Facebook v Australia 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.

Big Tech v journalism: Publishers watch Australia fight with bated breath

Facebook and Google this week posted drastically different responses to a proposed new Australian law designed to channel some of their vast profits into the pockets of news publishers.

Google bowed to the pressure at the eleventh hour by agreeing a spate of licensing deals with Australian media companies.

Facebook, by contrast, resorted to an earlier threat and blocked the sharing of news on its services in the country. Users there on Thursday woke to find all news sites — including public service broadcasters — blacked out. Users elsewhere in the world were also prevented from seeing news from Australian outlets.

In trying to force a new economic settlement between the news industry and Big Tech, did the Australian government just save journalism — or break it?

The Financial Times reports.

• Google is suddenly paying for news in Australia. What about everywhere else?
• Facebook reported revenue it ‘should have never made’, manager claimed
• It’s time to make a stand against Big Tech

Censured by his party and shunned by family for breaking up with Trump

As the Republican Party censures, condemns and seeks to purge leaders who aren’t in lockstep with Donald Trump, Adam Kinzinger, the six-term Illinois congressman, stands as enemy No. 1 — unwelcome not just in his party but also in his own family, some of whom recently disowned him.

Two days after Kinzinger called for removing Trump from office following the January 6 riot at the Capitol, 11 members of his family sent him a handwritten two-page letter, saying he was in cahoots with “the devil’s army” for making a public break with the president.

“Oh my, what a disappointment you are to us and to God!” they wrote. “You have embarrassed the Kinzinger family name!”

The New York Times looks at the story of Adam Kinzinger, a six-term congressman pressing Republicans to leave Trump behind — and risking his career doing so.

• Stumbles, clashes and egos: Behind the scenes with Trump’s legal team
• Trump Tower’s neighbours relieved as barricades come down
• For Trump, an escape, not an exoneration

Covid-linked syndrome in kids is growing, cases are more severe

Fifteen-year-old Braden Wilson was frightened of Covid-19. He was careful to wear masks and only left his house for things like orthodontist checkups and visits with his grandparents nearby.

But somehow, the virus found Braden. It wreaked ruthless damage in the form of an inflammatory syndrome that, for unknown reasons, strikes some young people, usually several weeks after infection by the coronavirus.

Doctors put the teenager on a ventilator and a heart-lung bypass machine. But they could not stop his major organs from failing. On January 5, they officially said he was brain-dead.

The New York Times looks at this rare and dangerous condition impacting an increasing number of young people.

• To get their lives back, teens volunteer for vaccine trials
• UK approves study that will deliberately infect people with Covid-19

Three detectives obtained a false murder confession. Was it one of dozens?

For Huwe Burton, the breaking point came late on the night of January 5, 1989, as he sat with detectives in a cramped, windowless room on the second floor of a Bronx police precinct. He had not eaten or slept much in 48 hours.

A detective leaned in and said, “Tell us again about what happened that day.”

What happened next in the interrogation room would reverberate in powerful ways over the coming decades. A false confession. An innocent man imprisoned for nearly 20 years. Serious questions about the tactics used by detectives.

Burton was wrongly convicted because of deceptive interrogation techniques. The New York Times questions how many more cases were “solved” that way.

Stopping the clock: Can science help us avoid ageing?

The quest for eternal youth is the stuff of sci-fi and legend. For thousands of years, people have been seeking ways to stave off death.

Today, the average life expectancy in New Zealand is 81.86 years. Live that long and no matter how healthy your habits, your body will have deteriorated.

But, according to Andrew Steele, we are on the cusp of all that changing.

Nicky Pellegrino of the New Zealand Listener talks to the respected biologist about how treatments to extend a healthy lifespan are already being trialled.

Virtual control: The agenda behind China's new digital currency

Although no official launch date has been announced, China is intent on becoming the first large economy to introduce a digital currency, showcasing its position as the global leader in payments technology to the world at next year’s Winter Olympics.

Some of the objectives behind the virtual currency present a sharp contrast with public discussion about the issue in many other parts of the world. While in the US cryptocurrencies are steeped in the language of libertarianism, in China the digital currency project is tied up in the Communist party’s drive to maintain control over society and the economy. The technology is partly designed to reinforce its surveillance state.

The Financial Times looks at how the planned ‘e-yuan’ could boost Beijing’s surveillance state and create competition for private fintech groups.

• Two arrests, two outcomes tell a tale of Xi Jinping’s China

Fake doctors, documents and hospital: How a Russian doping lie fell apart

If the cover-up was to work, Danil Lysenko realised far too late, he had better familiarise himself with the Moscow hospital where Russian track and field officials had insisted he had undergone a battery of medical tests.

When he went to the address however, there was no hospital. There wasn’t even a building.

The New York Times looks at how Russian officials created a fake paper trail and fake hospital in an attempt to cover for the athlete.

Watch out, Joe Biden: John Oliver is coming for you

Last Week Tonight has returned for its eighth series having been off air since November 15, when Trump was still adamant his second term was around the corner.

Surely comics like Oliver, who has an almost exclusively Democratic fanbase, have to give Biden some breathing space. Is he concerned his viewers will not have the appetite to have a go at the new president yet?

“No,” he says firmly.

The Times talks to Oliver about how is preparing to take on his adopted country’s new president.

Out of this world: Why tales of UFOs refuse to die

From Barack Obama’s enigmatic comments to two New Zealand journalists’ scary encounter, the tales about UFOs refuse to die.

Tom Scott of the New Zealand Listener looks at New Zealand’s close encounters.

A life in opposition: Navalny's path to heroic symbol

Methodical and uncompromising, Alexei Navalny, 44, has spent almost half his life trying to unseat Vladimir Putin. Often deemed rude, brusque and power hungry, even by other Kremlin critics, he persisted while other opposition activists retreated, emigrated, switched sides, went to prison or were killed. It increasingly became a deeply personal fight, with the stakes — for Navalny and his family, as well as for Putin and all of Russia — rising year by year.

The New York Times looks at how Navalny poses a growing threat to Putin.

Stop telling women they have impostor syndrome

The term impostor syndrome is broadly defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud. It disproportionately affects high-achieving people, who find it difficult to accept their accomplishments. Many even question whether they are deserving of any accolades at all.

What is less explored is why impostor syndrome exists in the first place, and what role our current workplace systems play in fostering and exacerbating it in women.

Harvard Business Reviews looks at how impostor syndrome directs our view toward fixing women at work, instead of fixing the places where women work.

• How to help at work (without micromanaging)

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