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Friday's Upbeat News

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Celebrating the end of the week with some bite-sized chunks of uplifting news.

President Emmanuel Macron
Flying Taxis

Paris is set to witness an extraordinary sight as a fleet of electric flying taxis glides above the iconic Eiffel Tower and the rooftops. As part of the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, these eco-friendly aircraft will showcase the future of urban air travel. Led by Volocopter, a German company headed by former Airbus executive Dirk Hoke, this initiative aims to highlight Europe's commitment to urban air mobility innovation, with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, potentially becoming the first passengers.

Great Progress

Humanity has made astonishing progress on access to water, sanitation and hygiene in this century, reports the World Health Organisation. Between 2000 and 2022, 2.1 billion people gained access to safe drinking water, 2.5 billion gained access to safely managed sanitation.

Strange But True

Many people have given pets a starring role in wedding ceremonies, but a New York couple went a step further by hiring a llama to be one of their groomsmen. Wearing a tuxedo and stripy bowtie, J the llama stood alongside the wedding party throughout the outdoor ceremony and then posed for pictures with the newlyweds. Photographer Cathy Craft told Newsweek that she initially “thought it was a groomsman dressed as a llama, but when he turned, I saw it was the other way around”. The tux-clad camelid got the blessing of social media users after photos of the ceremony went viral. “I couldn’t imagine a more perfect guest at my wedding,” said one Facebook post.

Ocean Restoration

The European Union's mission to Restore our Ocean and Waters will give 18 new projects €106 million ($118m) to support ocean conservation and create a sustainable blue economy. The projects will gather over 370 beneficiaries from 36 countries, including SMEs, research institutions, schools, and businesses, that will play a key role in restoring biodiversity and cutting pollution.

The ceremonial Cannon of Kandy
The ceremonial Cannon of Kandy | Rijksmuseum

The Netherlands has announced that it will return 478 colonial artifacts looted from Indonesia and Sri Lanka. The decision follows a 2020 report from an advisory committee that called on the Netherlands to 'unconditionally return' objects that were taken under Dutch colonial authority. Items returning to Indonesia include the 'Lombok treasure' - 335 pieces of jewelry, gold, and silver from Indonesia's Lombok island - as well as a ceremonial cannon from Sri Lanka, four statues, a keris dagger, and 132 pieces of art from Bali.

Big Step Forward

A new law in Ghana will force producers of plastic packaging to collect and recycle waste that is either generated during manufacturing or dumped on the street by consumers. It’s a big step forward for a country that produces 840,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year, reports Afrik21.

Landfill Solution

Much like the country as a whole, cities all around the U.S. have ambitious plans to reach net-zero emissions as soon as 2030. They’ll reach these goals largely by expanding their renewable energy capacity. Running low on suitable land for solar power projects, cities are getting creative​​ - and hundreds are putting them on land that would otherwise be unused, and in some cases, a liability: old landfills. The further good news is that there are at least 10,000 disused or closed landfills across the United States - and most are publicly owned.


"If I had my way, I’d remove January from the calendar altogether and have an extra July instead." Roald Dahl

On this Day

14 July 1960: British ethologist Jane Goodall first arrived at what became Gombe Stream National Park inTanzania; there she conducted her groundbreaking research on chimpanzees.


Mood Booster

Obnoxious Passenger: Flight attendants are trained to handle situations like this!


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