Weekend reads: 11 of the best premium syndicator pieces

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.

Trump's yearslong plan to turn losing into winning

By the time Donald Trump acknowledged in September 2016 that Obama was indeed born in the United States, he was well along in promoting a new false narrative that the election was rigged in favour of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Facing what he and the entire political world expected to be a loss, Trump repeated the claim regularly.

The New York Times looks at how Trump’s conspiracy theory about voter fraud took on new energy this year, as his political fortunes ebbed during the coronavirus pandemic.

• Trump is not doing well with his election lawsuits
• When a leader just won’t go
• What does the MAGA hat mean now?

A police swarm. Frantic calls. Then 3,000 people locked inside

In the late afternoon of July 4, dozens of police vehicles pulled up at a public housing tower in Melbourne. It was, witnesses said, like a scene from an action movie — but instead of responding to a terrorist threat, the officers were responding to a coronavirus spike.

Minutes earlier, Daniel Andrews, the premier of the state of Victoria, announced expanded stay-at-home orders that would begin just before midnight. For one group, though, the lockdown would be immediate, and far more restrictive.

The New York Times looks at how many residents of the public housing towers suspect discrimination played a part in their stricter treatment.

• Doctors are calling it quits under stress of the pandemic
• Lockdowns, round 2: A new virus surge prompts restrictions, and pushback
• A solution to pandemic hunger, eyeballs and all

The Crown's Erin Doherty: How I became a Princess Anne superfan

People buy in to what Olivia Colman has done with Her Majesty, admire Tobias Menzies’ quiet take on Prince Philip and will, perhaps, have varied views of Gillian Anderson’s Mrs T. The young actress Erin Doherty’s performance as Anne in The Crown is different, however, for it does not seem to be a performance. Doherty simply is Anne.

But when the 28-year-old won the part she wasn’t even sure who Princess Anne was.

Andrew Billen of The Times talks to Doherty about her part in the hugely successful series.

• How to survive a royal weekend on The Crown
• The Crown has had its scandals, but there’s nothing like Diana
• Why do we care so much about Diana’s dresses?

Opinion: Was it worth it, Jared and Ivanka?

Just five short years ago Jared and Ivanka were dinner-party royalty here in Manhattan. It’s that kind of place. They had money, they had youth, they had celebrity. They were thin. I’m told that their manners were impeccable, so you’d never know that his father was an actual felon and her father a de facto one. Besides, you can’t hold family against someone, can you? We don’t choose how we’re born.

But from then on, we do make choices, and we’re accountable for those.

Jared and Ivanka are about to be held accountable.

Frank Bruni of The New York Times on how Ivanka and Jared have made their bed.

• Opinion: Picture of an unravelling, deluded diva – Trump still demanding his close up

Before 'I have a dream,' Martin Luther King almost died. This man saved him

The bar in Showman’s Jazz Club, a Harlem destination for visitors from just down the block to Japan and back, stretched from the front door to the stage. The owner, Al Howard, liked to sit at the curve near the entrance.

John Miller, a regular at the club and a deputy commissioner in the New York Police Department, knew the habit well.

“Typical detective thing,” he recalled. “So he could see everyone going in and going out.”

The club’s owner had in fact been a police detective, and the two men became friends. And so, decades later, Miller was surprised to hear one particular story about Howard’s years on the force. He wondered if it could be true and, if so, found it shocking that it was not more widely known. So a couple of years ago, very late one Saturday night — actually, already Sunday morning — after the crowd had thinned and the band had packed up, Miller took a bar stool beside the club owner and just came out and asked.

“I heard this story that you saved Martin Luther King,” Miller said.

The New York Times looks at the untold story of the patrolman who took charge when the civil rights leader was stabbed in Harlem.

The kids aren't alright: How Generation Covid is losing out

When Mary Finnegan, 27, and her sister Meg, 22, left their Brooklyn apartment to return to their parents’ home in March, they took enough clothes to last two weeks.

Their stay stretched into months.

The Finnegans are among the millions of young adults around the world who have moved back in with their parents since Covid-19 struck.

While they are less at risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19, students and young workers are suffering from the pandemic’s economic fallout more harshly than other groups, data show. The pandemic has also amplified previous trends including low wages, stagnant job markets and rising student debt.

A global Financial Times survey shows resentment is brewing among the under-30s as unemployment and restrictions bite.

Sustainable fashion? There's no such thing

There are some phrases so well-worn, we become numb to their meaning.”Sustainable fashion” is one of those phrases. It is a term now so ubiquitous in PR and marketing, so liberally applied to any brand that uses organic cotton or manufactures its goods locally, that its fundamental definition has become obscured.

During the past four years, the number of clothes and accessories described as “sustainable” has increased dramatically.

But there’s a problem. Not only is fashion not sustainable, it is becoming less so every moment.

As The Financial Times reports, the industry’s marketing may be ultra-green but the reality is very different.

Inside the hunt for a Covid-19 vaccine: How BioNTech made the breakthrough

The call came last Sunday evening, as Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci were catching up with paperwork at their modest home near the German city of Mainz. It confirmed that their — at times controversial — lives’ work had produced a breakthrough that could offer humanity a route out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A vaccine candidate developed by the company they co-founded 12 years ago, BioNTech, was more than 90 per cent effective in preventing the disease — a far higher level than the widely-used jabs for flu, shingles or rabies. It proved for the first time that the deadly virus could be vanquished by science.

The Financial Times talks to the husband and wife team behind the vaccine.

• Moderna’s Covid vaccine offers vindication of its unconventional approach
• How the out-of-control pandemic is speeding the hunt for vaccines

Chris Nikic, you are an Ironman. And your journey is remarkable

Chris Nikic, 21 became the first person with Down syndrome to conquer the gruelling Ironman endurance race, but his journey wasn’t an easy one.

The New York Times looks at how Chris’ story offers lessons in perseverance and hope.

Reining in the horsemen: Can we tame the internet giants?

Virtually from the outset, Sergei Brin and Larry Page, the Stanford University computer science students who designed the earliest version of Google’s search engine in 1996, had a fundamentally better way of trawling the web for information.

But what has kept Google No 1 in search by a vast margin year after year ever since? Continuous innovation plays a big part.

But the US Department of Justice claims, in an antitrust lawsuit filed against Google last month, there is more to Google’s supremacy. It alleges that the California-based company has used “anticompetitive and exclusionary practices” to maintain an unlawful monopoly in the search and search-advertising markets.

It’s the first major salvo in the US against tech companies, variously known as the Big Four, the Four Horsemen or simply GAFA – Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon.

Peter Griffin of The New Zealand Listener looks at if the unbridled wealth and power of the internet giants be tamed without destroying them and slowing us down.

What if instead of calling people out, we called them in?

Professor Loretta J. Ross is combating cancel culture with a popular class at Smith Collegethe United States.

“I think you can understand how calling out is toxic. It really does alienate people, and makes them fearful of speaking up.”

Ross thinks call-out culture has taken conversations that could have once been learning opportunities and turned them into mud wrestling on message boards, YouTube comments, Twitter and at colleges like Smith, where proving one’s commitment to social justice has become something of a varsity sport.

The antidote to that outrage cycle, Ross says, is “calling in.” Calling in is like calling out, but done privately and with respect.

The New York Times looks at how while calling out assumes the worst, calling in involves conversation, compassion and context.

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