Points of Progress: Reparations for Guam islanders, and more

Why We Wrote This

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

Places where the world saw progress, for the April 6, 2020 Monitor Weekly.

1. United States

The Tesuque Pueblo tribe of New Mexico has repurposed a 75,000-square-foot casino into the first movie studio owned by a Native American tribe in the history of Hollywood. New Mexico has seen an exponential spike in filming to the point that Netflix has made Albuquerque its U.S. production hub. The Pueblo of Tesuque Development Corp. has invested $50 million in building out the new facility. The opening of the Camel Rock Studios will provide economic opportunities for the community, increase Native American representation in the film industry, and potentially establish internships and mentorships for the next generation of Native American filmmakers. (Variety)

Courtesy of Camel Rock Studios/Business Wire
The new Camel Rock Studios is a repurposed casino owned by the Tesuque Pueblo tribe of New Mexico. It is the first movie studio owned and operated by a Native American tribe.

2. Haiti

No new cases of cholera have been confirmed in more than 12 months in Haiti, indicating the decadelong epidemic appears to be over. The progress is credited to the fearless and formidable work of the Haitian health workers. Infecting 10% of the total population and killing 10,000 people, the cholera outbreak challenged a health care system dilapidated in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquakes. Although the early cases can be traced back to a United Nations base in Haiti that was flowing human waste into a river, it was the innovative efforts of the Haitian rapid response teams and health workers – not international organizations – that stabilized the outbreak. Experts say two more years must pass in order to definitively declare Haiti cholera-free. (The Guardian)

3. Sweden

One of five national pension funds in Sweden has committed to divesting all holdings in fossil fuel companies. As concerns over global climate change intensify, more Western funds are withdrawing from industries and companies responsible for emissions of carbon dioxide. At the close of 2019, pension fund AP1 held assets worth 4.5 billion Swedish crowns ($436 million) in fossil fuel companies. But the company announced it has already sold the larger part of these holdings, and plans to reach a “carbon-neutral portfolio” by 2050. AP1 joins a strategic shift among global money managers to comply with the United Nations Paris Agreement on climate change. (Reuters)

4. Japan

At the Tokyo Olympics, women are projected to make up almost half the field for the first time, the International Olympic Committee announced. The percentage of female athletes now competing in 2021 is expected to rise to nearly 49% – from 34% in 1996. In an effort to push for equal gender representation, the IOC also announced balanced gender representation across all 206 teams and that it will change its rules to allow one male and one female athlete to jointly carry their nation’s flag during the opening ceremony. For now this has to wait. On March 24, the IOC postponed the 2020 Olympics to a date no later than summer 2021, due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The organization aims to reach full gender parity by the 2024 Olympics in Paris. (Reuters)

Kirby Lee/USA Today/File
American long-distance runner Aliphine Tuliamuk won the U.S. Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials in Atlanta in February.

5. Guam

After decades of lobbying for reparations, more than 3,000 native islanders on Guam are expecting to receive overdue compensation from the U.S. government. U.S. forces heavily bombed Guam to recapture it from the Japanese during World War II. Recipients of the reparations report mixed feelings as they remember family and friends who were among the 1,100 islanders estimated to have died during Japan’s nearly three-year occupation of the U.S. territory. The newly opened war claims office is the culmination of years of political efforts by Guam’s nonvoting U.S. House delegates to persuade Congress to approve the reparations. (The Associated Press)


After its digging probe was stuck on the surface of Mars for over a year, NASA scientists finally figured out a way to get it back to work. It turns out the machine just needed a friendly whack from its own shovel. InSight has the task of mining the red planet’s soil to track temperature variations. But a few months after the probe landed in November 2018 it ran into a problem: The soil was too thick. With no one around to give it a shove, scientists had to improvise. Using a small shovel-like scoop on the end of InSight’s robotic arm, they commanded InSight to give itself a gentle nudge. Early data suggest it seems to have worked, but scientists are awaiting more data before they breathe a sigh of relief. (Popular Science)

Mike Blake Reuters/File
InSight, NASA’s first robotic Mars lander (life-sized model pictured), tests soil temperature variations on the red planet.
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