5 things that made world better in 2016

As 2016 draws to a close, people all across the world think back over the events and actions of this past year, many of which have changed the world – for better or for worse.

Here, we look back over the year and try to remember some of the good things that happened in 2016.

1. Giant Pandas are no longer endangered

There are now just over 2,000 giant pandas living in the wild.

This has led to them officially being classed as “vulnerable” rather than “endangered”. While it’ll take many more years to raise the population, this is a welcome bit of news amid the general doom and gloom of this year.

2. A possible cure for HIV is being developed

Scientists in the UK have announced that the first patient undergoing their new treatment is showing “remarkable” results.

Instead of trying to suppress HIV, this new treatment (dubbed “kick and kill” or “shock and kill”) causes the virus to go into a dormant state, where it can be destroyed by the body’s own immune system. If a cure is developed, it will benefit over 36.9 million people across the globe who are suffering from HIV.

3. Remember the ice bucket challenge?

The funds raised has helped ALS scientists made a scientific breakthrough

The challenge funded a research study which managed to identify a new gene (rather unimaginatively named “NEK1”). NEK1 is believed to be the main cause of several diseases such as motor neuron disease (MND), meaning that new treatments and therapies can now be developed.

4. Almost 50 million trees planted in 24 hours

India broke world records by planting 49.3 million tree saplings in a day.

As part of the commitment made by their government at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015,
this record breaking achievement occurred on July 11th this year and involved about 800,000 volunteers from the state of Uttar Pradesh who planted trees alongside roads, railways and public land.

5. Pokemon GO got people moving

Gamers walked 4.6 billion kilometers after just 2 months of release. That's about the distance between the sun and Neptune!

While it hasn’t been marketed as a health app, medical professionals are happy about the fact that it’s getting more people to go out and exercise regularly.

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Zameen Datta, Intern, Malaysiakini

14 December 2016