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Good News Only Friday

Updated: Aug 6, 2023

Concluding the week with a smorgasbord of tasty uplifting news nuggets.

Columbus letter known as Plannck 1
Credit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Columbus Letter

Christopher Columbus - or at least his words - has crossed the ocean yet again. American authorities have just traveled to Rome to repatriate a 15th-century letter that was stolen more than 30 years ago and found in Delaware. In 1493, Columbus wrote the letter to his patrons - Ferdinand II and Isabella I of Spain - and described his voyage to the Americas. The letter later made its way to Rome, where printer Stephan Plannck produced copies in Latin that circulated throughout Europe. These initial copies are now known as Plannck I; a few days later, he printed new copies, now known as Pannck II, after realizing he had left the queen’s name out of the introduction. The recently returned letter, stolen from Venice’s Marciana National Library, is a Plannck I copy, making it especially rare.


The de rigueur jacket in Japan for this year’s summer season is a functional little number with twin electric fans installed around the lower back. As rising temperatures have made the traditionally hot and sticky Japanese summer months more severe, those toiling outside in particular are turning to the fan-jakketo to make their workdays cooler and safer. Blowing air around the inside of the jackets, the fans create a personal micro-environment with a gentle breeze to keep wearers cool.

No Longer In Seine

With a year to go to the Olympics, Paris is in the final phase of a historic clean-up which will soon see swimmers and divers back in the River Seine. Banned for a century because of the filthy water, city swimming is set to be one of the major legacies of the Games thanks to a €1.4bn ($1.6bn) regeneration project universally hailed as a success. Not only are three Olympic and Paralympic events - triathlon, marathon swimming and Para-triathlon - scheduled to take place in the Seine in central Paris, but by 2025 three open-air swimming areas will be accessible from the quayside.

Welsh Whisky

Raise your glasses and let's toast to Welsh whisky, as it joins lamb, cider and leeks in receiving the UK's special protected origin status. Welsh whisky has obtained Protected Geographical Indication status, a recognition previously granted to its Scottish and Irish counterparts. The scheme, established two years after Brexit, ensures legal protection against imitation and misuse for certain food and drink products. This move leaves English malt as the only UK variant without official protection.

Charging Up

Seven major automakers say they’re joining forces to build a North American electric vehicle charging network that would rival Tesla’s and nearly double the number of fast-charging plugs in the U.S. and Canada. General Motors, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes and Stellantis have announced that they will share in a multibillion-dollar investment to build “high power” charging stations with at least 30,000 plugs in urban areas and along travel corridors by 2030. The dramatic move is intended to speed the adoption of electric vehicles, allaying fears that chargers won’t be available for long distance travel.

Baby Protection

The first RSV antibody treatment to protect all infants was just approved in the U.S. The treatment provides vaccine-like protection over the course of a single winter respiratory virus season and is the first time protection will be offered broadly to all healthy babies.


"The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity." Amelia Earhart

On this Day

28 July 1954: On the Waterfront, directed by Elia Kazan starring Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint, is released (Academy Awards Best Picture 1955).


Mood Booster

You're The One That I Want: Travolta and ON-J strut their stuff in this classic scene.


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