The New Zealand Herald is bringing back some of the best stories of 2019 from our premium international syndicators, including The New York Times, Financial Times, The Times of London and Harvard Business Review.

This afternoon we look at coverage of the Jeffrey Epstein case, the price of getting that perfect Instagram shot, a kidnapping in the jungle, pop superstar Lizzo and the new world of luxury travel.

Jeffrey Epstein, blackmail and a lucrative 'hot list'

Soon after sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein died in August, a mysterious man met with two prominent lawyers.

The shadowy hacker claimed to have the financier's sex tapes. The lawyers wondered: What would the men in those videos pay to keep them secret?

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The New York Times investigates.
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In July, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York announced charges against Epstein. Photo / AP
In July, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York announced charges against Epstein. Photo / AP

Honeymoon hashtag hell: Is that Instagram shot really worth it?

Social media pressure to take perfectly posed photographs may lead to the first argument as a married couple. Is it worth a fabulous Instagram shot if you are just having a horrible time?

The New York Times looks at the downside of polished social media images.

Natasha Huang Smith almost ruined her honeymoon and marriage trying to get the perfect sunset beach shot for social media. Photo / jetset.away Instagram
Natasha Huang Smith almost ruined her honeymoon and marriage trying to get the perfect sunset beach shot for social media. Photo / jetset.away Instagram

Gorilla warfare: Two doctors on their kidnapping ordeal

Virunga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, reopened to tourists a year after two British doctors were kidnapped.

The couple, like so many other tourists, had gone to see the mountain gorillas before they were pulled from their vehicle and marched deep into the Congolese jungle with Kalashnikovs stuck in their backs.

Christina Lamb of The Times talks to them about the ordeal and flies out to join the warden tasked with keeping the great apes and visitors safe

A 25-year old silverback mountain gorilla sits in the jungle of the Virunga National Park. Photo / Getty Images
A 25-year old silverback mountain gorilla sits in the jungle of the Virunga National Park. Photo / Getty Images

Meet the poster girl for plus-size pop stars

She's the straight-talking poster girl for plus-size pop stars whose single Juice was called 'near perfect', by Rolling Stone.

So how did a 30-year-old classically trained flautist who used to be depressed and homeless become this year's Glastonbury star?

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Julia Llewellyn Smith of The Times meets Melissa Jefferson, aka Lizzo.

Lizzo performs at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival. Photo / Getty Images.
Lizzo performs at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival. Photo / Getty Images.

Would you pay $125,000 for this luxury flight?

The Airlander 10 promises "a flying five-star hotel", with polar bears and whales lingering below.

The cost? A mere $15,000.

The Financial Times looks at how this might herald a new era for luxury aviation.

The Airlander takes you close enough to see whales in the water below. Photo / Hybrid Air Vehicles Facebook
The Airlander takes you close enough to see whales in the water below. Photo / Hybrid Air Vehicles Facebook