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Only Good News Wednesday

Mid-week collection of concise upbeat news stories from around the world.


Vatican City
Vatican dome at night from across the River Tiber
Fratello Sole

Vatican City is set to become the eighth country in the world to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy after Pope Francis announced plans to build a solar plant. In an apostolic letter - titled Fratello Sole (Brother Sun) - the pontiff said the project will be constructed on Vatican-owned property outside of Rome that spans 424 hectares, adding capacity to existing solar panel installations in the city state. “Humanity has the technological means necessary to face this environmental transformation and its pernicious ethical, social, economic and political consequences, and solar energy plays a fundamental role.”

 
 
Mayan vase found in a thrift store
Credit: Anna Lee Dozier
Thrift Store Find

For a long time, Anna Lee Dozier thought she had just stumbled upon a good deal. The Washington, D.C., resident paid about $4 for what she assumed was a reproduction of a Mayan vase. Dozier told UPI that she was visiting Mexico on a work trip earlier this year when she noticed some items on display at the Museum of Anthropology bore a startling resemblance to the vase she purchased for $3.99. She spoke with a museum official, who recommended she contact the Mexican embassy when she returned home. Dozier shared photos and the dimensions of the vase with the embassy, and the item was identified as a Mayan artifact dating from A.D. 200-800. Dozier and her family returned the vase to Mexican Ambassador Estaban Moctezuma Barragan in a ceremony held at the Cultural Institute of Mexico.


Scandi Sleep Method

If your partner’s tossing and turning or constant cover-hogging is keeping you up at night, the Scandinavian sleep method could be your ticket to better quality shut-eye. Widely practiced in countries like Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, the method involves sharing the same bed, but with separate duvets. Proponents say it’s a good alternative to a sleep divorce - in which partners sleep in separate beds - allowing you to keep your sweetheart close without sacrificing z’s.


peering through a bush
Congo's new safe haven.
The World’s First

Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of the Congo - a critical nature site that has been largely unaffected by human activities - has become the first site in the world to be given the status of Key Biodiversity Area, due to its high ecological integrity. Covering 4,000 km2 (1,545 sq. miles) of lowland rainforest, the park has never been logged, contains no roads, and boasts wildlife that has had little to no contact with humans.


Saving Lives

Gavi has outlined its plan to save eight million lives between 2026 and 2030. The Vaccine Alliance says it will protect 500 million children during the next five years, reflecting an ambition to vaccinate the next billion children in half the time it took to reach the first billion between 2000 and 2020. The US, France, Spain, the private sector, and philanthropic organisations have already pledged at least $2.4 billion towards this goal.


Mantua Reservoir in Utah
Credit: mantuautah.org
Knocking Out Algae

Utah scientists achieve breakthrough in waterbody restoration after the team at BlueGreen Water Technologies developed a process - now being tested at the Mantua Reservoir in Utah - which oxidizes the algal blooms, knocking out the algae, which settles to the bottom. Testing at Mantua Reservoir safely sequestered 13,000 tonnes of algae, largely restoring the reservoir. This could be very good news for lots of other locations around the world.


Cash for Clunkers

Residents of California now have access to up to $14,000 in new incentives for electric vehicle purchases and charging access, perks that could help more people afford to swap older, higher tailpipe emissions vehicles for much cleaner options.

 

“I wouldn’t change you for the world, but I will change the world for you.” Amy Wright

 
On This Day

John Logie Baird

3 July 1928: John Logie Baird demonstrates the first colour television transmission in London.

 
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