From Wimbledon to Wembley, a great escape from pandemic anxieties | World news

This week the Upside went courtside in search of the new normal. A little jaded by endless debate about infection rates, double-jabbed immunity and amber-list exemptions, we slinked off a few miles down the road to Wimbledon to watch total strangers play tennis.

It was a blast of normality, a reminder of how life used to be – and how it can be again with a bit of luck. Crowds cooed, plucky Brits lost and it rained all day. Pricey strawberries, a long queue to get in and all the best players had eastern European names. Normal felt good.

One small group of spectators even asked us to arbitrate in their own urgent dispute: what is the minimum number of cheeses required to constitute a proper cheeseboard? (Please do send us your answers, dear Upsiders, on this vital question of the day.) It was yet another a sign that the general public is ready to move on from the nightmare of the past 18 months.

So, too, is the British government. Boris Johnson signalled that all Covid restrictions may be lifted within two weeks. It remains to be seen how this will pan out, as he doesn’t exactly have an unblemished pandemic record. But if there is Upside here, it is in the weakening of the link between infection rates and deaths. It has to be hoped that the vaccines will hold firm against the rampant new variant.

Otherwise, in this week of thrilling football, we found much to get excited about:
Climate activism is not just for young people. Four-minute read
40 years of progress in the struggle against HIV. Two-minute read
The women pressing for peace in the world’s youngest country. Three-minute read
The most sustainable food. Three-minute read
Why remote working should stay. Two-minute read
The growing self-sufficiency movement. Four-minute read

Back to The Good Life … Felicity Kendal and Richard Briers, 1975. Photograph: Radio Times/Getty Images

Lucky numbers

There is no shortage of renewable energy projects seeking finance around the world – some 13,000 in all, which could create 10m jobs, according to a latest assessment.

A record number of students are set to start at British universities this year, according to the admissions service. And still in the UK, the number of jobs offering extended parental leave has tripled in the past three years.

And finally, fertility rates are falling around the world. This piece argues that that is a good thing.

What we liked

Four-day weeks are nothing new, but this piece in the Independent examined the success of the world’s largest trial – in Iceland.

The small matter of the Euro 2020 final lies ahead this weekend, but even if the English team lose, they have won a lot of hearts and created rare unity in the nation of late, thanks to their off-pitch efforts, the Atlantic reports.

Where was the Upside?

In the moment where a famous footballer made a young fan very very happy.

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