Uplifting News

Regional News • Asia
200 days without domestic Covid-19 cases in Taiwan
Taipei
Taipei Credit: Chris (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Taiwan has not reported a domestically transmitted Covid-19 infection since April 12, marking 200 days without any new cases. The country has only recorded 553 Covid-19 cases and seven deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Literature
After Strand Bookstore asked for help, online orders surged
After Strand Bookstore asked for help, online orders surged
Credit: Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Strand Bookstore, one of New York's oldest bookstores, recently asked its customers for help on social media after sales have gone down during the pandemic, writing "for the first time in The Strand’s 93 year history, we need to mobilize the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open until there is a vaccine."

After Strand's call for help, the store received over 25,000 online orders over the weekend and made a total of $170,550 in in-store sales on Saturday and Sunday.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Arnold Schwarzenegger feels "fantastic" after pulmonary valve replacement
Arnold Schwarzenegger feels "fantastic" after pulmonary valve replacement
Credit: @Schwarzenegger via Twitter

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who recently had to undergo a pulmonary valve replacement at the Cleveland Clinic, has told fans he was feeling "fantastic."

"Thanks to the team at the Cleveland Clinic, I have a new aortic valve to go along with my new pulmonary valve from my last surgery. I feel fantastic and have already been walking the streets of Cleveland enjoying your amazing statues. Thank you to every doc and nurse on my team," so Schwarzenegger on Ttwitter.

Climate & Environment
Report: Solar energy now cheapest form of electricity
Report: Solar energy now cheapest form of electricity
Credit: unsplash.com / Science in HD

International Energy Agency has reported that solar is now the cheapest form of electricity for utility companies to build.

In their report, they claim that risk-reducing financial policies around the world have benefited this development and underlines the importance of these for the future development of renewable energy sources.

Health
Spanish Congress unanimously supports outlawing of forced sterilizations of people with intellectual disabilities
Spanish Congress unanimously supports outlawing of forced sterilizations of people with intellectual disabilities
Credit: Emnamizouni / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

In a plenary session the Spanish Congress unanimously approved a bill that seeks to reform the penal code to outlaw non-consensual sterilizations of judicially incapacitated persons. All the parliamentarians present in the House stood up and applauded the unanimous support for this initiative that will now return to the Senate for its final ratification.

With 348 votes in favor, it seeks to eliminate the second paragraph of Article 156, which currently decriminalizes non-consensual sterilizations of persons whose legal capacity has been modified when authorized by a judicial body.

Lifestyle • Travel
Japanese tourist is the first visitor to Machu Picchu following the Covid-19 closure
Japanese tourist is the first visitor to Machu Picchu following the Covid-19 closure
Credit: Jesse Katayama (Instagram)

The Japanese Jesse Katayama was the first visitor on Machu Picchu, after months of Covid-19 closure.

Katayama had a entry ticket and permit to enter the UNESCO World Heritage site on March 16, the same day the Peruvian government opted to close the site. His original plan was to spend three days in the area, but with flights cancelled and movement limited by the virus, Katayama was stuck there for months.

"I thought that I wouldn’t be able to go, but thanks to all of you who pleaded with the mayor and the government, I was given this super special opportunity," he wrote on his Instagram account.

Business • Innovation & Sustainability
Cruise ships in Hamburg are allowed to donate food
Cruise ships in Hamburg are allowed to donate food
Credit: unsplash.com / Peter Hansen

The state of Hamburg decided that cruise ships may now donate their leftover food to the Hamburger Tafel. For customs and import law reasons, cruise ships were not allowed to donate food until now, as cruise ships are legally considered "third countries".

While surplus food had to be disposed of in the past, it is now possible both to reduce food waste and to support the distribution of food to those in need.

Science • Animals
Tasmanian devil returns to mainland Australia
Tasmanian devil returns to mainland Australia
Credit: unsplash.com / David Clode

For the first time in 50 years Tasmanian devils live on the Australian mainland again through a reintroduction action. Since Tasmanian devils play a crucial role in the ecosystem as scavengers, science has made great efforts to re-establish them in the mainland ecosystem. The 26 released animals now live in a 400 hectare fenced area of Wildlife Sanctuary north of Barrington Tops National Park.

Climate & Environment
IKEA ends sale of disposable batteries
IKEA ends sale of disposable batteries
Credit: Pendect (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

From October 2021, the "IKEA" Group will stop selling disposable alkaline batteries to reduce waste. According to its own information, the Swedish company sold about 300 million alkaline batteries worldwide between September 2018 and August 2019. By replacing this amount with rechargeable batteries, IKEA calculates that 5,000 tons of waste can be avoided annually.

Science • Medicine
Blue illuminated ventilation tube reduces risk of infection
Blue illuminated ventilation tube reduces risk of infection
Credit: Copyright Technische Hochschule Ulm

In intensive care units, artificial respiration causes most infections with antibiotic-resistant hospital germs. In his bachelor's thesis, medical technology student Ben Sicks researched the killing of germs and pathogens by irradiation with blue LEDs and found that the blue illumination of a tube caused a 99.9% reduction in the concentration of bacteria. For this discovery he was awarded the Applied Photonics Award by the Frauenhofer Institute Jena.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Norway: 61.5% of newly registered cars are now electric
Norway: 61.5% of newly registered cars are now electric
Credit: unsplash.com / CHUTTERSNAP

In September 9,560 new electric cars have been registered in Norway making it 61.5% of the total number of car registrations in that month.

Since the beginning of the year, 48,175 electric cars have been registered in the country. Volkswagen is leading in newly registered cars with 1,989 VW ID.3 in September followed by 1,116 registrations of the Tesla Model 3.

Climate & Environment
EU climate law approved with emission reduction now aimed at 60%
EU climate law approved with emission reduction now aimed at 60%
Credit: unsplash.com / Martin Sepion

The European Parliament has ratified the latest proposals regarding environmental protection. Greenhouse gas emissions are now targeted to be reduced by 60% compared to 1990 levels. Previously adopted goals for 2030 had aimed at a 40% reduction.

Regional News • Europe • France
Four homeless men win the lottery with gifted scratchcard in France

Four homeless people in the French city of Brest won 50,000 euros with a scratchcard handed to them. The four men were begging outside a lottery shop when a departing customer handed them a scratchcard purchased for one euro.

The French lottery operator FDJ released a statement that said: "What a surprise for the four young men when they discovered a win not of five euros, but 50,000 euros."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Colorado will issue automatic pardons to over 2,700 marijuana convictions
Colorado will issue automatic pardons to over 2,700 marijuana convictions
Credit: Jeffrey Beall / Public domain

Colorado Governor Jared Poli has announced that he is planning on issuing a mass-pardon for 2,732 low-level marijuana possession convictions. Earlier this year a bill had been signed to give him the authority to issue such pardon through an executive order.

The pardon will apply to convictions in state courts through 2012 of up to 1 ounce for recreational use.

Regional News • Americas • Canada
Trudeau’s Liberal Party has reintroduced a bill to ban "gay conversion therapy"
Trudeau’s Liberal Party has reintroduced a bill to ban "gay conversion therapy"
Credit: unsplash.com/Elyssa Fahndrich

Trudeau’s Liberal Party has reintroduced a bill that would ban "gay conversion therapy", a pseudoscientific practise of trying to alter someone's sexual orientation or gender identity, on Thursday.

The legislation was previously introduced back in March before parliament had to close due to Covid-19.

"Conversion therapy is harmful, degrading, and has no place in Canada … I hope that all parties will do the right thing by supporting this bill," so PM Justin Trudeau on Thursday.

Business
Nordstrom to stop selling fur and exotic animal skills by the end of 2021
Nordstrom to stop selling fur and exotic animal skills by the end of 2021
Credit: Mike Mozart from Funny YouTube, USA / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, American department store chain Nordstrom has committed to banning exotic animal skins and real fur from its 355 stores. While other chains have adopted a fur-free policy in the past, Nordstrom will be the first US-based retailer to prohibit clothing and accessories made with skins of exotic animals.

Nordstrom's private labels have been free of fur and exotic animal skin for years, so the company's chief merchandising officer Teri Bariquit, and will encourage brands impacted by their new policy to "re-evaluate their use of fur and exotic animal skins."

Nordstrom will still sell products made out of the skin of cows, calves, sheep, lambs, pigs, goats and water buffalo but will exclude products derived from snakes, alligators, lizards, pythons, crocodiles, sharks, kangaroos, ostriches and stingrays.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Environment Department in the UK considers total ban on fur sales after Brexit
Environment Department in the UK considers total ban on fur sales after Brexit
Credit: unsplash.com / Juliane Liebermann

According to reports Zac Goldsmith, minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is considering a ban on all fur sales in the United Kingdom following the leave of the European Union's single market.

A spokesperson for the department has commented on the reports that "fur farming has rightly been banned in this country for nearly 20 years. Once our future relationship with the EU has been established there will be an opportunity for the government to consider further steps it could take in relation to fur sales".

Science • Animals
France plans to ban the use of wild animals in marine parks and circuses
France plans to ban the use of wild animals in marine parks and circuses
Credit: unsplash.com / Becky Phan

France's minister of ecological transition, Barbara Pompili, has announced that "in the coming years" bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals will not be banned from being held in traveling circuses.

With immediate effect, the three marine parks located in France won't be allowed to bring in and breed dolphins and killer whales.

Health
Study: Watching cute animals is good for health
Study: Watching cute animals is good for health
Credit: unsplash.com / Manja Vitolic

The University of Leeds has conducted a study looking at the effects of watching videos of puppies and kittens on personal health.

The study observed the heart rate, anxiety and blood pressure of the participants go down, 30 minutes after they watched a video with different animals.

Dr. Andrea Utley, an associate professor at the University of Leeds has stated that she has been "quite pleasantly surprised that during the session, every single measure for every single participant dropped some".

Science • Animals
Healthy new baby born to Orca that carried dead calf for 17 days
New calf, J57, with mom, J35
New calf, J57, with mom, J35 Credit: Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research

In the United States waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a new calf was spotted swimming next to J35. The Center for Whale Research had spotted J57 and stated that they "know that it was not born today because its dorsal fin was upright, and we know that it takes a day or two to straighten after being bent over in the womb". They assigned "its birthday as September 4, 2020".

According to them, the Southern Resident Killer Whales population is now at 73.

The orca whale J35 who is also known as Tahlequah, had carried her dead calf for 17 days and over 1,000 miles two years ago.