Sure, staying on top of the news can feel like a depressing proposition. But as 2020 approaches its end, a delve behind the front pages reveals a number of reasons to be cheerful.
From the women in power putting second-hand shopping under the spotlight, to moves to improve equity in UK policing, to an end in sight for gas guzzling cars, here are the news stories that have made us feel hopeful this week.
MET police to recruit 40 per cent BAME officers
Britain’s biggest police force has been ordered to hire at least 40 per cent of new recruits from ethnic minority backgrounds from 2022.
A new initiative on race and policing has been agreed by London’s mayor and police leaders in a bid to stem the force’s race crisis.
The programme will also ensure that stop and search operations will have to be justified to community panels, while an immediate review of road traffic stops has been ordered.
Currently, black Londoners are four times more likely to be searched in the street, and six times more likely to be stopped by police while driving.
Unveiling the move, the force’s commissioner, Dame Cressida Dick, said her force is “not free of discrimination, racism or bias”, and promised to sack any and all racist officers.
‘No evidence’ of fraud in US election
As Donald Trump refuses to concede the presidency, a coalition of federal and state officials has debunked his claims of widespread fraud.
The group says it has found no evidence that votes were compromised or altered in this month’s presidential election, despite Trump’s continuing claims to the contrary.
Meanwhile, cybersecurity experts charged with examining voting procedures have branded the poll the most secure in American history, in the most direct challenge to Trump yet.
Branding claims of irregularities “unfounded”, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said “We can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too.“
It concluded, “When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”
UK to ban sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2030
Plans to ban the sale of gas guzzling cars are to be brought forward by five years in the UK.
Boris Johnson is understood to be planning to curb sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, in a bid to tackle emissions levels.
It follows a previous move to bring the ban forward from 2040 to 2035, announced in February.
The government hopes the announcement will increase demand for electric cars immediately, aiding efforts to reach full carbon neutrality by 2050.
But while the move has been cautiously welcomed, campaigners, scientists and academics have warned that far more still needs to be done immediately to tackle the climate crisis.
Cori Bush put second-hand shopping in the political spotlight
Incoming congresswoman Cori Bush shone fresh light on the benefits of second-hand shopping this week, when she revealed she planned to thrift her new business wardrobe.
Bush, who made history when she won her seat in Missouri earlier this month, tweeted “The reality of being a regular person going to Congress is that it’s really expensive to get the business clothes I need for the Hill. So I’m going thrift shopping tomorrow.”
The comment sparked a fresh conversation about the pressure on women in power to dress the part, and won her support from a host of fellow representatives.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez replied: “Thrifting, renting, and patience as you get your closet together sis. Good news is that all these practices are very sustainable and good for the planet.”
Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie voted Women’s Prize ‘winner of winners’
The acclaimed novelist Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie was this week voted ‘winner of winners’ in a public poll of the greatest Women’s Prize recipients.
Her novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, scooped the one-off honour, created to mark the literary contest’s 25thanniversary.
Among the 25 other novels celebrated by more than 8,500 voters were Zadie Smith’s On Beauty and Lionel Schriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin.
Author Kate Mosse, who founded the prize in 1995 after the 1991 Booker failed to include a single woman writer on its shortlist, said she was “thrilled” with Adichie’s success.
“It’s felt like a really celebratory thing to be doing over this very strange year,” she added.