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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 12 November, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: Who killed Alexander Perepilichny?

Grab 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. The low-carb rebel

shutterstock_352819853 Source: Shutterstock/Gamzova Olga

Tim Noakes espouses a low-carb , high fat lifestyle – and he’s found himself being the focus of much criticism because of it. Here’s his story.

(Outside Online, approx 35 mins reading time)

And then there’s the Tim Noakes who spawned a controversial low-carb diet craze and became a bestselling author and nutrition guru, losing nearly 50 pounds and claiming to have tamed his own type 2 diabetes in the bargain. This Noakes is a hero to many devoted followers who thank him daily for helping change their lives.

2. The killings in the Philippines

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has waged a brutal and highly controversial anti-drugs campaign. This chilling photo-based piece tells the stories of some of the deaths, accompanied by hard-hitting photographs.

Discretion advised as these photos show dead bodies.

(NY Times, approx 12 mins reading time)

The rain-soaked alley in the Pasay district of Manila was my 17th crime scene, on my 11th day in the Philippines capital. I had come to document the bloody and chaotic campaign against drugs that President Rodrigo Duterte began when he took office on June 30: since then, about 2,000 people had been slain at the hands of the police alone.

3. The journeys beyond belief 

Mediterranean migrant crisis Source: PA Wire/PA Images

NPR meets a doctor who works with Doctors Without Borders on a rescue boat for refugees. She details the types of people she has met – who have piled on dangerous boats to cross the Mediterranean, and often found themselves in terrible danger.

(NPR, approx 10 mins reading time)

As part of her work, Giles has cared for women who were pregnant — some of whom had been raped. Sexual abuse has become such a problem for women making this journey that some are choosing to have long-term contraceptive implants put in their arm before they leave.

4. The Goldfinch

This short but sweet piece looks at the mystery of a painting called The Goldfinch – immortalised in Donna Tartt’s novel of the same name.

(BBC, approx 8 mins reading time)

What is particularly special about The Goldfinch is the innovative way Fabritius achieved this brilliant sense of realism. Look closely at the thick stripe of lead-tin yellow on the goldfinch’s black wing, and you will notice that the artist scratched it with the butt of his brush while the paint was still wet. In other words, he was working with vigour, at speed, in a breathtaking display of bravura technique, deliberately foregrounded by the composition’s simplicity.

5. Who killed Alexander Perepilichny?

shutterstock_387173044 Source: Shutterstock/Maksym Dykha

Alexander Perepilichny died in 2012 while out on a run. Police said his death was unexplained, but he was in good health. So what happened? That he was an enemy of the Kremlin was the first clue…

(The Atlantic, approx 42 mins reading time)

Among the material facts not known at the time was that Perepilichny was in good health, as proved by a physical he’d had for a life-insurance policy soon before his death. That he’d traveled that morning from Paris, where he had, inexplicably, reserved two hotel rooms in different parts of the city for the same nights. That he’d been meeting with a man he said was from the Russian government, but who was actually an affiliate of a Russian criminal syndicate. And that he’d gotten an ominous phone call informing him that police had found his name on a hit list in the home of an alleged Chechen contract killer.

6. Tyrellstown

The New York Times looks at what occurred in Tyrellstown, when Wall Street became a landlord for over 40 houses – and tenants started getting letters telling them their homes were going to be sold.

(NY Times, approx 16 mins reading time)

Wall Street has become the biggest new landlord in Europe, as American financial firms have swept into cities, suburbs and towns to take to advantage of the fallout from the worst economic downturn since World War II. In the last four years, Goldman Sachs, Cerberus Capital Management, Lone Star Funds, Blackstone Group and others from America have bought more than 223 billion euros’ worth of troubled real estate loans around Europe, nearly 80 percent of the total sold.


Sony Viacom Actor Al Pacino is seen as Michael Corleone in a scene from the movie The Godfather Source: AP/Press Association Images

This fascinating Vanity Fair article from 2009 looks at the making of the classic Godfather trilogy, and how the Mafia did not want the films to be made. It’s the story behind the film that’s almost stranger than fiction.

(Vanity Fair, approx 50 mins reading time)

The Los Angeles Police Department warned Ruddy that he was being tailed. He became so concerned that he began swapping cars routinely with members of his staff to avoid recognition. One night, after he had traded his late-model sports car for McCartt’s company car, she heard the sound of gunfire outside her house on Mulholland Drive. “The kids were hysterical,” McCartt recalls. “We went outside to see that all the windows had been shot out of the sports car. It was a warning—to Al.”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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