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POSITIVE NEWS - What went right this week: a pan-European sleeper train, plus more

Posted 6th January 2023 • Written by •

Europe’s night train revival gathered steam, UK seaside towns got a boost, and a man with terminal cancer was cured, plus more

A pan-European night train got the green light

Lunch in London, breakfast in Berlin, with a good night’s kip in between. That’s the promise of a new pan-European sleeper train, which got the green light this week. It’s set to launch in May, with plans to extend it to Prague from 2024. 

The Brussels to Berlin service will fill a significant gap in Europe’s burgeoning night train network, which is growing amid rising demand for sustainable travel options. 

“This route is ideal for Brits,” Mark Smith, founder of train travel website Man in Seat 61, told Positive News. “Leave London by Eurostar at 15:04, have a beer in Brussels, a night’s sleep, and you’re in downtown Berlin with a full day ahead of you. It’s time-effective – and saves a hotel bill.”

The service will be operated by European Sleeper, a Dutch-Belgian cooperative with plans to launch more nocturnal routes. Beds will cost from €79 (£69) one-way, with breakfast included. 

France moved to end fast-food waste

The French kicked off the new year with an ambitious resolution: to eliminate fast-food packaging. 

From this year, restaurant chains – including behemoths like Burger King and McDonald’s – must provide reusable tableware for meals consumed onsite, instead of serving food in disposable containers.

It’s thanks to a radical new law aimed at preventing 20bn pieces of cutlery, cups, plates and other single-use items from being chucked away annually. 

The move has been welcomed by waste campaigners, but according to Le Monde some restaurants were ill-prepared and are still serving meals in banished containers.

The law is part of the French government’s efforts to eliminate single-use plastic waste by 2040. 

Meanwhile in Spain…

Tobacco companies will have to pay to clean up cigarette butts from Friday, the Guardian reported this week. 

The Spanish government has not yet revealed how the cleanup will be implemented, or what it will cost tobacco companies, but it is estimated to be in the region of €1bn (£880m). 

Cigarette ends are among the most commonly littered items in Europe, and pose a danger to wildlife. The new environmental regulation also includes a ban on plastic straws and cutlery.

A man with terminal cancer was cured

A man who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer is free of the disease thanks to a groundbreaking clinical trial. 

Robert Glynn (pictured) from Manchester, England, was given less than a year to live after doctors diagnosed him with biliary tract cancer, a rare cancer that forms in the bile ducts of the liver. 

Glynn’s cancer was at an advanced stage when he was referred to The Christie cancer centre in Manchester. There he enrolled on a clinical trial of an immunotherapy drug already approved for use in lung, kidney and oesophageal cancer. Immunotherapy works by helping the immune system identify and attack cancer. 

The treatment, together with chemotherapy, killed off all cancer cells. Scans show that Glynn is now clear of the disease. Research is ongoing, but the development could open new avenues of treatment for other patients. 

“It’s never over until it’s over,” said Glynn. “I feel very lucky. When something like this happens you realise life is for living.”

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