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Jul 14, 2021 Read in Browser

Karuna News

In this week’s newsletter, we travel to the Kingdom of Lesotho, in the skiable mountains nestled inside South Africa, and bear witness to the positive effect of local tourists mobilizing to boost their nation’s economy during these tough covid times. Further away in Iceland, we learn that a four-day work week is not only possible, but it is now proven to boost the morale of employees. These and many other stories across four continents exemplify the power of coming together and putting our best efforts to ensure the needs of the whole are met to continue improving life on our beautiful planet.

EVERYDAY HEROES

Venezuelan Salsa Dancer Performs At Accident Scene Where She Lost A Leg

Venezuelan Salsa Dancer Performs At Accident Scene Where She Lost A Leg

Andreynahf | Instagram

Venezuelan dancer Andreyna Hernandez, who had lost her leg five years ago in an accident, returns to the location of the accident to perform a spectacular salsa dance. A video of her performance was uploaded to Instagram, garnering more than 30,000 views. Many viewers were inspired by her performance, all the more impressive after having lost a limb. Read Full Story.

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NEWS

World's Largest Four-Day Work Week Trial In Iceland An 'Overwhelming Success'

World's Largest Four-Day Work Week Trial In Iceland An 'Overwhelming Success'

Kristaps Ungurs | Unsplash

The world's largest-ever trial of a four-day workweek and reduced working time in Iceland was an "overwhelming success." The trials took place from 2015 to 2019 and involved about 2,500 workers, which represents 1 percent of Iceland's working population. Joint analysis by think tanks in Iceland and the UK found that the trials boosted productivity and wellbeing and are already leading to permanent changes. Icelandic trade union federations, which collectively negotiate wages and conditions for most Icelandic employees, have already begun to negotiate for reduced working hours as a result. Researchers estimate that as a result of the new agreements, struck in 2019-'21 after the trials ended, 86 percent of Iceland's entire working population now either have reduced hours or flexibility within their contracts to reduce hours. Read Full Story.

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COMMUNITY

Santa Fe Church Forgives Entire State Of New Mexico Medical Debt

Santa Fe Church Forgives Entire State Of New Mexico Medical Debt

Gabriel Tovar | Unsplash

St. Bede's Episcopal Church in Santa Fe, N.Mex., is reaching out to families crushed by medical debt through a big gift and a big partnership. Through donations, the parish wiped out nearly $1.4 million of medical debt for 782 households. The church worked with RIP Medical Debt, a well-respected organization that identifies households whose incomes are less than twice the poverty level or are insolvent and owe medical debt. Then they buy the debt at a fraction of face value (as a collection agency would) and pay it off using donations. St. Bede's grant of $15,000 cleared $1,380,119.87 in medical debt for families who live in New Mexico and parts of Arizona. Beneficiaries were notified by letter that their medical debt had been cleared. One affected individual wrote to the church, "I would love to thank personally that special person that helped me with my account. I am so thankful and I just want to say God bless you always." Read Full Story.

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BUSINESS

On Skis In Africa -- Local Neighbors Fill In For Missing Tourists

On Skis In Africa -- Local Neighbors Fill In For Missing Tourists

Simon | Pixabay

Its neighbors never could afford to visit one of southern Africa's two ski resorts -- but this year, as tourism dropped 90 percent, they are putting on skis. Nestled in the Lesotho's Maluti mountains, Afriski -- 3,200 meters above sea level -- receives snowfall most of the year and, since 2000, has attracted about 27,000 foreign visitors yearly. The area's main employer, Afriski, lost 40 million South African rand (about $2.8 million US) and laid off 30 percent of its staff, due to the pandemic. But local visitors increased 20 percent after their entrance fees were waived, and new businesses are sprouting after the resort trained staff -- 86 percent of whom are local -- in painting, sewing, silkscreen printing, baking and carpentry last year. Read Full Story.

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TECHNOLOGY

Company Mimics Spiders To Create Lustrous Faux Silk That Is 1,000 Times More Energy-Efficient

Company Mimics Spiders To Create Lustrous Faux Silk That Is 1,000 Times More Energy-Efficient

Christoph Schutz | Pixabay

The quest for sustainable fabrics has been a long one globally, but one group at Oxford University has learned from nature's master spinner. The spider, who has been at it for millions of years, creates its silk -- the world's strongest and most adaptable material -- within its spinneret, a specialized organ that turns the liquid silk gel within its abdomen into a solid thread. The company, Spintex, has come up with a process that mimics the spider's activity to spin textile fibers from a liquid gel at room temperature. Water and biodegradable textile fibers are the only outputs, making it not only 1,000 times more efficient than current methods for making man-made fabrics, but also saves tons of carbon emissions. The researchers have been awarded the Ray of Hope prize, which honors the world's nature-inspired start-ups. "By learning from nature, Spintex is creating new products, materials and processes that solve fundamental sustainability challenges," according to the media release. Read Full Story.

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