Cambodia, “hero rats” are helping with mine clearance. Years of civil strife left Cambodia one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. But deminers from the Cambodian Mine Action Center say they are having success in mine detection working with a team of giant African rats. The rats, trained to detect explosives by scent, can work far more quickly than humans with metal detectors and are so small that they are unlikely to trigger an explosion. They do, however, inspire affection. “It’s like if you have a kid,” one rat handler told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Zambia’s Eastern province, local women are turning snare traps into jewelry. Snare traps are among the cruelest tools poachers use to entrap and kill animals. But combined with lapis lazuli, turquoise, tiger’s eye, agate stones, and freshwater pearls, the wire used in these traps has become stunning jewelry with a global market. At the Mulberry Mongoose workshop, Zambian women create and design the unusual jewelry and donate a portion of all profits to wildlife protection.
Uppsala, Sweden, The English Bookshop has been named the best bookstore in the world. The London Book Fair picked the university town store as the recipient of its 2018 International Excellence award. Although Uppsala is a small city (fewer than 150,000 residents) The English Bookshop maintains a revolving stock of 13,000 handpicked books and an impressive roster of community events. The books are all in English, but the store’s staff estimates that 90 percent of their customers are Swedish. “We see ourselves as a country that is internationally minded,” store owner Jan Smedh told Swedish online publication The Local.