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Jeffrey Epstein. ABACA/PA Images
7 deadly reads

Sitdown Sunday: How a ring of women allegedly recruited girls for Jeffrey Epstein

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

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. Who recruited girls for Jeffrey Epstein?

A circle of Jeffrey Epstein’s girlfriends and employees are implicated in allegedly recruiting girls for him for sex. Some of the accusers have been speaking out about what allegedly happened.

(New York Times, approx 11 mins reading time)

She agreed. When Jeffrey Epstein tried to grope her while she was giving him a massage, wearing nothing but a thong, she brushed his hand away, Ms. Robson said in a 2009 deposition for a civil case. But she continued to visit Mr. Epstein’s mansion dozens more times, in a lucrative new role: a recruiter of other teenage girls from her school.

2. The near crash of Air Canada flight 759

A forensic – and scary look at a crash that was prevented at the very last minute.

(Medium, approx 19 mins reading time)

This article examines the sequence of events that brought flight 759 onto a collision course with four other airplanes, and demonstrates just how close it came to catastrophe. In the process it seeks to answer the question of what could have happened, why it did not, and how this near miss has served as an opportunity to prevent future disasters before they occur.

3. In men, it’s Parkinson’s – in women, it’s hysteria

Laura Boylan, a neurologist, as suffering strange symptoms that she attributed to a cyst in her brain – so why did her doctors not believe her?

(ProPublica, approx 25 mins reading time)

The study prompted a furious letter to the journal’s editor from Dr. Laura Boylan, a New York City neurologist. She argued that the study’s results might demonstrate instead that symptoms thought to be psychogenic were actually the result of Parkinson’s, and that doctors were slow to identify the brain disease in women. “Disparities in healthcare for women are well established,” she wrote, adding, “Women commonly encounter dismissal in the medical context.”

4. Mushroom foraging saved me from my grief

When Long Litt Woon’s husband died, she was bereft with grief. But learning how to forage for mushrooms helped give her a new focus in life. 

(BBC, approx 6 mins reading time)

Following Eiolf’s death, Woon tried yoga, meditation – anything anyone suggested to help pull her from her sorrow. She didn’t go through the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – rather, she experienced it as an erratic mess. She felt detached from her friends and society in general.

5. Jair Bolsonaro’s Southern strategy

A longread about the Brazilian president and how he “borros from the Trump playbook”. 

(The New Yorker, approx 34 mins reading time)

Like many autocrats, Bolsonaro came to power with a suddenness that alarmed the élites. He had run a low-budget campaign, consisting mostly of a social-media effort overseen by his son Carlos. At events with supporters, he posed for selfies making a gesture as if he were shooting a machine gun. He promised to “reconstruct the country”—and to return power to a political right that had been in eclipse for decades. In the inaugural ceremony, he vowed to “rescue the family, respect religions and our Judeo-Christian tradition, combat gender ideology, conserving our values.”

6. Two sisters and the terrorist who came between them

The shocking story of two sisters, one of whom fell in love with a man in the US who became an Isis fighter and moved to Syria. The story of how the woman and her four children ended up living in a refugee camp, and her level of complicity in her husband’s actions, is explored here. 

(Elle, approx 28 mins reading time)

In July 2012, a year after Moussa and Sam met, the two got married in a casual ceremony at home in Indiana. At first, Moussa lavished his wife with gifts and praise: “I know my husband loves me sooo much :)” Sam wrote on a photo posted to Facebook in November 2013 of a Subaru SUV. “on our way back from Pennsylvania with a new to me SUV!!” Moussa’s older brother Salaheddine, who lived with him in the U.S. for a time but now resides in Casablanca, said “he was a regular man, a regular Muslim, doing his prayers and working hard.”


Grant Hadwin cut down the only giant golden spruce in the world. Why?

(The New Yorker, approx 29 mins reading time)

The golden spruce fell a couple of days later. Locally, the reaction was extraordinary. “It was like a drive-by shooting in a small town,” one resident of the islands told me. “People were crying; they were in shock. They felt enormous guilt for not protecting the tree better.” This was in part because, according to Haida legend, the golden spruce represented a person; and, later, a public memorial service for the tree, presided over by several Haida chiefs, was held “to mourn one of our ancestors.” But beyond the mourning, some Haida, as well as residents of the mostly white logging community of Port Clements (where the tree had stood), wanted revenge.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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