Weekendish: Best longer reads from the week

Broken love-heart sweet

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

Can you die from a broken heart? Apparently you can, and doctors have a name for it - takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Recently, it was reported that a husband and wife in California died four hours apart after more than 62 years together. The BBC's Stephen Evans read the reports with interest as last month he had attended the funeral of a couple who had died within a week of each other. Edmund Williams had selected a poem that he had written for Margaret, his beloved wife of 60 years, to be read at her funeral. But days after, Edmund himself, died. Her funeral became their funeral - two coffins beside each other, the couple united in death as they had been in life. The poem he had written for her was read for them both. Stephanie Taylor ‏@EmpireAnts tweets: "Want to cry into your lunch? Read this it makes my heart stop just reading it." Chris Tudor ‏@christudor adds: "In Classical literature, 'dying from a broken heart' = 'suicide'." Jem Roberts tweets: "There's something wonderful in the scientific approach to 'heartbreak'."

Can you die from a broken heart?

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Secretive cult
Video still from a movie produced by the Church of the Almighty God Website testimony from members includes pledges to stick by beliefs and resist the Communist Party

Members of the Church of the Almighty God in China are about to face trial for a savage murder carried out at a McDonald's restaurant earlier this year. In China this secretive cult is banned - but it claims to have a million members and it also claims that the Communist Party is allied with Satan. It's core belief is that God has returned to Earth as a Chinese woman to wreak the apocalypse. Here's what one of the accused said from his prison cell about the McDonald's killing: "I beat her with all my might and stamped on her too. She was a demon. We had to destroy her." The BBC's China editor Carrie Gracie has been looking into the cult and speaking to families who have lost relatives to it - including one man who went undercover to rescue his wife and father-in-law. "Interesting, but scary," says @DyfedWyn. It's "unbelievable that this happens and people actually believe it", tweets @aarondolman.

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Uncharted territory
Tree upon a peak in Darien

It's hard to imagine, but there are still some unexplored places left in the world. There's a reason why the Darien Gap, a break in the Pan-American Highway with a length of between 100km and 160km (60-100 miles), has defeated travellers for centuries. It's Panama's answer to the Bermuda Triangle - with wild tropical forest, mountains, a web of rivers, jaguars, armed drug runners and lethal pit vipers. There is no way around it except by sea. You can count on two hands the number of successful expeditions - the first being in 1960, when it was crossed by jeep. Another, more recent, was when a team of scientists went to study fish that use electrical signals for navigation and communication. Travel writer Carolyn McCarthy profiles the inhospitable territory. Veronica Baruffati ‏@vrroni tweets: "The gap in the world's longest road. Hitchhiking from Canada to Tierra del Fuego late 70s, Darien Gap was impassable." Jane ‏@JusJane53 adds: "Does there have to be roads everywhere???"

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Shots in the darkness
Carey McWilliams

Carey McWilliams came to international attention in 2001 when he became the first blind person to be given a licence to carry a concealed weapon. He is also a hunter. He says that when when ducks fly across the sky, they make a sound like bicycle tyres on a pavement, and he traces them with the barrels of his rifle. Since gaining his permit, McWilliams has mentored nearly 100 other blind Americans. William Kremer speaks to one who says he likes the fact that if you put the words "world's best target shooter" into Google, his name pops up.

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Changing times
Two people at Pride in the UK, one holding a "Trans & Proud" sign

In previous decades a boxing promoter coming out as transgender might have received a hostile response. But perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Kellie Maloney, formerly Frank, announcing her new identity was an almost uniformly positive reaction in the media and beyond. In times gone by, people who underwent gender reassignment surgery were described in the press with a mixture of ridicule and amazement. In the UK it took the 2010 Equality Act to grant equal access to employment as well as private and public services. Tom de Castella looks at how times have changed. "This is why visibility matters," says @CheshireKaz. There's a lesson from this story, tweets @DrKarenOughton: "Treat others with the courtesy you'd like to receive."

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

Escape From Syria - Newsweek

Desert Silence - Aeon Magazine

How to Be Polite - Medium

Falling: Love and Marriage in a Conservative Indian Family - Longreads

In The Clearing Stands a Boxer - The Big Roundtable

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