Good News: Circumcision, Cease-Fires, City Transit, and More

The World Health Organization approved a nonsurgical circumcision device for adult males, which involves a rubber band. The New York Times explains that “For a heterosexual man in countries where AIDS is common, being circumcised lowers the chance of getting infected by about 60 percent.” For more about circumcision and HIV risk, click here.

The housing market in the U.S. continues to improve. In 20 cities, including Phoenix, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, the prices of homes rose by an average of 11 percent.

U.S. consumer confidence is higher than it’s been since July 2007.

The government of Burma and Kachin rebels have agreed to a cease-fire. More than 100,000 Kachin villagers were displaced after the last long-held peace agreement was broken in 2011. Let’s hope this one lasts a while.

Tigers are my favorite animals, and I worry about them, so I always look for good news about them. This past week, an old Siberian tiger named Ty underwent surgery to get a four-pound hairball removed. Owner Vernon Yates, who runs Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Florida, got worried about Ty when he seemed down and had little appetite. The Blue Pearl vet center in Clearwater performed the surgery for free. Ty, described by one of the staff as a “very very nice, very very sweet tiger,” is recovering nicely.

“My Tree House,” a “green library” for kids, opened in Singapore this week. Built from sustainable materials, it features refurbished bookshelves, LED lighting, and a treehouse centerpiece built from the community’s recycled plastic bottles. The library collection and programs focus on teaching children about environmental issues.

In other green news, the coach operator Buquebus  in Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, got their first electric bus from a Chinese company. Buquebus hopes to deploy 500 of these buses by 2015. Besides being better for the environment, electric buses are quieter. Take a listen.

Uruguay strikes me as pretty awesome. Last April, they voted to legally recognize same-sex marriage, beginning on August 1 of this year. And by the way, congratulations to Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau, who this week became the first gay couple to get married legally in France.

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