Celebrating the start of the weekend with a global collection of upbeat news nuggets.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has christened the Laura Maersk, the world’s first green container ship, in a historic ceremony in Denmark. This extraordinary vessel is expected to change the future of marine transportation by running solely on green methanol - a colorless liquid created from low-carbon sources such as hydrogen or biomass, and a very positive step to more environmentally friendly transportation. According to the Methanol Institute, green methanol can lower CO2 emissions by 60 to 95 percent when compared to conventional fuels like gasoline or diesel.
The number of people covered by essential health services has increased substantially since 2000. At the turn of the century, 68 countries had low levels of coverage; by 2021, that was down to 14. The number of countries with very high coverage levels improved from 1 to 42 during the same period, reports the World Health Organisation.
Private US Rail Line
The first privately funded passenger rail line in the US in more than a century opened yesterday in Florida, expecting to shuttle up to 8 million riders annually between Miami and Orlando. The $5bn Brightline railcar is expected to make the 235-mile trip between the state's two economic hubs in about three-and-a-half hours, about 30 minutes quicker than by car. The company is also developing a similar line between Southern California and Las Vegas, opening in 2027 with trains reaching up to 190 mph - becoming America's first high-speed line.
The UK's Royal Mint will start turning e-waste into gold later this year thanks to a new factory that can process 90 tonnes of circuit boards every week to recover hundreds of kilograms of gold per year. Royal Mint, together with Canadian start-up Excir, have invented and patented a clean, energy-efficient way which they claim extracts 99 percent of gold from the printed circuit boards found inside discarded laptops and old mobile phones. It's an encouraging development in the burgeoning field of 'urban mining,' says the BBC.
NASA is poised to make a historic delivery tomorrow of a sample of rocks and dust from an asteroid after a seven-year mission in space. On Sunday, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will fly by Earth to drop off a capsule - containing the roughly half-a-pound sample from the asteroid Bennu - near Dugway, Utah. If successful, it will be the first US mission to return an asteroid sample to Earth. Livestream the event here (10am ET).
Afrik21 reports that the first-ever comprehensive survey of elephants in southern Africa’s biggest conservation area (which includes Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe) has recorded a stable population of 227,900, up by 5 percent since 2016.
American Climate Corps
Echoing a program that provided jobs for millions during the Great Depression, the White House just unveiled a new jobs training program that it says will provide jobs for 20,000 people in just its first year. This time the jobs are all climate-related. Workers in the American Climate Corps will be trained for jobs including restoring land, improving community resilience to natural disasters, and clean energy deployment. The creation of the climate corps makes good on an executive order President Joe Biden signed during his first week in office.
“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature.” Jane Austen
On this Day
23 September 1950: Nobel peace prize awarded to Ralph Bunche for mediation in Israel - becoming the first African American winner.
Hilarious selection of inappropriate wedding songs suggested by Tim Hawkins.