An eclectic bundle of good news nuggets from around the world.
Five thousand smallholder farmers in Rwanda were handed ownership of the country’s largest tea factory this week. Shares in the Mulindi Tea Factory were signed over by The Wood Foundation Africa and Gatsby Africa, the British philanthropic investors that acquired the company in 2012. It's the first factory to be owned 100 percent by smallholder farmers in Rwanda. The country’s minister for agriculture, said: “This is a historic event for the Mulindi tea farmers, and I am so happy to see this empowerment at the rural level.”
Act of Kindness
Stacy Lee from Maryland tells this story: "I saw a dress in a consignment shop that I knew my granddaughter would love. But money was tight, so I asked the store owner if she could hold it for me. “May I buy the dress for you?” asked another customer. “Thank you, but I can’t accept such a gracious gift,” I said. Then she told me why it was so important for her to help me. She’d been homeless for three years, she said, and had it not been for the kindness of strangers, she would not have been able to survive. “I’m no longer homeless, and my situation has improved,” she said. “I promised myself that I would repay the kindness so many had shown me.” She paid for the dress, and the only payment she would accept in return was a heartfelt hug."
Back From The Brink
The bittern – the UK’s loudest bird – has bounced back from the brink, according to Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The charity’s latest bittern census counted 228 males – the highest number since 1880. The species, which sounds like a foghorn, was pushed to extinction during the Victorian era, but returned to the UK in the 1990s.
Hats off to Betty
America’s oldest active park ranger is hanging up her Smokey hat at the age of 100. Betty Soskin has just retired after more than 15 years at the National Historical Park in Richmond, California, the National Park Service announced. Soskin won a temporary Park Service position at the age of 84 and became a permanent Park Service employee in 2011. She celebrated her 100th birthday last September.
Engineers have discovered a way to more than double the lifespan of batteries used in smartphones and electric cars. The battery breakthrough was successfully demonstrated by researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia, who increased the lifespan of a lithium-ion battery from several hundred charge / discharge cycles, to more than 1,000. The method works by adding an atom-thin layer of lab-grown crystals to the surface of the battery’s high-voltage cathode in order to significantly reduce the corrosion that takes place during charging cycles. In further good news, this technique also means the battery requires less precious metals.
Meet the man with Britain’s lowest fuel bill - he drives the world’s smallest car, which costs just £7 ($9) to fill up. Alex Orchin is seen buzzing round his village on his daily chores in his quirky blue Peel P50. The car is just 134cm (53 inch) long, 98cm (39 inch) wide, and 100cm (39 inch) high and has a five litre (1.3 gallon) gas tank. Eccentric Alex is an avid motoring collector who loves driving around in the tiny three-wheeler. The P50 was first made on the Isle of Man in the 1960s and in 2010 the Guinness World Records named it the smallest production car ever built.
Quote of the Day
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” Frederick Keonig
On this Day
5 April 1621: The Mayflower departed for England after having deposited 102 pilgrims at what became the American colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Dive in Deeper
Wild dolphins have never seen bubbles like these before - BBC Earth discovers how these curious creatures react...