President cancels Eskom leave to keep Xmas lights on; Palladium price record; Tesla v Porsche; Drought

By Jackie Cameron

  • As South Africans speculate over whether and how saboteurs are to blame for widespread blackouts, President Cyril Ramaphosa has cancelled the leave of Eskom employees. Listen to President Ramaphosa explaining the details of the sabotage.
  • Palladium rose for a 15th day, heading for its longest run of gains on record and exceeding the highest-ever price of gold, reports Bloomberg. Spot palladium touched a record of $1,940.34 an ounce Thursday, extending its year-to-date gains to 54%. Prices have been driven by supply concerns as mines in South Africa, the world’s No. 2 palladium producer, were shut down for 24 hours this week because of electricity shortages. State power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is still implementing rolling blackouts, although at a lower level.
  • A deepening drought in southern Africa is resulting in unprecedented food shortages, leaving millions of people hungry. “This year’s drought is unprecedented, causing food shortages on a scale we have never seen here before,” said Michael Charles, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies regional unit. “We are seeing people going two to three days without food, entire herds of livestock wiped out by drought and small-scale farmers with no means to earn money to tide them over a lean season.”
  • In the race for the best e-sports car, Elon Musk’s Tesla outpaces Porsche. Porsche has long been synonymous with the highest-performance cars money can buy, says Bloomberg. But its debut electric model is decidedly average in one very significant respect: range. The 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo on Wednesday clocked in with an estimated range of just 201 miles on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website. That’s roughly in the middle of the pack among the base models for the newest electric vehicles listed on
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