Good news Thursday: Actor makes masks into art, zoo awaits giant panda cub


Hong Kong man makes creative masks reflecting pandemic, protests

This combination of photos shows Edmond Kok, a Hong Kong theater costume designer and actor, wearing a variety of face masks he made to protect against the coronavirus in Hong Kong Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Edmond Kok, a Hong Kong actor and theater costume designer, hasn’t had much work since the pandemic hit, so he turned some of his creativity into works of art in the form of masks. The Associated Press reported that he has crafted more than 170 masks inspired both by the pandemic and Hong Kong’s political problems.

One mask looks like a rubber duck, while another more serious mask has a stuffed hand stuck on it covering the wearer’s mouth.

“I really want to document different things that happened in our lives,” he told the Associated Press.

Sons use e-books to help virus-stricken dad, other patients

Nicky, left, and his brother Sam Woolf talk about their project Books for Dad, with some of the audio devices at their home in London, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

When Nicky, a 33-year-old journalist, and Sam, a 28-year-old actor, Woolf’s dad was placed on a ventilator due to COVID-19, they weren’t able to visit, but they had an idea: Maybe literature could help him and other patients.

The brothers loaded an e-reader with Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” — “his comfort read,” according to Sam — and played it for their unconscious father. While doctors said he might not be able to hear it, they decided to include other COVID-19 patients. Thus Books for Dad was born. The brothers plan to distribute 5,000 e-readers to British hospitals over the next six months and add books for children and young adults.

Snowing cocoa? Chocolate factory glitch dusts Swiss town

Cocoa rained down on a Swiss town after a ventilations system error at a chocolate factory. (Charisse Kenion on Unsplash)

Residents of a Swiss town got a bit of a shock when it started snowing particles of a fine cocoa powder after the ventilation system at a chocolate factory malfunctioned, The Associated Press reports.

The Lindt & Spruengli company confirmed local reports Tuesday that there was a minor defect in the cooling ventilation for a line for roasted “cocoa nibs” in its factory in Olten, between Zurich and Basel.

National Zoo awaits birth of pandemic panda cub

In this Aug. 23, 2015 file photo, The Smithsonian National Zoo’s Giant Panda Mei Ziang, sleeps in the indoor habitat at the zoo in Washington. Zookeepers at Washington’s National Zoo are on baby watch after concluding that venerable giant panda matriarch Mei Ziang is pregnant and could give birth this week. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Zookeepers at Washington’s National Zoo are on furry black-and-white baby watch after concluding that venerable giant panda matriarch Mei Xiang is pregnant and could give birth this week. It’s a welcome bit of good news amid a pandemic that kept the zoo shuttered for months.

“We need this! We totally need this joy,” zoo spokeswoman Pamela Baker-Masson told The Associated Press. “We are all in desperate need of these feel-goods.”

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