a bit of good news
March 29, 2020

After Los Angeles County realized it had been sent 170 broken ventilators from the federal government, officials jumped into action to get them fixed as quickly as possible, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Saturday.

Newsom said that instead of "complaining" and "pointing fingers" and generating "more stress and anxiety," officials put the ventilators on trucks and had them transported to Bloom Energy in Sunnyvale. Workers there are refurbishing the ventilators, and they will be returned to Los Angeles County by Monday. "That's the spirit of California," Newsom said. "That's the spirit of this moment." Bloom Energy, a sustainable energy company, is also refurbishing more than 500 older ventilators owned by the state, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Ventilators are used to help people who become critically ill from the COVID-19 coronavirus and are unable to breathe properly. As the coronavirus continues to spread, hospitals across California are preparing for ventilator shortages, and Newsom said the state is attempting to secure an extra 10,000 ventilators; so far, they have found 4,252. The 170 ventilators were sent to Los Angeles County from the national stockpile, and the Trump administration has not yet delivered any of the ventilators the state has requested, Newsom said. Catherine Garcia

April 15, 2019

The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is home to ancient relics held sacred by Catholics, and as the structure burned on Monday, there were fears that all of the irreplaceable items inside might be destroyed.

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By late Monday, police announced that the fire was under control, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo shared some good news: The Crown of Thorns, a relic believed to have been worn by Jesus Christ, was safe, along with the Tunic of Saint Louis. She also said several pieces of artwork made it out unscathed, but did not specify which pieces. The cathedral is filled with paintings and sculptures, including a series of 76 paintings depicting the New Testament's Acts of the Apostles and a 1648 portrait of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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It's unclear if the famous stained-glass Rose Windows, dating back to the 13th century, have been damaged or destroyed, and there is also no word yet on the fragment of the True Cross and the Holy Nail that were kept inside the cathedral's treasury. Because the cathedral is being renovated, some items had been removed before the fire started. Catherine Garcia

July 19, 2018

Starbucks announced on Thursday it is opening its first cafe in the U.S. with employees who are partially or fully deaf and can communicate using American Sign Language.

The company is converting an existing Starbucks in Washington, D.C., into a Signing Store, set to open in October. Employees will wear aprons embroidered by deaf suppliers, and pins that say "I sign," USA Today reports. "The store will create a distinctive retail experience for all customers, while offering a unique store format that promotes accessibility and offers employment and career advancement opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing people," Starbucks said in a statement.

Starbucks will hire 20 to 25 people who know ASL to staff the Signing Store. The company's first Signing Store opened in Malaysia in 2016. Catherine Garcia

July 5, 2018

When the last male northern white rhinoceros, Sudan, died earlier this year, scientists imagined it would be just a matter of time before the species went entirely extinct. That was before a breakthrough in rhino IVF by Professor Thomas Hildebrandt at Berlin's Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, reports the BBC. Using the sperm from two dead male white rhinos and carefully extracted eggs from a living female, scientists were able to fuse the two into viable embryos.

While a successful transfer of embryos into a surrogate rhino has never been done, "everyone believed there was no hope for this sub-species," Hildebrandt said. "But with our knowledge now, we are very confident that this will work with northern white rhino eggs and that we will be able to produce a viable population." Jeva Lange

June 9, 2018

The Taliban on Saturday agreed to a three-day ceasefire with local forces in Afghanistan, its first such agreement since 2001. The ceasefire is scheduled to honor the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which in Afghanistan will be held this coming week. Foreign troops will be excluded from the deal, and the Taliban said its fighters will defend themselves if attacked.

The announcement came several days after the Afghan government announced a unilateral ceasefire for the holiday. Government forces will continue fighting other militant groups active in their country, like the Islamic State.

"Hope the pleasure of shedding no Afghan blood in Eid becomes so overwhelming that rest of year is also declared as Afghan Eid," said Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal. The Afghan government, with U.S. support, has been making overtures to the Taliban for peace talks this spring. Bonnie Kristian

April 2, 2018

Gun violence in Chicago has decreased for 13 months straight, newly published data from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) reveals. There were 17 percent fewer shootings in March 2018 than March 2017, and murders are down 25 percent over the same period. Overall crime is down 15 percent.

"The progress we have seen in the first quarter of the year is a direct result of the hard work of our officers and the investments we have made to make CPD a better agency for everyone," said CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Crime rates, including violent crimes, have fallen dramatically over the past three decades, but most Americans incorrectly believe the country has become more dangerous. Bonnie Kristian

September 25, 2017

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reassured Americans that President Trump did not actually declare war on North Korea via tweet.

Sanders' statement ran contrary to claims made earlier in the day by North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho. Ri claimed Pyongyang now has the right to shoot down U.S. bombers in international airspace after Trump said Saturday that North Korea "won't be around much longer" if it keeps intimidating America.

"We've not declared war on North Korea," Sanders said. "And frankly the suggestion of that is absurd."

She went on to add: "It is never appropriate for a country to shoot down another country's aircraft when it's over international waters. Our goal is still the same. We continue to seek the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. That's our focus." Watch below. Jeva Lange

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