After the scaremongering I’ve seen in the papers about how we need to stockpile on European resources in case of a no-deal Brexit (I don’t want Brexit as much as anyone but I doubt our break from the EU will turn into Armageddon), I thought it would be good to share some positivity in this week’s article. Pushing the UK aside, this week has seen tragedies all over the world; fires spreading across Greece have left dozens dead, a burst dam in Laos has caused a death toll that keeps rising and the heat wave surging across the globe has killed many, with 65 reported deaths in Japan alone. Reading the news is simply one disaster after another and in times like this, a bit of good news is needed to offer people positivity, and to remind people that the world isn’t all bad.
Medical cannabis is now to be legalised in the UK
The Guardian reports that doctors will be legally allowed to prescribe cannabis in medical products by autumn. The decision to change the law has stemmed from the cases of two boys, Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley, who use cannabis oil to control their seizures in their rare forms of epilepsy. The initial denial of their access to cannabis oil encouraged the Home Office to launch a review and study the beneficial impact of cannabis when taken medically. Currently, it is planned to be granted in “exceptional circumstances”, with an expert panel already established to assess each application individually. Whilst this is still far from free medical access through prescription, and whilst these medicines are simply cannabis-derived rather than medicinal cannabis itself, we are certainly heading in the right direction towards a more tolerant attitude towards cannabis and its medical benefits.
Water discovered on Mars
NASA has found a 12 mile body of liquid water sitting under Mars’ south polar ice cap. After several discoveries of sporadic flowing water, this is the first discovery of a substantial body of water existing under the planet’s surface. Due to the planet’s thin atmosphere the majority of water on Mars is locked in ice, yet this body of liquid is free flowing and can be regarded as a lake. The discovery of free flowing water has raised speculations about the possibility of life on Mars. The BBC reports that whilst NASA has long refuted life on the surface of Mars due to its inhospitable conditions, Dr Manish Patel from the Open University claims that the search for Martian life is now in the subsurface, an area protected from radiation and freezing temperatures, and with free flowing water which is essential for life. Amazing.
New Zealand is first country to offer paid leave to victims of domestic violence
In a world first, New Zealand has introduced new legislation which entitles domestic violence victims to paid leave. New Zealand has the highest rate of domestic violence across developed countries and so legislation regarding the welfare of the victims has long been in discussion. The new law, to be introduced in April, entitles victims to 10 days paid leave, in which they can take the necessary actions to separate from their partner and return to safety, and also ensures that employers of victims offer additional workplace safety measures. This legislation has been spearheaded by Green MP Jan Logie, who has been working on passing it for seven years. This is a remarkable progression in how society can support victims of domestic violence, and hopefully more countries will soon follow New Zealand’s sympathetic example.