Good News Friday

Updated: Jul 18

Round up of good news nuggets from across the globe.

  • The Aspinall Foundation is rewilding 13 elephants, including three calves, by flying them from Kent, England, back to Kenya. It's an extraordinary feat and a "world first". The herd is currently living in an eight acre enclosure at Howletts Wild Animal Park, and it is hoped that they will become an important breeding herd when they are reintroduced to the wilds of Africa.

  • Feeling a bit chubby? Fear not! Never before have so many people been so focused on how they’re going to lose it than in the summer of 2021. We’re talking about a world united in a shared struggle: men and women, affluent and broke, young and pushing 60 - we’re all in the same boat, accidentally heavier than we were back in March 2020 and desperate to do something about it. The most boring subject in the world has become the challenge we can all bond over. Good luck to us all.

  • Speaking of which, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new weight loss drug called Wegovy that doctors say could be a huge improvement in treatment for overweight patients. In one clinical trial, the average patient lost 12.4 percent of their total body weight, and another trial showed an average of 6.2 percent weight loss, according to an FDA. Those numbers have doctors excited about what the new drug might mean for the field of obesity treatment.

  • If you're keen for some good news about coronavirus (who isn't?), new research suggests that the vaccines could have a long term impact, and a slew of new studies has provided astonishingly encouraging news. Both previously infected and vaccinated people may be immune, perhaps from infection and at least from severe disease, for at least two years, and people who have been vaccinated after recovering from infection may be immune for even longer - potentially for a lifetime. What’s more, and to almost everyone’s surprise, although levels of antibodies in our blood can fall quite quickly after infection, they shoot up again after a single vaccination and it looks as if their function may improve over time.

  • The world's first 3D printed school has opened in Malawi, and took just 18 hours to build. Students are already attending classes in this new building. It was built by UK-based CDC Group and French-Swiss multinational building materials company, Lafarge Holcim. Through this partnership, they want to build affordable housing, schools, and social infrastructure in Africa.

  • 11 percent of all new car sales in June in the UK in June were all-electric. That’s a new record. Meanwhile, Chinese company NIO's electric car sales reached new all-time high in June, with its first ever month with sales above 8,000 in a single month. However, nowhere is close to Norway as it hit another milestone in sales in June with nearly 8 out of 10 private car buyers choosing electric.

  • Honda is developing an in-shoe navigation system to support the visually impaired with walking, and it could be a game-changer. The Ashirase is a navigation system consisting of a smartphone app and a three-dimensional vibration device including a motion sensor, which is attached inside the shoe. Based on the route set with the app, the device vibrates to provide navigation. When the user should go straight, the vibrator positioned on the front part of the foot vibrates, and when the user is approaching a right or left turn, the vibrator on the right or left side vibrates to notify the user.

  • The international money transfer app Wise has made a record-breaking debut for a technology company on the London Stock Exchange after it climbed to a valuation of £8.8bn on its first day of trading. Wise’s listing confirms its two 40-year-old Estonian founders among Europe’s most successful technology entrepreneurs, both owning more than £1 billion in shares.

  • The gardens of Buckingham Palace, all 39 acres of them in central London, is open to paying customers from today at £16.50 per adult. Guided tours are also available, but sadly not from Her Majesty. Pre-booking essential

Dive in Deeper

Silent Owl Flight

Using sensitive sound equipment the team at BBC Earth try to find out how an owl can fly so silently compared to other birds.