Many of us are on the cusp of a blessed 3-day weekend, our minds already emptying themselves of this week’s refuse and dreamily envisioning the MasterChef Junior marathons and Seamless orders that await us. Here are eight great things that happened this week to help usher you over the precipice and into the glory of three days off.
1. A cat saved a baby from freezing to death. Masha, a long-haired tabby cat living in Russia, found a baby who had been abandoned in the freezing stairwell of an apartment complex. Instead of leaving her alone, Masha climbed into the box with the baby and kept her warm, which doctors say saved the baby’s life. A few hours later, a neighbor was alerted to the baby’s cries and called police, who took her to the hospital where she was deemed totally healthy. All hail Masha the hero cat!
2. New York finally ended its draconian solitary confinement policy for adolescents. Starting in 2016, New York City inmates under 21 will not be allowed to be punished using solitary confinement. Prison officials hope the move will appease the federal government, which is currently suing Rikers over its horrifying treatment of adolescent prisoners. At least this is one step in the right direction.
3. Three brothers in Minnesota built a giant snow turtle. The 12-foot-tall structure took more than two months to build. No snowmen could ever compare.
4. The hero of France’s kosher supermarket shooting has been award French citizenship. Lassana Bathily, a 24-year-old Malian Muslim who saved several Hyper Cacher customers from the wrath of a gunman by hiding them in a freezer, was granted French citizenship this week owing to his heroism.
5. Rules about U.S. travel to Cuba have been greatly relaxed. While American citizens still can’t visit the island nation exclusively for tourism, anyone traveling for a host of reasons — including journalism, visiting family, conducting business, or offering “support for the Cuban people” — can apply for a travel visa. Your Cuban paradise awaits.
6. A handcuffed teen saved his arresting officer’s life. Fort Lauderdale police officer Franklin Foulks was sitting at a computer at police headquarters after arresting 17-year-old Jamal Rutledge for a probation violation when he suddenly collapsed out of his chair. Rutledge, who was handcuffed, wasted no time calling for help, and officers were able to get Foulks to the hospital in time to save his life. Now the selfless teen is being honored by the city for his heroism.
7. The police can no longer take your stuff and cry “federal law!” Good news for anyone who takes their legal cues from Jay Z’s “99 Problems”: Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that state and local police will no longer be allowed to seize property under federal law without having any evidence that a crime occurred. State and local governments still have their own seizure laws, but they’re more nuanced and not as easy to apply. An anonymous Justice official also told the Washington Post the new law will diminish the incentive to conduct unnecessary stop-and-seizures.
8. A bulldog puppy met a water bottle. And the rest was history.