Getting the week off to an upbeat start with a global collection of positive news nuggets.
Nasa's Native First
Next month Nasa will send a new crew into space. And for the first time there will be a Native American woman aboard. Astronaut Nicole Aunapu Mann, of the Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, will be mission commander - responsible for all phases of flight. She will go to the International Space Station on 29 September, Nasa says. "It's very exciting," she told newspaper Indian Country Today. "I think it's important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids... realise that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down," she added.
Two jaguar cubs have been born in Argentina’s Iberá Park, seven decades after the species was driven out by hunters. Last year, eight of the big cats were reintroduced to the park as part of a rewilding programme. Camera traps revealed that they have birthed at least two cubs. Sebastián Di Martino, conservation director of Fundación Rewilding Argentina, said: “If both cubs survive, the population of Iberá will have ten free jaguars, which is extremely important considering that in the entire Chaco region of Argentina only about 15 individuals survive.”
Le Plan Velo
Push bikes are the transport du jour in Paris these days. Now, the French government launched a scheme to ensure it is no passing fad. Under Le Plan Velo, motorists will be paid up to €4,000 ($4,030) if they ditch their gas guzzlers and replace them with a cargo bike. Grants are also available for regular bikes, starting from €400 ($403) for an electric bike.
What occurs once in a minute, twice in a moment, and never in 1,000 years?
(Answer at end of page)
A remote Maine island finds puffins and terns rebounding. This summer, relatively cooler waters have resulted in a breeding bonanza of 93 puffin burrows with 73 chicks hatching on Maine's Petit Manan Island. Over the last half century, the bird has been restored from the brink of extinction in Maine, the only state where it breeds.
World population growth has fallen to 1 percent, its slowest rate since 1950, according to the UN’s World Population Prospects report. The main cause? A decline in fertility. The latest projections suggests a peak around 10.4 billion in the 2080s. That means we have 78 years to figure out how to provide 11 billion people with a good standard of sustainable living.
Here's one of the least celebrated stories of human progress. Teenage pregnancies are declining across the world, with only a third of all women bearing children in adolescence compared to 50 percent sixty years ago. The decline is contributing to a positive change in girls' education, and infant and maternal mortality rates.
Quote of the Day
"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, in not 'Eureka!', but 'That's funny...' " Isaac Asimov
On this Day
22 August 1851: It was promoted as the Hundred Guinea Cup by the Royal Yacht Squadron of Great Britain for a race around the Isle of Wight, but was won by the America, a 100-foot (30m) schooner from New York City (pictured), and subsequently became known as the America’s Cup.
Beautifully filmed arrival of a flamboyance of flamingos to an expanse of shallow water.
Answer: The letter "m."