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Positive World News Today

Updated: Mar 26

Mid-week global round up of positive news nuggets.

Wet Shirt Scene

Millions of viewers around the world swooned over Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, striding out of a lake wearing a wet shirt in the BBC's 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. That same shirt - now dry - went up for sale last night with an estimate of £10,000 ($12,700). It actually sold for a whopping £20,000 and was one of more than 60 costumes from film and TV being auctioned in London, with all of the proceeds going to charity. The wet shirt scene didn't actually feature in Jane Austen's book, but that hasn't stopped it becoming a famous TV moment. It showed Mr Darcy (Firth) going for an impromptu swim in his private lake, before walking off in his clinging wet, white shirt and running into his love interest, Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle). Viewers were glued to their screens, and Firth was instantly transformed into a sex symbol.

Handy App

Stillgram: An AI travel camera app for iPhone that magically removes background crowds from your photos. Tah dah!

Guaranteed Freedom

This week, France became the world’s first country to enshrine abortion rights in its constitution, the culmination of an effort that began in direct response to the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Lawmakers from both houses of the French Parliament voted 780 to 72 in favour of the measure, easily clearing the three-fifths majority needed to amend the French constitution. Monday’s vote, held during a special gathering of lawmakers at the Palace of Versailles, was the final step in the legislative process. The amendment states that there is a “guaranteed freedom” to abortion in France.

orange-bellied parrot
Credit: ray_turnbull / iNaturalist / CC-BY-ND
Conservation Success

In 2016, only three wild female orange-bellied parrots returned to their breeding ground in Tasmania after migrating to Australia. This year, 80 of the critically endangered parrots have returned. Despite decades of breeding programs and other conservation efforts, the bird was almost declared functionally extinct. The birds face a number of threats, including habitat loss due to agriculture and urban development, invasive predators, and fewer burn-offs managed by Tasmanian Aboriginal people (which would typically provide a vital food source). The teams of conservationists and volunteers that have worked to protect and bring the parrots back are celebrating this hopeful turn - and continuing to work to improve juvenile mortality rates.

Smallest Vertebrate

A tiny frog endemic to the state of Bahia on Brazil’s Atlantic coast has just earned the title of the smallest vertebrate in the world. Despite its name, the Brazilian flea toad, or Brachycephalus pulex, is technically a frog, not a toad. The male frogs, which are smaller, measured 7.10 millimeters long on average. An earlier study of the frog Paedophryne amauensis, the previous diminutive record holder, found that its males averaged 7.70 millimeters in length. So, the Brazilian flea toad nabs the title!

Common Sense

Following France's lead, ​Spain is banning some short-haul domestic flights where there is a train route available. As part of the country’s plan to reduce carbon emissions, flights where there’s a rail alternative that takes less than two and a half hours will no longer be allowed.

Community Benefit

Under Scotland's new Ownerless Property Transfer Scheme, assets that have fallen into the hands of the Scottish state will be handed over to communities, providing they have a business plan for reviving them that benefits the public. Assets due to be transferred include an art nouveau office block in Glasgow known as Lion Chambers.


Less than 20 percent of English-language biographies on Wikipedia are about women, but the Smithsonian American Women’s History wants to help correct that.

On 27 March, the museum is hosting a “Wikipedia Edit-a-thon” over Zoom that is open to the public and free of charge. The event is to encourage attendees to edit and create Wikipedia articles about American women that are “hidden” historical figures. For those who have never ventured into the back end of Wikipedia, the museum is also hosting an hour-long seminar for new website contributors on the same day.


"If I can inspire young people to dedicate themselves to the good of mankind, I've accomplished something." John Glenn

On This Day

6 March 1924: The Egyptian government opened the mummy case of King Tutankhamen, ruler of Egypt in the 14th century BC, whose burial chamber had been discovered in 1922 by renowned British archaeologist Howard Carter.


Mood Booster

Kingfisher fishing in super slo-mo.


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