Celebrating the end of the week with a collection of good news nuggets.
Great Clean Up
America's Great Lakes have major economic importance for shipping and provide fresh drinking water to 40 million people. After years of pollution, these vital bodies of water are getting funding to the tune of $1 billion to revitalise them. The EPA will clean up, strengthen nearby infrastructure, and improve nearby supporting communities in 22 identified areas of concern. The action plan aims to make all fish safe to eat, ensure that water at all sites is safe to drink, remove toxic substances, reduce harmful agricultural runoff, protect and restore native land and water animal species, and to ensure the resiliency of those species. The plan also entails educating children in nearby communities in science and the ecological importance of the Great Lakes region.
A young Hereford bull that was swept into a surging river during recent flooding on New Zealand’s West Coast has miraculously survived the ordeal, turning up unharmed a week later, 80 kilometres (49 miles) downstream, snuffling about in a blackberry bush. The animal survived a monumental trip - being swept into the Maruia River, over the 10m high Maruia Falls, through the joining with the Buller River, under O’Sullivan’s Bridge, and a long winding journey through the Buller River’s rocky upper and lower reaches, and then finally, avoiding being swept out to sea. Happily, he's now safely back home on the farm.
Sixteen-year-old Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa has stunned world champion Magnus Carlsen by beating him in the Airthings Masters. Despite his age and experience, Pragg (as he's known), managed to stay cool and collected during the rapid chess tournament. It was Pragg's first victory over Carlsen, and he became the youngest player to beat Carlsen since the superstar became World Champion in 2013. "I'm just very happy," he said afterwards.
Jimi Olaghere thought he would have to wait decades to be freed from his sickle cell disease - but now scientists have engineered his blood to overcome the disease which left him in constant pain. "It's like being born again," says Jimi, one of the first seven sickle cell patients to have benefited from a revolutionary new gene-editing treatment being trialled in the US. He says it has changed his life. "When I look back, it's like, 'Wow, I can't believe I lived with that.'"
Benin is celebrating the return of some of its looted treasure. Priceless treasures stolen by the French army over a century ago have finally been returned to the African nation. Fulfilling a pledge made by French president Emmanuel Macron in 2017, the stolen artefacts were returned to Benin last year, after being displayed one final time at Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.
The collection – merely a fraction of the priceless Beninese possessions still held by France and other former colonial nations – includes royal thrones, statues and majestically carved doors. They have just gone on display in the Benin city of Cotonou.
It might be best known today for its puffins but 170m years ago the Isle of Skye was home to the ‘world’s largest Jurassic pterosaur.’ Fossil hunters in Scotland say they have recovered its remains, adding the creature - known informally as a pterodactyl - also boasted a mouthful of sharp teeth for spearing and trapping fish. With a wingspan of about 2.5 metres or larger - around the size of the largest flying birds today, such as the wandering albatross - the creature sheds new light on the evolution of pterosaurs, given they were not thought to have reached such a size until about 25m years later.
A Van Hool CX45E all-electric bus has just completed a zero-emission 1,700 mile trip across America's Pacific Northwest. The electric bus traveled from Newark, California to Seattle, Washington and back using only public charging stations - averaging 300 miles between stops. The objective was to showcase the potential of battery-electric bus capabilities, as well as the growing charging infrastructure to support long-distance electric vehicle travel in the US.
Quote of the Day
"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."
On this Day
25 February 1862: Congress forms US Bureau of Engraving and Printing to print the new paper currency.
Dive in Deeper
Filmed above a lake in East Yorkshire, England.