Welcome to the weekend.
Settle down with a cuppa and catch up on some of the best content from our premium syndicators this week.
'We're going to publish': An oral history of the Pentagon Papers
On October 1, 1969, Daniel Ellsberg walked out of the RAND Corp. offices, where he worked as a Defence Department consultant, into the temperate evening air of Santa Monica, California. In his briefcase was part of a classified government study that chronicled 22 years of failed United States involvement in Vietnam.
He spent the next year trying to persuade members of Congress to help him expose the study — later known as the Pentagon Papers — to the world. It was not working. On the night of March 2, 1971, he was in Washington, DC, and looked up Neil Sheehan, a New York Times reporter he had first met in Vietnam. The two started discussing the vast dossier.
Kevin Hart: 'I say this humbly but I'm as talented as f***'
Kevin Hart is the highest-earning stand-up in the world right now, and the next highest — Jerry Seinfeld — isn't even close.
Hart is an elaborate, physical performer and that is his appeal to his global audience — he is raw, he is rude and he is very funny.
His next film, Fatherhood, is a departure from all of this. He plays a man left to raise his daughter alone when his wife dies after giving birth and it will surprise many to see this brash loudmouth conveying the numbness of grief very convincingly. "I say this humbly — but I'm as talented as f***," he says. "I'm really good at what I do."
Long-buried secrets: The serial killer and the detective
A string of killings of teenage girls haunted suburban New Jersey for decades. No one could find any clues in the girls' backgrounds. Then, a local investigator began to wonder: Could there be a link to a series of infamous Times Square murders?
China's 'bat woman,' at the centre of a pandemic storm, speaks out
To a growing chorus of US politicians and scientists, she is the key to whether the world will ever learn if the virus behind the devastating Covid-19 pandemic escaped from a Chinese lab. To the Chinese government and public, she is a hero of the country's success in curbing the epidemic and a victim of malicious conspiracy theories.
Shi Zhengli, a top Chinese virologist, is once again at the centre of clashing narratives about her research on coronaviruses at a state lab in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic first emerged.
• Why Asia, the pandemic champion, remains miles away from the finish line
• Distorted, bizarre food smells haunt Covid survivors
• 'Everyone here is alone': How Covid tore a neighbourhood apart
Two Black students won school honours. Then came the demands for a recount
At first, it seemed a joyous occasion. There was an audible gasp in the room, then boisterous cheering and applause when the announcement was made: Ikeria Washington and Layla Temple had been named 2021 valedictorian and salutatorian for West Point High School.
But almost immediately, parents of other students near the top of the rankings raised questions about who should have been honoured.
The Amazon that customers don't see
In contrast to its precise, sophisticated processing of packages, Amazon's model for managing people — heavily reliant on metrics, apps and chatbots — was uneven and strained even before the coronavirus arrived.
Amid the pandemic, Amazon's system burned through workers, resulting in inadvertent firings and stalled benefits, and impeded communication, casting a shadow over a business success story for the ages.
Mystery maladies: Strange sleeping sicknesses are confounding doctors
Nola lay in her bed, eyes closed, her face serene but pale, when London consultant neurologist Suzanne O'Sullivan was called in to assess her. Others went in and out of her room, the family dog nudging her hand, but the 10-year-old remained utterly unresponsive. Her older sister, Helan, lay in bed, too, though her eyes opened from time to time.
Nola had seemingly fallen into an unending "sleeping beauty" trance, needing to be fed by intubation, when her family, Yazidi refugees from Syria, were refused asylum to remain in Sweden. No one knew why.
For Nola and Helan are among nearly 200 children to lapse into these unexplained coma-like states in recent years in Sweden, cases that came to be known as resignation syndrome or uppgivenhetssyndrom. All were asylum-seekers' children.
Clusters of strange sleeping sicknesses and other debilitating syndromes have confounded doctors, but new research suggests these and more common illnesses may have social and cultural roots.
• Relief effort: Reframing the experience of pain
Why the Mexico City metro collapsed
On a balmy night in May, Tania Lezama Salgado hopped on the metro with her sister Nancy.
Tania had grown accustomed to the screeches and shakes of the metro, but as it barrelled across an overpass that night — jerking violently, going faster than she had ever remembered — something felt different.
Suddenly, she heard a loud bang, then screams, as the overpass collapsed and the train plummeted about 12 metres to the street below.
Tania now spends her days in the hospital, unable to walk, her shattered pelvis held together by a metal contraption, four screws poking out of each side of her body. Above her hospital bed is a photo of her 22-year-old sister Nancy — one of 26 people who died in the metro crash that night.
Inside Silicon Valley's 10-year quest to make a flying car
The rise of the flying car mirrors that of self-driving vehicles. From the enormous ambition to the multibillion-dollar investments to the cutthroat corporate competition, including a high-profile lawsuit alleging intellectual property theft. It also re-creates the enormous hype.
It is a risky comparison. Google and other self-driving companies did not deliver on the grand promise that robo-taxis would be zipping around our cities by now, dramatically reshaping the economy.
But that has not stopped investors and transportation companies from dumping billions more into flying cars. It has not stopped cities from striking deals they believe will create vast networks of air taxis. And it has not stopped technologists from forging full steam ahead with their plans to turn sci-fi into reality.
Pointless after-hours emails need to go
A draining, always-on work culture was a problem before the pandemic and has worsened considerably since.
Considering homeworking is here to stay post-lockdowns, in part because many employees want it, that spells trouble. Long working hours kill hundreds of thousands of people a year, a groundbreaking World Health Organisation study said last month. More than 55 hours work a week can be risky, it found.
• The signs that you're heading for burnout at work
Victoria's Secret swaps Angels for female empowerment. Will women buy it?
The Victoria's Secret Angels, those avatars of Barbie bodies and playboy reverie, are gone. Their wings, fluttery confections of rhinestones and feathers that could weigh almost 13kg, are gathering dust in storage. The "Fantasy Bra," dangling real diamonds and other gems, is no more.
In their place are seven women famous for their achievements and not their proportions.
The New York Times looks at how the embattled lingerie giant is attempting the most extreme brand turnaround in recent memory in an effort to redefine not just itself but also the very idea of what "sexy" is.
Netanyahu, 'King of Israel,' exits a stage he dominated
Since he came into power, Benjamin Netanyahu — who was ousted as prime minister Sunday — has been a deeply polarising figure, governing from the right, branding adversaries as traitors, anti-Israel or anti-Semitic, obsessed with power and comfortable deploying street-fighter tactics to retain it.
The intuitive media savvy that sped his rise to power curdled in time into an almost narcissistic obsession. His efforts to control his image, including allegations that he bribed media executives for favourable news coverage, led to criminal charges that haunted his final years in office.