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The good news of 2018

I started collecting examples of "good news" items a couple of years ago - as a personal antidote to some of the bad things going on out there. This year I've ended up collecting almost too many to keep a handle on. Although the year isn't finished, I'm blogging it here so you can read!

Have a look here - what's a good news item that particularly grabs you?

There's so much good news that it's hard to know how to organise it... I'm writing from a UK perspective so there are plenty of UK things but the big ones are worldwide. I'll try starting with the Big Good News and then grouping other things into categories:

Big Good News

Health

Breast cancer screening improvement - many women can avoid chemo

UK soft drink sugar tax - many firms have cut the sugar in their drinks

Technology

WhatsApp Co-Founder Puts $50M Into Signal To Supercharge Encrypted Messaging - this is great news for digital privacy, and Signal's a lovely app

Linus Torvalds, the inventor and maintainer of the Linux kernel, had an awakening about his rude behviour, wrote a detailed apology, and took time off to work on his behaviour

Microsoft open-sourced its entire patent portfolio (over 60,000 patents), pledging unrestricted use to the Linux world

Opening up MasterMap - Unlocking of Government’s mapping and location data to boost economy by £130m a year

Development

Over the past 20 years, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has almost halved.

Percent of Indian households with toilets goes from approx 50% (2014) to approx 90% (2017)

'Remarkable' decline in fertility rates worldwide (journal source) - while this is a complex issue, a cause and effect of many things, the reason I include this is that it's great news for women's empowerment, indicative of a "demographic transition" connected with such progress worldwide.

Politics

Spain: Mariano Rajoy and his PP finally ousted by no-confidence vote, after many corruption scandals

The Britain First leaders have been jailed

In Dutch local elections, GroenLinks ("Green Left") goes from 5% up to 8.4% of the vote - they were the biggest party in Amsterdam and in other cities! - while the anti-Islam PVV had a poor showing, collapsing from seven to two seats in The Hague for example

Uber lost its court battles trying to claim its drivers were not actually employees

Malaysia: Mahathir Mohamad says Anwar Ibrahim (who he was previously responsible for deposing) to be given royal pardon

'Gay conversion therapy' to be banned as part of LGBT equality plan

Greece emerges from eurozone bailout programme

Boris Johnson faces court over his well-publicised £350m Brexit claim

The UK government’s independent Migration Advisory Committee concluded that international students are a good thing. Even when considered only in cash terms, "the average non-EEA student makes a net fiscal contribution of more than £5,000 a year"; and that they even benefit domestic students.

The UK's bulk surveillance powers - exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden - have been found to be illegal by the European Court of Human Rights.

Environment

All kinds of subsidy-free renewable power schemes announced/commenced, meaning that renewables can be economical in themselves.

New government data confirms support for renewables is at an all time high

Chile creates national parks from donated land. "the area being protected was roughly the size of Switzerland." donated by founder of North Face

UK's total greenhouse gas emissions have fallen from 800 million tonnes in 1990, to less than 500 million (...though aviation's contribution doubled and no-one's doing anything about it!)

Bikes now most common vehicle type in City of London rush hour, says official traffic count study

Global carbon emissions could be cut 3% by following the UK’s example

UK introduces plans for a bottle deposit scheme (pfand)

Drop in plastic bags littering British seas linked to introduction of 5p charge

Plastic-eating enzyme discovered (and improved) by scientists in Portsmouth which turns plastic back into its components:

Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry ("with China leading the way" - 17% of China's entire fleet already! Though the UK has the #1 biggest electric bus fleet in Europe.)

"mini-Holland" schemes in outer London boroughs proven successful - including an auxiliary increase in walking

MoD campaign to stop killing of songbirds on Cyprus hailed a success: Poachers killed 800,000 birds on UK base in 2016 but 72% drop was recorded in last year

Organic solar cells (flexible, multi-purpose) reach a new level of efficiency, competitive with silicon and could produce electricity very cheaply

Last year renewable energy made up 30% of UK electricity - a new record!

The number of vegans in the UK has doubled from 2014 to 2016 - and then more than doubled again from 2016 to 2018:

Record-breaking numbers of UK's rarest seabird return to island after near extinction

Groundbreaking 'spinning' wind turbine wins UK Dyson award - interesting design

Aberdeen offshore wind project opposed by Trump is officially opening

Dutch appeals court upholds landmark climate change ruling - the government is legally obliged to actually stick to its climate targets

A survey run by Waitrose (of everyone, not just Waitrose shoppers) finds "1 in 8" people veggie or vegan

Lancashire Fracking protesters walk free after court quashes 'excessive' sentences

Other

UK became the first country to enforce documentation of the gender pay gap in companies

British astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered pulsars, overlooked by the Nobels, finally won a $3m Breakthrough award

Lancaster City Councillors voted unanimously to save Lancaster Music Co-op

...and finally...

Paris hero climbs four-storey building to rescue dangling child – wow watch this video

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