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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: The horrifying secret past of the neighbour next door

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. Cocaine treasure hunt

shutterstock_159105173 Source: Shutterstock/Csaba Jakab

Julian buried a million-dollar stash of cocaine that he found on a beach in Puerto Rico. Rodney Hyden heard Julian’s story years later, and went in search of the drugs. It didn’t end well.

(GQ, approx 35 mins reading time, 7053 words)

Before they go, Julian gives Rodney his old coordinates; Rodney keys them into Google and generates a printout. He doesn’t think of it as a treasure map, but it’s a treasure map.

2. Isolated online

shutterstock_188712155 Source: Shutterstock/Juergen Faelchle

We feel as though we are totally connected with people around the world because of the internet. But are we really more isolated than ever before?

(The Guardian, approx 21 mins reading time, 4204 words)

Hidden behind a computer screen, the lonely person has control. They can search for company without the danger of being revealed or found wanting. They can reach out or they can hide; they can lurk and they can show themselves, safe from the humiliation of face-to-face rejection.

3. The secret history of the Apple Watch

New Apple products A new Apple Watch is tried out at an Apple event in Berlin Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Apple has been very, very secretive about its Apple Watch, even when trying to poach new staff to work on it. Meet the team.

(Wired, approx17  mins reading time, 3451 words)

Questions started coalescing around the idea of a watch: What could it add to people’s lives? What new things could you do with a device that you wear? Around this time, Ive began a deep investigation of horology, studying how reading the position of the sun evolved into clocks, which evolved into watches. Horology became an obsession. That obsession became a product.

4. What is Ordos?

China Politics Source: Mark Schiefelbein

Ordos is in the north China. It’s overbuilt and underpopulated, and an example of the new cities springing up around the country. A writer visits the town and reports back.

(TMagazine, approx 14 mins reading time,  2847 words)

In short, Ordos is not empty, but it is odd: part windswept frontier outpost, part demented college town, with the vague mirage of another tacky desert colony, Las Vegas, shimmering in the strobe-lit mist of those fountains.

5. Smuggled in a tanker

Mideast Lebanon Syria An anti-Syrian government protester waves the Syrian revolutionary flag during a protest Source: AP/Press Association Images

The story of Said and his friends, who were desperate to escape Greece afer landing there from wartorn Syria. They made their way out in a fuel tanker, a very dangerous decision.

(BBC Magazine, approx 12 mins reading time, 2508 words)

The fuel tank was the worst, but it was a surefire way to get in. “You might be a corpse by the time you arrive,” they said, “but you’ll get there.”

6. “I’m Bea”

Rwanda Genocide Citizenship In this Thursday April 12, 2012 file photo, Beatrice Munyenyezi leaves federal court in Concord, N.H Source: AP/Press Association Images

Beatrice Munyenyezi told her neighbours in New Hampshire that she was a Rwandan refugee, having escaped the genocide there. But the truth was even darker than that.

(Boston Magazine, approx 30 mins reading time)

 In her memoir, which was never published, Munyenyezi described surviving a Tutsi attack on her village in 1990, and claimed she had witnessed Tutsis massacring thousands of Hutus in the lead-up to April 1994, when the tables turned and Hutus began slaughtering Tutsis. She wrote of surviving the “100 days of genocide,” and then fleeing Rwanda for America.


Serbia Protest Source: AP/Press Association Images

The Moscow apartment bombings helped Vladimir Putin’s assent to power in Russia. But who was behind them? This 2009 story looked into it. It wasn’t allowed to be published in Russia, or appear online until now.

(Longform, approx 40 mins reading time, 8162 words)

Blaming the bombings on terrorists from Chechnya, Russia’s newly appointed prime minister, Vladimir Putin, ordered a scorched-earth offensive into the breakaway republic. On the success of that offensive, the previously unknown Putin became a national hero and swiftly assumed complete control of the Russian state.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by>

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