Uplifting News

Science • Animals
First brown bear sighting in Spain National Park in 150 years

Documentary makers captured footage of a brown bear, an extremely rare and protected species since 1973, in the Invernadeiro National Park in Northern Spanish. The park's rangers believe the bear has spent the last couple of months in the park and has probably migrated from the Sierra del Caurel mountains which do have a small brown bear population.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • TV & Movies
"Parks and Recreation" TV special raises $2.8 million for Covid-19 Response Fund

In a special reunion episode of "Parks and Recreation" which concluded originally in 2015, one of the main protagonists Leslie Knope, portrayed by Amy Poehler, virtually catches up with her former fictional co-workers. At the end of the episode the viewers were directed to a fundraiser website of Feeding America in order to raise money for the organization's Covid-19 Response Fund. So far over $2.8 million have been raised and further contributions are still possible.

Health
State of Michigan launches free condom delivery service
State of Michigan launches free condom delivery service
Credit: unsplash.com/@rhsupplies

The Michigan state health department has started a free condom by mail program during the Covid-19 crisis. The department has previously distributed condoms directly to government buildings and bars where they were handed out for free. Orders can be placed via email and will be shipped for free. According to Lynn Sutfin, spokeswoman of the state's health department, "each recipient will receive 10 condoms and 10 packets lubricant in a plain mailer".

Health
High school student raised money to purchase 12,000 masks for health care workers

15-year old Valerie Xu started raising money via crowdfunding in March for health care workers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Addison, Texas. She was able to raise almost $3,000 and a local company matched the raised sum. Xu then donated 12,000 masks to the medical center in which she was treated for a severe fever when she was younger.

Technology • Smartphones, Hardware & Gadgets
Irish startup and health authority cooperate to deliver medicine via drones

The startup Manna Aero has started working with Ireland's health service in order to deliver prescribed medicine to patients after they've had a video call with their general practitioner, as well as essential goods such as milk or bread. The initiative is hoping that it can provide these necessities to around 500 smaller more rural Irish towns in the future if the test go well.

Lifestyle
Captain Tom made honorary member of England Cricket Team

Captain Tom Moore, the British WWII veteran who has so far raised over 30 million pounds for health care workers by walking laps in his garden, was made an honorary member of England's Cricket Team on his 100th birthday. Michael Vaughan, former captain of the team, called Captain Tom "the nation's heartbeat".

Health
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson donate plasma to help find Covid-19 vaccine
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson donate plasma to help find Covid-19 vaccine
Credit: Nehrams2020 (Public Domain)

Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, who both recently recovered from a Covid-19 infection, stated that they are donating their plasma to UCLA help scientists develop a potential treatment for Covid-19. Both Hanks and Wilson participate in a medical study that tries to develop a treatment that relies on antibodies to fight infections.

Health
Greta Thunberg donates $100,000 to UNICEF to support children affected by Covid-19
Greta Thunberg donates $100,000 to UNICEF to support children affected by Covid-19
Credit: Anderspangpang (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Greta Thunberg, 17-year-old Swedish climate activists, donated $100,000 she previously won from a Danish foundation to UNICEF to help support children affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thunberg stated that "like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child rights crisis," and asked people to join her in her effort to "support of UNICEF's vital work to save children's lives, to protect health and continue education".

The Danish NGO Human Act is said to match Thunberg's donation.

Health
LA now offers Covid-19 testing to every resident for free
LA now offers Covid-19 testing to every resident for free
Credit: pixabay.com/@Vesna_Pixi

Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti announced free Covid-19 testing for every LA resident – whether they show symptoms or not. He stated that "Los Angeles will become the first major city in America to offer wide-scale testing to all of our residents, with or without symptoms". Residents can sign up online to get tested. Test capacities are being increased to handle the expected surge. LA residents can also get tested multiple times in a row, but the mayor's office advised against getting tested daily.

Science • Humans
Smart contact lenses could help diagnose and treat diabetes
Smart contact lenses could help diagnose and treat diabetes
Credit: pixabay.com/@slavoljubovski

A team of researchers at POSTECH, Pohang University of Science and Technology, developed a smart contact lens technology for "both continuous glucose monitoring and treatment of diabetic retinopathy". The contact lenses were tested on diabetic rabbits and were able to measure glucose levels in tears that matched their blood glucose levels. The team has also confirmed that the technology could trigger the release of drugs encased in the contact lenses to treat diabetic retinopathy.

Climate & Environment
Pakistan creates over 63,600 jobs with goal to plant billions of trees

As part of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami program in Pakistan, the government has announced that it'll create over 63,600 "jungle workers" jobs with the goal of planting trees, setting up nurseries and protecting the planted and growing trees. Many of the jobs are specifically created in more rural areas in order to support women and unemployed daily workers that were hit by the Covid-19 recession.

Science • Animals
No whales will be killed in Iceland in 2020

Both of the Icelandic companies that hunt and kill whales have announced that they'll forgo killing whales in 2020. This makes the first time in 17 years that no whales will be killed during the summer season in the waters around Iceland. Thee general manager of IP-Utgerd, one of the two companies, has said that the hunting has become more expensive due to an extension of a no-fishing zone near the coasts of the island. Instead the company will focus on fishing sea cucumbers.

Business • Economy
Prescriptions to be delivered via drones to Florida retirement community

UPS and CVS are starting a drone delivery service of prescription drugs to Florida's largest retirement community in early May. The Villages, a retirement community northwest of Orlando, is home to over more 135,000 people, most of which are deemed high-risk for Covid-19. “Our new drone delivery service will help CVS provide safe and efficient deliveries of medicines to this large retirement community, enabling residents to receive medications without leaving their homes,” Scott Price, UPS chief strategy and transformation officer, said. UPS received government approval for their drone airline last fall.

Lifestyle
The WWII veteran who raised millions for health care workers celebrates 100th birthday

British WWII veteran Captain Tom Moore has raised over 29 million pounds for health care workers by walking laps in his garden turns 100 on Thursday. He first set out to walk 100 laps over 10 days and had hoped to raise £1,000. In honour of his birthday, he has received more than 125,000 birthday cards so far, including one from Prince William and Duchess Kate.

Lifestyle • Food
10 apple varieties thought to be extinct rediscovered
10 apple varieties thought to be extinct rediscovered
Credit: unsplash.com/@annakaminova

The non-profit organisation Lost Apple Project has rediscovered ten types of apples that had been thought to be extinct. The apples have been found in abandoned homesteads in Genesee, Idaho. Nowadays only 15 varieties account for 90% of apple production in the US, even though more than 17,000 different named apple sorts have once existed.

Climate & Environment
Sweden's last coal plant to be closed two years early
Image of Coal Plant
Image of Coal Plant Credit: pexels.com/@pixabay

Sweden's last coal-fired power station, which was set to seize operation in 2022, has been closed prematurely. A statement on Stockholm Exergi's website read: “This plant has provided the Stockholmers with heat and electricity for a long time, today we know that we must stop using all fossil fuels, therefore the coal needs to be phased out and we do so several years before the original plan." Sweden is the next European country to go coal-free, following Austria and Belgium.