM mural in DC
Screenshot of Planet's Tweet showcasing the BLM mural in DC Credit: Planet via Twitter

The Black Lives Matter mural in D.C. was spotted by Planet, a SF-based observation satellite company. Planet posted an image to Twitter, showing a satellite view of downtown D.C. with the Black Lives Matter mural painted on the newly renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza clearly visible. The company has also voiced support for the BLM movement earlier this month.

Transportation • Public, Railway & Bus Transportation
2020-06-08T21:00:01+00:00
Belgium to give all residents 10 free train journeys to encourage domestic tourism
Brussels Central Station
Brussels Central Station Credit: Andrew Nash (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Belgian government announced Saturday the state would hand out ten free rides, with a bike place included, to every Belgian resident for use across the national network between July and December, as part of a package of measures to boost domestic tourism and the economy.

The plan suffered criticism from Sophie Dutordoir, SNCB CEO, that said in a message posted on Twitter: "The way in which a decision was taken yesterday without any consultation raises serious questions,"

Politics • Asian
2020-06-08T16:00:02+00:00
Japan records first day without Covid-19 deaths since March
Japan records first day without Covid-19 deaths since March
Credit: nakashi (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

According to Japans Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, no Covid-19 related deaths have been recorded on June 7 for the first time in three months. The last day without a Covid-19 fatality had been on March 6.

In total, 932 people have died in Japan from Covid-19.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
2020-06-08T13:30:01+00:00
Fans of K-Pop band BTS match $1 million donation to Black Lives Matter
Fans at the BTS world tour concert 'Love Yourself' in Los Angeles
Fans at the BTS world tour concert 'Love Yourself' in Los Angeles Credit: LG (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In just 24 hours the fans of the K-Pop band BTS which call themselves "BTS ARMY" have matched the $1 million donation of the band for the Black Lives Matter cause. Under the hashtag #MatchAMillion the fans had tweeted and called for matching donations, reaching over 490,000 tweets. The matching donation of over $1 million will be split between several organizations that support Black Lives Matter and the fight against racism.

Politics • Oceanian
2020-06-08T10:30:02+00:00
New Zealand is Covid-19-Free, moving to Alert Level 1
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern  at the InterContinental New York Barclay in New York City, September 23, 2019
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at the InterContinental New York Barclay in New York City, September 23, 2019 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

New Zealand reports its last active Covid-19 case has recovered, marking the country's 17th day in a row without infections. In Monday's cabinet meeting, the move to Alert Level 1 was discussed and later announced publicly by PM Jacinda Ardern. She urges to stay vigilant and that "with over 100,000 new cases being reported each day, the challenge of COVID remains around the globe and so it remains here."

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Music
2020-06-08T04:46:01+00:00
K-Pop band BTS donates one million dollar to Black Lives Matter
BTS during the Love Yourself concert in Nagoya, 13 January 2019
BTS during the Love Yourself concert in Nagoya, 13 January 2019 Credit: I DARE U JK / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

South Korean K-Pop band BTS together with the band's management company Big Hit Entertainment has donated one million dollar to Black Lives Matter. Neither the band nor Big Hit Entertainment didn't announce the donation but confirmed it after Kailee Scales, managing director of Black Lives Matter, told Variety that they were "moved by the generosity of BTS and allies all over the world who stand in solidarity in the fight for Black lives".

BTS shared a message on Twitter earlier this week, stating "We stand against racial discrimination. We condemn violence. You, I and we all have the right to be respected. We will stand together. #BlackLivesMatter".

Health
2020-06-07T13:00:02+00:00
Post-lockdown surge in bicycle purchases
Post-lockdown surge in bicycle purchases
Credit: unsplash.com/Dovile Ramoskaite

Bicycle stores are experiencing accelerated sales post-lockdown. Houston Urban Bicycle Gallery owner Eric Attayi says he had to hire new employees as demand for bikes has reached a new high. By May he has sold more bikes than in all of 2019. The bicycle shop Higher Ground Bike Company in Tallahassee reports sales have tripled, going from 30-40 sales a month to 130.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland businesses have also seen an increase in e-bike purchases, with many family-owned shops working overtime to meet customer demand.

Sports • Basketball
2020-06-06T20:06:01+00:00
Michael Jordan commits $100 million donation over 10 years to fight racism

In a joined statement Michael Jordan and the Jordan brand announced that they'll commit $100 million over 10 years to support "organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education".

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Art & Design
2020-06-06T16:48:48+00:00
Madrid reopens its museums after nearly three months
"The Naked Maja" by Francisco Goya
"The Naked Maja" by Francisco Goya Credit: Museo del Prado (Public Domain)

The Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums in Madrid reopened today after nearly three months of Covid-19 lockdown.

At the Prado, visitors were required to wear face masks, keep a distance of two meters apart during the visit and had their temperatures checked before entering the museum.

A visit to the famous museum is free during this weekend -- and half-price until September -- with tickets available online to the first 1,800 people

Climate & Environment
2020-06-06T06:25:15+00:00
Kenya: Single-use plastic ban takes effect on Friday
Plastic bottle on beach
Plastic bottle on beach Credit: unsplash.com/Ishan @seefromthesky

Kenya forbids single-use plastics in the country's protected areas like national parks, forests and beaches. These include water bottles, straws and other single-use packaging. This ban was first announced three years ago and takes effect on June 6th, World Environment Day.