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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. Making birth easier

How did a car mechanic from Argentina come up with a revolutionary way to help women deliver during difficult births? It turns out that Jorge Odon’s inspiration came through a party trick.

(BBC – 10 minutes reading time, 2135 words)

“We went to a hospital and sat – in our suits – in a room full of expectant mothers,” Odon says. “My friend was still sceptical, so when we went to see the doctor, at first he sat quite far away from me. But once he saw that the doctor was interested in this idea and quite impressed, he moved his chair closer and started saying ‘we’ have invented this!”

2. Sex lives of insects

The sex lives of insects are a lot more fascinating than you might think, as evolutionary biologist Marlene Zuk explains in this piece.

(New York Times – 4 minutes reading time, 948 words)

Evolution is all about reproduction. What happens at the business end of an animal is essential to whether eggs are fertilized and genes passed on, and nowhere is the variation in sex organs more breathtaking than in insects. Illustrations of the private parts of insects look like something produced by the love child of Hieronymus Bosch and M. C. Escher, with a hefty measure of Rube Goldberg thrown in.

3. Fighting back in Colombia

An average of 55,000 women experience sexual violence in Colombia every year, Karol Balfe writes. But against all of the obstacles, they are fighting back.

(–  4 minutes reading time, 965 words)

Against this horrific background, women, their bodies, their lives and their rights are being used as the spoils of war. While all armed actors engage in sexual violence against women there are some differences in their methods. Women are forced by paramilitary groups into prostitution. Between 2012 and 2013, 43 of 244 demobilised female fighters from guerrilla groups reported they had been forced to have abortions.

Want some more longreads? Then check out Sitdown Sunday>