28th December 2018

Other Stories - 28th December

An Ebola vaccine was tested for the first time. A region of the Democratic Republic of Congo is experiencing the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history affecting more than 500 people. The vaccine was licenced in 2014 and it has since been rolled out across the region. 45,000 people have been vaccinated by the experimental drug so far. Vox

India decriminalised homosexuality. In September India’s supreme court unanimously ruled to overturn the colonial-era law that made homosexual sex illegal. To celebrate, people marched through Mumbai carrying a giant rainbow banner and LGBT residents of Bangalore covered themselves in the rainbow flag while releasing balloons. The judges estimate that up to 8% of India’s population are likely to be LGBT. The Guardian

In a similar vein, Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving. June saw a momentous royal decree come into effect in the country, allowing women to get behind the wheel. More than 120,000 Saudi women applied for a license when the ban lifted. CNN

The number of HIV infections in South Africa dropped by 44%. In just five years, South Africa has managed to cut its rate of HIV infections nearly in half. There is still a long way to go, with 7.9% of 15 to 24-year olds carrying the virus in the country. Health-E News

Lots has been done to tackle plastic waste. Here are just a few examples. 250 organisations responsible for 20% of plastic packaging committed to reducing waste and pollution. NextWave, a coalition founded by a number of countries, is employing people in coastal regions to collect discarded plastic 30 miles from waterways to prevent it going into our oceans. Seattle has become the first US city to ban plastic straws and utensils. The EU, UK and India propose plastic bans on items including straws, drink stirrers and plates. National Geographic

The 5p plastic bag charge is working. Scientists have reason to believe an estimated 30% drop in plastic bags on the seabed around Europe is down to bag charges introduced by a number of countries, including Britain. Since we’ve had to pay 5p for a single-use plastic bag, the number given out by major retailers has dropped by 85%. The Guardian

Scotland started offering free sanitary products to students. For the first time in the world, a government has launched a scheme to help end ‘period poverty’. The £5.2m scheme gives students at schools, colleges and universities access to free sanitary products in a ‘sensitive and dignified way’. As well as helping tackle period poverty, it’s hoped the plans will reduce the stigma associated with menstruation. Scottish Government

London Fashion Week vowed to be fur-free. It was the first big fashion week to ditch items made from animal fur in a stand against cruelty. “I don’t think it is compatible with modern luxury and with the environment in which we live”, said Burberry chief executive, Marco Gobbetti. The Guardian

A Sikh soldier was the first to wear a turban during the trooping of the colour. The Coldstream Guards soldier deviated away from the traditional bearskin hats to wear his turban during the Queen’s birthday ceremony. Charanpreet Singh Lall’s turban featured the ceremonial cap star to be in keeping with his fellow soldiers. TIME

On a more humorous note, Banksy once again left us stunned with an unexpected trick. His painting, Girl with Balloon, self-shredded seconds after it sold for £1m at Sotheby’s. ‘It appears we just got Banksy-ed,’ commented a Sotheby’s senior director. Banksy later then posted a picture of the moment it happened on Instagram with the caption ‘Going, going, gone…’. Metro


Quote of the year

“Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much to do with your service to people. And your social contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.”

Aretha Franklin, the ‘Queen of Soul’, who passed away on the 16th August this year.


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