A generation of new babies is painting a picture of what the future of the British Empire will look like: "Today, the increase in British birth rates has ushered in another baby-centric age, one defined by three distinct aspects. More babies of different ethnicities are being born, challenging the very notion of an ethnic 'minority'. They are also part of a simultaneous parenting boom: people from an ever wider array of backgrounds can become parents of healthy babies. Finally, there is an intellectual boom: as scientists and policy makers – like their political forebears – seek to use our growing knowledge about how babies and their brains develop to improve education and curb inequality."
PUBLISHED: July 11, 2014
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5171 words)
Young ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel learn to adapt to a new life after giving up their faith.
PUBLISHED: July 4, 2014
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3143 words)
Our story picks of the week, featuring New York magazine, Texas Observer, Paris Review, Financial Times and Collectors Weekly.
A microbiologist's story 40 years after investigating a deadly virus:
When we arrived in Yambuku on October 20 1976, we went straight to the guest house, which sat between the nuns’ and fathers’ convents. Three European sisters and a priest were standing outside, with a cord between them and us. They had read that in case of an epidemic it was necessary to establish a cordon sanitaire, which they had interpreted literally. A message hung from a tree, saying in the Lingala language that people should stay away as anybody coming any closer would die, and to leave messages on a piece of paper. When the sisters shouted in French, “Don’t come any nearer! Stay outside the barrier or you will die!” I immediately understood from their accent that they were from near my part of Flanders. I jumped over the barrier, saying in Dutch, “We are here to help you and to stop the epidemic. You’ll be all right.”
PUBLISHED: May 2, 2014
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4729 words)
In the U.K., Britons with terminal illnesses or incurable diseases have nowhere to go if they want help to die. A daughter's personal story about finding a way to ease her father's suffering and the right-to-die debate:
Had my father lived in, say, Utrecht rather than the West Country, he could simply have turned to his GP for help. Both doctor-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia have been available since 1981 for Dutch people with a terminal illness or suffering severely from an incurable disease, and account for about 3 per cent of deaths in the Netherlands.
Other European countries have followed the Dutch lead: doctor-assisted suicide is available for the terminally ill and people with conditions like my father’s in Luxembourg and Switzerland, as is voluntary euthanasia in Belgium. And in the US, four states (Washington, Montana, Oregon and Vermont) offer doctor-assisted suicide to the terminally ill. Yet only one country is willing to help terminally ill, severely disabled or elderly and seriously ill foreigners – and, with the assistance of one of the three organisations non-nationals can access, more than 250 Britons have now died there. My father was right: he would have to go to Switzerland.
PUBLISHED: March 14, 2014
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3640 words)
A reporter returns to Iraq after 10 years and, after after speaking with old friends and colleagues, finds a city "traumatized by violence"
They spoke generously and the words lent perspective to these new, unhappy days in Iraq. The first years of democracy were expected to be hard. But this year, with the third national election in April, these men have been frustrated by their terror-torn existence. Every new blast cracks their hopes for a normal life.
“What does it mean if work is good but you have to worry about survival all the time?” said Tharwat al-Ani, the trade ministry official. “Every year, it’s been something new: car bombs or IEDs or kidnappings.
PUBLISHED: March 7, 2014
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5122 words)
Has the mayor of Chicago reinvented the city’s notorious political machine—and does he covet the White House?
When Rahm Emanuel became mayor of Chicago in 2011, he proclaimed: “I will not be a patient mayor.” It was an understatement. The former chief of staff to Barack Obama returned home with a near-legendary reputation for his take-no-prisoners style of operating. That is how he acquired the nickname “Rahmbo”. He once famously mailed a dead fish to a pollster with whom he had fallen out. There are few significant Washington figures who have not felt the lash of his tongue. In Emanuel’s lexicon, the word “f***” is almost an endearment. Emanuel, 54, lost half a middle finger in a kitchen accident when he was a teenager. It was an amputation that – in Obama’s unforgettable phrase – rendered him “practically mute”.
PUBLISHED: Feb. 14, 2014
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4200 words)
Carl Cole escaped to Bakersfield, Calif. hoping to build a better life for his family. He ended up helping make the town a "foreclosure capital of America":
Crisp & Cole began paying straw buyers up to $20,000 each so they would pose as home buyers on loan application documents, federal prosecutors say. The properties were then flipped from “owner” to “owner”, generating fees for the firm and profits for people with pieces of the deals. “What we found is that local people with knowledge of how the system worked were taking advantage,” says Kirk Sherriff, an assistant US attorney in Fresno, California, where the case is being prosecuted.
PUBLISHED: Feb. 7, 2014
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4196 words)
Our favorite stories of the week, featuring Washingtonian, New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, Financial Times and Full Stop.