Welcome to the weekend.
Settle down with a cuppa and catch up on some of the best content from our premium syndicators this week.
Quitting QAnon: Why it is so difficult to abandon a conspiracy theory
It took Leila Hay, a softly-spoken university student from northern England, less than 24 hours to become sucked into the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory during a lonely first coronavirus lockdown.
The bespectacled 19-year-old is just one of millions around the world who have followed the amorphous super conspiracy, which asserts that a whistleblower, "Q", who has top-level US government security clearance, is slowly divulging the disturbing state of the world through a series of online tips. Although its main focus has been on the US, QAnon has drawn in supporters in dozens of countries.
But Hay is also one of those who have now managed to successfully tear themselves away from its clutches — a painstaking process of deradicalisation similar in some ways to the journey which some Islamist extremists have undergone over the past two decades.
For those who have left, their change of heart has often been aided by the fact that none of QAnon's nearly 5,000 auguries have materialised. But the conspiracy theory still remains potent.
Ready or not, Hideki Matsuyama is now a national hero in Japan
Hideki Matsuyama has never been a fan of the spotlight. Even as he rose to become Japan's most successful male golfer, he did his best to avoid the attention lavished on the every move of other Japanese athletes who have shined on the global stage.
But with his win this week at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, the glare will now be inescapable.
Putin's secret army – and the chef he chose to run it
How did a former hot-dog seller turned billionaire restaurateur end up running an army of mercenaries on behalf of Putin? Meet Yevgeny Prigozhin, the man behind the shadowy Wagner Group that conducts black ops across the globe – from assassinations to election-rigging and cyberwarfare.
Sole survivors: Why active people have longer and happier lives
The statistics make grim reading. One in eight New Zealand adults is active for less than 30 minutes a week. Only 7 per cent of children meet the Ministry of Health guideline of at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity a day.
The constant invention of more labour-saving devices means that now even minor exertions, such as getting off the sofa to change the TV channel or walking around a video store to choose a movie, are unnecessary. We have created what medical journal the Lancet described as a "pandemic of physical inactivity".
This lack of exercise is contributing to a burgeoning health crisis.
Inside the fight for the future of the Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is a rarity in 21st-century media: a newspaper that makes money. A lot of money. But at a time when the US population is growing more racially diverse, older white men still make up the largest chunk of its readership, with retirees a close second.
Now a special innovation team and a group of nearly 300 newsroom employees are pushing for drastic changes at the paper, which has been part of Rupert Murdoch's media empire since 2007.
Talking smack: The heroin-using professor promoting drug use
A US professor has accused researchers of overstating the harms of recreational drugs and admitted to regular heroin use.
Carl Hart, the Dirk Ziff professor of psychology at Columbia University, New York, would like to see heroin, cocaine, MDMA and crystal meth treated in a similar manner to how we treat alcohol. Not only that, but in his new book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing liberty in the land of fear, Hart admits to using a number of those drugs himself.
The real royal crisis and the effect it could have on NZ
First things first: whatever we may think of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's supposedly momentous sit-down with Oprah Winfrey – major news event or public relations stunt, declaration of independence or war, soul baring or wallow in self-pity – the quasi-royal couple deserve thanks for driving the odious Piers Morgan off the air.
After that it gets problematic.
Western warnings tarnish vaccines the world badly needs
Far beyond the United States and Europe, the safety scares engulfing the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have jeopardised campaigns to inoculate the world, undercutting faith in two sorely needed shots and threatening to prolong the coronavirus pandemic in countries that can ill afford to be choosy about vaccines.
With new infections surging on nearly every continent, signs that the vaccination drive is in peril are emerging, most disconcertingly in Africa.
Shades of 2016: Republicans stay silent on Trump, hoping he fades away
Many Republicans are being forced to navigate the impulses of former president Donald Trump, who talks privately about running again in 2024.
To some extent, their posture recalls the waning days of Trump's first primary candidacy, in 2015 and 2016.
Just like when Trump was a candidate then, rival Republicans are trying to avoid becoming the target of his attacks or directly confronting him, while hoping someone else will.
The only ones arrested after a child's rape: The women who helped her
She wore a ponytail and a red T-shirt, the words "Glitter Girl" sketched across the front.
Gripping her mother's hand, she spoke softly, describing how she had been forced out of school by Venezuela's economic crisis, and then was raped at least six times by a neighbourhood predator who threatened to harm her family if she spoke out. At just 13, she became pregnant.
With her mother, she sought out a doctor, who told her the pregnancy endangered her life, and then a former teacher, who provided pills that induced an abortion.
But ending a pregnancy is illegal in almost all circumstances in Venezuela. And now the girl was speaking up, she said, because her teacher, Vannesa Rosales, was in jail, facing more than a decade in prison for helping her end a pregnancy — while the accused rapist remained free.
The vanishing billionaire: How Jack Ma fell foul of Xi Jinping
China's most outspoken billionaire has gone silent. No one has seen Jack Ma at the business school he founded. Nor at his tai chi studio. His raucous speeches headlining an annual meeting of entrepreneurs in his home province of Zhejiang have been put on hold.
Since Chinese President Xi Jinping unexpectedly called off the blockbuster public offering of Ant Group, Ma's payments and lending business, five months ago, Ma has made a single public appearance.