Good News Thursday: Ukrainian and Russian refugee dancers find help in Berlin, teenage pilot to fly around the world

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Ukrainian and Russian refugee dancers find help in Berlin

Ballet dancers train at the State Ballet in Berlin, Germany on March 23. Around 200 dancers from Ukraine and Russia requested help from the company to have a place to flee to away from the war, and several of them already found a new temporary home in Berlin. (AP Photo)

Dancers who fled Ukraine and Russia due to the war found a new temporary home in Berlin’s top ballet company, which helps them with practice space, housing and shoes.

“You have to imagine, these are people who have left everything behind, they have very little with them. That starts with the pointed shoes,” said the company’s acting artistic director Christine Theobald.

In addition, Theobald has also been contacting other company directors across Europe to check whether she can find the new dancers a job.

“What we need now, of course, are positions in ensembles, and those who are coming… are mainly classically, highly classically trained dancers,” Theobald said.

US adult smoking rate fell during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic

During the first year of the pandemic, U.S. cigarette smoking dropped to 1 in 8 adults saying they were current smokers, according to data released on March 17 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although CDC officials explained the decline crediting public health campaigns and policies, outside experts said tobacco company price hikes, pandemic lifestyle changes and parents having their kids at home full-time likely played roles.

“People who were mainly social smokers just didn’t have that going on anymore,” said Ohio State University researcher Megan Roberts, whose research is focused on tobacco product use among young adults and adolescents.

However, other surveys have suggested that for many people, alcohol consumption and illicit drug use increased in the first year of the pandemic.

Teenage pilot to fly around the world

Mack Rutherford gets ready to take off from the Sofia-West airport in Sofia, Bulgaria on March 23 and begin his solo flying trip around the world. If successful, Rutherford would displace Travis Ludlow’s 2021 record and become the youngest person to fly around the world solo in a small plane. (AP Photo)

Sixteen-year-old Mack Rutherford departed Sofia, Bulgaria in his small plane on March 23 and began his journey flying solo across the world to become the youngest person to do so in a small plane.

The Belgian-British teenage pilot hopes to join his sister Zara Rutherford in the Guinness World Records book, as she set the world record for the youngest woman to fly solo around the world on Jan. 20.

Rutherford’s first stop will be in Italy from where he will fly to Africa, India, China, South Korea and Japan.

However, because of Russia’s war in Ukraine, Rutherford’s flight was rerouted to preserve his safety and so he won’t have to fly over Russian territory.

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