real life

The 26 most wonderful news stories of 2014.

By GARY KEMBLE

2014 has seen its share of heartbreak, but there have been lighter moments too. Here, in no particular order, is a selection of stories that inspire, delight, amaze or amuse.

Have we missed something? Let us know in the comments.

1. People power frees trapped commuter.

When a man slipped and got his leg wedged between the train and platform at Perth’s Stirling station, scores of fellow commuters joined forces to tilt the train and free him.

2. Malala Yousafzai wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for advocating girls’ right to education, and Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Ms Yousafzai is the youngest person to win the prize.

3. ‘We fought hard’: Firefighter’s poignant note to home owner.

In February a massive bushfire claimed dozens of homes in Victoria, but this note reminded Australians that firefighters were out there, fighting hard to save properties.

4. Wildlife rescuer performs mouth-to-mouth on koala hit by car.

Firefighters and wildlife workers in Melbourne revive an injured koala with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after it was hit by a car and later fell from a tree where it was taking shelter.

5. Scientists move closer to creating dengue vaccine.

Researchers from Australia, Vietnam and the United Kingdom make one of the biggest leaps in the 20-year quest for a vaccine for dengue fever, which infects up to 528 million people a year.

6. #illridewithyou takes off following Sydney siege.

The siege at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in the Sydney CBD was one of the great tragedies of 2014, butAustralians rallied in the aftermath to make sure Muslim Australians felt safe.

7. Europe makes space history as Philae probe lands on comet.

The Rosetta spacecraft travelled 6.4 billion kilometres and successfully landed its Philae probe on an object about four kilometres in diameter, travelling 135,000 kilometres per hour.

8. Family cat saves boy from dog attack.

A family cat saves a young boy from a vicious dog attack after the canine pulled the child off his bike and started tearing at his legs.

9. Victorians capture photos of Fallstreak Hole phenomenon.

The Fallstreak Hole, or hole punch cloud, occurs when part of a cloud’s water droplets freeze into ice crystals and fall below the cloud layer. When the rare phenomenon occurred in November, the ABC audience shared their amazing photos.

10. Scientists discover rare cancer-fighting berry in Queensland.

An eight-year study led by Dr Glen Boyle, from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane,finds a compound in a berry found only in far north Queensland can kill head and neck tumours as well as melanomas.

11. Breastfeeding graduation photo from Sunshine Coast goes viral.

A photograph of a Queensland woman breastfeeding her young son at her university graduation goes viral on social media.

12. Scientists find a 13,000-year-old skeleton in a Mexican cave.

A 13,000-year-old skeleton uncovered in a Mexican cave is one of the oldest genetically intact human skeletons ever found in the western hemisphere. Scientists say the skeleton belonged to a teenage girl, and genetic tests on the superbly preserved remains found by cave divers have answered questions about the origins of the New World’s (western hemisphere’s) first people.

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13. Woman tracks down sperm donor and falls in love.

It is the story of an improbable modern family – a back-to-front love affair where a woman seeks out and falls in love with an anonymous sperm donor who fathered her baby daughter.

14. CSIRO makes a girl her own dragon.

A seven-year-old girl who wrote to the CSIRO asking for a dragon had her dream come true.

15. Platypus decides to make a wildlife filmmaker’s day.

Patience rewards a Tasmanian filmmaker with some extraordinary footage of the notoriously shy platypus.

16. Man in washing machine describes being freed as ‘like a birth’.

A man who became wedged naked in his washing machine during a prank says his freeing by rescue workers with the use of olive oil was “like a birthing”.

17. Conchita Wurst wins Eurovision song contest.

Austrian Conchita Wurst returns home to a heroine’s welcome after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in what she calls a victory over the forces of intolerance.

18. Aboriginal runners conquer New York marathon.

Twelve Indigenous Australians completed the world-famous New York marathon thanks to a mentoring program run by Commonwealth Games legend Robert de Castella.

19. George the goldfish recovers after surgery to remove tumour.

A Melbourne vet performs successful surgery to remove a tumour from the brain of George, a 10-year-old goldfish.

20. #NotInMyName: Muslims speak out against Islamic State.

Young Muslims take to social media to protest against the Islamic State militant group, saying the extremists do not represent Islam.

21. PM’s Literary Award win shared; Flanagan donates prize money.

Writing is often a penniless business, but two winners of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards decide to give away their prize money to ensure Australia’s vulnerable are better treated.

22. Ice bucket challenge raises millions for medical research.

The ALS ice bucket challenge proves it is worth far more than being an amusing online distraction, going viral and raising tens of millions for motor neurone disease research.

23. Family reunited with girl after tsunami also finds long-lost son.

An Indonesian couple who were reunited with their 14-year-old daughter in July, after she was swept away in the 2004 tsunami, also found their missing son a month later.

24. Fundraiser gets WWII bomber brothers to lunch with PM.

Thousands of dollars were raised to send two West Australian World War II veterans to Canberra for alunch with the Australian and British prime ministers.

25. Cate Blanchett wins best actress for Blue Jasmine.

Cate Blanchett claims the best actress Oscar for her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Meanwhile, costume designer Catherine Martin becomes the most successful Australian in Academy Awards history.

26. India launches satellites for less than the cost of film Gravity.

PHOTO: Sandra Bullock (L) and George Clooney in a scene from Gravity, a thriller about two astronauts who must fight for survival after disaster strikes during a space mission. (Warner Bros. Picture)

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi applauds his nation’s low-cost space program, saying the rocket that launched four foreign satellites into orbit cost less to make than the Hollywood film Gravity.

This article originally appeared on the ABC website and has been republished with permission.

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