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By Iain Martin of CapX

Looking at the rise of ISIS, the resurgence of the Taliban and the spread of angry populism in western democracies, you could be forgiven for thinking that humanity is going backwards. But do not despair. Below are 15 pieces of unreservedly good news from 2015 that demonstrate the strength of human ingenuity, the wonders of the market, the liberating impact of education and the power of democracy.

1. Extreme poverty falls below 10% in 2015

2. Elon Musk steps up race to find fifth model of transport

3. Women vote for the first time in Saudi Arabia, electing a number of female councillors too

4. Aung San Suu Kyi wins an out-right majority in Myanmar’s national elections

5. Scientists find a vaccine that is 100% effective against Ebola

6. Literacy amongst women at an all time high

7. Solar power becomes cheaper than imported coal in India

8. Google’s autonomous vehicles have travelled over 1m miles in San Francisco and Texas without crashing

9. Large steps made towards 3D-printed organs

10. MIT launches virtual ‘semi-degrees’ in step to life-long learning

11. Nigerian election results in the country’s first-ever democratic transfer of power

12. World’s youngest double hand transplant succeeds

13. Breakthrough could make super-material graphene 100 times cheaper

14. Hundreds of South Koreans are reunited with family members in North Korea

15. Humanity gets its first close-up glimpse of Pluto