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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019
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Sitdown Sunday: The secrets behind New York's mass graves

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair. We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Unearthing the secrets of New York’s mass graves

New York mass grave Hart Island Source: The New York Times

The New York times looks at the interesting life stories of the people that are buried on Hart Island. A New York City morgue truck arrives to the island about twice every week, carrying the dead. This story investigates the failings of a system that placed over one million people in mass graves.

Some secrets defy every expectation. Ruth Proskauer Smith, 102, died in her multimillion-dollar apartment in the Dakota building in Manhattan in 2010 after a life celebrated in a Times obituary and by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She now lies with 144 strangers in Trench 359.

(The New York Times, approx 37 minutes reading time)

2. Refugee families are being torn apart by British bureaucracy

Mideast Jordan Syrian Refugees Daily Life Source: Muhammed Muheisen/AP/Press Association Images

Instead of finding safety in the UK, Buzzfeed examines how vulnerable asylum-seekers are often left in limbo, facing bureaucratic hurdles.

Fighting in their town had intensified, so they had moved to an overcrowded refugee camp in Afrin, northern Syria. Across the hundreds of miles separating them, WhatsApp messages would relay the children’s words to an anxious Sedhu. “They were telling me they were in danger,” he sighs. “It was an indescribable situation. I was very worried about them – that is why I had to work hard to bring them here, to their father.”

(Buzzfeed News, approx 9 minutes reading time)

3. Here’s How Clinton Can Beat Trump

AP Poll Trump vs Clinton Source: AP/Press Association Images

Sid Myers and Lloyd Wright, the two masterminds behind one of the most influential political ads ever, Confessions of a Republican, give their take on the current US presidential race.

If you visually showed 11 million Mexicans being deported from this country in trucks, I think that would be unbelievable. Just show how ridiculous Trump’s statement is. Rather than just say it, show it visually. It’s much more impactful.

(Politico, approx 16 minutes reading time)

4. Doctors with enemies: Did Afghan forces target the MSF hospital?

Mideast Hospitals Attacked Source: Najim Rahim/AP/Press Association Images

In October, the Médecins San Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan was repeatedly bombed by American forces. The US government’s report identified that the attack was an accident but rising evidence suggests that Afghan forces may have deliberately provided to the hospital to the US as a target.

At roughly the same time, 150 miles south in Kabul, Guilhem Molinie, the head of the Afghan mission for Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials, M.S.F., was woken by a phone call: His hospital in Kunduz was burning. A few minutes later, he received a chilling update: It was being bombed from the air. That could mean only an American or Afghan attack. He began frantically calling the United States military, the United Nations, anyone who might be able to make it stop.

(The New York Times, approx 41 minutes reading time)

5. Life under curfew for American teens: ‘it’s insane, no other country does this’

shutterstock_296169194 Source: Shutterstock/Lukas Gojda

In San Diego, it’s illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be out past 10pm. Millions of teenagers have been arrested for breaking the curfew but analysis shows that minorities have been impacted the most.

And, that night, Officer Owens was part of a “curfew sweep”, where teams of officers fan out and enforce the law en masse. The city runs these details roughly once a month in each of its nine districts, sometimes arresting dozens of kids a night. David and his friends said they were just walking home. But that isn’t one of the exceptions – like a school sports game or a job – so Owens read him his Miranda rights.

(The Guardian, approx 9 minutes reading time)

6. Gossip Girl

Rona Barrett and Rock Hudson Rona Barrett kisses the hand of actor Rock Hudson, following his first public appearance since undergoing heart surgery. December 1981. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Rona Barrett, who forged a Hollywood gossip empire fifty years ago, talks to Buzzfeed journalist Anne Helen Peterson about her long career. Barrett discusses starting out as a “crippled, plain, fat kid”, working to legitimise her writing and her decision to give it all up and run a lavender farm.

Barrett’s work was always campy and saucy and just this side of scandalous. But like all gossip, it also sparked conversations — about female sexuality, sexual orientation, AIDS, celebrity drug use, anti-Semitism, and women in power — that the hard news, for all its directness, sometimes cannot.

(Buzzfeed, approx 28 minutes reading time) ….AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

7. The Chris McCandless Obsession Problem

shutterstock_142685584 Source: Shutterstock/Jim David

The best-selling book and 2007 movie, Into the Wild, brought recognition to story of Chris McCandless, whose search for adventure on the Stampede Trail in Alaska ultimately lead to his death. McCandless donated his savings to charity and embarked on a hiking journey which ended when he died of starvation in an abandoned bus. But why are so many people willing to take a massive risk to follow in his footsteps?

The troopers told me that 75 percent of all of the rescues they perform in the area happen on the Stampede Trail. “Obviously, there’s something that draws these people out here,” one of the troopers, who asked not to be named, told me. “It’s some kind of internal thing within them that makes them go out to that bus. I don’t know what it is. I don’t understand. What would possess a person to follow in the tracks of someone who died because he was unprepared?”

(Outside, approx 30 minutes reading time)

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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About the author:

Roisin Nestor

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