Bone Dry in Cape Town

Wars have been fought over it. People can’t live without it. And a growing global population is thirsty for more. So, what happens if a major city runs out of water?


Nearly 4 million people who live in Cape Town, South Africa, recently came close to finding out. Earlier this year, it looked like local authorities might have to ration water at gunpoint as the reservoirs that supply the city and its surrounding farmland started to run dry after three long years of drought. Cape Town isn’t the first big metropolis to face a water crisis in recent years. Sao Paulo, population 20 million, had a similar scare in 2015.

Two big takeaways:

This looks like it’s becoming a pattern. Sao Paulo and Cape Town both managed to avoid social unrest and potential human and economic disasters by creatively stretching existing water supplies. They were fortunate to have competent governments that could handle a crisis. The next big city to face a major water emergency — and there will be others, as booming urban populations meet an increase in severe weather due to climate change — may not be so lucky.

Water troubles also point to a broader tradeoff facing developing economies: rapid urbanization can create new opportunities and rising prosperity for millions of people. But surging ranks of city-dwellers also stretch the political, economic, and natural resources needed to make that growth sustainable.

In 2012, the United States created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to protect these young people from being deported. Yet just five years later, the program was rescinded, putting close to 700,000 DACA recipients at risk of being banished from the only home they've ever known. More than five dozen of these DACA recipients at risk are Microsoft employees. These young people contribute to the company and serve its customers. They help create products, secure services, and manage finances. And like so many young people across our nation, they dream of making an honest living and a real difference in the communities in which they reside. Yet they now live in uncertainty.

Microsoft has told its Dreamers that it will stand up for them along with all the nation's DACA recipients. It will represent them in court and litigate on their behalf. That's why Microsoft joined Princeton University and Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez to file one of the three cases challenging the DACA rescission that was heard on Nov. 12 by the United States Supreme Court.

Read more on Microsoft On The Issues.

What do people think is driving the stock market's recent record high gains?


Well, there's really no precise answer, but analysts point to several factors. So, number one is strong third quarter earnings. Companies have reported stronger than expected results so far this season. The second is the jobs market. You saw the October jobs numbers exceed economists' expectations. And the third is the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates three times this year. That lowers borrowing costs for consumers and businesses and encourages them to spend more.

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In the predawn hours of Tuesday morning, Israel launched a precision attack in the Gaza Strip, targeting and killing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) commander. In response, the terror group fired more than 220 rockets at southern Israel. Exchanges of fire have brought cities on both sides of the Gaza border to a standstill and at least 19 Palestinians are dead and dozens of Israelis wounded. With this latest escalation, Israel now faces national security crises on multiple fronts. Here's what's going on:

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