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Wednesday 29 March 2023 Dublin: 14°C
Jeff Chiu/AP/Press Association Images HIV medication
# up to speed
Catch-up Wednesday: 3 midweek longreads
Get up to speed with the latest news, opinions and insights with our hand-picked indepth reads.

IT’S MIDWAY THROUGH the week and you want to get up to speed on the latest news topics and catch up on opinions and insights.

We’re here to help you do just that, with our three midweek longreads:

1. Toxic truth

Sarin is the chemical confirmed to have been used in the deadly attack in Damascus, Syria – but what is Sarin? Ian Sample writes about the history of this lethal poison, and why it is “one of the most murderous weapons in modern warfare”.  (The Guardian )

Approximately 9 minutes reading time – 1980 words

Sarin takes such a dreadful toll on the body by interfering with a specific but crucial aspect of the nervous system. It blocks an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase, with devastating consequences. Nerves that usually switch on and off to control muscle movements can no longer be switched off. Instead, they fire constantly.

2. Power and disease

Eva Hershaw writes in The Atlantic about the fact that marital sex represents the single greatest risk for HIV infection in rural Mexico. She meets HIV+ women and finds out why ‘machismo is deadly’.  (The Atlantic)

Approximately 13 minutes reading time – 2634 words

Tears came easy as they described the moment they received their diagnosis, the children and grandchildren who brought meaning to their lives, and the fears that continued to haunt their thoughts. All the stories had one common thread: each of the women at the workshop got HIV from their long-term partners, most of them from their husbands.

3. Reality bites

Over in Opinion and Insight, Lisa McInerney tackles a recent profile of a reality TV star that drew ire online. She asks: should we direct our distaste at airhead figures like Roz Flanagan, or the system that creates them? (

Approximately 4 minutes reading time – 805 words

It might come as a shock to Ireland’s C-list, but people in general have little problem with the moneyed; Hello magazine wouldn’t sell at all if everyone was wound up over Kate Middleton’s audacious shoe collection. Sky wouldn’t use David Beckham’s snazzy, espresso-sipping lifestyle as a way to sell its products if the rest of us didn’t find him a teeny-tiny bit inspirational.

Want some more longreads? Then check out Sitdown Sunday>

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