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Wednesday 29 March 2023 Dublin: 14°C
AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye Reiko Miura, 68, cries as she looks for her sister's son at a tsunami-hit area in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture.
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Catch-up Wednesday: 3 midweek longreads
Get up to speed with the latest news, opinions and insights with our hand-picked in-depth 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. The Monuments Men

The film Monuments Men is due out soon, and is based on the true story of the members of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories, who saved landmarks and works of art from damage. Ilaria Dagnini Brey tells their story.

(Smithsonian, approx 22 minutes reading time, 4434 words)

They were art historians, architects, artists, archaeologists and archivists: a straight civilian lot who had no business, in the eyes of many soldiers, moving around a theater of war telling colonels and generals what not to bomb. The unit consisted of two men at the start of operations in Italy; their numbers would reach 27 by completion of the campaign there. Almost as soon as they set foot in the country they were nicknamed “the Venus Fixers.”

2. Ghosts of the Tsunami

Richard Lloyd Parry writes about the aftermath of the Japanese tsunami in March 2011, and the shocking effect it has had on survivors. One man believes that the spirits of those who perished have possessed him.

(London Review of Books, approx 35 minutes reading time, 7112 words)

The tsunami spared nothing, and achieved feats of surreal juxtaposition that no mere explosion could match. It plucked forests up by their roots and scattered them miles inland. It peeled the macadam off the roads and cast it hither and thither in buckled ribbons. It stripped houses to their foundations, and lifted cars, lorries, ships and corpses onto the tops of tall buildings.

3. NekNominations

The Neknominations craze will pass, Joe O’Connor writes, but our drinking culture will stay the same – and it’s the thing that has to change.

(, approx 3 minutes reading time, 732 words)

While the potential knock-on effects may have been obvious at an early stage, as the days passed by videos of people downing or ‘necking’ pints not dissimilar to what you might find in an Irish pub on a regular weekend, were replaced by a mass escalation as NekNominations became a race to the bottom. More dangerous challenges, greater risk, larger quantities and stronger volumes of alcohol. It was only going in one direction.

Want some more longreads? Then check out Sitdown Sunday>

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