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To be honest, at first glance, 2017 was pretty bad — all the natural calamities and tragedies, fake news, thousands of “unsolved” murders on our streets, global warming… 2017 might even give 2016 a good run for the title of the Worst Year Ever. But, if you look closely enough, or at least dig deep into the online news archives, you’d find that there are stories that have made this year worthwhile, no matter how we feel about it right now.

Here are 10 of our favorite good news in 2017.

Fiona the Hippo

Prematurely born in the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden on January 24, Fiona is the first Nile hippopotamus scanned in the womb by ultrasound, as well as the first hippo to be born in the Cincinnati Zoo in 75 years. She is also the smallest hippo to ever survive. Her antics and overall cuteness (including photobombing a marriage proposal) have made her an international social media darling and joy to behold.   

The Fiona roll! #teamfiona #cincinnatizoo #cincinnati #closeenoughtocare

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NASA discovers seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a nearby star

Have they found a possible future home for humanity? In February, NASA announced that their Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a single star. Three of these planets are in the habitable zone, and one of them could possibly have water. “This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington said in NASA’s announcement. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”

China bans ivory trade

In March this year, China and its officials finally shut down 67 ivory carving workshops and retail stores, with another 105 to close by the end of 2017. This move came after years of pressure from the international community to stop the “ivory holocaust” that had left a trail of poached elephants all across Africa. China had long been countering criticism on its domestic ivory trade, citing its “long cultural heritage.” With this ban, as much as 200,000 elephants will be saved each year.

Sesame Street introduced Julia, a new muppet with autism

Sesame Street, the famous children’s TV show and a staple of most of our childhoods, introduced a new muppet in April. Her name is Julia, and she has autism. By including Julia on the show, Sesame Street helps children and adults understand autism better and even celebrates the differences in the children diagnosed with the condition.

Wonder Woman surpassed expectations and crushed the international box office

The movie Wonder Woman was a breath of fresh air in the midst of testosterone-charged blockbuster superhero movies that have ruled the box office for a few years now. Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman, and director Patty Jenkins delivered a film that is both an entertaining movie and a showcase of awesome woman power.

Gilas Pilipinas won the gold medal in Men’s Basketball at the SEA Games

In August, Gilas Pilipinas went undefeated in the Southeast Asian Games when the team won in the gold medal match against Indonesia. 2017 is also the 12th straight year that the Philippine Team has won the gold in Men’s Basketball.

Rihanna released Fenty Beauty — a makeup line for all skin types and colors

 When Rihanna dropped Fenty Beauty in September, all the makeup-loving people of the world sat up and took notice. This is not your regular celebrity makeup line. Riri’s Fenty Beauty is here to serve everybody’s skin tone and color “so that women everywhere would be included.” Fenty focuses on hard-to-match skin tones, creating formulas that work in all skin types, and finding universal shades to suit all colors.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged

England’s most eligible bachelor has found his princess in Meghan Markle, an American actress, and humanitarian. The couple was set up on a blind date by a mutual friend, and Prince Harry confessed that it was love at first sight for him. Much has been made out of Ms. Markle being bi-racial, a divorcee, and, not to mention, an American; such a pairing would have been unheard of in British Royalty before. The entire Royal Family is supportive of Prince Harry and his future bride. Could this be a sign that the stuffy British Royalty is finally changing with the times?

Australia says yes to marriage equality 

In an unprecedented national postal survey, 61.6% of Australia’s citizens voted to change the law to allow same-sex marriage. The result led to the parliament considering the same-sex marriage bill in parliament, and the prime minister Malcolm Turnbull promising that marriage equality should be law by Christmas.

Rachelle Ann Go stars as Eliza Schuyler in West End’s Hamilton

Hamiltonan American Musical — the groundbreaking, Tony Award-winning, hit musical — has finally opened on London’s West End. Known for having a diverse cast to retell the story of Alexander Hamilton — one of America’s Founding Fathers (mostly in rap) — it was a wonderful surprise to find out that the Philippines’ Rachelle Ann Go got the part of Eliza, Alexander Hamilton’s wife. Early reviews for the West End run have already started to come in, and it’s a lot of praises for Rachelle for her superb star turn in one of the biggest and greatest musicals of all time.

Featured image from @FionaHippo

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