This Week’s Good News From Around The World (March 4th, 2017)

People Helping People

Public School Tries Meditation as Alternative to Punishments

A public school in Baltimore is replacing after-school detention with daily yoga and meditation. Robert W. Coleman Elementary School is using so-called “Mindful Moments” during the day, along with an after school program called “Holistic Me” as a way of helping troubled students deal with stress in a more constructive way than suspension and detentions – which often lead to compounding issues that become detrimental in the long term. []

Colombia Trash Collector Builds Library of Discarded Books

Bogota, Colombia resident Jose Alberto Gutierrez has become known as the “Lord of Books” among children and families in his community. Guiterrez, who works as a garbage collector, has created a makeshift library inside his home, stocked with books that he rescues from the garbage during his work days. On weekends, the Lord of Books opens his home to neighbourhood children, giving them a chance to read books that might normally be inaccessible. []

Zimbabwe Rules to Ban Beating of Children

Zimbabwe’s High Court has ruled to ban the beating of children. The ruling was spurred on by a complaint from Linah Pfungwa, who said that her six-year-old daughter suffered heavy bruising after a grade one teacher beat the young girl as punishment for not completing part of a homework assignment. While the High Court’s decision still needs to be confirmed by the nation’s constitutional court, rights groups are hopeful that it will bring much-needed change to attitudes around disciplining children. []

Sacramento Church Offers Shelter to Immigrants Fearing Deportation

A Sacramento church — home to the pastor who appeared at Trump’s presidential inauguration — is offering its space as a shelter and safe haven for congregation members who fear immigration raids in the wake of the U.S. president’s expanded deportation orders. Along with shelter, Evangelical pastor Sam Rodriguez Jr. is offering legal education so that immigrants who fear deportation can better understand their constitutional rights. []

Frieda Pinto Teams With Copia to Deliver Oscars Leftovers to People in Need

Actor Frieda Pinto teamed with a San Francisco-based company called Copia to ensure that food leftover from this year’s Oscars ceremony did not go to waste. Pinto, along with Copia, collected leftovers from the most popular after-parties attended by Hollywood stars, helping feed underprivileged Los Angeles citizens. []

Hawaiian Senator Proposes Groundbreaking Bill to Reduce Homelessness

Under a new bill being proposed for Hawaii, homelessness could be classified as a medical condition. Based on research suggesting that medical spending goes down in proportion to reductions in homelessness, state senator Josh Green introduced the bill as a measure that could help to reduce stress on hospitals by removing homeless people from situations that pose health risks or exacerbate existing conditions. []


Indian Entrepreneurs Race to Find Solution to Country’s Plastic Problem

24-year-old Ashwath Hegde of Bengaluru, India, is one of a number of Indian entrepreneurs who are working to create plastic alternatives that could potentially reduce the country’s substantial plastic consumption problem. Hegde himself has created a plastic bag made entirely from tapioca and vegetable starches that is fully water-soluble and edible. Such a bag might prove to be far more successful than current measures, which include fines for unseparated rubbish, and GPS trackers to ensure that garbage trucks dump only in designated areas. []


3-D Map of Infant’s Heart Helps Doctors Plan Life-Saving Surgery

Doctors were able to successfully perform life-saving heart surgery on a baby with the help of a 3-D printed model of the girl’s heart. Ella Knoell, one of a pair of twin girls from Utah, was born with a series of rare heart abnormalities that meant she would need surgery immediately to have a chance at survival. Due to the complexity of Ella’s condition, doctors weren’t sure what they would encounter after making an incision – but by scanning and printing a copy of the heart beforehand, they were able to prepare for and accurately carry out the surgery. []

Tech and Science

Yahoo Chief Redistributes Annual Bonus to Employees

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced this Wednesday that she would be redistributing her annual bonus and equity stock grant among Yahoo employees as a way of showing appreciation to employees that stayed with the company following the 2014 and 2013 email hack fiasco. The hacks, which were revealed while Yahoo was in acquisition talks with Verizon, led to a $350 million loss on that deal. The amount of money that Mayer will be distributing likely amounts to as much as 8 figures. []

Tech News Site Makes Commenters Prove They Read Article

A Norwegian broadcasting company has introduced a new measure to its tech news website that forces would-be commenters to prove they read the article in question before expressing their opinions. Before commenting on an article on NRKBeta, users must correctly answer a set of multiple-choice questions concerning topics that were covered in the text. With numerous online publications around the world facing issues with comments that range from nonsense to outright harassment, the measure seems like a hopeful alternative to disabling comments altogether. []

Lego to Introduce Toy Set of Female Scientists and Astronauts

Lego has approved designs for a new toy set featuring figurines of five female scientists. The “Women of NASA” toy set was proposed by science writer Maia Weinstock and quickly gathered over 10,000 supporters on Lego’s Ideas page. The women set to be immortalized as figurines are Sally Ride, Mae Jemison, Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, and Katherine Johnson – one of the NASA scientists who was featured in the recent film Hidden Figures. []