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Good News Saturday

Celebrating the start of the weekend with an upbeat bundle of positive news nuggets.

Man holding his ticket to enter Venice
Sylvain Pellarin with his ticket to enter Venice
First in The World

Emerging from Venice’s railway station on a rainy morning this week, Sylvain Pellarin became the first person in the world to pay a five euro fee to enter the World Heritage city. Indeed, the first person to pay an entrance fee to any city in the world. The project has been launched after years of debate and will be closely watched by destinations around the globe that are being smothered by over-tourism. As well as introducing the entry charge, the city has also banned large cruise ships and announced limits on the size of tourist groups.

Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing
Rendering shows what the wildlife crossing will look like when completed | Rock Design Associates / National Wildlife Federation
Wildlife Crossing

When freeways are built through their natural habitats, animals often end up suffering - and so do humans on the road as a result of collisions. Now, an ambitious $93 million project in California aims to help address this problem. Crews are building the “largest wildlife crossing in the world of its kind” over Highway 101 in Los Angeles County. When the project is finished in 2025, the manmade crossing should provide safe passage for mountain lions, bobcats, deer, lizards, coyotes, snakes and ants as they move between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Simi Hills of the Santa Susana mountain range.

By The Numbers

  • 1 in 5: The number of cars sold this year worldwide that will be electric.

  • 1 in 15: The number of fast-charging EV stations for every gas station in the US.

  • 10: The percentage of global GDP growth attributed to clean energy in 2023.


George Scholey in London Marathon
George Scholey
Strange But True

"Professional Rubik's Cube solver" George Scholey, aged 22, unscrambled 520 of the puzzles during last weekend's London Marathon - 100 more than the previous record, said the BBC. The 22-year-old was handed backpacks containing scrambled Cubes every two miles along the 26.2-mile course, which he completed in four hours and 25 minutes, while "capturing footage of each solved puzzle with a head-worn camera". His feat is now being verified by the Guinness World Records. In other marathon news...

Tom Gilbey in London Marathon
Tom Gilbey
Wine Marathon

Wine expert Tom Gilbey raised more than £12,000 ($15,000) for charity by completing a blind wine tasting while running in the marathon. The vintner took a swig after every mile, and managed to correctly identify an "extraordinary" 21 out of 25 wines, said the Daily Mail. And even with his boozy pitstops, Gibley completed the course in under five hours. And, no doubt, needed another hearty glug when he had finished.

Chinook salmon swimming
Chinook salmon.
Salmon Conservation

Canada and Alaska have agreed to a seven-year moratorium on fishing Chinook salmon in the Yukon River. Last year only 15,000 fish reached Canadian spawning waters; the new agreement has a target of 71,000 Canadian-origin fish reaching their spawning grounds each year for the next seven years.

Holy Spirits

A priest in Sardinia has started giving sermons in local bars to reach those who have stopped going to church or who only go for special occasions. "My vision of religion has never been one of operating behind the closed doors of a sacristy," Father Antonio Maria Cossu explained. "People have welcomed this proposal, they listen to me with sympathy and respect for 40 minutes or so, and at the end we have one or two beers together."

Solar For All

US president Joe Biden unveiled a $7bn grant scheme this week to help low-income families install solar panels on their roofs. Speaking at an event timed for Earth Day, Biden said the Solar for All programme would result in 900,000 households having solar for the first time, while creating 200,000 jobs.


“Remember. Every day, some ordinary person does something extraordinary. Today, it’s your turn.” Lou Holtz

On This Day

Betty Boothroyd

27 April 1992: British politician Betty Boothroyd became the first woman to be elected speaker of the House of Commons; she held the post until 2000.


Mood Booster

Furry creature does a fabulously funny Freddie Mercury spoof.


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