The ‘fake heiress’ released from jail 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.

The 'fake heiress' on her time in prison and what she'll do next

Anna Delvey, real name Sorokin, is a modern day Gatsby who scammed New York’s high society and ended up in prison.

The story of how the SoHo grifter swindled New York’s rich has become one of the parables of the Instagram age. Arriving in Manhattan from Europe in 2013 Sorokin was a mysterious German heiress to a £50 million fortune who dished out $100 tips, posted photos of herself living the high life, and had grand plans to open a private members’ arts club to rival Soho House.

In reality she was the Russian-born daughter of a former truck driver who was using bad cheques, skipping out on hotel bills and blowing other people’s thousands on Net-a-porter, champagne dinners, celebrity personal trainers, lavish holidays, $400 eyelash extensions and cryotherapy.

It was the “summer of scam” in 2017. Until Sorokin’s audacious act came crashing down.

Newly released from prions she speaks to Laura Pullman of The Times.

They died saving others from Covid. Will anyone count them?

A year since the first recorded coronavirus death of a health care worker in the United States, those on the front lines are finding it hard to move on.

They have been hailed as “Covid warriors” but so many do not feel like heroes. They are angry, burned out and feel unappreciated as they struggle with their own wounds, both psychic and physical.

There also hasn’t been a national reckoning over the many thousands lost to Covid.

The New York Times looks at a few of the people who gave their lives while on the front lines of the pandemic.

• Europe’s plan to save summer: A travel certificate
• Covid? What Covid? Taiwan thrives as a bubble of normality
• ‘I have no money for food’: Among the young, hunger is rising

On patrol with Britain's armed response police

“The Trojans” are the firearms wing of the Metropolitan Police, which is Britain’s biggest police force and has the country’s largest team of armed response vehicles. Trojan is their radio call sign.

The Trojan call sign was chosen because the plain outward appearance of the vehicles — they look like standard police cars — belies the fact that they are mobile armouries. The weapons, stored in a locked safe accessible from the rear seat next to me, include Sig MCX carbines and magazines, a baton gun and spare rounds and “stunnies” — stun grenades. The ARVs also carry a ram for forced entry, first aid kits, helmets and a large bulletproof shield.

From terror attacks to gang wars and armed robbery – the officers have to be ready for anything. Nick Rufford of The Times joins them for a week.

In rage over Sarah Everard killing, 'women's bargain' is put on notice

Perhaps it was because pandemic lockdowns have left women clinging to whatever is left of their access to public space. Perhaps it was because after more than three years of the #MeToo movement, the police and society are still telling women to sacrifice their liberties to purchase a little temporary safety.

It all came to the surface when 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who disappeared as she walked home in London on March 3, was found dead a week later, after doing everything she was supposed to do. She took a longer route that was well-lit and populated. She wore bright clothes and shoes she could run in. She checked in with her boyfriend to let him know when she was leaving. But that was not enough to save her life.

The “Reclaim These Streets” movement in Britain asks why the police demand sacrifices of women rather than forcing men to change to end violence.

The New York Times reports.

• ‘Enough is enough’: Thousands across Australia march against sexual violence

How we will live: The future of post-Covid cities

This has been the biggest year of urban change in decades. Many cities have remade themselves during the pandemic, laying bike paths or turning parking spaces into café terraces overnight. Offices have emptied and shops closed, some forever. Every organisation on earth seems to have held a webinar on “The future of cities”. The city — 10,000 years old — obviously isn’t going to die, but it is evolving on fast-forward.

The Financial Times looks athow to make our great metropolises healthier, cheaper and happier.

How honest can Demi Lovato be?

Demi Lovato woke up legally blind in an intensive care unit after the July 2018 drug overdose that nearly killed her. It took about two months to recover enough sight to read a book, and she passed the time catching up on 10 years’ worth of sleep, playing board games or taking a single lap around the hospital floor for exercise. Blind spots made it nearly impossible to see head-on, so she peered at her phone through her peripheral vision and typed using voice notes.

“It was interesting how fast I adapted,” she said in a recent interview.

The 28-year-old singer, songwriter, actress and budding activist who has been in show business since she was 6 and a household name since her teens, is not just adaptable — she is one of the most resilient pop cultural figures of her time.

The New York Times looks at how Lovato is opening up about her queerness, her near fatal overdose and her journey to living her truth.

A 'make-or-break year' for a planet on red alert

On January 31, the Climate Change Commission published the advice it is planning to give to the Government about how to cut New Zealand’s climate pollution.

You could be forgiven for not having the time to read it, or for getting lost in the more than 800 pages of recommendations and supporting materials put out by the commission. But nothing is likely to affect the future of the country more than what happens next.

Matthew McKinnon of the New Zealand Listener looks at what could be in store for the future of our planet.

• Thunderclouds that cause lightning strikes increasing in frequency
• Climate change for dummies: The bestseller that’s changing minds

Gwyneth Paltrow claims 'intuitive fasting' cured her long Covid

Gwyneth Paltrow has claimed that Dr Will Cole’s ‘intuitive fasting’ system cured her of long Covid. Then again, Paltrow once thought it was a good idea to sell vagina-scented candles.

So is this just another fad diet – or might it be beneficial?

Julia Llewellyn Smith of The Times talks to Dr Will Cole.

• Is intermittent fasting the key to weight loss for middle-aged men?

Some long Covid patients feel much better after getting the vaccine

Judy Dodd began struggling with long Covid symptoms last spring — shortness of breath, headaches, exhaustion. Then she got the vaccine.

After her first Pfizer-BioNTech shot in late January, she felt so physically miserable that she had to be persuaded to get the second. For three days after that one, she also felt awful. But the fourth day, everything changed.

Scientists are only beginning to study any potential effect of vaccines on long Covid symptoms. Anecdotes run the gamut: Besides those who report feeling better after the shots, many people say they have experienced no change, and a small number say they feel worse.

The New York Times looks at how while it’s too soon to tell whether the vaccines have a beneficial effect on patients with continuing issues, scientists are intrigued to study the phenomenon.

• Can vaccines cause blood clots? Here’s what we know
• Virus variants likely evolved inside people with weak immune systems

Trump's incomplete wall in pieces that could linger for decades

The sweeping view of undefiled wilderness on the border with Mexico long rewarded hikers who completed the Arizona Trail.

Then something else came into focus a few weeks ago at the forbidding site in the Huachuca Mountains: a lonely segment of border wall, connected to nothing at all, in an area where migrants rarely even try to cross into the United States.

A last-minute rush to build the border wall lasted through Donald Trump’s last day in office. The effort left odd, partially completed sections of a barrier whose fate President Biden must now determine.

The New York Times reports.

NZ housing crisis: Global eyes on Ardern's strategy

Those Kiwi revolutionaries are at it again. In 1989, New Zealand’s central bank was the first to commit to a specific target for consumer price inflation, then the biggest threat to the world economy.

Today, a new scourge — asset price inflation — looms. And New Zealand has launched another counterattack. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her government has ordered the central bank to add stabilising home prices to its remit, starting March 1.

The Financial Times looks at how the world is watching Ardern’s strategy.

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