TOM UTLEY: Who wants to live to 150 in this mad world in which killjoys seek to ban all pleasure and police our thoughts? Cherry…
Welcome to the weekend.
Settle down with a cuppa and catch up on some of the best content from our premium syndicators this week.
Inside the Children of God cult: 'Some girls had to marry their dads'
Bexy Cameron was born into a sect that was notorious for exploitation and sexual abuse. Now she’s written a memoir about what it was like to grow up in a movement founded by a predator – and to go back as an adult to try to understand what made her parents stay.
Hilary Rose of The Times talks to Cameron about her life in the notorious cult.
Inside the tumultuous years before the Florida condo collapse
Elena Blasser kept her two-bedroom, two-bath condo in the Champlain Towers South as a beachside gathering place for family reunions.
She sank at least $142,000 into renovations when she bought Penthouse 11 a little more than a decade ago. Then the complex’s problems began. Hairline cracks in the pool deck. Newly painted walls that chipped easily. Water pooling in the garage. To pay for it all, the monthly maintenance fees and special assessments grew.
Little did she know that the problems identified in the building were about to get much worse.
The condo board knew that Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, needed major repairs. But as The New York Times reports, it did not know the complex was in a race against time.
• Lax enforcement let Florida towers skirt inspections for years
• Florida condo wreckage hints at first signs of possible construction flaw
My search for Esther Dingley: Missing hiker's boyfriend's desperate quest
Almost two miles up, I am standing on a knife-edge, the last hurdle before the summit, uncertain if I should go on. The flanks of this snow-draped mountain spine plunge almost vertically into Spain on one side and to France on the other. A fall could be fatal: I wonder if this is where it ended for Esther.
Esther Dingley, 37, a British backpacker and blogger, climbed up here alone in November and has not been seen since. Her 38-year-old partner of two decades, Dan Colegate, is trying to find her.
What happened to Dingley? It is as much of a mystery today as when Colegate reported her missing more than seven months ago.
Matthew Campbell of The Times joins the search.
Buying time: The debate around puberty blockers for transgender children
Nick was at his third birthday party when he realised he was a boy in a girl’s body.
“I had a butterfly cake. I vividly remember looking at the cake and thinking, ‘I don’t like the look of this. It’s all pink and girlie.”
His certainty about his gender identity has never wavered. Now 13, Nick is one of a burgeoning number of adolescents being prescribed medication to prevent the onset of puberty in a gender they don’t see as their own.
Nick went on puberty blockers after realising he was born in the wrong body, but critics argue medical treatment for gender dysphoria brings unknown risks.
Donna Chisholm of The New Zealand Listener looks into the debate around puberty blockers.
The Māori vision of Antarctica's future
Māori may have been first to reach Antarctica, in the seventh century, according to new studies.
The first study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, plumbed literary, oral and artistic archives for historical accounts of Māori in Antarctic and subantarctic regions. The second, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, looks ahead, proposing an Indigenous framework to manage and conserve the southernmost continent.
The authors hope to apply to Antarctica the Māori principle of kaitiakitanga, the concept of guardianship and stewardship of the environment. Their suggestions include getting more Indigenous voices in Antarctic governance and granting Antarctica legal personhood.
The New York Times looks at why the past matters less than what lies ahead.
Tales of the 'murder house': Is it time to bring back school dental services?
When our national School Dental Service was wound down and finally disintegrated in the closing years of the 20th century, few mourned its demise. But its absence is still reverberating like a treadle drill 30 years later. Each year, thousands of children end up in hospital having rotten teeth extracted under general anaesthetic because, for various reasons, they fall through the cracks in the current system.
Now that the Government is replacing district health boards with a new national health system, should there also be a return to a national school dental service, with clinics attached to schools?
Noel O’Hare of The New Zealand Listener recalls an era of painful treatments and exploitation – but universal coverage.
They were the nice, older couple next door. Then the first body turned up
The older couple first came to the public eye on a winter night in Tehran, Iran, when their film director son invited them to the stage after a screening. They were frail and seemingly shy.
That was five years ago.
Now their son is dead.
The New York Times reports on the story of the Iranian couple who confessed to murdering and dismembering their son, years after killing a daughter and her husband.
Social life? Forget it. Sex life? Over. Why one in 12 parents regrets having kids
When a child goes to sleep only if you play Gorillaz’ Kids with Guns 14 times while rocking him at precisely 106bpm, your evenings will never be the same again. When a child, nappy-free and proud, leaves an extra present under a table at a posh wedding, your social life will never be the same again. And when a child stumbles bleary-eyed into your bedroom and says, quite angrily, “Daddy, dop doing dat to Mummy,” well, that’s your sex life in the bin as well.
Matt Rudd of The Times on how despite everything, he’s with the other 11.
Smarter data: Using tech to guide charities
Maria English is the chief executive of Impact Lab, founded two years ago to help the country’s givers and spreaders of almost $4 billion of charitable funds annually.
English’s skills are in the field of hard social data and Impact Lab’s aim is to guide funding and charitable organisations to factor in that data.
English reports that Impact Lab has so far estimated the effect of $115 million of investment in 90 charitable programmes making a difference to the lives of 380,000 New Zealanders.
What happens if Chinese household wealth is unleashed on the world?
It would buy you a year of study at Harvard University, a couple of luxury boxes at the Yankee Stadium in New York or a lengthy stay at London’s Ritz Hotel. But Chinese citizens might soon be able to do something different with the US$50,000 they are permitted to take out of the country annually: invest it.
The Financial Times looks at how tentative steps at liberalisation reflect fears over risks of a bubble in domestic markets.
To infinity and beyond: Boom time for space startups like Rocket Lab
Richard Branson is scheduled to fly to space Sunday, on a ship built by his company Virgin Galactic. Jeff Bezos, who stepped down as Amazon’s chief executive Monday, is set to take a spaceflight about a week later, in a spacecraft built by his company Blue Origin. And Elon Musk’s SpaceX company has a deal with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to land Americans on the moon.
But moguls are far from the only people with their eyes to the skies.
The New York Times looks at how advancements in space technology and new means of financing are driving a flurry of investor interest.
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