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Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the globe.

Michael Freeman

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair. We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour this Sunday.

1. Waiting… and waiting… for the end of the world
California broadcaster Harold Camping predicted the world would end in May. When it didn’t, he had to adjust his figures. Dan P Lee tells his story (New York Magazine).

First, the quaking would throw open the tombs of loved ones as they burst up through the ground. Then they’d all be lifted, too, so that high above the madness unfolding below, all of them would be caught up, together with Christ. And so six o’clock dawned on the South Pacific. And there was nothing.

2. Inside the gangs of El Salvador
Alma Guillermoprieto on the maras, the notorious and brutally violent criminal gangs of San Salvador – who even control the prisons (New York Review of Books).

Cotto has seen a lot of corpses by now: beheaded, dismembered, set on fire. (It is said that the first thing a new marero must do, no matter how young, is arbitrarily kill someone. After that, they’re ready for reprogramming.)

3. The strange death of Mary Eula Sears
Michael Hall on the bloody murder of 77-year-old Ms Sears, and how it still divides a Texas town (Texas Monthly).

The three entered a home that was in complete disarray: chairs overturned, drawers open. Alex, who was just six years old, still has a clear memory of pictures cocked sideways on the walls. “It was obvious someone had gone through the house,” he says. “I had a bad feeling.”

4. Going home to a recession
Mac McClelland travels to his economically ravaged Ohio hometown (Mother Jones).

“You know, you used to be able to survive blue collar,” he says. “Now, the blue-collar guy, they just crush the life out of him. It’s very depressing.” Unemployment has doubled since the beginning of the recession, but Wall Street profits are up more than 700 percent.

5. Who killed Che Guevara?
Michael Ratner and Michael Steven-Smith on the death of the revolutionary guerilla, and a complex CIA scheme (Guernica).

Che  had been wounded in the leg and was weaponless. His rifle had been shot out from under him. Together with his comrade Willy he was escorted to the village of La Higuera where he was held in a tiny schoolhouse.

6. The search for a more perfect kilogram
Jonathon Keats on a small bar of metal in a hermetically sealed room that is the official measure of weight – and why some people are worried about it (Wired).

Sealed beneath a bell jar and locked behind three heavy doors in a laboratory 60 feet under the headquarters of the National Institute of Standards and Technology 20 miles outside Washington, DC, the shiny metal cylinder is, in many ways, better protected than the president.

… AND A CLASSIC READ FROM THE ARCHIVES…

In March 2009, Gene Weingarten wrote for the Washington Post about the conscientious father who left his son in the back seat of their car – then went on trial for the child’s death.

No significant facts were in dispute. Miles Harrison, 49, was an amiable person, a diligent businessman and a doting, conscientious father until the day last summer – beset by problems at work, making call after call on his cellphone – he forgot to drop his son, Chase, at day care.

Read more: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

Read more: The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by TheScore.ie>

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Michael Freeman

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