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POSITIVE NEWS - What went right this week: rise of the four-day week, plus more positive news

Posted 11th March 2022 • Written by •

More UK firms embraced three-day weekends, a website launched to debunk fake news about Ukraine, and a ‘lost’ bat was rediscovered in Rwanda, plus more positive news

The four-day week went mainstream

Working fewer hours for the same pay might sound like utopian thinking, but for employees in the UK it is fast becoming a reality. 

A report released this week revealed a sharp uptick in the number of firms offering a four-day week. Academics at the University of Reading’s Henley Business School surveyed 227 businesses, and found that 65 per cent now offered shorter working weeks, compared to 50 per cent in 2019. 

Companies doing so reported improvements in the quality of work, and claimed that it was easier to attract and retain staff. All of which helped firms save money – an average of £18,000 a year, according to academics. As for employees, they reported feeling less stressed.

Dr Rita Fontinha, who led the research, said increased interest in a four-day week was perhaps “the greatest silver lining to come from the pandemic.”

A website launched to debunk Ukraine mistruths

While the Russian army bombards Ukraine and its people, keyboard warriors have waged a propaganda war against the country online. 

In response, a fact-checking website has launched. brings together 120 organisations to disprove fake news about Ukraine. The site has already disproven doctored images appearing to show the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, holding a swastika t-shirt. 

Fake news can be deadly. Western intelligence agencies have warned that fabricated reports about Ukraine developing chemical weapons could be used as a pretext for Russia using chemical weapons themselves. 

Find out how you can help the people of Ukraine here.

Speaking of information…

The BBC has revived shortwave radio to deliver news about the war in Ukraine to Russian people, whose access to independent reporting has been restricted by the state. 

Last week, the BBC announced that visits to its Russian language news site had more than trebled since the invasion of Ukraine. Days later, access was restricted to the site, along with other western news outlets.

In response, the corporation has started broadcasting on shortwave radio again. The BBC said its bulletins “can be received clearly in Kyiv and parts of Russia”.

Struggling to cope with all the bad news coming from Ukraine? Find out what you can do about that here.

The EU hatched a plan to hasten renewables rollout

There were further signs this week that Europe’s dash to wean itself off Russian fossil fuels could accelerate the transition to renewables. An energy plan published by the EU pledged to end the bloc’s reliance on Russian gas and oil ‘well before’ 2030. 

The REPowerEU strategy proposed increasing gas storage capacity and seeking alternative gas suppliers as short-term solutions – much to the disappointment of climate groups. But the plan also pledged to accelerate the rollout of wind farms, rooftop solar panels, heat pumps and hydrogen. 

“Renewables give us the freedom to choose an energy source that is clean, cheap, reliable, and ours,” said European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans. “Instead of continuing to fund fossil fuel imports and fund Russian oligarchs, renewables create new jobs here.”

Friends of the Earth said the plan contained “great words, but little action”. Last week, Germany brought forward its target date for decarbonising its energy supply by 15 years. 

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