Label volunteer writer Callum Sayer outlines some of positive news stories which have unfolded this month.
In light of all the negative news around the place, I thought that I would bring you the Top 5 good news stories from around the world.
- STRAW BAN COMES IN
In positive environmental news, the Plastic Straw Ban came into force in England recently, banning the use of single use plastic straws. The ban was supposed to be introduced in April but was postponed to October due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ban makes it clear that such items must no longer be sold in supermarkets, but can be used still in hospitals, bars and restaurants to ensure that those with disabilities can still have access to them. A similar plan is also being considered by the Welsh Government, and some restaurants had already phased them out before the government ban came into force. However, environmental campaigners are calling for the ban to be extended to other single use plastic goods such as cotton buds and single use coffee cups, which came back into use due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus through re-useable cups.
- UK FIRMS RETURN UNUSED FURLOUGH MONEY
Many UK firms have returned over £215million of unused government stimulus that did not get used as part of the Job Retention Scheme or the ‘furlough scheme’. It comes after HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) believe that £330million may have been wrongly paid out to fraudsters taking advantage of the chaos to make a quick buck.
Employers who returned money include Taylor Woodrow, Games Workshop and the Spectator Magazine. HMRC said that they ‘welcomed the voluntary return of taxpayers money to the taxpayer’. Indeed, recent figures released by the government suggest that 1.2million people have been helped by the furlough scheme after the economy shut down due to restrictions on the economy. Well, if it helps protect the economy, then I’m all for it.
- CUTE AND CUDDLY ANIMALS. CUTE AND CUDDLY…
If you want to lift your mood, it’s simple. Jump onto YouTube or a video streaming site and just watch a series of cute animals doing funny things. Scientists at the University of Leeds measured the blood rate of those who viewed a video of cute animals and then sat a 90-minute exam. The study showed that those who viewed the video of cute and cuddly animals saw a 50% drop in their anxiety and a decrease in their average blood pressure.
Now, I’m not saying that it is a good thing to junk that day of revision to watch a video or view a slide show of cute and cuddly animals, but I guess that’s what puppy petting sessions or the petting zoo is for. Either way, if it helps reduce stress, then sign me up.
- WHEN PARROTS SWEAR……?
Back in the days of secondary school, you would usually sit in the back of a language lesson, flip through the dictionary, find the worse swear word/insult, and then find a way with your friend to work it into an oral exercise without the teacher noticing your illicit activities. Well, it turns out that parrots do this too. Keepers at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Centre have had to split up 5 African grey parrots – Billy, Eric, Tyson, Jade and Elsie – because they egged each other on to hurl expletives at their keepers.
The park was keen to stress that though there had been no complaints from the public about the feathered Gordon Ramsay wannabes, they were separated in case they made an impression on young visitors. The park also said that the parrots were separated to ensure that they picked up natural calls from other African grey parrots. In fact, one of the keepers, Steve Nichols said, when interviewed for the London Evening Standard, that the public find it ‘f***ing amusing’!
- CUTE PANDA ALERT
What is black, white and cute all over? A panda. And what is even better than an adult panda? A cute baby panda. The National Zoo in Washington, DC has welcomed a new baby panda that was born on August 21st. According to NBC’s Today show, the bundle of joy was genetically tested; and was only just confirmed as a boy in a gender reveal party whereby the gender was ‘revealed’ by the father Tian Tian ‘painting’ blue onto a canvas.
Indeed, this is a spot of good news for America, which is continuing to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the zoo, which has been closed since March 14th. The zoo created a ‘Panda-cam’ to monitor the mother Mei-Xiang and when news of the pregnancy was announced, and traffic rose nearly 1,200%. Indeed, when the birth happened, the zoo had to increase their bandwidth as the camera couldn’t handle the traffic. Hopefully the little guy will get a name soon and when things open up again, I am sure people will be queuing to see the little bundle of joy.
That’s my top 5 round up of all the good news around the world for October.
Header by Christos Leo Alamaniotis – Assistant Head of Design
Article edited by Izzie Naish – News Editor