Welcome to the weekend.

The news this week has been dominated with the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests around the globe. Additionally this week also marks six months of coronavirus.

It's understandable if you haven't been able to keep up with it all, so we've compiled a selection of the best pieces from our premium international syndicators to help.

How Trump's idea for a photo op led to havoc in a park

After a weekend of protests that led all the way to his own front yard and forced him to briefly retreat to a bunker beneath the White House, President Donald Trump arrived in the Oval Office on Monday agitated over the television images, annoyed that anyone would think he was hiding and eager for action.

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He wanted to send the military into US cities, an idea that provoked a heated, voices-raised fight among his advisers. But by the end of the day, urged on by his daughter Ivanka Trump, he came up with a more personal way of demonstrating toughness — he would march across Lafayette Square to a church damaged by fire the night before.

The only problem: A plan developed earlier in the day to expand the security perimeter around the White House had not been carried out.

The New York Times looks at how this walk across Lafayette Square may be remembered as one of Trump's defining moments.

President Donald Trump walks to St. John's Episcopal Church from the White House. Photo / Doug Mills, The New York Times
President Donald Trump walks to St. John's Episcopal Church from the White House. Photo / Doug Mills, The New York Times

Monster or machine? A profile of the coronavirus at 6 months

For at least six months now, Covid-19 has replicated among us. The toll has been devastating. Officially, more than 6 million people worldwide have been infected so far, and 370,000 have died. (The actual numbers are certainly higher.) The United States, which has seen the largest share of cases and casualties, recently surpassed 100,000 deaths, one-quarter the number of all Americans who died in World War II.

So far the match between human and virus is deadlocked. We gather, analyse, disseminate, probe: What is this thing? What must be done? When can life return to normal? And we hide while the latest iteration of an ancient biochemical cipher ticks on, advancing itself at our expense.

The New York Times profiles the coronavirus at six months.
Also read:
Six months of coronavirus: What is still uncertain
Six months of coronavirus: Some of what we've learned

COVID-19 Coronavirus molecule. Photo / Getty Images
COVID-19 Coronavirus molecule. Photo / Getty Images

How PETA won its messy fight and took a seat at the table

PETA's mode of making social change has always been to inspire shock and ignite boycotts. For years, we've watched videos of screaming animals and seen red paint splatter fur coats. With these in-your-face and highly visual tactics, the activists helped win the culture war over fur.

Behind closed doors, PETA has embarked on a mission of corporate diplomacy. These days, much of its activism involves organising conference calls and sending forceful but respectful emails. Supporters don't flood the streets as often as they flood Twitter. The famously loud group, now 40 years old, is operating more quietly. More brands than ever are listening.

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The New York Times explores how PETA eventually got people listening.

PETA activists stage a protest against the use of fur in Milan in 2019. Photo / AP
PETA activists stage a protest against the use of fur in Milan in 2019. Photo / AP

The new era of quarantine: A muddled set of travel rules

With little obvious debate and consultation, or even agreement among scientists about when to apply it, governments around the world have decided that isolating arrivals from other countries is an essential response to coronavirus — and, in some cases, could remain so for quite some time.

Yet this new world of confinement has also brought problems. Human rights groups say some governments have used quarantine as a pretext to make arbitrary arrests or boost military action.

Elsewhere, rules have sprung up so haphazardly it has created a confusing hodgepodge of travel rules that have begun to alarm transport and tourism companies.

The Financial Times looks at the confusion of different quarantine rules around the world.

People who entered into Shanghai were sent to the isolation hotel to stop the spread of coronavirus. Photo / Getty Images
People who entered into Shanghai were sent to the isolation hotel to stop the spread of coronavirus. Photo / Getty Images

Watch: 8 minutes and 46 seconds - how George Floyd was killed in police custody

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a deli employee called 911, accusing him of buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

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Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal.

By combining videos, reviewing official documents and consulting experts, The New York Times reconstructed in detail the minutes leading to Floyd's death.

George Floyd was killed while in police custody on May 25. Photo / Supplied
George Floyd was killed while in police custody on May 25. Photo / Supplied

Pamela Anderson's Garden of Eden

Nothing can prepare you for FaceTiming Pamela Anderson. One second there is only you — staring, through a layer of iPhone glass, at your tired, trapped reflection, both of you hoping that is not how you actually look — and the next second there is Pamela Anderson, brightening the screen instantaneously and completely, the way a ray of sun stretching beyond a cloud can seem to bounce off the whole Pacific.

She is striding across the great outdoors, and she is smiling and she is saying hello but singing it "Heh-LOOOW!" like she is delighted and excited to talk to you. As if you were not bothering her.

Caity Weaver of The New York Times chats to Anderson about life in lockdown from her idyllic compound on Vancouver Island.

Pamela Anderson. Photo / Getty Images
Pamela Anderson. Photo / Getty Images

'In every city, there's a George Floyd': Portraits of protest

Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Desperation.

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These are the moods of the moment. They have driven people to the streets, bound into a movement, draped in hopelessness.

Or is it hope?

A protest is an act of desperation and defiance. But why do it if not for the belief, however modest, that the voices in the street will be heard?

The New York Times looks at the people giving voice to their anger.

Protesters chant 'hands up, don't shoot' in San Antonio as they march over the death of George Floyd. Photo / AP
Protesters chant 'hands up, don't shoot' in San Antonio as they march over the death of George Floyd. Photo / AP

Mass extinctions are accelerating, scientists report

We are in the midst of a mass extinction, many scientists have warned — this one driven not by a catastrophic natural event, but by humans. The unnatural loss of biodiversity is accelerating, and if it continues, the planet will lose vast ecosystems and the necessities they provide, including fresh water, pollination, and pest and disease control.

The New York Times looks at a new study which shows 500 new species are likely to become extinct over the next two decades.

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Trees are destroyed after a fire near Porto Velho, Brazil last year. Photo / AP
Trees are destroyed after a fire near Porto Velho, Brazil last year. Photo / AP

While Twitter confronts Trump, Zuckerberg keeps Facebook out of it

Earlier last week, as Twitter executives waded into a confrontation with President Donald Trump, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, took a very different tack: He kept his head down.

Twitter added a fact-check link to one of Trump's tweets criticising mail-in voting. The company said the president violated rules regarding voter suppression. Trump posted the same words on Facebook, which has similar rules around voter suppression. But Facebook didn't do anything to it.

The companies have similar policies on the limits of what they allow users to post. But Facebook is more permissive when the user is President Trump.

The New York Times reports.

Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg have taken very different approaches to some of Trump's posts this week. Photo / Eric Thayer and Tom Brenner, The New York Times
Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg have taken very different approaches to some of Trump's posts this week. Photo / Eric Thayer and Tom Brenner, The New York Times

Dear America: We watch your convulsions with horror and hope

The world has been transfixed by the unrest in the United States over police brutality, racism and President Trump's response.

Here are snapshots of how people in other countries view what's happening.

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Images of George Floyd hang surrounded by roses on a security barrier outside the US embassy in Mexico City. Photo / AP
Images of George Floyd hang surrounded by roses on a security barrier outside the US embassy in Mexico City. Photo / AP

The world is still far from herd immunity for coronavirus

The coronavirus still has a long way to go. That's the message from a crop of new studies across the world that are trying to quantify how many people have been infected.

Official case counts often substantially underestimate the number of coronavirus infections. But in new studies that test the population more broadly, the percentage of people who have been infected so far is still in the single digits.

The New York Times looks at how the numbers are a fraction of the threshold known as herd immunity, at which the virus can no longer spread widely.

Medical workers outside a Brooklyn hospital. New York has had the largest outbreak in the US with around 20 per cent of residents infected. Photo / Getty Images
Medical workers outside a Brooklyn hospital. New York has had the largest outbreak in the US with around 20 per cent of residents infected. Photo / Getty Images