Welcome to the weekend. It's been a blustery, cold week as winter officially kicked into gear with tornadoes and wild weather causing havoc around much of the country.

While we may be dreaming of the warmer days of summer, with longer nights and weekends spent drinking beer in the sun, there are some positives to the colder months. Think weekends by the fire with some good reading material for one.

So if you're looking to hunker down this weekend and catch up on the news from the week, here are 11 great international pieces well worth checking out.

1. 'It's racism for sure': Priyanka Chopra opens up about Duchess of Sussex

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She's appeared in more than 50 films in India, where she has surpassed conventional celebrity status to become a national icon - yet the rest of the world was slow to catch on to Priyanka Chopra.

Today however she can't change her clothes without the media taking note. The reason for this change? Two incredibly high-profile weddings. The first was the marriage of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. The second, her wedding to Nick Jonas.

Priyanka Chopra opens up to The Times about racism, her close friend Meghan, and her wedding.

• Also read: When it comes to weddings, each Jonas brother has a style
2. Russian technology: Can the Kremlin control the internet?

Activists fear Ingushetia's internet blackouts could be repeated across Russia thanks to a law signed by President Vladimir Putin in May. The measure ostensibly aims to create a "sovereign internet" — effectively a parallel web run entirely on Russian servers — that would allow Moscow to keep the internet operating in the event of a foreign cyber attack aimed at disabling it.

Critics say it will enhance official power to silence dissent.

Russian president Vladimir Putin aims to create a 'sovereign internet' - effectively a parallel web run entirely on domestic servers. Photo / AP
Russian president Vladimir Putin aims to create a 'sovereign internet' - effectively a parallel web run entirely on domestic servers. Photo / AP

3. Australia may well be the world's most secretive democracy

One journalist is being investigated for reporting that several boats filled with asylum-seekers recently tried to reach Australia from Sri Lanka. Another reporter had her home raided by authorities this week after reporting on a government plan to expand surveillance powers.

Then on Wednesday, the Australian federal police showed up at the main public broadcaster with a warrant to seize notes, story pitches, emails, and even the diaries for entire teams of journalists and senior editors — all in connection with a 2017 article about Australian special forces being investigated over possible war crimes in Afghanistan.

The aggressive approach fits with a global trend, but even among its peers, Australia stands out.

Australia's Federal Police enter the Australian Broadcasting Corporation during a raid on their offices in Sydney. Photo / AP
Australia's Federal Police enter the Australian Broadcasting Corporation during a raid on their offices in Sydney. Photo / AP

4. Fifa Women's World Cup previews: Meet the teams

The Football Ferns join 23 countries this weekend as the Fifa Women's World Cup kicks off in France. There will be 552 players, some of them are household names, but many of them are not.

Here's a primer before the tournament begins.

• Also read: These girls' soccer players joined boys' leagues and dominated

The Football Ferns will play in Group E against Canada, Cameroon and the Netherlands. Photo / Getty Images
The Football Ferns will play in Group E against Canada, Cameroon and the Netherlands. Photo / Getty Images

5. Their children were conceived with donated sperm. It was the wrong sperm

Seventeen years ago Cindy and her female partner decided they wanted to have children.

The couple spent hours poring over sperm donor profiles, finally settling on a man with a clean medical record and few health issues in his family. He was an anonymous donor, they knew him only by his identifying number.

Cindy gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Eventually the couple used the same donor to conceive again — and soon enough they were raising two boys.

When the boys were older they decided to undergo DNA test. The results were not what anyone expected.

As genetic testing becomes more widespread, parents are finding that sperm used in artificial insemination did not come from the donors they chose. Jacqueline Mroz of The New York Times reports.

DNA tests have led to the discovery parents were given the wrong donor sperm. Photo / Peter Horvath, The New York Times
DNA tests have led to the discovery parents were given the wrong donor sperm. Photo / Peter Horvath, The New York Times

6. 'I found a needle in your purse': What it's like to grow up amid the opioid crisis

Layla Kegg's mother, back home after three weeks who knows where, says she's done with heroin, ready for rehab and wants to be part of her daughter's life. But Layla has heard all of this before and doesn't believe a single word.

Layla's trust was broken long ago, after years of watching her mother cycle in and out of addiction and rehab. And now this latest discovery: "I found a needle in your purse the other day."

Call them Generation O, the children growing up in families trapped in a relentless grip of addiction, rehab and prison. Dan Levin of The New York Times reports.

• Also read: Fentanyl swarms US streets as heroin disappears

"I'd be crying, begging her to stop," said Layla Kegg of her mother's drug addiction, "but she was too out of it to care." Photo / Alyssa Schukar, The New York Times

7. A tale of murder, revenge and a Canadian immigrant dream gone wrong

After he killed his millionaire cousin and took a long nap, Zhao Li cooked himself some noodles for breakfast.

He never ate them.

Instead, Zhao, a soft-spoken Chinese immigrant, found himself surrounded by a SWAT team that had been monitoring the imposing $8 million hillside mansion owned by the victim, Zhao's cousin by marriage.

Vancouver is riveted by the murder trial of a Chinese immigrant, accused of killing his wealthy relative. The New York Times pulls together many strands of recent changes in the city.

The Vancouver mansion where Yuan Gang, a wealthy Chinese immigrant to Canada, was found murdered in 2015. Photo / Alana Paterson, The New York Times
The Vancouver mansion where Yuan Gang, a wealthy Chinese immigrant to Canada, was found murdered in 2015. Photo / Alana Paterson, The New York Times

8. Inside a Galaxy's Edge not far away: Disney's Star Wars attraction

Disneyland's Star Wars expansion is the biggest in the park's history, and a bet that Wookiees and Stormtroopers will draw visitors as well as princesses.

Stormtroopers at the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge expansion at Disneyland Park. Photo / AP
Stormtroopers at the new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge expansion at Disneyland Park. Photo / AP

9. 30 years after Tiananmen, 'Tank Man' remains an icon and a mystery

He has become a global symbol of freedom and defiance, immortalised in photos, television shows, posters and T-shirts.

But three decades after the Chinese army crushed demonstrations centred on Tiananmen Square, "Tank Man" — the person who boldly confronted a convoy of tanks barrelling down a Beijing avenue — is as much a mystery as ever.

• Also read: He stayed at Tiananmen to the end. Now he wonders what it meant
Military insider who saw Tiananmen massacre breaks 30-year silence

A man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Changan Boulevard in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. Photo / AP
A man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing's Changan Boulevard in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. Photo / AP

10. The guardian angels making the internet a safer place for children

This month, we have reached a pivotal point in the digital world. Ahead are two discrete paths. The first lets Big Tech continue to enjoy self-regulation and to "move fast and break things" — as Mark Zuckerberg's strategy for Facebook innovation went. The second leads to the digital equivalent of men walking in front of cars with red flags.

Matt Rudd of The Times meets the crack team of women taking on the tech giants with a new set of digital guidelines to help protect children.

The 16 standards set out in the UK Kids' Code will amount to a comprehensive, radical change in the digital lives of children. Photo / Getty Images
The 16 standards set out in the UK Kids' Code will amount to a comprehensive, radical change in the digital lives of children. Photo / Getty Images

11. It's going great for Richard Madden. That's what worries him

The actor who plays Elton John's manager in Rocketman decided he'd had enough of playing good guys that bad things happen to.

Richard Madden spoke to Kyle Buchanan of The New York Times about life in Hollywood, Game of Thrones and his role in the new blockbuster hit about the life of Elton John.

• Also read: Taron Egerton and Elton John on the rock star's 'warts and all' life story
The Kiwi journalist who got Elton John arrested and his manager imprisoned

"I was interested in playing a slightly darker character, with different motivations to him," Madden said. Photo / Clement Pascal, The New York Times