Welcome to the weekend. For those of you lucky enough to live in the Auckland region that means an extra-long one.
The country is in for some beautiful summer days this weekend so find a nice spot in the shade and check out some of the best pieces of content from our international syndicators.
The secretive company that might end privacy as we know it
Until recently, Hoan Ton-That's greatest hits included an obscure iPhone game and an app that let people put Donald Trump's distinctive yellow hair on their own photos.
Then Ton-That — an Australian techie and onetime model — did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously and provided it to hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
The truth behind the gut health craze
We are, it appears, in the middle of a faecal fixation, with people downloading bowel movement journals and even packing off their own poo specimens for personalised readings. Plus, there has been an, um, explosion in the gut-health market, with millions supplementing their diets with expensive probiotics and fashionable ferments such as kombucha, kefir, kvass and skyr.
It's the latest wellness buzz, but how strong is the science behind gut health?
Impeachment schedule explained: Why the trial could last weeks
The impeachment trial of Donald Trump could be over in two weeks, or it could stretch on much longer, depending on how much time is used by each side and how much additional evidence — if any — senators vote to review.
A luxury dish is banned, and a rural county reels
Last October, when the New York City Council passed a ban on foie gras as inhumane, Mayor Bill de Blasio called foie gras "a luxury item that the vast majority of us would never be able to afford."
But two hours northwest of the city, in one of New York's poorest counties, foie gras plays a much different role. There, it is not a luxury splurge but a domino in a fragile local economy. Almost all of the foie gras produced in the United States comes from two duck farms in Sullivan County, where about 400 workers, mostly immigrants from Mexico and Central America, rely on it for their livelihood.
These Syrian women rarely left the house. Then the men disappeared
The women of eastern Aleppo were rarely visible before the war, but now they shape the bitter peace. In the poor, conservative districts of Syria's ancient commercial capital, many women seldom used to leave the house, and only with their husbands if they did; the men not only won the bread, but also went out to buy it.
Then came the civil war.
Eight years and counting of bloodshed has ruptured Syria beyond recognition.
Saudi crown prince implicated in hacking of Amazon boss' phone
Forensic experts hired by Jeff Bezos have concluded with "medium to high confidence" that a WhatsApp account used by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly involved in a 2018 hack of the Amazon founder's phone.
Why these Australia fires are like nothing we've seen before
In late October, lightning struck brittle earth on Gospers Mountain in New South Wales. The remains of trees bone dry from consecutive winters with little to no rain were ignited, and the fire quickly spread.
Three months later, it is still burning.
More than 16 million acres have gone up in flames. And it has happened in populated areas, unlike most of the world's other blazes of this scale.
Yappy valley: Inside the lavish world of Silicon Valley dogs
San Francisco is ground zero of the future, home of tech giants from Airbnb and Pinterest to Uber. It is also a place where canines outnumber children.
The city's canines are pampered to within an inch of their lives by techies who are, generally, young, have money to burn and are having kids later — if at all.
Caneel Bay: Why a Caribbean paradise remains in ruins
Long considered the crown jewel of St. John, a small emerald island found among the US Virgin Islands and cut with curved bays and set against the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, more than 15,000 people annually visited Caneel Bay.
Two weeks in September 2017 changed that. Hurricanes Irma and Maria — both Category 5 storms — flogged St. John, ripping apart structures and flooding what remained.
Even as other accommodations in the region have reopened, Caneel Bay remains in tatters.
This is the guy who's taking away the likes
On a recent afternoon, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, assembled members of his staff to discuss the secret details of a critical project: the elimination of public "likes."
Likes are the social media currency undergirding an entire influencer economy, inspiring a million Kardashian wannabes and giving many of us regular people daily endorphin hits. But lately, Mosseri has been concerned about the unanticipated consequences of Instagram as approval arbiter.
How Boeing's responsibility in a deadly crash 'got buried'
After a Boeing 737 crashed near Amsterdam more than a decade ago, Dutch investigators focused blame on the pilots for failing to react properly when an automated system malfunctioned and caused the plane to plummet into a field, killing nine people.
The crash, in February 2009, involved a predecessor to Boeing's 737 Max, the plane that was grounded last year after accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people and hurled the company into the worst crisis in its history.
A review by The New York Times of evidence from the 2009 accident reveals striking parallels with the recent crashes — and resistance by the team of Americans to a full airing of findings that later proved relevant to the Max.