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Happy Earth Day, 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 and Mail. In this issue, Nancy Macdonald reports on Lolita, the killer whale held in captivity, and the unexpected challenges that come with returning whales home that are no longer adjusted to providing for themselves. Writing this story was more heartbreaking than Macdonald expected, she said, but it also gave her hope. Based on photos taken at the time of its capture and the way that Lolita vocalizes, scientists believe they may have located the whale’s mother, and that Lolita’s pod – including her mother, a whale in her 80s or 90s believed to be named Ocean-Sun – are all still alive.

Mellissa Fung, a Canadian journalist who was kidnapped by the Taliban while reporting in Afghanistan in 2008, discusses the profound bond she felt when she met survivors of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.

And John Poulos, CEO of Dominion Voting Systems, tells us why the truth still matters.

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The quest to free Lolita the orca from five decades in captivity

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The mass capture of 8 Southern resident Orcas taken in August to September of 1970.Terry Newby/Handout

Lolita, the last southern resident killer whale in captivity, has seen trainers and audiences at the Miami Seaquarium come and go. For years, animal-rights activists have been demanding Lolita’s release, arguing that we owe a moral debt to these magnificent beings, and in particular to Lolita, who has been spy hopping and breaching for gawking tourists for the past 53 years. Now, she may get the chance to go home, but scientists are learning that returning an old whale back to the ocean is not as easy as it seems.

Written in the scars: How I found kinship with survivors of Boko Haram

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Journalist and documentary filmmaker Mellissa Fung, photographed in Toronto, April 17, 2023.May Truong/The Globe and Mail

Ever since Mellissa Fung was kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban in 2008 while reporting on the plight of refugees on the outskirts of Kabul, she sensed that friends, family and reporters wanted to ask her difficult questions about her time in captivity. But no one did – at least, not directly. Almost a decade after #BringBackOurGirls and almost two decades after Fung’s escape, the world has turned away from Nigeria’s captives – and those who have returned now face a lonely journey. In her own words, Fung writes about an unexpected kinship found when she told survivors about her own kidnapping.

I’m the CEO of Dominion Voting Systems – and I believe the truth still matters

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Dominion Voting Systems CEO John Poulos speaks at a news conference outside New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington, Del., April 18, 2023.Julio Cortez/The Associated Press

Does anyone care about the truth anymore? That is the question that the chief executive officer of Dominion Voting Systems asks in this opinion piece he wrote just three days after his company reached a historic US$787.5-million settlement in a defamation lawsuit against Fox News. For John Poulos, going against the U.S. media giant was as much about defending his company, its employees and their families, as it was about proving that yes, the truth still matters.

The green revolution growing inside an unassuming British soccer club

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General views before the Sky Bet League 2 match between Forest Green Rovers and Oldham Athletic at The New Lawn, Nailsworth on April 18, 2022.MI News/Reuters

It’s no wonder that the Forest Green Rovers have been recognized as the greenest sports team on the planet by the United Nations and FIFA. With its vegan menu, organic playing field and toilets that turn urine into fertilizer, the team has been ranked first among 72 clubs in the English Football League for environmental sustainability by British environmental organization Sport Positive. Paul Waldie reports from a recent game to get the thoughts of fans and the owner, former hippie and green-power pioneer Dale Vince.

Scientists envision the School of Cosmic Future to aid a planet on the brink

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Juna Kollmeier, the director of the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, is photographed in Toronto on April 19, 2023.JENNIFER ROBERTS/The Globe and Mail

Envision a School of Cosmic Future, an idea created with the goal of bringing experts together across a broad range of scientific disciplines to help solve “the greatest predicaments and puzzles that face our species.” Ivan Semeniuk speaks to the cosmologists and scientists championing this idea, who are applying their skills and long-term perspective to help solve civilization-threatening environmental problems on Earth.

An Algonquin servicemember was a UN peacekeeper in Croatia. Thirty years later, she’s being honoured in a portrait by a prominent war artist

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Wendy Jocko at her home in Pikwakanagan First Nation, April 10, 2023.Blair Gable/Blair Gable Photography

The events that led to Wendy Jocko, an Algonquin member of the Canadian Armed Forces, serving with a United Nations peacekeeping force in Croatia, began when she was four years old and spotted a soldier on the streets of Petawawa, Ont. By the age of 19, she had joined the Canadian Forces and served for 23 years. Her son was in the military, as well. Decades later, her portrait, painted by Canadian war artist Elaine Goble, has finally been unveiled, honouring her service as a peacekeeper in Croatia in the 1990s, and marking the 30th anniversary of Canada and Croatia’s establishment of diplomatic relations.

Are you there Judy Blume? It’s me, Marsha

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Courtesy of Prime Video/Amazon Prime

At 85, celebrated author Judy Blume is having a moment: A feature film adaptation of her seminal and most famous book, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, will be in theatres on April 28, more than 50 years after the novel was published. Also this month, a documentary about Blume and her influence, Judy Blume Forever, begins streaming on Prime Video, with fan-girl testimonials from the likes of Lena Dunham and Molly Ringwald. Marsha Lederman profiles Blume, who she credits with inspiring her to want to read, read, read. And write.

Drawn from the headlines

How the PSAC strike will affect Canadians – CBC News, April 19, as drawn by David Collier

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Illustration by DAVID COLLIER

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