A Victim Treats His Mugger Right

Julio Diaz not only handed his wallet over to a knife-wielding mugger, but called him back to offer his coat and to buy the kid some dinner.

"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)

Ebola Virus Vaccine Proven to Work

A team of Canadian and American researchers have tested a vaccine for the ebola virus on primates, and it seems to be working. They hope that what they’ve learned from finding a vaccine for ebola can be applied to other viruses like HIV/AIDs. (Things Are Good)

Canadians go dark with world for Earth Hour

Canadians joined communities around the world on Saturday in turning off the lights for this year's Earth Hour, a global campaign to raise awareness of climate change. About 100,000 Canadians out of a total of 300,000 people worldwide registered online for the event — putting the country among top participants anywhere.

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)


Bike Parking Lot With Attendant in the Works for NYC

City officials have been trying to create more places where New Yorkers can ride their bikes safely, but finding secure places to park them is an enduring problem.

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)

After 80 years, Canadian Tire stops publishing catalogues

Canadian Tire Corp. will not be printing any more of its paper catalogues, sent to millions of Canadian homes every year.

"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.

Insect-Killing Worms May Help New York

Each spring, tens of millions of alfalfa snout beetles rise from the soil to continue their slow, methodical march across upstate New York, laying waste to fields of alfalfa in a single growing season.

Now, after 20 years of research, Cornell University scientists have discovered a pair of microscopic, insect-killing worms that prey on the beetle. (AP)


Somalia Once Again Polio-Free, Declares UN

In what is being described as a major victory in the global fight against polio, the United Nations health agency announced yesterday that the disease has been eradicated in strife-torn Somalia thanks to the efforts of some 10,000 volunteers and health workers across the Horn of Africa nation. (GNN)

Biomass Gas Project Provides Clean Power for Indian Villages

A new biomass plant that converts wood or agricultural waste into a combustible gas mixture is offering remote communities access to electricity in an environment friendly, carbon neutral way, thanks to the United Nations Development Program. (GNN)

Study Shows Winners Don't Punish

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)


Good marriage keeps blood pressure low

A new study shows that a happy marriage is good for your blood pressure, but a stressed one may be worse than being single. That second finding comes as a bit of a surprise because prior studies have shown that married people tend to be healthier than singles overall.

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)

Australia to Train Aboriginal Doctors

Australia committed $17 million on Thursday to train Aboriginal nurses and doctors, as part of efforts to close a 17-year gap in the life expectancies of indigenous and other Australians.

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)

World's tallest man thankful for the kindness of strangers

Leonid Stadnik's phenomenal height has forced him to quit a job he loved and to stoop as he moves around his house.

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)


Autism, the Musical

Autistic children write and perform a musical, while moms explain that the "Miracle Project" forever changes their kids, who once were in their own world and now are joined with others thanks to the power of the arts.

New bird discovered in Indonesia

A small greenish bird that has been playing hide-and-seek with ornithologists on a remote Indonesian island since 1996 was declared a newly discovered species on Friday and promptly recommended for endangered lists. (Reuters)

See-Saw to Power African Schools With Electricity

A young inventor is hoping to tap the unbounded energy of children in a playground to power schools in Africa. Design student Daniel Sheridan has created a simple see-saw which generates enough electricity to light a classroom. (BBC)


Monkey Business

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)

Trumpeter to Help New Orleans Libraries

Jazz trumpeter Irvin Mayfield has traveled the world playing for audiences in smoky bars and buttoned-up concert halls, and he knows the sounds, tastes and sights of this city are unlike those anywhere else. So, he says, the city's library system should be just as unique.

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)

Teacher's encouraging words helped failing student to dean's list

One conversation with one teacher changed a woman's opinion of herself and brought success to her schoolwork and life. (OC Register)


Breast-Feeding Seen to Curb Type 2 Diabetes Later

Breast-fed babies appear to be less likely to develop type 2 diabetes when they reach adolescence, according to findings published in the medical journal Diabetes Care.

Nigeria, Cameroon Settle Decades Old Border Dispute in Oil-Rich Atlantic

After decades of sometimes bloody disputes over the Bakassi Peninsula, Cameroon and Nigeria have settled their long-disputed maritime border, ending years of uncertainty as to who owns sections of Africa's oil-rich Gulf of Guinea.

"Today is a glorious and remarkable day, a milestone in the history of Cameroon-Nigeria relations,"said Nigerian delegation head Prince Bola Ajibola. (Reuters)

Peace is Delicious for Traditional Foes Who Now Grow Coffee Together

In Uganda, one man has brought together three groups of people - Christian, Muslim and Jewish - to put aside old differences, creating a coffee cooperative that now boasts some 700 members of all three faiths. They named their coffee Mirembe Kawomera, which means “Delicious Peace.” (Good News Network)


Dolphin rescues stranded whales

A dolphin who made a New Zealand bay her home helps a group of conservationists to save two stranded whales.

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.

Israelis and Arabs join forces to save wildlife

Concern over the fate of rare habitat could alter the course of the West Bank barrier

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)

Breakthrough in Canadian Indigenous rights flashpoint

An Indigenous Canadian community’s longstanding campaign to stop clear-cut logging on its land has prompted a multinational paper company to stop buying wood fibre from the area.

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)


Community rallies to build home for disabled couple

Five months, $12,000 and the helping hands of 25 volunteers have built a new house for a New Brunswick couple who were living in a rundown trailer.

When Pat Carr saw the conditions Charlotte and Jay Allan were living in, he rallied members at Hillsborough Baptist Church to build a new home for the disabled couple. (CBC)

Kosovo's 'Woman of Courage' Bridges Ethnic Divide

Valdete Idrizi, a 34-year-old ethnic Albanian who survived the ethnic violence in Kosovo in the 1990s, has reached out to her Serb neighbors.

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)

For Former Combatants, A Plan for Peace

Bassam Aramin and Zohar Shapira, the co-founders of Combatants for Peace, talk about their mission to end the cycle of violence in Israel and Palestine by bringing together individuals who previously fought against each other.

Currently around 450 Palestinians and Israelis are members of the group. (NPR)


Teen Athlete Triumphant and Proud of her Amputated Legs

To Jessica Long, not having legs isn't a disability -- even with all of the pain. It's an opportunity. The teen swimmer is a world-champ, despite being born without bones in her lower legs.

"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)

Chicago Starts to 'Clean House' in Failing Schools

Nine Chicago schools are getting a top-to-bottom housecleaning – including replacing principals and most teachers – in a bid to lift student achievement out of the nation's academic basement. The risk is paying off. Schools that once looked like "Beirut," they now look like schools again. Even for a city that already leads the nation in school-reform ideas, the proposal is unusually bold and sweeping and districts across the US are watching with interest. (CS Monitor)

India Cancels Small Farmers' Debt Across Nation

The Indian government plans to cancel the entire debt of the country's small farmers in a giant program that will cost 600 billion rupees ($15 billion). The move is a centerpiece of India's latest budget, with the government also increasing education spending by 20% and health funding by 15%. (BBC)


March Break, Blog Break

I won't be updating hope in the headlines this week while the kids are home for March Break. Check out the excellent "good news" links in the sidebar to get your daily fix!