I have been struggling to keep up with the current news cycle these last few weeks. Not because of the volume of stories being sent directly to my phone, or any lack of access to news sources, but because of the nature these stories have evolved into. Between environmental disaster, political upheaval across the globe, and general gloom all around us, it’s hard to not get bogged down and let it cloud our views.
So this week, for our latest foreign and domestic affairs round up, I wanted to take the time to search, with great difficulty as it turned out, for the uplifting, positive news around us that has slipped under this radar of misery.
In the UK
This week the Yorkshire Arboretum welcomed four new additions to their red squirrel enclosure, a positive step in the fight to keep the species from extinction in the UK.
The enclosure in Castle Howard, specially designed to keep out the invasive grey squirrel, is part of an extensive captive breeding programme in the UK in response to the declining population of the native red species in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, where they are currently classified as Near threatened. The four new kits, born to the two females and one male red squirrels, introduced to the enclosure in April of this year will bring these efforts a step closer to rectifying this.
Read more about the red squirrel, and why these conservation efforts are so crucial, here.
Elsewhere, the court order banning camping on Dartmoor was lifted following a successful appeal by the Dartmoor National Park Authority this week.
Camping was initially permitted under the Dartmoor Commons Act but was banned in January following a High Court ruling. The appeal hinged on the definition of ‘open-air recreation’ as set out in the Act, as the ban was brought following the decision that sleeping did not constitute recreation. However, legal representatives of the DNPA argued that this is a misrepresentation of the historical context of the legislation, which had until January been widely interpreted as “a right to camp and leave no trace”.
Speculation continues as one of the sun bears at a zoo in the eastern province of Zhejiang was rumoured to be a human in a bear costume. A video which went viral, showed the bear standing on its hind legs at the edge of the enclosure, as if addressing the crowds of visitors, is attributed to a 30% increase in visitors to Hangzhou Zoo. While the zoo obviously denies this, the video has still prompted debate and good humour in equal measures online, including Edinburgh Zoo confirming on Twitter that their own Sun Bear, Rotana, is in fact a bear.
The city of Chihuahua this week banned the use of misogynistic song lyrics in their music venues, with acts facing fines of up to 1.2 million pesos (£55,000) for breaching the new regulations, which prohibits the use of lyrics which “promote violence against women”. According to Mayor Marco Bonilla, this definition will include lyrics which “objectified and sexualised” women.
Gender-based violence and femicide in Mexico has been in the spotlight in recent years, and while some have criticised the move as an infringement on free speech, these measures show a positive will from city officials to tackle the problem.
Any money raised as a result will be donated to women’s programmes and shelters in the city.
Eleven sanitation workers who pooled together to buy a single lottery ticket have won the 100 million rupee (£1.2 million) jackpot between them. The women spent the equivalent of a whole day’s wages (around £2.50) for the ticket, and are now planning on how to spend their winnings, including on housing, healthcare, and education for their children.
A breakthrough drug thought to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease has shown more positive trial results. Late last month, the monoclonal antibody drug, Donanemab, was shown to slow the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms by up to 35%.
This comes just after another breakthrough treatment, Lecanemab, also saw positive results during trial late last year.
This hails a new era in the treatment of the degenerative disease, an era in which it could become treatable, with some experts even saying it could, within just a few years, become comparable to other treatable diseases such as asthma and diabetes.
While there are some concerns regarding the cost of the drug on the public purse, with Lecanemab costing around £21,000, the company which produced the drug says they are ready and willing to work with UK regulators and the Health Service.
It is important to seek out these sorts of stories which give us an appreciation for the world around us. Yes, the outlook is bleak right now, but what do we have left if we do not have hope? There remains plenty to be thankful for, especially from such a privileged position as ours, and we should remain vigilant to anyone, or any organisation be it news media or otherwise, who aims to make us forget this.
Did you hear any good news stories this week? Share them with us!