Friday, December 7 2018

THE BIG ISSUES

LEADING THE AGENDA

It can’t keep the lights on, but Eskom is great at generating confusion

While the utility can't even sugar-coat load shedding, we’re stuck with the 'brave' souls trying to fix it

Tom Eaton
Columnist
3 min read

I've told Eskom to solve the load-shed crisis, and this is how: Gordhan

Ex-staffers must 'back off' and senior managers can't take year-end leave. Instead, they must prevent a dark Christmas

Iavan Pijoos
Journalist
3 min read

SPECIAL REPORT: Top farm poison is a ‘threat to web of life’

It even poisons honey bees - but SA is still freely using it, while France and the European Union have started imposing ...

Tony Carnie
Journalist
6 min read


SMART NEWS

IN ONE TAKE

Rohde hit by triple whammy of setbacks

It started with a row with the judge, then things got even worse for the wife murderer

Dave Chambers
Cape Town bureau chief
6 min read

Fish Hoek ‘in the drink’ after judge allows its first drankwinkel

It's been a dry town for two centuries, but times are changing thanks to a Pick n Pay victory

Bobby Jordan
Journalist
2 min read

South African dreams of being first disabled man in space

'The image I want to capture is me finally lifting out of my wheelchair. Space is the metaphor'

Alex Patrick
Journalist
4 min read

Youth is wasted on the young – and so is voting

Young people make up the bulk of the voting population, but they prefer striking to casting a ballot

Alex Patrick
Journalist
4 min read

Breakthrough brings pig-to-human heart transplants a big step closer

Success with porcine hearts grafted into baboons has been hailed as a milestone

By Sarah Knapton
2 min read

IDEAS

TO FEED YOUR MIND

Let’s grab the, er, ‘flower by the thorns’ and talk about being PC

Negotiating one's way between the reactionary bigots and the well-intentioned activists can be a challenge

8 min read

Progress is when dudeism loses the purple suede shoes of pejoration

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Sue de Groot
Journalist
3 min read

An instrument of love: Why Bush’s faithful dog moved the world

Its vigil speaks volumes about the bond between humans and canines, and reaffirms that a dog is far more than just a pet

By Boris Starling
6 min read

CROSSWORDS

GIVE YOUR BRAIN SOME EXERCISE

Today's cryptic crossword

It's time to put your brain to work

1 min read

Today's quick crossword

How fast can you get it done?

1 min read

SNAPSHOT

Six things about SA you need to know

Uber says yes to refund, but there’s a catch

Uber SA said only those who called cabs from 11pm would be refunded for the price surges at the Global Citizen Festival. The company admitted to turning on dynamic pricing for trips from the festival at FNB Stadium on Sunday night, despite promising organisers that prices would not be peaked. Twitter users reported having to pay high prices after leaving the stadium. Uber said it would be refunded for the Sunday surges, but only those who called a taxi after 11pm. "Uber will be fulfilling their promise of standard Uber rates and will be fully refunding all riders for all trips starting at the FNB Stadium who were affected by the dynamic pricing after 11pm," said Uber SA spokesperson Samantha Fuller. Credit card holders would be reimbursed and cash payers' accounts would be credited. Those using Uber in other areas in Johannesburg that were affected by the price increases because of the festival, would not receive a refund.

New kit could help bust rapists

An innovative DNA testing kit that could help bust rapists was unveiled by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Thursday. The kit targets DNA that is carried only by men - the Y chromosome - and is one of the first of its kind to factor in Africa's genetic diversity. The university’s DNA forensic laboratory launched the new profile system with its commercial partner, Inqaba Biotec. Researchers say it was designed with sexual assault cases in mind. Laboratory head Professor Maria D’Amato told TimesLIVE: “The kit detects fragments in the Y chromosome, which is specific to males. They are very accurate for individual identification.”

Mortuary strike ‘immoral, disrespectful’

The KwaZulu-Natal cabinet has lashed out at striking mortuary workers in the province, as a “go-slow” has left bodies piling up as autopsies are delayed. The KZN provincial executive council said on Thursday it had received a report from health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, on the strike. Fort Napier mortuary in Pietermaritzburg is most affected by the strike, which started in November. “At its sitting [on Wednesday], the exco described the action of the mortuary employees as ‘immoral, disrespectful to the deceased as well as inhuman to the bereaved families’,” it said. The committee said it was “appalled” by the details in Dhlomo’s report, and called on the mortuary workers to “end their illegal strike or face the consequences”. According to the provincial cabinet, the workers were on strike over salaries, protective gear and uniforms, among other things. The committee had decided that if the staff did not return to work immediately, “disciplinary action must be taken against them”.

Horseracing industry lashed over grooms’ hostels

The horseracing industry has been told to clean up its act when it comes to the living conditions of grooms employed at its facilities. Parliament’s portfolio committee on labour says the horseracing industry needs to clean up its act when it comes to the living conditions of grooms. Grooms are responsible for the welfare and maintenance of horses. On Wednesday the committee met the management of horseracing and betting operator Phumelela Gaming and Leisure to discuss grooms’ working and living conditions. During a visit to the North Rand Training Centre at the Randjesfontein racecourse in Midrand in August the committee “discovered appalling conditions at the hostels, where four or five men shared one small room, with gas stoves for cooking located outside their rooms”. Phumelela representatives told the committee the hostel facilities were leased to racehorse trainers, who were the direct employers of the grooms and responsible for their wellbeing. Siza Khampepe, a director at Phumelela, said it was not responsible for the grooms' living conditions.

Push to make expropriation a reality

The National Assembly wants to settle the matter of amending section 25 of the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation by March 31 2019, before the mandate of the current parliament expires. This is according to a draft motion to be debated on Thursday afternoon, tabled in the name of ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu. The tabling of the motion follows the adoption of a constitutional review committee report by both houses of parliament, the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. In his draft motion, Mthembu proposed that the house establish an ad hoc committee in terms of rule 253 to initiate and introduce legislation amending section 25 of the constitution. The draft motion further states that the house "passes a constitutional amendment bill before the end of the fifth democratic parliament in order to allow for expropriation without compensation".

Cool relief for Joburg, Cape Town

After a scorching week with temperatures averaging over 30°C, Joburgers can look forward to a cooler week ahead. The heatwave, which lasted for three days, swept through parts of Gauteng and Limpopo. The SA Weather Services also issued a fire danger warning, with extremely high fire danger conditions in the Northern Cape, North West, Free State, Limpopo and Gauteng. According to this week's forecast, people in Johannesburg can expect relief from the heat for the rest of the week and well into the weekend. Expected temperatures for the next four days, starting on Friday, are 28°C, 26°C, 24°C and 24°C for Monday. But don't pack away the sunscreen just yet. Weather Services communications manager Hannalee Doubell said weekly forecasts were more reliable than attempting to predict the month ahead. While Gauteng can celebrate the cool days ahead, the rest of the festive season could be different. In Cape Town, rain is predicted for Friday - 15mm of it.
Zhong Xiaojie, 19, wrestles a bull to the ground during a bullfight in China.
ALL THE BULL WANTED WAS A QUIET DAY Zhong Xiaojie, 19, wrestles a bull to the ground during a bullfight in China.
Image: Reuters/Aly Song

VISUAL SIDE


THE WORLD

The news you don't normally get to hear

‘My vicar flashed me, and when I complained the church told me to shut up’

Ex-church assistant was forced to sign non-disclosure agreement over priest who stripped off in front of her

By Jack Hardy
2 min read

The great Kate-Meghan war: Why the duchesses are duking it out

One is a discreet English rose. The other is a brash Hollywood starlet. There was bound to be trouble

By Allison Pearson
3 min read

What’s Harvey up to now? Weinstein sends out a bleat for sympathy

Despite his lawyers' assurances, his victims fear he's plotting a comeback

By Alice Vincent
2 min read

Einstein was right: Most of the universe is a strange ‘dark fluid’

This mysterious fluid, which moves towards you as you push it away, solves the dark energy puzzle, say Oxford boffs

By Sarah Knapton
3 min read

SNAPSHOT

SIX THINGS ABOUT THE WORLD YOU NEED TO KNOW

Surrogate mums freed, on one condition

More than 30 Cambodian women paid to carry babies for Chinese clients have been released on bail after agreeing to keep the children, officials said on Thursday, as the country tightens its grip on the illegal but lucrative surrogacy trade. The women were charged with human trafficking after they were discovered in June during a raid on a surrogacy business in the capital Phnom Penh, the latest in a series of arrests targeting the practice. Cambodia banned surrogacy in 2016 in an attempt to prevent it from spreading in the developing country after neighbouring Thailand pulled the plug on the trade the previous year. But China's easing of its one-child policy has seen demand for fertility clinics rise and shadow markets in Cambodia continue to offer the. – AFP

Little guy might truffle off this mortal coil

A truffle-eating Australian marsupial known as the rat kangaroo has suffered a dramatic population decline and could become extinct without urgent action to save the species, a report warned Thursday.The World Wildlife Fund said only two populations of the northern bettong remained in the wet coastal tropics of northern Queensland state, numbering at most 2,500 individuals, down 70 percent in the past 30 years.The nocturnal, rabbit-sized bettongs are at risk from feral cats, land-clearing and wildfires, which have become more frequent and fierce in Queensland due to climate change." "We know particularly with climate change a massive wildfire could be just around the corner," said Tim Cronin, WWF's senior manager for species conservation in Australia. – AFP

Road builders blunder through Stonehenge

It is a window into the Mesolithic, the world inhabited by the hunter gatherers who re-colonised Britain after the end of the ice age 12,000 years ago. Now archaeologists are claiming that the unique site on the edge of Salisbury Plain near Stonehenge may have been irreparably damaged by blundering Highways England engineers who drilled a hole directly through it during the project to build a road tunnel under the iconic site. The alleged damage they claim was caused when gauges were being installed to monitor the water table at Blick Mead, a series of tepid springs in the grounds of Amesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, known as the “first place in Britain”. - © The Daily Telegraph

Smooth is not cool, says Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise has urged everyone to turn off a default setting on their high-definition TVs to improve the experience of watching films at home. The Mission Impossible star, 56, said a setting known as "motion smoothing" ruins films because it makes them "look like they were shot on high-speed video rather than film". Motion smoothing, also known as the "soap opera effect", involves adding artificial frames into footage to remove the motion blur of fast-moving objects. It's most useful when watching sport. But for blockbuster movies, the effect can make films appear brighter and sharper than the filmmaker intended, giving them a hyper-realistic effect. In an impassioned video posted on Twitter, Cruise appeared with Mission Impossible director Christopher McQuarrie, who said: "If you own a modern high-definition television there's a good chance you're not watching movies the way film-makers intended, and the ability for you to do so is not simple for you to access," McQuarrie added. - © The Daily Telegraph

Give it back! Italy is really bronzed off

Italy’s highest court has ordered the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to return an ancient Greek bronze statue found off the Adriatic coast of Italy by fishermen in 1964. The ruling by the Court of Cassation in Rome is the latest round in a decade-long, acrimonious dispute between the museum and Italy over the ownership of the exquisite bronze figure, known as Victorious Youth or the Getty Bronze. The museum immediately rejected the judgment, saying it had no intention of giving up the fourth century BC statue, believed to have been cast by a Greek sculptor named Lysippus. The court in Rome upheld the ruling of a lower court in Pesaro in the Marche region of central Italy, where the statue was found more than 50 years ago. It is thought that a Roman ship was bringing the bronze from Greece to Italy when it sank, plunging it to the bottom of the sea. - © The Daily Telegraph

These boots were made for scavenging

The skeleton of a man dating to about 500 years ago, with his thigh-high leather boots virtually intact, has been discovered under London's River Thames. The skeleton, lying face down in the mud, was found in Bermondsey, south London, by archaeologists working on London's new £4.2bn sewage tunnel, CNN reports. The man probably died prematurely, since leather was expensive in Tudor times and it is unlikely someone would be buried wearing highly prized boots, said MOLA Headland, the firm leading the project. However, the banks of the Thames were a hazardous place in the late 15th and early 16th century, so he may have been "a fisherman, a mudlark or perhaps a sailor", the archaeologists added. – Staff reporter
Lights are projected on the Centre Block building during the annual Christmas Lights Across Canada ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
ODD TOWER IN OTTAWA Lights are projected on the Centre Block building during the annual Christmas Lights Across Canada ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Image: Reuters/Chris Wattie

THE BUSINESS

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

How to make your pension piggy bank squeal with delight

Alexander Forbes has made illuminating findings about how people handle their pension funds

By Stephen Cranston
5 min read

It's too late to fight Huawei's rise now. It has already won

Huawei’s takeover of the tech market is a sign that Western hegemony is under threat as never before

By Jeremy Warner
5 min read

Founder wants a different MiX for his shares portfolio

CEO Stefan Joselowitz plans to sell up to R87m worth of the company’s stock

By Nick Hedley
1 min read

LIFESTYLE

CULTURE COMES ALIVE

Won’t you take us to the bioscope?

The films opening in our cinemas this week

By Critics’ choice
2 min read

Porn and raised: Five reasons to binge ‘The Deuce’

Season two of the provocative conversation starter about the 'Golden Age of Pornography' is even better than the first

By Staff reporter
3 min read

No Joker: Margot Robbie is back as the single best Harley Quinn

She returns as a member of the Birds of Prey, and she is all about ‘girl power’

By Elizabeth MacLeod
4 min read

SPORT

FINISH LINE ESSENTIALS

SPORTS DAY: Hamza the surprise Proteas pick

Your roundup of the sporting news of the day

Bareng-Batho Kortjaas
Sunday Times sports editor
8 min read

Hamza hits the headlines, but where’s Heinrich?

The omission of Heinrich Klaasen, the closest thing SA have to a poor man’s De Villiers, from the SA squad is a pity

Telford Vice
Journalist
3 min read

Blast from the past: Henry on the ball for Boks

Today in SA sports history

By David Isaacson
1 min read