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Friday Good News Roundup: January 13, 2017

Friday Good News Roundup: January 13, 2017

Liz Biscevic—5 Things to Know Today

Happy Friday, the 13th! Possibly the spookiest good news of week is that 2016 actually didn’t suck as bad as we all thought it did. Other news to make you smile includes a letter sent by the Bush twins to Malia and Sasha Obama and a new documentary honoring the 153 Lesvos villagers who saved thousands of Syrian refugees. 

Photo via Susan Walsh/AP

Photo via Susan Walsh/AP

1. Greater Good: 2016 was actually an amazing year. Here’s why.  
Though most people agree 2016 was one for the books as far as bad years go, according to world poverty researchers, the number of people living in extreme poverty dropped from 1.85 billion to 770 million. At the same time, child mortality dropped by nearly half, and literacy and vaccinations increased. 

2. NPR: Obama awarded VP Joe Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is highest civilian honor possible in America, and President Obama said he is bestowing the honor on Biden for his “faith in fellow Americans, for love of country, and a lifetime of service.” A teary-eyed Biden accepted the award on Thursday, and we eagerly await the memes to come as a result. 

3. Time: The internet is obsessed with the Bush sisters’ letter to Malia and Sasha Obama.
The twin daughters of George W. Bush have reached out to the Obama sisters offering advice as they transition into their new roles as civilians. The letter encourages them to take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that wait for them during college and beyond, reminds them to make mistakes, and advises the two to stay in contact with their White House pals. 

4. The Lesvos people don’t have much money, but they saved thousands of refugees during the last two years. 
153 villagers who live on the Greek Island, Lesvos, have spent time and resources helping thousands of displaced refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war. A new documentary short made by Syrian refugee filmmaker Talal Derki called In Ode to Lesvos residents on the island discuss the importance of kindness. The islanders were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize last year in a bid to honor their work. 

5. APlus: Scientists successfully grew a beating human heart out of stem cells.
Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School successfully grew a human heart using adult skin cells. This breakthrough could potentially help nearly 4,000 Americans currently waiting for heart transplants, and more than 25 million people with heart failure each year. 

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