Points of Progress: Egyptian woman challenges inheritance laws, 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.

Maya Alleruzzo/AP
Huda Nasrallah stands near her law office in Cairo. Her legal challenge to the country’s inheritance laws may net her the same share in her father’s property as her brothers.

Egypt

A Christian woman in Egypt says she has won the right in court to receive the same inheritance as her brothers. Huda Nasrallah, a lawyer, challenged the country’s inheritance laws, which are based mainly on sharia (Islamic law). After her father left a bank deposit and a four-story apartment building in Cairo as an inheritance for his children, Ms. Nasrallah filed for an equal share, using a Christian doctrine of receiving equal shares, regardless of sex, to shape her legal argument. “If I didn’t take it to court,” Ms. Nasrallah said, “who would?” (BBC, AP)

California

Dan Huff/AP
Large bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel will replace single-use bottles in California hotels.

California passed a law to ban single-use plastic bottles in hotels. California’s ban, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2023, will make it illegal for hotels with more than 50 rooms to provide small plastic bottles of shampoo, conditioner, or lotion to its guests. The law, like bans on plastic bags at grocery stores and plastic straws at restaurants, aims to reduce the amount of single-use plastics consumed. The Marriott hotel chain announced earlier this year it will replace most of its single-use shower amenities with larger, multi-use bottles across the country by 2020, potentially preventing 500 million tiny plastic bottles from reaching landfills each year. (USA Today, Forbes)

Europe

The messaging app Telegram announced  nearly 5,000 terrorist accounts and bots were removed from the service in a two-day period in November. The Islamic State-affiliated Nashir News Agency, which publishes the group’s official propaganda and distributes it via social media, was a main target of Europol, the European Union’s crime agency, located in The Hague, Netherlands. Europol said in a statement that the concentrated day of action removed “a significant portion of key actors within the IS network on Telegram.”  The thousands of account takedowns during the two-day period is significantly higher than the 200 to 300 accounts that are removed from the platform daily. (BBC)

Ivory Coast

Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters
Native Ivoirian and soccer star Didier Drogba helped kick off the treeplanting project. Ivory Coast plans to restore 20 million acres of forest cover by 2045.

Ivory Coast launched an initiative to plant 1 million trees to restore its primary forests. Native Ivoirian and soccer star Didier Drogba helped kick off the campaign, calling the tree planting a “noble initiative.” The Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, plans to restore 20 million acres of forest cover by 2045. The nation had nearly 40 million acres of forest cover in 1990, but now has just over 7 million acres, according to the forestry ministry. Seedballs, a local startup organization that distributes tree seeds, has partnered with the forest ministry to raise awareness among Ivoirians about the harmful effects of deforestation. (Bloomberg, France24)

Pakistan

Pakistan’s first metro project completed test runs and is scheduled to open in March 2020. The metro is located in Lahore, Pakistan’s second most populous city with more than 11 million people. The mass transit system, which runs on electricity, will consist of 26 stations and nearly 17 miles of track. It will have the ability to move a quarter-million people through the city daily. The project, financed by China, took more than five years to complete at a cost of roughly $1.5 billion. (Daily Times, City Population, The Express Tribune Pakistan)

India

More than 90 million household toilets were built across India in the past five years. Although some Indians in rural areas still do not have access to a toilet, according to recent studies, the nation has spent more than $8 billion on its latrine building project so far. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat, or Clean India, project in 2014 after a study by the World Health Organization and UNICEF found that 530 million Indians practiced open defecation, the highest number of any nation. Globally, the number of people who defecate in the open has been cut in half since 2000. (The Telegraph)

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