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Sitdown Sunday: How a knock on the wrong door ended the life of a Japanese teen in the US

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

Image: Shutterstock/Luciano Mortula - LGM

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. Brexit and journalists

Have British journalists become part of Boris Johnson’s fake news machine? That’s what is asked in this article. 

(Open Democracy, approx 10 mins reading time)

I then rang the Downing Street press office, and asked an official whether there was an investigation as stated in The Mail on Sunday. He told me categorically: “No investigation.” Yesterday a Cabinet Office spokesperson told openDemocracy: “There was never such an investigation.” In other words, the Mail on Sunday splash that Downing Street was investigating Grieve, Letwin and Benn was fabrication. Fake News.

2. The underground lives of immigrants

In this insightful, nuanced piece, we meet people who live in cramped, airless basements in Queens, New York. They are immigrants, and choose to live in these spaces for a variety of reasons.

(New York Times, approx 10 mins reading time)

Owners of one- and two-family homes have carved up their basements into makeshift dorms, illicitly constructed with narrow hallways, windowless bedrooms, shaky walls and electrical wiring strung together like knotted shoelaces. There is no accurate count of how many exist, but estimates are in the tens of thousands.

3. The door knock that killed a Japanese teenager in the US

In 1992, Yoshihiro Hattori knocked on a door – the wrong door. This would have deadly consequences for him.

(BBC, approx 10 mins reading time)

The two boys, decked out in fancy dress, thought they had found the right place. But they’d made an innocent mistake that cost Yoshi his life. A media frenzy followed, and later a massive campaign to change America’s gun laws. Twenty-seven years on, Yoshi’s parents, his host family in the US, and a Louisiana lawyer recalled the day that changed their lives.

4. Unionists and Brexit

Hundreds of unionists met recently in East Belfast to discuss how they would resist Brexit. Here’s what happened.

(New York Times, approx 7 mins reading time)

Protestant unionists, who favor preserving the political union between Northern Ireland and Britain, vehemently reject any Brexit arrangement that separates their territory from the rest of the United Kingdom. Mr. Johnson’s new proposal, which would take Britain out of the European Union but leave Northern Ireland effectively in the bloc’s customs union and single market, does just that, they say, drawing a border down the Irish Sea.

5. Inside a post-mortem

Warning: This is not for the faint-hearted or the squeamish. Danish forensic scientists, police and crime scene investigators give a look at what goes on during the post-mortem examination of a homicide.

(Information, approx 26 mins reading time)

It is early on a Monday morning in the cellar under Aarhus University Hospital. The man on the table is lying there, ready for the autopsy. He has been stabbed in his chest, his arms, his back and his neck. “Given what he has been through,” says the forensic pathologist at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Aarhus University, Asser Hedegård Thomsen, as he covers him with a sheet, “he’s actually looking pretty good.”

6. Derren Brown and mind reading

How the ‘mentalist’ works, and what his work teaches us about how suggestive humans are.

(The New Yorker, approx 33 mins reading time)

Brown spent the next two and a half hours performing a series of increasingly inconceivable set pieces, organized around the theme of how susceptible we are to hidden influence. He gave demonstrations of subliminal persuasion, lie detection, instant trance induction, and mass hypnosis, as well as manipulation of his own mental state to control his response to pain. To show that participants were selected at random, he hurled a stuffed monkey into the auditorium, and whoever caught it would come up onstage. (You can see a later performance of the show on YouTube.)

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES… 

An essay from 1909, about an adventure on an Alaskan glacier with a dog.

(John Muir, approx mins reading time)

Nobody could hope to unravel the lines of his ancestry. In all the wonderfully mixed and varied dog-tribe I never saw any creature very much like him, though in some of his sly, soft, gliding motions and gestures he brought the fox to mind. He was short-legged and bunch-bodied, and his hair, though smooth, was long and silky and slightly waved, so that when the wind was at his back it ruffled, making him look shaggy. At first sight his only noticeable feature was his fine tail, which was about as airy and shady as a squirrel’s , and was carried curling forward almost to his nose.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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