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9 Feature Stories You Can't Miss This Week: Slavery, Survivors, And Sleeping Sickness

This week for BuzzFeed News, Sarah A. Topol tries to solve the mystery of the Kazakh sleeping sickness. Read that and these other great stories from BuzzFeed and around the web.

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1. A Week in the Mysterious Sleeping Villages of Kazakhstan — BuzzFeed News

Max Avdeev for BuzzFeed News

Radiation. Government conspiracy. Mass hysteria. There are plenty of theories as to why the residents of a tiny Kazakh mining region keep falling asleep for days at a time, but no answers. Sarah A. Topol spends a week there and tries to stay awake. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

2. The New American Slavery — BuzzFeed News

Ken Bensinger and Jessica Garrison for BuzzFeed News

The H-2 visa program invites foreign workers to do some of the most menial labor in America. Then it leaves them at the mercy of their employers. Ken Bensinger, Jessica Garrison, and Jeremy Singer-Vine investigate how thousands of these workers have been abused — deprived of their fair pay, imprisoned, starved, beaten, raped, and threatened with deportation if they dare complain — and how the government says it can do little to help. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

3. The Vegas PlotThe California Sunday Magazine

Illustration by Clay Rodery and Photograph by Zackary Canepari for The California Sunday Magazine

A bizarre and winding tale by Ashley Powers about two so-called "sovereigns" — right-wing extremists who eschew U.S. law in favor of self rule — and their plan to kidnap and kill a cop. At a time when extremists are becoming increasingly visible and violent, how can we tell who is actually dangerous? Read it at The California Sunday Magazine.

4. How Survivors of the Horace Mann Sex Abuse Scandal Fought a Battle They Couldn't Win — BuzzFeed News

Illustration by Brian Stauffer for BuzzFeed News / School Photograph: Anthony22 / Wikipedia

After surviving one of the most high-profile and long-running school sex abuse scandals in history, a group of 32 men and women banded together to seek solace and justice. Sam Roudman chronicles their efforts, and how they ultimately found that public outrage, a star attorney, and overwhelming evidence are no match for a legal process stacked against even the most privileged or traumatized. Read it at BuzzFeed News.


5. Whatever Happened to Ariel? — BuzzFeed News

Ariel Bradley / Via Twitter: @aminah_umm

Ellie Hall tells the story of a young woman who left her hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee to become an ISIS wife and mother. "How did the bubbly, caring, self-described feminist, who lived and partied with [friends], who got tattoos and dropped acid, become someone who would embrace a radical ideology that calls for the subjugation of women and the destruction of her home country?" Read it at BuzzFeed News.

6. UltraRunner's World

Photograph by Bryan Meltz for Runner's World

John Brant hits the trail with Mirna Valerio, an accomplished distance runner who is challenging long-standing notions about who can participate in the sport — and what kind of body they should have. “People always say to me, ‘Anyone who runs as much as you do deserves to be skinny.’ Of course, what they're really saying: ‘If you do all this running, why are you still so fat?’” Read it at Runner's World.

7. Who Owns the Ancient One? — BuzzFeed Ideas

Photograph by Edel Rodriguez for BuzzFeed News

Kim TallBear explains how the fight for an ancient skeleton in Washington illustrates how science undermines and exploits Native-American identity. "As an academic, I work with scientists who take various positions on the rights of indigenous peoples to remains — including those who would have kept my ancestors’ bones in a museum." Read it at BuzzFeed Ideas.

8. Meet the Man Who Flies Around the World for FreeRolling Stone

Bryan Derballa for Rolling Stone

Ben Wofford discovers how travelers like Ben Schlappig are redefining what it means to be a frequent flyer — emphasis on "free." "The fact is, we are beating the airlines at their own game...and we'll always be one step ahead of them." Read it at Rolling Stone.

9. Scientists Are Hoarding Data and It's Ruining Medical Research — BuzzFeed News

Hector Retamal / AFP / Getty Images / Via

Ben Goldacre uncovers how major flaws in two massive trials of deworming pills show the importance of sharing data — which most scientists don’t do. "Any attempt to preserve the authority of medicine or science by hiding information is doomed to fail, for one reason: The bizarre secrecy that we’ve come to accept in medicine is, in reality, the polar opposite of science." Read it at BuzzFeed News.

Anita Badejo is an associate features editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Anita Badejo at

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