British fundraising hero and war veteran Captain Tom turns 100


IN THE PAPERS - Thursday, April 30: We look at a new report in Le Monde from a European environmental agency which hails the unexpected benefits of lockdown: a drastic drop in air pollution that has saved an estimated 11,000 lives in Europe this month. Also, US hopes are rising over an experimental drug trial, while Swedish authorities go to extreme measures to prevent mass gatherings ahead of a festival. Finally, Captain Tom, British war veteran and coronavirus fundraising hero, turns 100!


We know that confinement has done wonders for animal, marine and plant life around the world. The European environmental agency has now managed to quantify the drastic drop air in air pollution thanks to lockdown. Le Monde reports that researchers estimate around 11,000 lives have been saved. Nitrogen dioxide, produced by traffic jams, dropped by 40 percent. Researchers are hoping the unexpected benefits will inspire more vehicle-free cities.

Hopes are rising for a US drug treatment that could speed up recovery times of coronavirus patients. The Washington Post reports that an early trial for the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir reduced the recovery times by four days. The drawback: the drug has serious side effects. It comes as the US death toll from coronavirus surpassed 60,000 on Wednesday.

Sweden has been one of the few countries which has not imposed confinement. But The Guardian reports that the university town of Lund is trying to deter mass gatherings ahead of a big festival today. Authorities are dumping tonnes of chicken manure in the city’s main park, to prevent people from getting together to celebrate Walpurgis Night. They say it also has the added benefit of fertilizing lawns! 

Finally, double joy in the British papers today. This after Boris Johnson and his fiancée announced the birth of their son yesterday. Today is also the centennial birthday of Captain Tom, a war veteran who raised nearly £30 million for the NHS by walking in his garden. He’s been made an honorary colonel and will receive a birthday card from the queen herself!

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