10 of the week’s best long reads — Feb. 4-14, 2020

10 of the week’s best long reads — Feb. 4-14, 2020

From the top 25 jobs in Toronto to $3,000 house plants, we’ve selected the best long reads of the week on thestar.com.

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1. These are the best 25 jobs in Toronto right now

In a list of Toronto’s top jobs, collars aren’t necessarily white or blue — they’re often optional. The Star’s exclusive ledger of the Toronto region’s most promising employment areas for 2020 ranks jobs according to median hourly wages, the rate of job growth in the sector over the past five years and the number of current job vacancies.

2. Here’s what government can — and can’t — do to end the Wet’suewet’en standoff

As widespread rail shutdowns cost millions of dollars in cancelled passenger travel and commercial shipping, governments, companies and Indigenous communities are all taking a hard look at their possible next moves. There are growing calls for somebody to do something. One can be forgiven for being confused about who that somebody is, and what that something should be.

3. His parents bought their first home for $45,000 in their 20s. He bought his for $690,000 in his 30s. Why first-time buyers are getting older

Home ownership eludes younger purchasers for many reasons: insufficient income; high rent prices; onerous student debt; tighter mortgage lending rules; saving for a down payment; late entry into the workforce, and the biggie — the affordability crisis in the real estate market.

4. She lost her airport job when Transport Canada didn’t grant her security clearance. But how can she answer for her brothers’ crimes?

For two-and-a-half years, Munira Omar worked for WestJet at Pearson Airport waiting on her final security clearance to be approved. Then Transport Canada denied her clearance over “concerns regarding (her) trustworthiness and reliability.” Two of Omar’s brothers had been involved in drug trafficking, organized crime and other criminal offences. They could potentially influence her, the letter stated.

5. Behind the scenes, health officials are scrambling to prepare for coronavirus outbreak. Here’s how

The city, the province, and the country are ramping up efforts to prepare for and contain the outbreak. The SARS crisis 17 years ago taught all three that a manageable infectious disease outbreak can quickly become catastrophic without preparation, communication and vigilance.

6. Would you pay $3,000 for a house plant? Why monstera collectors are investing in these delicate darlings of Instagram

On Facebook groups, photos of “Big leafy bois” and “Queens” draw adoration, emojis and envy. Prices are a constant topic. There are comparisons to tulip fever, orchid mania, the housing market. Some predict it will crash. Jonathan Villocero says prices have only gone up since he’s been collecting. One Florida seller says the going rate for an oblique at auction is $3,300 to $4,000.

7. ‘I didn’t expect to live past 25’: The man with the most famous tattoo in Canadian jurisprudence on life after prison

In May 2018, Warren Abbey, now 34, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for fatally shooting 19-year-old Simeon Peter, an unarmed man, in January 2004. Four months after the fatal shooting, Abbey had a black teardrop tattooed on his right cheek. The significance of that tiny mark became the focus of a legal saga spanning 14 years.

8. What happens if a dog gets coronavirus? This scientist has a plan

We shouldn’t panic — but we should be prepared. In the aftermath of the SARS crisis, researchers showed that domestic cats could catch severe acute respiratory syndrome and transmit it to other cats, as could ferrets. Cats living in a Hong Kong apartment block with an unusual number of SARS patients were found to be infected with the virus. Dogs belonging to Ebola-infected health-care workers in Spain and the United States were destroyed or quarantined because officials were concerned about transmissibility. With the novel coronavirus, “We have no idea if there’s any risk, but we have to assume there is some until we prove otherwise,” said Scott Weese, director of the Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses at the University of Guelph.

9. What my father’s dementia taught me about living in the moment

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With my father’s dementia progressing steadily over the past year, I know the feeling well. Every new “event” is followed by a forceful blow that throws you off balance, gasping for air. Punch. Punch. Punch. You’d think it would hurt less each time. You’d think the reeling would subside. It doesn’t. You just brace for it more readily. And remind yourself that you’re a middle-aged woman, no longer a child. And you can handle it. Except you’re not always sure you can.

10. He was in a U.S. jail 10 years ago. He starts law school in Toronto this fall

Ish Aderonmu’s experience within the criminal justice system, including the time he spent in jail in the United States, is the reason he wants to become a criminal defence lawyer. “I feel a sense of responsibility to be given such an opportunity,” Aderonmu said. “I’ve seen the gaps and all the work that needs to be done. And I feel I can make an impact.”

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