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Good morning, and welcome to the weekend.

Grab your cup of coffee or tea, and sit down with a selection of this week’s great reads from The Globe.

In this issue, Kelly Grant explores the medical, ethical and moral challenges that parents and health care providers face when babies are born extremely premature. Grant first wanted to write about the issue in 2019, when a “lovely mother” who’d given birth to a 23-week-old baby agreed to be interviewed. Unfortunately, the baby didn’t survive, and the devastated family did not want to speak publicly. So, when Grant heard about the Nadarajah twins, who were born at 22 weeks old, she reached out to the parents. The story this time had a happy ending – the twins celebrated their first birthday last month – but as Kelly found out, the life and death decisions parents and medical personnel are forced to make in such cases are often excruciating. While working on the story, Grant said she thought constantly about what she would do if she’d been placed in the parents’ shoes. “Would I have chosen ‘comfort care’ and let my extremely premature babies die, as the parents of 60 per cent of 22-weekers did in 2021? Or would I have asked for all measures to be taken, knowing that my child or children could grow up to have serious medical challenges? I hope this story makes our readers reflect on their own choices and values.”

Erica Alini and Salmaan Farooqui teamed up to cover the rebuilding efforts in the areas around Abbotsford, B.C. that were devastated by flooding in November, 2021. What they found out is that while some residents have managed to rebuild their homes and move on with their lives, others are still struggling with lack of government support and rising interest rates.

Meanwhile, James Griffiths writes about a small town in Japan that is fighting population decline by implementing policies designed to attract young people and encourage them to have children.

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The world’s most premature twins underlines medical, moral challenges of dangerously early births

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Twins Adiah and Adrial Nadarajah, as they looked after their first birthday and in the perilous early days when they were born 126 days prematurely.The Globe and Mail, courtesy of family

Shakina Rajendram went into labour when she was 21 weeks and five days into her pregnancy. When she arrived at the Mount Sinai Hospital, she learned that doctors would not provide intensive care to her babies if they were born earlier than 22 weeks. Ms. Rajendram’s twins were born just minutes after they turned 22 weeks old – and last month they celebrated their first birthdays. Nearly 500 babies were born in the 22nd, 23rd or 24th week of a pregnancy at the 33 Canadian hospitals with high-level NICUs in 2021. Of 91 born in the 22nd week, 54 received palliative care at their parents’ request. Doctors tried to save the other 37 and succeeded in 27 per cent of cases, meaning that about one in four survived to be discharged from the NICU.

First their homes flooded, then interest rates soared: “We just can’t afford to rebuild”

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Hester and Ed Mulder pose for a picture on a patch of dirt where their home used to stand.Salmaan Farooqui/The Globe and Mail

Across B.C.’s lush Fraser Valley, the scars of severe flooding remain in pitted residential plots, gutted homes and half-finished construction sites. Many farmers left struggling to rebuild after that natural disaster are now, nearly two years later, facing an extraordinary rise in borrowing and other related costs. Beneath the hardship in this story, there’s a steely resilience, indefatigable optimism, and a reminder of why a home is more important than a house.

Small town offers Japan solutions to ease its population-decline problem

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Nami Aoki and her daughter, Yuri, at a clothes swap organized by Nagomi Cafe on March 9, 2023 in Nagaizumi, Japan.James Griffiths/The Globe and Mail

Japan isn’t the only nation struggling with a declining population, but the innovation and sheer urgency with which it tackles this problem is nonetheless impressive. Prime Minister Kishida recently declared Japan was “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions” due to aging en masse. James Griffiths dives elegantly into the financial burdens and incentives, the urban-rural divides, and the dozens of other factors that make this snapshot of a global challenge both instructive and inspiring. Also, it’s quirky as heck. Griffiths describes “a society where the task of child rearing is more equally shared across the community.” Can you imagine that?

A curious photo from 1885 captures what Indigenous reconciliation could have been

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Members of the North-West Field Force meet in 1885 with the Cree followers of Chief Day Star (Kīsikāwacāhk), one of the signatories of Treaty Four.University of Winnipeg Archives/University of Winnipeg Archives / Gerald Dupont and Carla Davidson Collection

Historian Bill Waiser unravels a 19th century mystery meeting between Plains Cree Chief Day Star and Manitoba infantry men caught on camera and hidden from public viewing – and imagination – until recently. The photo, one of a small collection, and Waiser’s fascinating deep dive into the history of the time, begs us to consider all of the paths to reconciliation not taken and the possibilities that still remain.

My ski-mountaineering goal: To overcome fear and dependency

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In the latest course with Swiss mountaineering school Bergpunkt, over four stormy days in the Bernese Oberland, Simon Akam learned how to operate independently in the high mountains.Illustration by PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY THE GLOBE AND MAIL. SOURCE PHOTOS: SIMON AKAM

Ski mountaineer Simon Akam brings us the final chapter of his quest to regain mastery of a death-defying sport after it nearly killed him in 2017. If you haven’t read his previous columns, you should. In this latest dispatch, Akam takes us, trussed up and blind, to the top of a 3,270-metre mountain pass in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland, on skis! His goal: independence and, though he doesn’t say it outright, to feel once again at home in one of the world’s least hospitable places. It’s a harrowing, personal read that will have you holding your breath while marvelling at the big, wide world and our unlimited potential to explore it.

After demolition, building materials get a second life

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Demolition of site 2 Tecumseth / 125 Niagara in Toronto.Industryous Photography

Deconstruction, the practice of “building in reverse,” aims to re-use construction and demolition debris that make up about a quarter of all Canada’s solid waste. In this story, Alex Bozikovic turns an architecture critic’s eye to both the sustainable and the beautiful while revealing the deep degree to which a major industry suffers the same dilemma as most households today: what should we do with all this stuff?

Ian Brown on watching The Masters

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Tiger Woods watches his tee shot on the ninth hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2023, in Augusta, Ga.Mark Baker/The Associated Press

Can Ian Brown turn watching possibly the most boring sport on earth into the most entertaining thing you’ll read this weekend? Yes, he can. Brown describes it as a “cosmically pointless and privileged pastime,” but his affectionate meditation on golf is a joy to read. He explores the uniquely personal intensity of a game that pits one against oneself as much as others, and why so many of us just can’t stop watching. A must read for golf-lovers, and equally for those who love them.

Wolfgang Tillmans’ photo retrospective starts a conversation – but leaves the dialogue up to us

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Photographer Wolfgang Tillmans hangs his photograph "I don't want to get over you.", 2000, before his show at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, Friday, on March 24, 2023.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Art can be a dialogue, a portal, a provocation and in the best of cases … all three. Rebecca Tucker takes us inside the larger-than-life installation of Turner-Prize winning photographer William Tillmans; a retrospective making its debut in Canada. His lens amplifies the little forces that shape our lives, and demand we take a second look.

Drawn from the headlines

Lindsey Graham begs Americans to send Trump money after he is arraigned on 34 charges. The Independent, April 5, 2023, as drawn by Pia Guerra for the Globe and Mail

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Lindsey Graham begs Americans to send Trump money after he is arraigned on 34 chargesIllustration by PIA GUERRA

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