I'm glad to have discovered sources of good news and become more mindful about seeking out positive new stories. I hope you've been able to change your media diet for the better, too!
Even though this site will go into hibernation, the links in the sidebar will still guide you to the good stuff.
Thanks for hanging out!
A Bosnian bear has been saved from a life of caged loneliness after he fell into the hands of mobsters and almost died from starvation.
When Miljen's mother was killed by hunters in 2000, the bear cub was sold to a crime boss keen to emulate famous Balkan criminals who view keeping wild animals as proof of machismo. The gangster was jailed in 2005, Miljen was left to the mercy of neighbours, who could only afford to feed him bread. (Reuters)
Safe Haven, a residence in Santa Monica, takes in those who have been on the streets more than a year and have a disability and helps put them in permanent housing. (CS Monitor)
It's all thanks to neighbours who chipped in to by David (Squirrelman) Csaky a used recreation vehicle after learning he faced eviction by the city. (CBC)
Surgeons have restored the sight of a man who was blinded in one eye 66 years ago during the Blitz.
John Gray, 87, was injured during a bombing raid on Clydeside and was told he would never again see through his right eye, reports the BBC. (Ananova)
An 11-year-old boy who steered a runaway school bus to safety said he took the wheel because the vehicle was rolling toward a semi. Other children on board during Monday's crash were "freaking out," screaming and hollering, but David Murphy decided he had to do something.
Although the technology for solar thermal has existed for more than two decades, projects have languished while fossil fuels remained cheap. But solar thermal’s time may now have come — and mirrored arrays of solar thermal power plants may soon bloom in many of the world’s deserts. (Geotimes)
An unidentified passerby averted a disaster in western P.E.I. Wednesday when she alerted a family to a fire in their home, says the local fire chief.
The four managed to escape without injury when a woman driving by their Egmont Bay home noticed sparks coming from the chimney. She went to the door and told the residents to get out. (CBC)
"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world." (NPR)
Organizers see the event as a way to encourage the world to conserve energy. While all lights in participating cities are unlikely to be cut, it is the symbolic darkening of monuments, businesses and individual homes they are most eagerly anticipating. (CBC)
Now, a few business executives have dreamed up a private-sector solution: the city’s first bikes-only parking lot, complete with attendant. (NY Times)
"We've done a lot of research around customer shopping habits and the reality is, with consumers, they really are spending a lot more time online. That's where they go to obtain the information they're looking for," said Lisa Gibson, a spokeswoman for Canadian Tire.
Now, after 20 years of research, Cornell University scientists have discovered a pair of microscopic, insect-killing worms that prey on the beetle. (AP)
Punishing a lazy team member can be counterproductive and it may be better to simply walk away, researchers say.
The researchers at Harvard University found that people who go to the trouble of punishing colleagues, co-workers or others in one-on-one situations do not profit from their revenge. Such behavior does not pay off for a group, either, they reported in the journal Nature. (Reuters)
Analysis found that the more marital satisfaction and adjustment spouses reported, the lower their average blood pressure was over the 24 hours and during the daytime. (AP)
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's pledge to improve health services for indigenous Australians builds on the government's landmark apology last month for inflicting decades of suffering on Aborigines. (AP)
But Stadnik, who Guinness World Records says is the world's tallest human, says his condition has also taught him that there are many kindhearted strangers."Thanks to good people I have shoes and clothes," said the 37-year-old former veterinarian, who still lives with his 66-year-old mother. (MSNBC)
Forest officials in India have come up with an unusual way of controlling pesky monkeys - they've set up a park to protect them.
The primate protection park in India's northern Himachal Pradesh will house more than 2000 Simian monkeys and hopefully keep a check on the growing monkey menace in the hilly state. (Reuters)
Mayfield intends to unveil a plan Tuesday for a multimillion-dollar library system that reflects the city's identity. It would start with a jazz-themed branch housing early recordings and reviews. (MSN)
"Today is a glorious and remarkable day, a milestone in the history of Cameroon-Nigeria relations,"said Nigerian delegation head Prince Bola Ajibola. (Reuters)
The female pygmy whale and its calf became stranded on Mahia beach and resisted human attempts to herd them out to sea. The situation changed when Moko the dolphin came on the scene.
Fearing for the environment, an unusual mix of Jewish settlers and Israeli and Palestinian activists have joined forces to stop the barrier from pushing through this sensitive area east of Jerusalem, saying the pristine landscape and wildlife in Wadi Qelt could suffer irreversible damage. (MSNBC)
On 27 February, Boise Inc announced that it would “stand in support of Amnesty International’s recommendation” and not buy any wood fibre from the traditional territory of Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwest Ontario until the community has given its consent to logging. (Amnesty)
She founded a multi-ethnic organization to bring together Serbs, Albanians and the various Roma communities and try to heal the wounds of war. The group even facilitated the return of some displaced Serbs to their homes in Kosovo — which led to Idrizi receiving death threats from Kosovar Albanian militants.
However, it also led to her receiving an International Woman of Courage award from U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. (NPR)
Currently around 450 Palestinians and Israelis are members of the group. (NPR)
"If I had the option, I would choose to be this way," she says. "I think it's cool to be able to inspire people and be a role model," as a member of the U.S. Paralympic Elite Swimming Team. "If I had legs, I probably wouldn't be involved in swimming."
"I don't think I can imagine my life with legs." (Rivals High)
In lab studies, conducted with scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, researchers at the Edmonton university identified a human gene called TRIM22 that can block HIV infection by preventing the virus from replicating. (CBC)
Onlookers clapped as the two men signed the deal and shook hands during a late afternoon ceremony in Nairobi, and Odinga referred to his rival as "my countryman, President Mwai Kibaki" – an important sign of acceptance. (CBC; audio at NPR)
Sleeping under mosquito nets treated with insecticide has been shown to be an extremely effective and cheap method of preventing deadly malaria. Now, a manufacturing partnership between Japan and Tanzania is creating superior nets in the heart of Africa where they are needed most, "supporting African innovation for Africans."
In Nairobi's Mathare slum, a youth association helps to heal ethnic tensions which have flared up recently in Kenya. The group won a Nobel Peace Prize nomination in 2003 for its success in fostering community development through sports and particularly soccer. Now, they are initiating classes in tolerance and justice and forming new inter-ethnic teams.
Adam Griggel says even after he lost his leg, he was determined to become a Wisconsin police officer. Now as a police cadet he is top in his class. (MSNBC Video)
The California Cease Fire Ministry seeks out hard-core Mexican-American gang members to participate in a truce. The program is run by ex-gang members, 50-year-olds who successfully persuade California's murderous Latino gangs to embrace each other and rebuild their lives in the church. (San Jose Mercury News)
The Small to Medium Enterprise Investment Co. would fill the gap between loans offered by microfinance institutions and those of large commercial banks and private equity funds. (AP)
Brazil's government focuses on eco-friendly ways of managing the Amazonian forests. The Forest Stewardship Council estimates that illegal loggers kill 30 to get one usable tree. The new conservation projects protect far more trees than they cut down. (Reuters)
Eng was born with Down Syndrome. Despite limited communication skills he clearly articulates why he packs school kits for MCC. “Poor countries, poor people and poor children—I want to help them,” he says. (MCC)
Children from from Conneticut to California were inspired to help African kids gain reliable access to clean water, teaming up with a non-profit called Random Kid, an organization that helps kids help others. "I finally get to do something big in the world. I'm not just a small person in society," says 9 year-old Liam Keran. (MSNBC video)
Gabriel and Pascal are just 2 of 130 former child soldiers from all factions at a UN transit centre. They are learning how to leave war behind them and become children again. "I know that yesterday Pascal was my enemy, but now he is my brother," says Gabriel. (MSNBC video)
It's just Nolan Winecka's second time teaching a class of fifth graders at Emerald Park Elementary School in this Seattle suburb, and it shows as he stares nervously at the two dozen kids surrounding him.
Nolan is 6 months old and hasn't had any formal pedagogical training. But to the group that put him in the classroom, he has everything he needs to help teach children an unconventional subject. A Canadian nonprofit group, Roots of Empathy, is now bringing to the U.S. a decade-old program designed to reduce bullying by exposing classrooms to "empathy babies" for a whole school year. (Wall Street Journal)
With the device, a minute of walking can power a cell phone for 10 minutes, Donelan, of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, said in a telephone interview. Other potential uses include powering a portable GPS locator, a motorized prosthetic joint or implanted drug pumps. (AP)
Mr Boyle, 28, said: "I will be offering my skills to people. If I get food in return, it's a bonus." He says he is part of the freeconomy movement - a group which began in the US and aims to bring about a moneyless society. (BBC)
Eng was born with Down Syndrome. Despite limited communication skills he clearly articulates why he packs school kits for MCC. “Poor countries, poor people and poor children—I want to help them,” he said. (MCC)
Previous tests for ovarian cancer only used four protein biomarkers and recognized only 15 to 20 per cent of new ovarian tumours. (CBC)
London is now announcing that it plans "to create a new network of quick, simple, and safe routes for cyclists and pedestrians that represents the largest investment in walking and cycling in the city’s history."
This is not some token initiative, either. London is committed to spending US$975 million over the next ten years to implement five new programs "with the aim of having one in ten round trips in London each day made by bike, and saving some 1.6 million tonnes of CO2 per year ." (Treehugger)
New half-day centers, overnight facilities, and psychological services are being launched. They reach only a fraction of the tens of thousands of street children but the growth of the services is remarkable in a country where conservative estimates put the poverty rate at 20 percent and street kids have long been regarded by society and the government as little more than delinquents. (CS Monitor)
It will take five years to set up the new reserves, which will cover an area of more than 11,900 square miles at a cost to taxpayers of about $153 million, the government's Tiger Project announced Tuesday. Private groups will also contribute funds. (AP)
In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts.
Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. (NY Times)
This isn't their grandchildren's playground, you see – instead of merry-go-rounds and sandboxes, it comes equipped with specialized machines designed to strengthen and tone muscles, which are gentle enough for older adults to use without injuring themselves. (Daily Mail)
Low emission zones are already in operation or planned in 70 towns and cities in eight European countries including Norway, the Netherlands and Germany. But London's will dwarf them all. (ENN)
High-poverty -- AND high-achieving: Pinewood Elementary's unorthodox methods yield outstanding pass rates
Principal Nancy Guzman calls her strategies simple, if sometimes controversial. (Charlotte Observer)
The world's first commerical ship part-powered by a giant kite, Beluga SkySails made energy savings of between 15 and 20 percent during the 14-day voyage from Germany to Venezuela, which according to Beluga is the normal duration of the journey. (Reuters)
"If we want to stop the war, if we want to get the economy better, I think that young people need to understand they have to take matters into their own hands," Combs, 38, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday. "It is really like waking up a sleeping giant." (AP)
A new "guzzle tax" came into force on Friday, penalizing cars that exceed a limit on emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as the Netherlands seeks to reduce its contribution to global warming. (Reuters)
Two years ago, Marvin Burchall was working the lunch shift at a luxury beachside hotel in his native Bermuda when he waited on an administrator from Endicott College, just north of Boston. To him, Lynn Bak was just another customer, another tourist visiting the island getaway. But Burchall's service was impeccable, and his attentiveness and amiable manner caught Bak's eye. (Boston Globe)
Using the biofuel will see greenhouse-gas emissions in the city decrease by 2,200 kilograms per year, Whelan said. (CBC)
Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan said the two sides signed a four-point agenda committing to completing talks within 15 days on measures to end the political crisis. (CBC)
Three patients have been treated and initial results are promising, according to Andres Lozano, a professor of neurosurgery at the Toronto Western Hospital, Ontario, who is leading the research. (Belfast Telegraph)
However, the elderly are considered a key part of Malian society.
These days, Mali's government isn't leaving the care of the elderly to luck. The average income in Mali is less than a dollar a day and some families find it difficult to take care of their older relatives. Mali's government is helping out and has built a clinic which specializes in geriatrics or healthcare, for the elderly.
The new wind projects account for about 30 percent of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally in 2007 and will power the equivalent of 1.5 million American households annually. (ENS)
The Philippines-based institute said it would use the donation from the Microsoft founder to harness scientific advances and address major unsolved problems in agriculture. (Terra Daily)
Drivers are now required to get their vehicle's emissions tested and display an environment sticker if they want to drive in the so-called "environment zones" in the inner-city areas of Berlin, Cologne and Hanover. The new measures are designed to cut pollution which has been linked to asthma and other conditions. (video at Reuters)
Not to worry, though – after instituting a $25-maximum cap on donations to individual enterprises, Kiva is back in business with a new lot of eager entrepreneurs, so if you're ready to invest, you'll probably get the chance. (NY Times)
Junior high school students in Truro, N.S., played a friendly game of basketball Wednesday to raise money for a New Brunswick high school that lost seven of its students earlier this month.
"We hope the proceeds of this event will help them keep basketball alive in their school," Louise Wirtanen, principal at Central Colchester, said in a release. (CBC)
Phan Ti Kim Phuc, is now a 45-year old woman. She is a wife and a mother, and is now a Canadian citizen. Most surprising of all, though, is the fact that she has devoted her life to becoming an ambassador for peace, and has established a nonprofit organization called KIM Foundation International, which is dedicated to helping children who've been traumatized by war to heal, providing both medical and social services to support their recovery. (Gimundo)
Thousands of Aboriginal children, mostly of mixed descent, were taken from their parents over four decades up to the 1970s and adopted or put into foster care or institutions as part of an attempt to force assimilation. (AFP)
Such a resolution, ending Cuba’s long standing harvest of 500 critically endangered hawksbill turtles a year, has been sought by conservationists for more than a decade. It will benefit turtles hatching on beaches throughout the Caribbean and coming regularly to feed in Cuban waters. (Good News Network)
The anonymous donation was made through the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank, said senior finance ministry official Aminul Islam Bhuiyan, describing it as the single largest donation ever made by an individual to Bangladesh. (AP)
With 1500 bicycles and 100 stations, connecting other public transport stations such as metro, train, buses and major car parks, the red and white bikes are to be seen all over town.
30 000 people subscribed to the service online in the first 2 months. (Treehugger)
What's the upside? That ridiculously expensive petroleum is prompting people to drive more slowly on highways, drive less often, buy more fuel-efficient cars, and take mass transit more often. (Mother Jones)
Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, is holding the next generation of computerized aids for the blind and visually impaired.
The Nokia cell phone is loaded with software that turns text on photographed documents into speech. In addition to telling whether a bill is worth $1, $5, $10 or $20, it also allows users to read anything that is photographed, whether it's a restaurant menu, a phone book or a fax. (AP)
Hector ought to be dead, Nuccio knows -- killed in a staged fight, executed for not winning or euthanized by those who see pit bulls seized in busts as "kennel trash," unsuited to any kind of normal life. Instead, Hector is learning how to be a pet. (CNN)
In a first for a major North American professional sports league, the National Hockey League Players Association is teaming up with the David Suzuki Foundation to promote action on climate change. And players are taking the lead by buying carbon credits to offset the environmental impact of their extensive travel during season play. (Toronto Star)
But that hasn't helped women forced to rely on packed buses, by far the city's most-used form of public transportation — until this week.
Acting on complaints from women's groups, the city rolled out "ladies only" buses, complete with pink signs in the windshields to wave off the men. (AP)
Oil at more than $90 a barrel is concentrating minds in the shipping industry. Higher fuel costs and mounting pressure to curb emissions are leading modern merchant fleets to rediscover the ancient power of the sail. (Reuters)
Assessing the events of the past year, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan pointed to three particularly encouraging trends: an increased willingness to invest in health systems; recognition of the reality of climate change by world leaders; and the resurgence of interest in primary health care. (UN News Centre)
A blind harbour seal named Alfred, which made its debut Friday, was rescued off the coast of New Jersey nearly a year ago and after a long search by the Marine Mammal Stranding Center the LA Zoo took him in October. (CBC)
Check out the Scientific American article that discusses the work of plant scientists and farmers that show that "switchgrass will store enough carbon in its relatively permanent root system to offset 94 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted both to cultivate it and from the derived ethanol burned by vehicles." (Good News Network)
Adults usually initiate the laws, but there's no law that says kids can't too.
"I thought it pretty disturbing to see pounds, pretty much, of food being thrown away every single day," the 11-year-old said.
Jack Davis is only 11, but he had a pretty grown-up idea: He was disturbed to learn that Florida restaurants throw out food that could be given to the hungry and the homeless -- because the restaurant owners could be sued if anyone who ate the food became ill or developed food poisoning.
Jack had visited a homeless shelter on school field trips and he worried about people going hungry. "I realized that I could make a difference by trying to change the law," Davis said.
"If you think there's a problem in the world, you don't wait for other people to fix it. You have to try to fix it yourself." (ABC)
Newsom's SForward program, announced in his inaugural address last week, seeks to lower the city's carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2010, and to make city government carbon neutral by 2020. (ABC News10)
The terminal is designed to run on lower energy costs compared to the older terminals, mainly via natural lighting from the 919 skylights and by positioning air-conditioners nearer to floor-level. (Reuters)
The police station in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo, received the first envelope in August 1974, which contained 1,000 yen, or nine dollars at the current rate.
It did not bear a sender's name but enclosed a piece of paper only saying: "Please use this for the unprivileged people." (AFP)
From 1 January 2008, it becomes the 135th country in the world to abolish the death penalty in law or practice. Capital punishment has now been replaced with life or long-term imprisonment. (Amnesty)
What Los Angeles took a century ago -- a 100km stretch of river in the parched Owens Valley -- it is now giving back.
One of the largest river restoration projects in the country has sent a gentle current of water meandering through what just a year ago was largely a sandy, rocky bed best used as a horse trail and barely distinguishable from the surrounding high desert scrub. (NY Times article)
The 26-year-old does not renounce his father, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but in an interview with the Associated Press, he said there is better way to defend Islam than militancy: Omar wants to be an "ambassador for peace" between Muslims and the West. (USA Today)
The name of the giant palm and its remarkable life cycle will be detailed in a study by Kew Gardens scientists in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society published Thursday. (AP)
The management of the Fort Howe Hotel and Courtenay Bay Hotel made the decision on Monday following a weekend accident that killed seven Bathurst High School basketball players and a teacher.
The idea to open the hotels' doors to schools that need a place to bed down during a storm was the owner's idea, Lombard Lloyd said, and it is hoped other hotels will follow suit. (CBC)
The US automaker has entered into a partnership with Illinois-based company Coskata which has developed a way to make ethanol from practically any renewable source, including old tires and plant waste.
The process is a significant improvement over corn-base ethanol because it uses far less water and energy and does not divert food into fuel. (AFP)
Oil product wholesalers and retailers will be required to start supplying gasoline and diesel fuel conforming to the cleaner Euro IV standard from January 1, and complete a replenishing of their tanks with the new fuel by the end of February, the Beijing News said. (Reuters)
Rojas and Gonzalez smiled broadly as they spoke by satellite phone with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who negotiated their release.
"A thousand times thank you," Rojas said. "We are being reborn!" (NPR)
The initiative comes after China this week announced that later this year shoppers would have to pay for plastic bags while the manufacture of ultra-fine bags would be banned outright. (AFP)
It meets all safety and environmental requirements, Tata said. And, in these days of escalating gas prices, it gets a respectable 50 mpg and has lower emissions levels than the scooters now produced in India. (NPR)
"The four health behaviours were within the usual range found in a free-living population," the study said. "Though relatively modest and achievable, their combined impact was associated with an estimated four-fold difference in mortality risk, equivalent to 14 years in chronological age." (CBC)
Real estate firm Jernhusen AB believes the system can provide about 15 percent of the heating needed for a 13-storey building being built next to the Central Station in the Swedish capital. (AP)
GM envisions the five-passenger Provoq going 300 miles on a single fill-up of hydrogen, getting 280 miles from hydrogen power and 20 miles from batteries. (AP)
Nearly 400 fuel-efficient hybrids have been tested in the city's taxi fleet over the past 18 months, with models including the Toyota Prius, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Lexus RX 400h and the Ford Escape.
Under Bloomberg's plan, that number will increase to 1,000 by October 2008, then will grow by about 20% each year until 2012, when every yellow cab — currently numbering 13,000 — will be a hybrid. (USA Today)
The commission, which in December postponed a decision on whether to remove the manatee from the state's endangered species list, said 317 manatees died in 2007 compared to 417 in 2006, the highest death toll on record. (Reuters)
Patrons of Karma Kitchen don't need to fight for the check at the end of a meal. There isn't one. Instead, the "guests" of this restaurant are handed a gold envelope with a handwritten note on the outside that says, "Have a lovely evening." Inside a bookmarker-sized card states: "In the spirit of generosity, someone who came before you made a gift of this meal. We hope you will continue the circle of giving in your own way!" (CS Monitor)