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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 17 April, 2014

Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the globe.

Michael Freeman

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 this Sunday.

1. Racially profiled, cuffed and strip-searched
Shoshana Hebshi on how another passenger’s suspicions turned her flight home into a nightmare (Stories From The Heartland).

It was about a 6-by-10 cell, the concrete walls were painted a light yellow but were streaked with black dirt. The floor was some sort of stainless steel, and a stainless steel toilet that has probably never seen the good side of a scrubbing brush, instructed me to keep holding my stretched bladder as long as I could. Near the ceiling above the toilet there was a video camera.

2.The big men and a society on the edge
Robbie Corey-Boulet on how clientelism in politics is pushing Kenya towards bloodshed (Guernica).

Ndege locked eyes with the leader of the mob, who told him: “Old man, today you are dead, and there’s nothing you can do about it. We’re behind the house and we’re at the gate.” The leader then turned to someone and said, “Bring petrol.” Soon, members of the gang were reaching through the windows, emptying gasoline cans onto the floor.

3. The murder of Marchella Pierce
Jennifer Gonnerman on the welfare supervisor held responsible for the death of a four-year-old toddler (New York Magazine).

When the police had stepped inside the family’s apartment early that morning, they’d found her already dead, lying in the same bedroom where a SpongeBob toddler bed stood with ropes tied to each end. There was a jump rope attached to the head of the bed, dark twine at the bottom.

4. How Jon Stewart stopped being funny
We’re not laughing at America’s king of comedy any more, writes Tom Junod – but is it him, or us? (Esquire)

Now, I would never think of Jon Stewart as ‘nice.’ He’s a comedian, and comedians aren’t always particularly nice people. But these people look so hopeful, and it’s obviously really important to them. So I always say, ‘Yes, he’s very nice.’ And they always say, ‘Oh, thank God.’

5. The journalist and the spies
Dexter Filkins on the killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad, the reporter who exposed Pakistan’s secrets (The New Yorker).

Shafiq called some colleagues, and together they pulled out the body. Occasionally, farmers and water buffalo drown in the canal, float downstream, and get stuck in the grates, but never a man in a suit. “Even his tie and shoes were still on,” Shafiq told me.

6. The shame of college sports
Taylor Branch on how a big-money business which claims to extol ‘amateurism’ is exploiting its players (The Atlantic).

“Ninety percent of the NCAA revenue is produced by 1 percent of the athletes,” Sonny Vaccaro says. “Go to the skill positions”—the stars. “Ninety percent African Americans.” The NCAA made its money off those kids, and so did he. They were not all bad people, the NCAA officials, but they were blind, Vaccaro believes. “Their organisation is a fraud.”

…AND A CLASSIC READ FROM THE ARCHIVES…

In March 2010, Joshuah Bearman went looking for Gerald Blanchard – the world’s most ingenious jewel thief – and wrote about it for Wired.

Sliding down the tiles, arms and legs flailing for a grip, Blanchard managed to save himself from falling four stories by grabbing a railing at the roof’s edge. For a moment, he lay motionless. Then he took a deep breath, unhooked the chute, retrieved a rope from his pack, wrapped it around a marble column, and lowered himself down the side of the building.

Read more: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

Read more: The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by TheScore.ie>

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