Points of Progress: Libyan factory reopens after conflict, and more

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This is more than feel-good news – it's where the world is making concrete progress. A roundup of positive stories to inspire you.

Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters
Workers operate a machine during the reopening of a plastics factory in Ras Lanuf, Libya, Oct. 19, 2019.


A plastics factory, closed for more than eight years in Ras Lanuf amid fighting between rival Libyan factions and attacks from the Islamic State, reopened in October. The region’s security had deteriorated during the uprising against Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, causing the plant to close. The government still faces armed opposition. But the chairman of the National Oil Corp. says the plant is a stabilizing presence in the economy, which is based largely on oil production. The plant reopened with an initial production capacity of about 88,000 tons a year, and that figure is expected to double. (Reuters


Seven electronic cigarette brands have shown their support for a government effort to shut down websites that sell and advertise these products. The Chinese tobacco regulator issued a statement in November citing health concerns for minors as a reason for the campaign. Among the companies that issued a statement of support was RELX, which holds 60% of the e-cigarette market share in China. “We will fully act to terminate all sales and advertising on the internet,” the company said on its social media account. China has more than 7.4 million e-cigarette consumers and is the world’s largest maker of e-cigarette products, according to a study by Tsinghua University’s Public Health and Technology Supervision Research Group. (The New York Times)


The textile company KPR Mill, headquartered in Coimbatore, has helped educate nearly 24,000 women over the past 14 years. KPR Mill, one of India’s largest apparel manufacturing companies, employs 58 full-time teachers to educate its more than 3,000 employees who are studying for various exams, computer courses, and degrees. With the majority of millworkers living on-site, classes are arranged for the employees during their off hours. “We encourage them to take up better jobs after finishing their education, because that’s what will uplift them and their families,” said the company’s executive director. More than 4,800 women have completed their degrees through the company’s program, which is a partnership with Tamil Nadu Open University and Alagappa University. (The Times of India)


Peter Nicholls/Reuters/File
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth leaves a Christmas Day service in Sandringham, England, in 2015. The queen’s new clothes will no longer be made with real fur.

New clothes designed for Queen Elizabeth II will no longer use real fur. The decision reflects a growing trend among high-fashion houses away from the use of animal fur in new lines. In 2018, London Fashion Week was the first major fashion show that didn’t feature any fur on its runway. In 2019 bright, colorful faux fur designs dominated the catwalk at New York Fashion Week. The announcement from Buckingham Palace is being lauded by animal rights activists. But the queen will continue to wear existing fur and fur-trimmed outfits in her wardrobe. (The Associated Press, The Independent, InStyle)


More than 250 people were freed Nov. 4 by police from an abusive rehabilitation school posing as a mosque in Ibadan, in the southwestern state of Oyo. Nearly 1,500 captives have been rescued from similar institutions across Nigeria since September. President Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim, said the government would not tolerate “torture chambers” that mistreat young people. Many parents send their children to religious institutions with hopes that the school can improve misbehavior through an Islamic education. In Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation, only a third of children of primary school age attend government schools, according to data from 2018. (Reuters, BBC, Africa Check)

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