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President Joe Biden has gone holiday shopping on the Massachusetts resort island where he spends Thanksgiving. He patronized smaller independently owned stores on what the retail industry has called “Small Business Saturday.” Biden, his wife, Jill, and daughter Ashley went from store to store on Main Street in downtown Nantucket, lingering at Polo Ralph Lauren, Murray’s Toggery Shop and The Black Dog, among other establishments. The president’s son Hunter and his wife, Melissa, were also shopping with their 2-year-old son, Beau. Biden emerged from The Black Dog holding a small brown paper shopping bag. The White House had no immediate comment on the president’s purchases.

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Environmental groups are once again at odds with politicians and fishermen in New England in the wake of a decision by high-end retail giant Whole Foods to stop selling Maine lobster. Whole Foods recently said that it will stop selling lobster from the Gulf of Maine at hundreds of its stores around the country. The company cited decisions by a pair of sustainability organizations to take away their endorsements of the U.S. lobster fishing industry. The organizations, Marine Stewardship Council and Seafood Watch, both cited concerns about risks to rare North Atlantic right whales from fishing gear. Entanglement in gear is one of the biggest threats to the whales.

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Shoppers eager to start holiday shopping but weighed down by inflation are hunting for the best deals at stores and online this Black Friday. Retailers that had offered mostly lackluster discounts earlier in the season responded this week with new bargains. Elevated prices for food, rent, gasoline and other household costs have taken a toll on shoppers. As a result, many are reluctant to spend unless there is a big sale and are being more selective with what they will buy — in many cases, trading down to cheaper stuff and less expensive stores. Shoppers are also dipping more into their savings, turning increasingly to “buy now, pay later” services that allow users to pay for items in installments. They are also running up their credit cards.

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The co-owner of Colorado Springs’ Club Q said that anti-LGBTQ hate has evolved from prejudice to incitement. In one of his first interviews since Saturday night’s mass shooting, Nic Grzecka told the Associated Press that politicians calling transgender people “groomers” breeds violence. Grzecka built Club Q into an enclave that sustained the LGBTQ community in the conservative-leaning Colorado Springs. On Saturday, a shooter killed five and injured 17 in Club Q. Grzecka and community leaders are working to reconstitute an LGBTQ support system to facilitate healing.

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As tens of thousands leave Hong Kong for new lives abroad, many are craving a flavor from childhood that’s become a symbol of the city’s culture: the heavy, sweet milk tea served at diner-like restaurants called cha chaan tengs. Emigrants are seeking out the drink in cafes abroad, and going to classes to learn to brew it themselves. Exiled activist Lee Ka-wai said that immersing himself at a Hong Kong-style cafe in London with a cup of milk tea is a luxury. The drink is so beloved that members of Hong Kong’s protest movement have called themselves part of a “Milk Tea Alliance” with activists from Taiwan, Thailand, and Myanmar, who drink similar beverages.

South Korean automaker Hyundai has announced a second large supplier for its new electric car plant on the Georgia coast. Officials say Hyundai Mobis plans to invest nearly $1 billion in a new facility in Bryan County that could employ around 1,500 workers. The plant in Richmond Hill will make powertrains for Hyundai’s electric vehicles manufactured at its new plant scheduled to open in 2025 west of Savannah. It will also make components for a Kia plant in West Point and another Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama.

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The company that assembles Apple Inc.’s iPhones has apologized for a pay dispute that set off employee protests at a factory where anti-virus controls have slowed production. Employees complained Foxconn Technology Group changed the terms of wages offered to attract them to the factory in the central city of Zhengzhou. Foxconn is trying to rebuild its workforce after employees walked out over complaints about unsafe conditions. Foxconn blamed a “technical error” while adding new employees and promised they would receive the wages they were promised. During the protests this week, police beat and kicked employees at the factory. The dispute comes as the ruling Communist Party tries to contain a surge in infections without shutting down factories.

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Ford is recalling over 634,000 SUVs worldwide because a cracked fuel injector can spill fuel or leak vapors onto a hot engine and cause fires. The recall covers Bronco Sport and Escape SUVs from the 2020 through 2023 model years with 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engines. But the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker says it’s not recommending that owners stop driving the vehicles or park them outdoors. That's because fires are rare and generally don’t happen when the engines are off. Dealers will update engine-control software so it detects a cracked injector. Drivers will get a dashboard message to get service. They’ll also install a tube to drain fuel from the cylinder head and away from hot surfaces.

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While Black Friday will mark a return to familiar holiday shopping patterns, uncertainty still remains. The U.S. job market remains strong, consumer spending is resilient and inflation has been slowing. But elevated prices for food, rent, gasoline and other household costs have taken a toll on shoppers. As a result, many are reluctant to spend unless there is a big sale and are being more selective with what they will buy — in many cases, trading down to cheaper stuff and less expensive stores. Shoppers are also dipping more into their savings, turning increasingly to “buy now, pay later” services, as well as running up their credit cards. Such financial hardships could help drive shoppers to look for bargains.

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Asian shares are higher, although optimism about the Federal Reserve holding back on aggressive interest rate hikes was countered by some uncertainty about coronavirus restrictions in China. Trading was also relatively muted in Asia ahead of Thanksgiving holidays in the U.S. U.S. futures were higher while oil prices edged lower. Benchmarks rose in early trading in Japan, Australia and South Korea. Oil prices fell. Stocks closed higher on Wall Street following the release of the minutes from the Fed's most recent policy meeting, which showed officials agreed smaller rate hikes would likely be appropriate “soon.”

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Police beat workers protesting over a pay dispute at the biggest factory for Apple’s iPhone, whose new model is delayed by controls imposed as China tries to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases. Foxconn is struggling to fill orders for the iPhone 14 after thousands of employees walked away from the factory in the central city of Zhengzhou last month following complaints about unsafe working conditions. China’s status as an export powerhouse is based on factories like Foxconn’s that produce the world’s consumer electronics, toys and other goods. The ruling Communist Party is trying to contain the latest wave of outbreaks without shutting down factories and the rest of its economy as it did in early 2020.

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Connecticut state legislators are returning to the Capitol to consider extending the soon-to-expire gas tax holiday, increase funding for pandemic payments to essential workers and vote on other initiatives to help residents cope with rising costs. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont issued the first executive order of his second term on Wednesday and called the General Assembly into special session on Monday. Connecticut’s 25-cent-per-gallon gas tax has been suspended since April 1 and is currently scheduled to resume on Nov. 30. Lamont wants legislators to continue the suspension of the full 25 cents through Dec. 31 before incrementally scaling back the tax relief at five cents per month, beginning Jan. 1.

A Mississippi-based company that had become one of the largest furniture businesses in the country has laid off nearly its entire workforce. United Furniture Industries sent a memo via email and text to workers late Monday night informing them not to report to their shifts Tuesday. Approximately 2,700 workers lost their jobs. Most of the workers live in northeast Mississippi, but the company also laid off employees at its North Carolina and California plants. The memo said the layoffs were made at the instruction of the company’s board of directors and were due to “unforeseen business circumstances.”

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The U.S. government says it will detain all imports of sugar and related products made in the Dominican Republic by the country's largest sugar producer amid allegations that it uses forced labor. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a written statement Wednesday that an investigation found Central Romana Corporation, Ltd. allegedly isolated workers, withheld wages, fostered abusive working and living conditions and pushed for excessive overtime. A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately return a message for comment. The company has long faced these types of accusations.

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Consumers holding out for big deals — and some much-needed relief from soaring costs on just about everything — may be disappointed as they head into the busiest shopping season of the year. While retailers are advertising sales of 50%, 60% and 70% off everything from TVs to gadgets, many items will still cost more than they did last year because of inflation and finding a true bargain may prove to be a challenge. From September through October, shoppers paid roughly 18% more for electronics and appliances than they did a year ago, according to analytics company DataWeave. For toys, they paid nearly 3% more.

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Pandemic rebooking issues drove many air passengers to book directly with airlines instead of third-party travel sites. While ancillary fees have become a major part of airline revenue over the past 15 years, airlines have more recently ramped up efforts to drive revenue from add-on fees. Customers could end up paying more when booking directly with airlines because of the aggressive push toward extra upgrades, combined with seat selection and baggage fees. Online travel agencies such as Expedia and Kayak may help travelers save money because they offer better comparison shopping, which helps travelers choose the lowest overall cost, not just the lowest base cost.

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Asian shares have risen after solid earnings pushed retailers higher on Wall Street ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. Benchmarks rose in Hong Kong, Seoul and Sydney but fell in Shanghai. Markets were closed in Japan for a holiday. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand raised its benchmark rate by three-quarters of a point to 4.25%. On Tuesday, the S&P 500 rose 1.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 1.2%. The Nasdaq composite added 1.4%. Treasury yields slipped. Best Buy soared more than 12% after the Minneapolis-based consumer electronics chain did better than analysts expected and said a decline in sales for the year will not be as bad as it had projected earlier.

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In the mostly conservative city of Colorado Springs, Club Q has long been a go-to spot for members of the LGBTQ community — a safe space where many felt they could just be themselves. But that was shattered this weekend when a gunman entered the club as people were drinking and dancing, killing five people and injuring 25 others. As the community mourns the lives lost, many are also grieving because it happened in a place that has become a sanctuary for many longing to fit in. Stoney Roberts, a nonbinary trans person, says they came of age at Club Q, and it has been a place where LGBTQ people "can take a deep breath and you can be your authentic self.”

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State officials say the operator of an Orlando amusement park ride from which a Missouri teenager fell to his death should pay a $250,000 fine and can never hold a ride permit in Florida again. Fourteen-year-old Tyre Sampson fell from the 400-foot drop tower ride operated by Orlando Slingshot in March. Nikki Fried, the state commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, said Tuesday that the state wants to ensure this doesn't happen to anyone else. An autopsy ruled Tyre's death accidental. He was well over the maximum recommended weight for the ride. A report by outside engineers found sensors had been adjusted manually to double the size of the opening for restraints on two seats, resulting in the teen not being properly secured.

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Atlantic City’s casinos have seen their third-quarter profitability decrease by more than 13% compared with a year ago, but there is encouraging news in figures released Tuesday by New Jersey gambling regulators. The nine casinos collectively surpassed their level of profitability in the third quarter of 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic broke out. And six of the nine individual casinos were more profitable this quarter than they were during the same period in 2019. The casinos posted a collective gross operating profit of $269.2 million in the third quarter of this year.

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American consumers and nearly every industry will be affected if freight trains grind to a halt next month. One of the biggest rail unions rejected its deal Monday over concerns about demanding schedules and the lack of paid sick time. The U.S. hasn't seen an extended rail strike in a century. Many businesses only have a few days’ worth of raw materials and space for finished goods. If a strike goes past a few days, makers of food, fuel, cars and chemicals would all feel the squeeze, as would their customers. That’s not to mention the commuters who would be left stranded because many passenger railroads use tracks owned by the freight railroads.

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A Wisconsin company that cleans hundreds of meatpacking plants nationwide is defending itself against allegations that it employed more than two dozen minors working overnight shifts cleaning massive saws and other dangerous equipment. Labor Department officials said in court documents that they believe Packers Sanitation Services Inc. might be employing underage workers at other plants but investigators have only just starting reviewing thousands of pages of employee records at plants besides the ones in Nebraska and Minnesota where they confirmed teenagers were working. A judge already issued a temporary order prohibiting the company from employing minors and interfering in the investigation. The company says it's cooperating and already prohibits hiring anyone younger than 18.

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Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street sank and Chinese anti-virus controls fueled concern about an economic slowdown. Shanghai and Hong Kong declined while Tokyo advanced. Oil prices gained. Wall Street declined for another day after a Federal Reserve official rattled investors last week by saying already-elevated interest rates might have to go higher than expected to stop surging inflation. Traders worry repeated rate hikes by the Fed and other central banks might tip the global economy into recession. In China, expanding restrictions on millions of people in multiple cities to fight virus outbreaks are adding to concern the world’s second-largest economy might weaken.

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Tennessee officials have announced plans to invest $3.2 billion to develop a cathode materials plant for electric vehicle batteries. The manufacturing facility will be built in Clarksville, Tennessee and create more than 850 jobs, according to a memorandum of understanding signed by the state of Tennessee and South Korea-based LG Chem. Construction will begin next year with the goal to start mass production in 2025. Once operational, the goal is to produce 120,000 tons of cathode battery materials annually — or enough to power 1.2 million electric vehicle batteries.

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