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11 of Our Best Weekend Reads

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Here are some gems you may have missed in your quest to be an informed citizen during this head-spinning news week. It’s the weekend, so put the kettle on, grab a blanket, get comfy and learn how to solve the Times crossword (you ARE smart enough), plan a trip to Nicaragua (even if only in your dreams), get ready for the supermoon (it’s coming Sunday) or find out a little more about Jay-Z (and karmic debts, his mom and Kanye).

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CreditChristopher Griffith for The New York Times

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Click link below for article:

https://www.nytimes.com

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Inside the camp, the men were desperate but determined.

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The men packing the boat with rice, cigarettes and medicine had fled war and persecution in their home countries.

Now, at 1 a.m., off the coast of a remote island in Papua New Guinea, they were speeding back to the detention camp they hated.

Why, I asked, would they return to the prisonlike “refugee processing center” where they had been trapped for nearly five years?

“We have brothers to feed,” said Behnam Satah, 31, a Kurdish asylum seeker, as we cruised over moon-silvered waves on a hot November night. “We have brothers who need help.”

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Some holdouts struggle with ​anxiety and ​depression.

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Click link below for article:

https://www.nytimes.com

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Abject ignorance and rookie staff are already undermining Trump

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Less than a week into his term, President Trump has validated the concerns of #NeverTrumpers. His narcissistic temperament, impulsivity, reliance on family and ignorant cronies and own deliberate ignorance make governance an ordeal. The nuts and bolts of  governance and early failures of his senior team in the West Wing, who lack any governing experience, deserve more attention. Let’s look at two missteps (aside from the bald-faced lies about crowd size and the millions Trump says voted illegally — assertions that leave us wondering whether he is mentally stable).

First, apparently after watching Bill O’Reilly on Fox, the leader of the free world tweeted out some statistics referenced by the gadfly and notorious purveyor of false information (here, here, here and here). The facts were wrong, and Trump added his own, bizarre vow: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” The actual number is 37 killings — far too much — and the shootings, while too high, are on par with the previous year. (The Post reports: “According to a police department spokesman, there have been 38 killings through Tuesday night, up from 33 at the same point last year. Shootings were even, with 182 shootings through this date both years.”)

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Police detectives investigate at the scene of a fatal shooting last year in Chicago. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

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Click link below for article:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/01/25/abject-ignorance-and-rookie-staff-are-already-undermining-trump/?utm_term=.1ef6a1b74f72

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Azzedine Alaïa, Fashion’s Most Independent Designer, Is Dead at 82

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Azzedine Alaïa, one of the greatest and most uncompromising designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, died on Saturday in Paris. He was 82.

His company said the cause was a heart attack.

Known as a sculptor of the female form, and worn by women from Michelle Obama to Lady Gaga, Mr. Alaïa was equally famous for his rejection of the fashion system and his belief that it had corrupted the creative power of what could be an art form.

He rarely hewed to the official show calendar, preferring to reveal his work when he deemed it ready, as opposed to when retailers or the press demanded it.

Instead he built his own system, and family of collaborators and supporters, and since the turn of the millennium had become an increasingly important voice for the value of striving to perfect and explore a single proprietary aesthetic, and against giving in to the relentless pressure to produce collections.

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Ed Alcock for The New York Times

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Click link below for article:

https://mobile.nytimes.com

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Island Nations, With No Time to Lose, Take Climate Response Into Their Own Hands

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Fijian singers strumming ukuleles serenade delegates to the United Nations climate talks as they enter the conference hall. A traditional two-hulled sailing craft, or drua, is on display by the entrance to signify that when it comes to rising seas, all nations are in the same boat.

But as two weeks of negotiations on bolstering the Paris agreement draw to a close, island leaders say the décor seems a cruel taunt.

Fiji, a sunny island nation in the South Pacific, is the official host of the climate discussions here in chilly Bonn. But leaders say their hopes that island issues would take center stage have mostly been dashed. Almost none of the measures to help their countries adapt to the impacts of global warming have been resolved, and few delegates say they are hopeful the final hours of talks will bring decisions.

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A backlit photo at the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany. The official host of the conference is Fiji.CreditRonald Wittek/European Pressphoto Agency

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Click link below for article:

https://www.nytimes.com

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Downing North Korean Missiles Is Hard. So the U.S. Is Experimenting.

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Concerned that the missile defense system designed to protect American cities is insufficient by itself to deter a North Korean attack, the Trump administration is expanding its strategy to also try to stop Pyongyang’s missiles before they get far from Korean airspace.

The new approach, hinted at in an emergency request to Congress last week for $4 billion to deal with North Korea, envisions the stepped-up use of cyberweapons to interfere with the North’s control systems before missiles are launched, as well as drones and fighter jets to shoot them down moments after liftoff. The missile defense network on the West Coast would be expanded for use if everything else fails.

In interviews, defense officials, along with top scientists and senior members of Congress, described the accelerated effort as a response to the unexpected progress that North Korea has made in developing intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear bomb to the continental United States.

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Click link below for article video:

https://www.nytimes.com

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Jay-Z: The Criminal Justice System Stalks Black People Like Meek Mill

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This month Meek Mill was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating his probation. #FreeMeek hashtags have sprung up, and hundreds of his fans rallied near City Hall in Philadelphia to protest the ruling.

On the surface, this may look like the story of yet another criminal rapper who didn’t smarten up and is back where he started. But consider this: Meek was around 19 when he was convicted on charges relating to drug and gun possession, and he served an eight-month sentence. Now he’s 30, so he has been on probation for basically his entire adult life. For about a decade, he’s been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside.

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A Philadelphia judge sentenced the rapper Meek Mill to two to four years in prison for violating probation.CreditMatt Rourke/Associated Press

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Click link below for article and video:

https://www.nytimes.com

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