Friday, February 29, 2008

141: joy and relief across Kenya

The negotiations between Kenya's political rivals following the presidential elections two months ago have gone through several twists and turns. Earlier this week, it seemed talks had broken down once again, as mediator Kofi Annan seemed to throw up his hands in despair. Yet, as reported in today's linked article from Kenyan newspaper The Standard, a power-sharing deal was finally signed yesterday - and celebrations rang out across the nation. There is a long road ahead, as politicians try to make new roles work and to agree a way forward on key policy issues, and communities attempt to rebuild themselves. But even from a distance, the optimism across Kenya is palpable. As Kofi Annan said, 'let the healing begin'... (Photo from AFP via BBC online.)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

140: Egypt has first female marriage registrar

An interesting story this one. According to today's linked article from Gulf News, Egyptian authorities have just appointed the first woman in the history of the country to serve as a marriage registrar - and possibly in the history of the Islamic world. Traditionally, this is a male role, and there had been a fatwa (religious ruling) against women doing the job until recently. Amal Sulaiman Afifi, a mother of three, was considered better qualified than her 10 (male) competitors for the post. She also feels that she can offer a new perspective on marriage that may help to reduce the divorce rate. Not surprisingly, there is opposition to this appointment in some quarters - but Amal Sulaiman Afifi's appointment is truly groundbreaking and she sounds hugely committed. No need for positive discrimination here, it seems - just equality of opportunity, with appointments based on merit. Good in principle - even better to see it in practice...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

139: marvels of medicine

Thank you to Reasons to be Hopeful reader AJ for sending in today's story, which comes from the Reader's Digest. It documents some recent medical breakthroughs - new technologies, some of which are available now and others that are on the horizon. I've posted on one of them before (stem cells taken from skin tissue - Day Forty) but the others entail discoveries such as new vaccines (e.g. for flu and MS), new diagnostics (e.g. less painful alternatives to mammograms) and new drugs (for Alzheimer's). The latter case is particularly striking - when Alzheimer's sufferers took this new drug, currently in clinical trials, they scored better on memory tests within just two weeks and one patient was able to speak in full sentences again. All are breakthroughs that US patients will benefit from within 5 or so years, though some are available already. Let's hope they make it to other countries across the world soon too - spread a little hope, as I always say...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

138: history, music, and tears...

Well, I've been waiting for this day for a while. Since Day Sixty of this blog, in fact, when I posted the news that the New York Philharmonic had agreed to play Pyongyang. Several of you commented then on the value of shared musical appreciation in warming relations between different countries. Today, as CNN (and many others) reported, the historic concert took place. CNN's article (linked from the title above) documents the experience of Korean-American violinist Michelle Kim, who plays with the Philharmonic. Her parents were born in North Korea, but fled during the war and have never returned. Though Michelle spent some of her childhood in South Korea, she had never visited the North, so this trip was highly emotional for her and her parents. There is little doubt that the concert - and the accompanying press corps - has given at least a sliver of an insight into North Korea today, for Michelle and many others. Let's hope it's a sign of a North Korea reconnecting - to the South and to the rest of the world.


And here is the concert report from North Korean state news. The website can be found via this link but unfortunately there is no URL for each page/story, so I thought it would be easiest to post it in full here:

"Pyongyang, February 26 (KCNA) -- The New York Philharmonic on a visit to the DPRK performed at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre Tuesday.
Appreciating the performance were Yang Hyong Sop, vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, Kang Nung Su, minister of Culture, Mun Jae Chol, acting chairman of the Korean Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries, Pak Kwan O, chairman of the Pyongyang City People's Committee, Song Sok Hwan, vice-minister of Culture and chairman of the Korean Association for Art Exchange, Kim Yon Gyu, chief of the State Symphony Orchestra, and working people in the city.
Among the audience were diplomatic envoys of different countries and representatives of international organizations here and foreign guests and overseas Koreans.
Put on the stage were the DPRK's Patriotic Song, the U.S. national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner, WAGNER's Prelude to Act III of Lohengrin, DVORAK's Symphony No. 9, From the New World, GERSHWIN's An American in Paris, BIZET's Farandole from L'Arlesienne, BERNSTEIN's Candide Overture and orchestra Arirang.
The world-renowned Philharmonic with a long history showed exquisite and refined execution and high representation under Chief Conductor Lorin Maazel."

What a wonderfully prosaic final line!
(Lest I should mislead, however, if you go to the state news website itself, you will find other articles with a more combative tone towards the US and South Korea... one step at a time...!)

Monday, February 25, 2008

137: an energy efficient India

More players enter the race to be green! This time, it's India's turn. (See post 135 for info on others in the competition...) Today's linked article from India's Economic Times newspaper, reveals plans for several new hotels in India, which will be built to very high standards of energy efficiency. They are being dubbed 'green hotels' and will be built by Indian engineering companies, but to the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) standard. This got me thinking. I've posted stories about developing countries leapfrogging technologies before - e.g. post 119 and others on mobile telephony. What if - contrary to the kinds of expectations voiced through UN climate negotiations - India (and perhaps other rapidly developing Middle Income Countries) were able to essentially leapfrog high-carbon development? With India's strong R&D and technology base, there's certainly a chance - provided the hotel engineers are not alone in their vision, or in their desire to reduce energy bills!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

136: rare birds, no longer so rare!

I've featured several 'conservation' stories on Reasons to be Hopeful of late. Most offer promise of future regeneration. But it's great when you find a story actually documenting the revival of a species. And today's linked article, from The News and Observer (a local paper from North Carolina, USA), presents some very convincing evidence of the revival of the brown pelican. In the 1970s, the brown pelican came perilously close to extinction - the principal culprit was thought to be DDT, which weakened the brids' shells so they were unable to reproduce. Once DDT was banned in 1972, the bird population slowly rebuilt itself, and there are thought to be around 620,000 brown pelicans in the US today. As a result, its 'endangered' listing will now be lifted across the country. More proof of nature's resilience (and a sobering tale too, as DDT is being reintroduced - one hopes with caution - for the suppression of mosquito populations in some countries). It also shows that sound government policy can pay back, at least over time. Hope for politicians and bureaucrats everywhere!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

135: a zero-carbon UK?

Remember the talk of nations competing to be green (RTBH posts 105 and 106)? Well, it looks as if the UK may be edging in front - for now. The UK's Independent newspaper reports that a series of demanding new targets will be released in the coming weeks, including a reiteration of the existing requirement that all new homes should be 'zero carbon' by 2016. Targets for non-domestic buildings are expected to follow. The UK Government is also re-examining its target to cut total CO2 emissions by 60% (on 1990 levels) by 2050, in light of scientific evidence that cuts of 80% may be required globally within that timescale. It's all very encouraging. And, according to the Independent, UK industry is keen to move and eager for direction. Though the 'how' is the important thing, of course. A future dependent on nuclear power and biofuels would hardly be hopeful... but one that involves groundbreaking design and imaginative use of technology sounds promising, I reckon.

Friday, February 22, 2008

134: another turnaround in Northern Uganda?

There is cause for cautious optimism in Uganda today, as a deal has now been reached between the national government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army - just one day after the LRA negotiators walked out on peace talks. The talks had been edging closer to resolution for some time (see earlier post on this blog, Day Twenty-One) but were thrown out of kilter when the LRA made a series of demands that the government rejected. As today's linked article from BBC online reports, however, the LRA now seem to have accepted a compromise deal, putting the peace process back on track - at least, for now. The situation is obviously very fragile, but as this very informative older BBC story reports, the local communities are already feeling some benefit from the lull in violence. Roads can be more safely traveled, kids can play in the bush again, and families are rebuilding their homes. The scars from this 20-year conflict will take many, many years to heal. But as of today, at least, it seems less likely that new wounds will be inflicted on these communities. (Photo of boys in the fields around their village - from BBC online.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

133: gorillas gain cross-border protection

I found this story in a few places on the internet today. I'm posting the Reuters version carried by the Environmental News Network, which is a site that is worth a quick browse if you are interested in environmental issues (click the post title above to go there). The article reports that the authorities in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo will come together in a co-ordinated effort to protect the remaining mountain gorillas of the region. The move comes after several gorillas were slaughtered last year, shocking local rangers and global conservationists alike. It is thought that just 720 gorillas remain, though this number is higher than during the 1980s before any conservation efforts kicked in. The new cross-border plans, funded initially by the Dutch government, will involve working directly with local communities to help them to protect the gorillas' habitat and act against poaching. In another 10 years, perhaps, we will know whether and how much the gorillas are benefiting...


BREAKING NEWS: Gosh, I'm humbled! I just noticed that carried an article about me - and specifically this blog - today. I spoke to the HappyNews team some time ago about RTBH but wasn't quite sure where that would lead. Well, now I know - it's a really nice and detailed report. Thanks so much, HappyNews! I really appreciate your support, and your own endeavors to spread happy vibes!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

132: does the economic cloud have a green lining?

This is an intriguing little article, tucked away in a corner of Newsweek this week. A silver (or green) lining to the current US economic downturn. Apparently, conservation groups are taking advantage of the current drop-off in US developers buying up land to do the same themselves. Then they convert the land into wilderness, parkland or recreational space. It's an interesting idea, and perhaps a unique opportunity - to be taken whilst demand for land is lower, but before the recession bites into the revenue flows of charities and conservation agencies. The legacy will, hopefully, last much longer than any economic downturn, to be enjoyed by future generations.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

131: East Africa rebounds, albeit slowly

There are some hopeful signs emerging from the ongoing political negotiations in Kenya just now. And, according to today's linked article from The EastAfrican, signs from elsewhere across the region indicate less 'contagion' from Kenya's political violence than might have been expected. In Uganda, for example, the coffee sector is reporting good returns, and across all sectors the level of trade through Kenya is gradually returning to normal. Many remain affected by backlogs across the transport network, of course, particularly at Kenya's large port in Mombasa - but even here traders seem optimistic that things will improve, whilst the IMF has drawn attention to the region's 'over-reliance' on Mombasa and the corresponding need for greater investment in infrastructure. Just one of the many lessons emerging from Kenya right now...

Monday, February 18, 2008

130: the purpose of play

A really fantastic article from the New York Times magazine here. One of their lengthy features, so set aside a good few minutes, but it's worth the read. It's about the importance of play - to children in particular, but also to adults. There are many theories about why humans (and animals) play. There is apparently evidence that play hones skills for use in later life, helps with relationship building, even aids brain development - and that it can spur children to develop their capacity to be optimistic and to dream. In short, there is much that is hopeful in play. A good argument for setting aside time to have some good old fashioned fun, no matter how busy or stressed we all are, so get out your cardboard boxes and start building that den!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

129: breakthrough ballet

This is a great story, even if you are not a dance-lover. The UK's Observer newspaper featured an article today about 19-year-old Andile Ndlovu, a South African ballet dancer who is wowing audiences with his powerful performances - and shocking (and awing) many of his friends in the process. Andile grew up in a South African township, playing soccer whenever he could. But when his mother moved to an area where there were no youth soccer teams, she enrolled him in ballet class to keep him out of mischief! Andile was very reluctant at first, but his talent was soon discovered and before long he was winning many trophies and then a place in the South African Ballet Theatre's senior corps de ballet. He has since been invited to join several US ballet theatres. His mother, who as a child longed to be a dancer herself, talks of him as a role model for black South Africans who think ballet is 'not for them' or remains out of reach. His tale is about that and more - a boy with a hidden talent, breaking through, against expectation, living his mother's dream a generation later... Full of hope on so many levels...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

128: not just a load of old rubbish

I thought this article was worth sharing today. It's from the UK's Independent newspaper, and it documents the potential of new technologies that can harvest energy from decomposing rubbish. Apparently, the UK government is considering the merits of using 'anaerobic digestion' - already used in Austria, Denmark and Germany - which can turn piles of waste into a liquid fertilizer and a gas that be used as fuel in a range of different ways. If taken to scale, it is thought this technology could generate as much as 3% of the UK's electricity in the longer term. Every little helps! And as 'green technologies' go, I reckon this sounds much better than growing stuff we could eat and turning it into fuel for our cars instead...

Friday, February 15, 2008

127: the secret of longevity

Couldn't pass up this story today. It's been widely reported, but I picked the BBC online version, rather than the newswire one. It's the story of an Israeli woman of Bedouin descent, Mariam Amash, who may be the oldest person in the world. She thinks she is 120 - at least, that is the age indicated by her birth certificate, which was issued by the Turkish authorities that once ruled the area where she was born. Her age was only officially documented by Israeli authorities when she applied for a new ID card recently. Some are questioning the accuracy of her records. Nevertheless, she seems to be an incredibly healthy and vigorous woman for her age - exercising frequently, eating a good diet full of veggies and (I heard on the radio today) drinking a glass of olive oil every day! (I may skip that option myself, even if it is an elixir of youth...) Very impressive and inspirational. I wonder if she can remember the names of her 250 great-grandchildren...?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

126: stopping the traffic

I read this article (through Canoe) today and thought 'about time'! (Actually, it was slightly more blunt and effusive than that, but anyway...) Trafficking in human beings has been going on for hundreds of years, one way or another, but appears to have reached epidemic proportions of late. Yet precious little attention is dedicated to the issue. As the article linked here suggests, nobody really wants to admit that the food they eat (or the sex they buy) causes terrible suffering. This week the UN has convened the first ever global forum on human trafficking, and (once again - see yesterday's post) several celebrities are lending their voice to the campaign. Could this be the world's wake up call?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

125: pressure mounts for action on Darfur

There have been some interesting developments recently in the run-up to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. As today's linked article from the Star Tribune reports, actress Mia Farrow and several former Olympians presented a letter (also signed by several Nobel Peace Prize laureates) to Chinese premier Hu Jintao at the Chinese Mission to the UN in New York, yesterday, urging him to play a more constructive role on Darfur. More dramatically, film director Stephen Spielberg withdrew from his role as an artistic adviser to the Olympics, citing concern over China's relationship with the Sudanese government in view of the situation in Darfur. Across the world, including in Sudan, activists declared their support for Spielberg's decision. If nothing else, this keeps Darfur firmly in the headlines. But as Spielberg himself said, "China's economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change." If pre-Olympic pressure continues to mount, then, Chinese leadership on Darfur could follow...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

124: an historical apology

We all make mistakes. So from time to time we find ourselves needing to apologize. Today, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made a major apology on behalf of his government and previous administrations, for the wrongs inflicted on aborigines and other indigenous populations through the course of Australian history. 'Sorry' has been a long time coming. Forced separation of families and other 'assimilation' policies ended in the 1970s, and since then Australians have taken successive steps towards affirming the rights of aborigines and acknowledging past abuses. But this is the first time the government has made a formal, public apology. Compensation of affected families may yet follow. But, as today's linked article from the NZ Herald points out, history has already been made, today - and a new chapter in Australian nationhood has begun. (Photo from Reuters / NZ Herald. There are videos accompanying the article too.)

Monday, February 11, 2008

123: the ultimate in recycling

Today, a tale of resourcefulness, ingenuity and determination. It's a photo-journalism piece from BBC online (I do like these - they are so effective and help you feel more 'connected' to the story). It documents the day-to-day working lives of Nigeria's electronics repair men, who tackle everything from a broken mobile phone through to an aging CD player - and resurrect them for their owners. Others import second-hand goods from abroad, often from Japan, and then recondition them for sale. For those involved in this trade, the skills are self-taught but the wages are decent for most (by Nigerian standards) - and it's the ultimate in recycling, I guess.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

122: hope for peace in Darfur?

News today from that the Sudanese government has finally agreed to freedom of movement and communications for the UN and African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, thus enabling their full deployment. In addition, the government had previously said they would allow only African forces to participate in UNAMID (the UN-AU Mission in Darfur), but their stance on this appears to be softening. These developments bring a hint of hope at the eleventh hour, following warnings this week that the Chad-Sudan border area is becoming increasingly unstable. The UNAMID deployment may be the last chance to avoid a protracted conflict. For Darfur's refugees, of course, this sign of hope is long overdue...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

121: a little bit of good food

A nice, gentle Saturday story today, from Canada's 'National Post'. It outlines plans for a new kids' cooking school in Toronto, Canada. The school will introduce kids as young as three to the art of preparing tasty and healthy meals - with the aim of helping them appreciate good food, and avoid poor eating habits that can lead to obesity and other health problems. Meanwhile, the article says, cooking lessons will be made compulsory in UK schools, for the same reason (a return to 'Home Economics'?). It's good news for the kids involved - and for their parents too perhaps... After all, having the kids prepare dinner would be a lot cheaper than paying for a babysitter and going out!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

120: miraculous escapes from US tornadoes

Another baby story today! You may have heard this one already, since it has been well covered over the last 24 hours or so. In case you haven't heard, though... A baby was found alive in a field of debris in Castalian Springs, Tennessee USA, following severe tornadoes that ripped through southern US states earlier this week. When rescuers came across the baby, 11-month-old Kyson Stowell, they thought he was a doll - until he moved and began to cry. His survival is being called a 'miracle', and it certainly does sound incredible - he was found around 100 yards from his flattened home, having been thrown through the air. Sadly, his mother did not survive the impact. I am linking to the AP article carried by MSNBC, because it gives a simple and compelling account of the story and recounts other tales of survival too. It would seem that in each scene of destruction there is a ray of hope to be found, if you look hard enough...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

119: mobile development

An interesting BBC online piece today, covering the release of a UN report, which suggests that mobile phones and internet access are beginning to narrow the gap between poorer and richer nations. Small businessmen, traders, farmers and fishermen are using mobile phones and the web to get better prices for their products, and thereby cut waste. Mobile phone users in developing countries make up 58% of all global subscribers, in fact, and that number looks set to increase. As the report suggests, even more people could access the internet if broadband technology were rolled out. So it's definitely an area for market growth - but more importantly, these technologies are enabling and empowering people all over the world, allowing them to access new opportunities and take control of their own lives. It's an exciting time... (Beautiful photo of Keralan fishermen from AP / BBC online.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

118: vitamin and mineral supplements guard against malaria

I thought I'd stick to the 'specialist press' today, after posting from 'Fire / Rescue News' yesterday. (BTW - that story, about baby Onur, was just covered on CNN's evening show, Anderson Cooper 360 - with the same photo! You heard it on RTBH first, people...!!)

So today's story comes from 'Medical News Today'. It's based on a newly released study from Burkina Faso, which suggests that a simple Vitamin A and Zinc supplement may help protect children against malaria. The study found that children receiving the supplement were significantly less likely to develop malaria than those receiving a placebo, and if they did develop malaria their illness was less severe. Of course, the finding is more wide-ranging than that, illustrating clearly the importance of nutrition in boosting the immune system. Common sense, really. For all today's attempts to find the 'next magic bullet' in health and development, what people need first is food and water... now we have some scientific evidence that shows just how important this is to reducing the infectious disease burden. It reminds me somewhat of that old English adage: 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

117: women and children first

It was quite an exciting day today, as it was the first day when I've been sent stories by Reasons to be Hopeful readers before getting on the web to seek them out myself. So, today I bring you two great stories selected by readers Suzie and Catherine. The first, from 'Fire / Rescue News' (no, really) is linked through the title above. It relates the incredible story of a baby thrown from a burning building in Germany into the arms of a policeman four floors below ... and safely caught! The baby was released by her desperate father - he and the baby's mother were also rescued from the building, as were many others, though sadly several people did perish in the fire. Thanks very much, Suzie, for alerting us to baby Onur's incredible rescue - and for a great photo too (from the UK's Independent newspaper).

The second story sent today, by Catherine, is from the UK's Guardian newspaper. It's an interesting assessment of the ways in which progressive companies are harnessing the increased decision-making power of women, in the economy and in society - enabling their female employees to achieve career success without suppressing their femininity, and thereby tap into new commercial opportunities. The Guardian article argues that it is for companies and society to change, in order to make the most of different gender perspectives and attributes - rather than urging women to emulate 'masculine' traits to succeed. Sounds good to me! (It also seems particularly apt, given the current 'run for their money' that Hillary Clinton is giving her male opponents in the US presidential race...) Thanks, Catherine, for sending it in. I suspect we will get some more debate around this, as we did the last time I posted something on women and leadership (on Day Thirty-Six)! Let's see...

Monday, February 4, 2008

116: unborn twins save their own mother

It was one of 'those' days today - the type of day when hunting for good news is hard work (feeling tired, stressed, etc)... But this extraordinary story, from BBC online, did inspire me. I hope it does the same for you! It tells of a mother from the UK who only discovered she had cervical cancer when her unborn twins' kicking dislodged her tumour - and, in doing so, ensured she got treatment and probably saved her life. The story doesn't end there though. The mother, Michelle Stepney, refused full treatment when she was diagnosed, as this would have meant terminating her pregnancy. Instead, she had a limited amount of chemotherapy and then, once the twins were born, a hysterectomy. Her baby girls were born by cesarean and appear very healthy (though as yet without hair, following their exposure to chemotherapy). As for Michelle, she has now been given the 'all clear' - and has been nominated for a Woman of Courage Award by Cancer Research UK.


You may have noticed the three links to the right, titled 'share a little hope'. I added these links specifically because I was attracted by their simplicity. For example, $10 to Malaria No More buys a bednet for a family and gives them some support in using it, whilst even a small contribution to Room to Read can help equip a library in a school that doesn't yet have one. In less than a minute, you can send a 'Boost Up' message to an American student trying to stick with high school through difficult times and get to graduation. Please let me know if you see other good 'hope sharing' opportunities! ( Thanks!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

115: Rwanda tackles child exploitation

The government of Rwanda has announced new policies to eliminate child labour across the country. According to today's linked article from Rwanda's 'Sunday Times' newspaper, recent surveys suggest around 11% of Rwandan children aged 11-15 are engaged in some form of income generation - and about 50% of these children are involved in dangerous or highly exploitative work, such as quarrying or prostitution. Making policy in this area is difficult, as families often rely on income earned by children to survive - but the Rwandan government has been careful to distinguish between work that aids personal development and does not interfere with a child's education, and work that erodes a child's dignity, health or fundamental human rights. The new policy is designed to eliminate the latter, and players from across government, the private sector and civil society have apparently signed up to it. Implementation of the new policy will be more difficult, of course, but this is a promising start.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

114: the greening of US manufacturing?

Well, here is some good news: it seems that US industry is waking up to global warming. Kind of. According to today's linked article from AP, US investment in green technology (and specifically renewable energy) is growing, and some are optimistic that this could revitalize a flagging US manufacturing sector. The new buzz term is 'green collar jobs' - i.e. generating employment in the clean technology industry. The difficulty in the US right now is that there are few tax breaks for green industry and little government investment in skills development for the sector. However, the main Democrat presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, have both promised to channel resources towards 'green collar' skills development - and the Republicans are taking an interest too. Competing to be green? It's a phenomenon of growing significance (see e.g. posts 105 and 106 on this blog) - and definitely a reason to be hopeful in my book...

Friday, February 1, 2008

113: determined to lose it

A simple but inspirational story today, carried by CNN, about a single man's battle with his weight and his health. Phill Novak nearly collapsed at a football game two years ago, and this persuaded him to tackle his weight - which was, at that time, 387 pounds. Over the last two years, through a combination of a healthier diet and vast amounts of walking (and recently other exercise), he has lost 192 pounds - basically halving his weight! An incredible achievement. To top it off, it's evident that Phill feels really happy and empowered, and as a result his tale has generated reams of lovely comments on CNN's website. Capturing humanity at its most positive...


Thanks very much to RTBH reader Suzie for sending me another great story today. All the more striking since it comes from the UK's Sun newspaper! I am, you see, waging a one-person campaign to find hopeful tales in the most unlikely places! Hence the 'Daily Mail' piece the other day, as another reader, Milli, pointed out - and now this... But it's a lovely little tale, I must say, about a nine-year-old autistic boy from Devon who took control of his mother's car when she blacked out at high speed, steering the car to the side of the road, and then applying the handbrake and putting the hazard lights on! Both mother and child escaped unhurt. You can 'read all about it' here.