Weekendish: The best of the week's reads

Girl who was a contract labourer Image copyright Paul Senn

A collection of some of the best reads from the BBC News website this week, with an injection of your comments.

Forced to work on a farm at the age of eight, David Gogniat is now trying to find out, more than six decades later, why he was kidnapped. Hundreds of thousands of Swiss children - from the middle of the 19th Century until as recently as the 1970s - were taken from their families and exploited as cheap labour. Social workers came and went, but the children were too scared to speak out. Kavita Puri hears the stories of three children who were beaten and put to work, and are now seeking answers. A campaign to compensate them is gaining momentum. But Gogniat wants to know who is responsible and, like many other "contract children", has been examining his childhood files.

On Facebook David Furman says this is another example of the "exploitation of the weak by the strong, regardless of common or different gender, ethnicity, race, nationality, society, religion, or any other factors".

Switzerland's shame: The children used as cheap child labour

Afghan Odyssey

Image copyright other

Tony Lewis is not necessarily after answers. He wants to understand. In a feature by Fergal Keane, he travels to Afghanistan to see the country where his son Conrad was killed by a Taliban sniper in 2011. Lewis meets schoolgirls hoping to be doctors, other parents bereaved by war, and members of a charity which helped send the stray dog that Conrad had adopted, to the UK. Lewis goes there to experience the place "the athlete and the would-be rock drummer, the boy who couldn't wait to quit school and be a man" served and died. It is his tribute to his fallen son. On Twitter Mark Worsnop calls it a "very moving report that offers some glimmers of hope in a very complex situation".

Afghanistan: A father's journey in the footsteps of his fallen son

Feeling the force

Image copyright Getty Images

In the 2001 census just under 400,000 people put "Jedi" down as their religion. It was a joke at the expense of statisticians, but one which has now sparked a genuine desire by some to try to build a new religion. It is estimated that around 2,000 people in the UK are active followers of Jediism. But it isn't just lightsaber fun and mind tricks. Focus, knowledge and wisdom are what it preaches and new members are given five key tenets to learn. But how has this intergalactic faith attracted followers worldwide and what are they getting from it? Tom de Castella follows the force and finds out.

Have Jedi created a new 'religion'?

Magical masterpiece

Image copyright Polo Reale

Can you feel the force in Leonardo's eyes? Look closely. Anything? Because according to a myth in Turin, it was feared that had Hitler ever got his hands on it, the artist's intense stare would give him great strength. Out of the entire collection of drawings and manuscripts at the Royal Library, this piece was the only one sneaked away to Rome. It didn't survive the journey unscathed. Now it is kept in climate-controlled luxury and can only be moved with ministerial approval.

On Twitter Alessandro Gallo helpfully points out that this drawing comes from a "golden age during which there were not selfies, but self-portraits".

The Leonardo hidden from Hitler in case it gave him magic powers

Armageddon file

It is always a good idea to prepare for the worst, but in 1982 that planning went further than you may have thought. Declassified Home Office files have revealed details of a secret exercise to test the UK's capacity to rebuild after a massive nuclear attack. One short-lived proposal considered recruiting psychopaths to help keep order because their dispassionate, yet logical, minds might lend themselves well to local post-Armageddon leadership. Much like the 1984 BBC drama Threads, this war game tried to predict how disorder might break out, how the authorities should interact with vigilante groups and where the thousands of survivors should go. Thankfully the plan - called Regenerate - was never needed.

The nuclear attack on the UK that never happened

Image copyright Urban Land Institute

Embracing a problem and planning for it is something Boston is also considering, albeit on a less apocalyptic scale. Sea level is rising - it could rise by about six feet by the end of the century, scientists say - while the entire East Coast is sinking. If a hurricane were to coincide with a high tide, parts of Boston would find themselves under several feet of water even today. But instead of keeping the waters out, a new idea has been floated. Why not let the water in? One vision sees the historic Back Bay district becoming something a little like Venice. Joanna Jolly finds out more.

How Boston is rethinking its relationship with the sea

Image copyright Ab

And if all of that wasn't enough, here are some smaller bites for you to enjoy...

If your Afghan battlefield slang needs brushing up, you can check out what crap-hats and jinglytrucks are. We also look at London's first lion shortage since the 13th Century, what it means to be de-arrested and what modern technology means for good manners.

Image copyright Ab

Here are some things we've enjoyed this week from elsewhere around the web:

The extraordinary story of an epic art fraud - The Guardian

A gang's selfies are sending them to prison - Vice

The cheapest generation - The Atlantic

Making sense of "yes means yes" - Verdict

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