This article belongs to Australia - Land of the Free? column.

It seems as if it's a human condition to focus on the negative. Read any newspaper and for some reason they believe that we only want to read bad news stories. Those of us who live in democracies have it rammed down our throats how bad a government is by both the opposition and the media.


There are certainly no shortage of bad news stories to report on, Iraq, the Middle East, asylum seekers, religious persecution, Zimbabwe, global warming, and on and on with an endless source for the negative minded to draw on.


Then there is our fascination with celebrities – it's almost a cult. But the reports are not about the good things they do but mostly about failed romances and who is sleeping with whom.


So, what is the good news?


In my opinion, the biggie is the standard of living of most of the world's population has improved. There are still people living in appalling poverty but gradually living conditions have improved for many of us. Third world countries have become exporters instead of relying on aid thus raising their ability to become prosperous.


There are fewer wars. Although we see terrible scenes from Iraq and Afghanistan everyday on the news, the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel is quieter. The mindless Irish wars seem to be over. Africa is still a problem and there are wars that are not well reported but many others have been resolved and although the peace is uneasy it is still peace. The wars caused by the break up of Yugoslavia are resolved. Russia seems to have an uneasy peace with its neighbours. Asia is mostly peaceful as is South America. Although one war is too many we have to admire the men and women who dedicated themselves to solving these seemingly unsolvable conflicts.


Although the world's most powerful nation, the USA, is still insular and lacks understanding of the world's problems, gradually they are coming to terms with being less arrogant and becoming better world citizens. For instance, if you visit the US you will find they know little about the rest of the world and only concentrate on what is happening in their own country. For the world's policeman this has to change, and it appears it is. Example, Al Gore and his film An Inconvenient Truth.


The rise of China and India as economic powers. This shift of the balance of power to Asia has a more balanced feel with the USA, Japan, and Europe. These Asian giants will eventually mean these very populace nations will make the world more prosperous. Australia exports enormous amounts of goods to both these countries and imports goods made more cheaply which lowers the cost of living, although at the expense of industries that can't compete with cheap labour.


Did you know there is a magazine called "Positive News"? Go to www.positivenews.org. Here are few items in their UK magazine.


International woman of the year – Living Lightly describes the personal journey behind the actions of human rights campaigner, community activist and author, Zernanoo Gifford.


Envisioning a Brighter Future – take a look inside the covers of the new Resurgence Anthology ‘Visionaries', a book which looks at the lives of 100 revolutionary men and women, who changed the world around them.


Positive stories are there if we look for them. What a pity our view of world events is not more balanced. Then again would we read the good stories and just skip to the bad?


Yeah. I reckon we would.