Good News

Some of the positive stories coming our way

Photo: Martin Jehnichen/The Guardian
Carmen Bachmann: helping academics to meet their peers.

Let’s Connect
Refugees Dating websites have changed the way couples meet—and now the technology behind them is helping refugees in Germany.

Carmen Bachmann, a professor at Leipzig University, used the template of a dating site to create Chance for Science, a website that matches academic refugees with German academics working in the same field.

Bachmann’s idea was inspired by a chance encounter in a refugee camp. “I met a man and all he had with him was his diploma,” she says. “He was so happy that someone was paying attention to it because, understandably, the volunteers there were just making sure everyone had shelter and food. It helped me realize what being an academic is.”

The site currently has more than 700 users, including more than 200 refugees. The connections it makes may lead to jobs, but the main aim is to encourage the sharing of ideas.

“We also want to make people feel that they are staying in touch with the academic world,” she adds. “Being an academic is part of their identity and when refugees arrive here, they lose that.”

France Leads War on Waste
Food  France was the first country in the world to bring in legislation to stop food wastage—and now it has been placed in the top spot in a ranking of 34 countries based on their food sustainability.

Around a third of all food produced globally is currently wasted, but in France the figure is just 1.8 percent, and it hopes to halve this by 2025.

“France has taken some important steps forward, including forcing supermarkets to stop throwing away perfectly edible food,” says Meadhbh Bolger, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.

Japan, Germany, Spain, and Sweden rounded out the top five in the index, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit. In last place was the United Arab Emirates, where almost 1,000 kilograms of food per person are wasted each year.

More Time with the Kids
Families Parents in Europe now spend twice as much time with their children as they did 50 years ago—up on average from 54 minutes per day to 105 minutes.

So says a study in the Journal of Marriage and Family, which found Denmark’s mothers are the most attentive parents, spending around 225 minutes a day with their children.

Kevin Shanahan: free dentistry for Dublin’s homeless.

Fitting Dentures for the Homeless
Heroes The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin is the highest since records began a decade ago. But one man who’s trying to put a smile back on the faces of the homeless is dental technician Kevin Shanahan.

Every Friday evening after work he sets up his equipment outside the Irish capital’s historic General Post Office building and fits dentures free of charge. He sees around 20 homeless people in each session and follows this up with around 15-20 hours of work in his lab.

“When you look at someone with no teeth, they’ve lost a bit of dignity,” he says. “When you give someone teeth, you give them a bit of confidence and you find they smile more—so you’re building a person from the inside out.”

Sources: Refugees—The Guardian, 9.12.17. Food—Reuters, 5.12.17. Families—Good News Network, 29.11.17. Heroes—The, 9.12.17

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest