The mafia trial of the century and other premium stories you may have missed this week

Welcome to the weekend.

Settle down with a cuppa and catch up on some of the best content from our premium syndicators this week.

Happy reading.

Italy's mafia trial of the century

The southern Italian region of Calabria is almost completely controlled by the mafia and home to the ‘NDrangheta clan. Now one man is defying death threats to prosecute more than 350 of its members – on Zoom.

Tom Kington of The Times looks at Italy’s biggest mafia trial in 30 years.

Trump's last days in office: How a president unravelled

What was going on in the Maga bunker during Trump’s final days in the White House? Who was advising him? And where was Melania?

Josh Glancy of The Times speaks to the aides and allies who were there when things spun out of control.

ALSO READ:
• How right-wing radio stoked anger before the Capitol siege
• Can Trump live in Mar-a-Lago? Palm Beach leans yes
• Trump was sicker than acknowledged with Covid-19

Opinion: Women aren't all superstar leaders in a crisis. So what?

Thank goodness for Ursula von der Leyen.

The European Commission president has just brought an end to the tiresome idea that female leaders are better in a crisis.

This theory took off last year when it became evident that New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and Germany’s Angela Merkel had something in common with Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen, Finland’s Sanna Marin and others of their ilk.

Each woman was doing relatively well at handling the pandemic in her country, so much so that academics began to look into it.

But as Pilita Clark writes for the Financial Times. female leaders should have the freedom to be as mediocre as any man.

Inside a Covid ward 10 months on: 'Constant trauma every day'

Last April, Damian Whitworth visited the intensive care unit at the Royal Free Hospital in London to find out how staff were coping in the fight against Covid-19. As they deal with the second dramatic surge in cases, he catches up with them again and hears stories of exhaustion, heartbreak and plummeting morale.

The frontline workers tell The Times why this second “surge” in cases has been so much worse than the first.

ALSO READ:
• ‘The death market’: Oxygen shortage leaves Mexicans to die at home
• France’s latest Covid measure: Letting workers eat at their desks
• Dying of Covid in a ‘separate and unequal’ LA hospital

The bogan whip: Kieran McAnulty on pies, religion and his infamous ute

Pie-loving Kieran McAnulty is tasked with keeping Labour’s bigger, more diverse caucus in line. Let’s hope he manages this better than his messy red ute.

Michele Hewitson of The New Zealand Listener catches up with Labour’s chief whip about turning Wairarapa from blue to red.

Fashion influencer on surviving Covid – and being trolled for it

She’s a Vietnamese heiress and style influencer who was a regular on the front rows of every catwalk show, until in February last year she tested positive for coronavirus and became fashion’s patient zero.

Nga Nguyen tells Anna Murphy of The Times how it felt to go from Gucci girl to social media pariah.

In Afghanistan, a booming kidney trade preys on the poor

Amid the bustle of beggars and patients outside the crowded hospital here, there are sellers and buyers, casting wary eyes at one another: The poor, seeking cash for their vital organs, and the gravely ill or their surrogates, looking to buy.

The illegal kidney business is booming in the western city of Herat, fuelled by sprawling slums, the surrounding land’s poverty and unending war, an entrepreneurial hospital that advertises itself as the country’s first kidney transplantation centre, and officials and doctors who turn a blind eye to organ trafficking.

The New York Times looks at how this illegal industry is a portal to new misery for the country’s most vulnerable.

ALSO READ:
• Years after massacre, Isis victims are finally buried by loved ones

News of the World is a western to heal us

News of the World is about lonely Captain Kidd (Tom Hanks), a man who travels around Texas reading out the news. He finds a scared young white girl, Johanna (Helena Zengel). For various reasons she had been living happily with Native Americans before being taken from them. Begrudgingly Kidd agrees to return her to her Germanic settler roots.

Director Paul Freengrass tells Jonathan Dean of The Times why this ‘beautiful’ story is what we all need now.

11 steps to impress your boss and thrive in your job

Managing your relationship with your bosses can be as important as tackling your task list. Tuning in to their preferences, communicating skilfully and earning their trust with stellar work can improve your chances at recognition, raises and promotions.

The New York Times looks at habits that can foster positive relationships up the chain.

ALSO READ:
• Women entering the workforce – here’s how to get what you want

Could a single vaccine work against all coronaviruses?

The invention of Covid-19 vaccines will be remembered as a milestone in the history of medicine, creating in a matter of months what had before taken up to a decade. But Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad, director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Branch at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Springs, Maryland, isn’t satisfied.

“That’s not fast enough,” he said. More than 2.3 million people around the world have died, and many countries will not have full access to the vaccines for another year or two: “Fast — truly fast — is having it there on day one.”

There will be more coronavirus outbreaks in the future. Bats and other mammals are rife with strains and species of this abundant family of viruses. Some of these viruses will inevitably spill over the species barrier and cause new pandemics. It’s only a matter of time.

Modjarrad is one of many scientists who for years have been calling for a different kind of vaccine: one that could work against all coronaviruses.

The New York Times reports.

ALSO READ:
• The coronavirus is a master of mixing its genome, worrying scientists
• How South Africa’s hope of imminent vaccine relief crumbled

Why Idris Elba chose comedy to tell his most personal story

In the Long Run, a sweetly comic series set in 1980s London, is based on the real-life childhood of an actor best known for intense dramas like The Wire and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

Idris Elba talks to The New York Times about the cultural vibrancy of the African and Caribbean communities of 1980s London and why he, as a generally private person, wanted to see his parents’ love story on TV.


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