Inflation looms over shoppers heading into Black Friday

NEW YORK (AP) – Black Friday marks a return to familiar holiday shopping patterns, but inflation is weighing on consumers. Increased prices for groceries, rent, gas and other household expenses have weighed heavily on shoppers. As a result, many are reluctant to spend unless there’s a big sale and are more selective about what they buy – in many cases swapping out for cheaper stuff and less expensive deals. Shoppers are also putting more into their savings, increasingly turning to “buy now, pay later” services like Afterpay, which allow users to pay for items in installments and top up their credit cards at a time when the Federal Reserve is… Interest rates hiked to cool US economy.

Russia rains down rockets on recaptured Ukrainian city

KHERSON, Ukraine (AP) — A barrage of missiles has hit the recently liberated city of Kherson in a marked escalation of attacks since Russia withdrew two weeks ago. At least four people were killed in strikes that began Thursday and lasted through Friday. Numerous people were also injured. Among those killed were the parents of a 38-year-old woman who watched as emergency services lifted her mother from the door of her apartment building, where she had lain dead overnight. City workers were initially too overwhelmed to salvage them. Authorities in the region had warned that Kherson would face increased attacks if Russian troops dug in across the Dnieper.

Witness: The Walmart shooter appeared to target specific individuals

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (AP) — A witness says the Walmart supervisor who shot dead six employees in Virginia appeared to target people and shot some victims after they had already been hit and appeared dead. Jessica Wilczewski said workers were gathered in a Walmart break room to begin their night shift late Tuesday when team leader Andre Bing stepped in and began firing a pistol. While another witness described Bing as shooting wildly, Wilczewski said she saw him attack certain individuals. She said he looked people in the face and figured out who he was going to shoot.

Midterms free from feared chaos as election experts look ahead to 2024

Fears of aggressive poll watchers wreaking havoc at polling stations or conservative groups trying to intimidate voters did not materialize on Election Day as many election officials and voting rights experts had feared. Voting went smoothly across most of the US, with few exceptions of isolated disruptions. There was no clear evidence that new electoral laws in some Republican-leaning states were disenfranchising voters on a large scale. Overall, election day went better than many expected. But groups focused on threats to American democracy say the biggest challenge is yet to come: the 2024 presidential race.

Iranian government supporters confront protesters at the World Cup

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Political unrest in Iran is also casting a shadow over Iran’s second game at the World Cup, with pro-government fans harassing anti-government fans outside the stadium in Qatar. Unlike in the first game against England, the Iranian players sang along with their national anthem before the game against Wales. Some Iranian fans confiscated Persian pre-revolutionary Iranian flags from supporters entering the stadium and berated those wearing shirts with the slogan of the country’s protest movement, “Woman, Life, Freedom.” Small groups of men angrily chanted “The Islamic Republic of Iran” at women giving interviews to foreign media about the protests. Many female fans were visibly shaken as Iranian government supporters surrounded them with national flags.

Beijing is nervous as city adds new quarantine centers

BEIJING (AP) — Residents in some parts of the Chinese capital have been overwhelmed by delivery apps as the city government orders the faster construction of quarantine centers and field hospitals. Uncertainty and unconfirmed reports of lockdowns in at least some Beijing counties have fueled unusual demand for supplies. Shoppers were clearing grocery shelves in supermarkets in the northern suburbs, but it wasn’t clear how widespread the phenomenon was. Daily cases of COVID-19 are hitting records across the country, with 32,695 reported on Friday. Of these, 1,860 were in Beijing, most of them asymptomatic. Improvised quarantine centers and field hospitals built in large indoor spaces are notorious for overcrowding, poor sanitation, scarce food supplies and 24-hour light.

Europe is scrambling to help Ukraine keep the heat and lights on

Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – European countries are scrambling to help Ukraine stay warm and function during the bitter winter months. Countries vowed on Friday to send more support to mitigate efforts by the Russian military to turn off the heat and lights. Nine months after Russia invaded its neighbor, Kremlin forces have turned their attention to Ukraine’s power grid and other vital civilian infrastructure to tighten the screw on Kyiv. Officials estimate that about 50 percent of Ukraine’s power assets were damaged in the recent strikes. France’s foreign minister said on Friday that his country is sending 100 high-power generators to Ukraine. She said Russia is “weaponizing” winter, plunging Ukraine’s civilian population into distress.

EXPLAINER: How could allies help Netanyahu beat charges?

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) – Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to return to office, from where he could seek to fix his years of legal troubles through new legislation pushed by his far-right and ultra-Orthodox allies. Critics say such a legal crusade is an attack on Israel’s democracy. Netanyahu is on trial for corruption. He is poised to return to power with a comfortable governing majority that could grant him a lifeline out of conviction. Defenders of the justice system say the proposed changes would allow lawmakers to abuse their authority and upset the tenuous balance of power that keeps them in check. Netanyahu, 73, denies wrongdoing and sees the charges as part of a witch hunt against him.

China sentences Chinese-Canadian star Kris Wu to 13 years in prison

BEIJING (AP) — A court in Beijing has sentenced Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu to 13 years in prison on charges including rape. The trial of the former member of the South Korean group EXO was held in camera in June to protect the privacy of the alleged victims. Beijing’s Chaoyang District Court said Friday Wu was convicted of a 2020 rape and the “crime of gathering a crowd to engage in sexual promiscuity” at a 2018 event where he and others allegedly assaulted two women who got drunk. The court said the three victims in the rape case were also drunk and could not consent.

Singing street guards are the surprise stars of the World Cup in Qatar

DOHA, Qatar (AP) – The 2010 World Cup in South Africa had Shakira. The 1998 tournament in France had Ricky Martin. The unofficial soundtrack of the World Cup in Qatar quickly becomes the incessant chant of the street marshals, better known as the Last Mile Marshals. Sitting in highchairs more commonly used by lifeguards at swimming pools across Doha, these migrant workers have become a staple of the Middle East’s inaugural World Cup. They point visitors flocking to this Arabian Peninsula nation in the right direction in their search for public transportation. It’s an important crowd control measure as some 1.2 million fans are expected to flood Qatar, a country of 3 million people.

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