More than 2,000 flights were delayed Saturday and at least 700 Sunday as powerful winter storms swept across the United States, causing travel headaches for millions heading home after the Thanksgiving holiday. The main driver was a transcontinental storm that began as a bomb cyclone (what is that?) in the Pacific Northwest Tuesday and proceeded to dump snow slowly - multiple feet in some spots - across 30 states. California's Big Bear Lake saw 48 inches, Sun Valley, Idaho recorded 20 inches, and Cornucopia, Wisconsin was covered by 26 inches (see more). The powerful storm, having moved through the Great Lakes yesterday evening, is on course to collide with a nor'easter, which will combine to drop a foot of snow or more in upstate New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut into Tuesday.
Live in the Northeast? Check out the latest updates here.
Iraqi Prime Minister Resigns
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi submitted his resignation to parliament over the weekend, stepping down in the face of increasingly violent demonstrations that have rocked the country since the beginning of October. More than 400 people have been killed and at least 15,000 injured, including at least 30 killed Friday in the southern city of Nasiriya when Iraqi security forces opened fire on crowds. Organizers have made effective use of social media to coordinate marches across the country, leading the government to repeatedly shut down internet access. Catalyzed by an economic crisis - the poverty rate is near 25% despite record levels of oil output - the demonstrations have evolved to focus on corruption and foreign interference. Fueling those allegations are recently leaked documents revealing extensive infiltration of the Iraqi government by Iran.
Protests have gripped much of the Middle East. Are we seeing a new Arab Spring? Experts say it's complicated.
Black Friday Shifts (Further) Online
Consumers stayed home and splurged on Black Friday, according to estimates that revealed a record $7.4B in online sales on what is considered to be one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The mark fell short of estimates ($7.6B) but represented a 19.6% increase from 2018 and came on top of more than $4B in online purchases made on Thanksgiving Day. Meanwhile, more people visited brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving evening than last year, but in-store visits on Black Friday dropped by more than 6%. Traditional retailers like Walmart and Target - often chasing online behemoth Amazon - turned in strong performances when combining in-store and online sales. Sales today are expected to break Cyber Monday records at $9.4B and estimates for the entire holiday shopping season are expected to grow by 4%, almost reaching $731B.
> "Frozen 2" breaks all-time Thanksgiving Day weekend box office record, bringing in $123M over five days (More) | ...and the film helps Disney cross $3.2B domestically in 2019, topping its own 2018 industry record of $3.1B (More)
> Former Heisman Trophy winner and longtime college football coach Pat Sullivan dies at 69 (More) | Irving Burgie, calypso music legend and "Day-O" songwriter, dies at 95 (More)
> Leonardo DiCaprio refutes accusations from Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro of funding the Amazon rainforest fires; Bolsonaro has previously accused nongovernmental organizations of starting the wildfires (More)
Science & Technology
> Strawberry-flavored anti-HIV drugs for children introduced, expected to be marketed at under $1 a day; 80,000 babies and toddlers worldwide die from AIDS each year (More)
> Astronomers find preliminary evidence of a supermassive black hole 68 times the size of the sun, roughly 20% bigger than what is currently believed possible (More)
> United Nations 25th annual Conference of Parties (COP25), the biggest climate change meeting in the world, begins in Madrid with 200 countries in attendance (More)
Business & Markets
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> Amazon workers in six distribution centers in Germany stage walkout on Black Friday (More) > Shares of tech equipment distribution giant Tech Data Corp. up 12% as private equity firm Apollo announces $6B buyout, outbidding Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (More)
> United Auto Workers union and Fiat Chrysler announce tentative agreement for a four-year labor contract (More)
Limited Time: Get 5% cash back at top online retailers for your holiday shopping. With this card pay no interest until 2021 and double your cash back (More) #Ad
Politics & World Affairs
> At least 17 cartel members and four police officers killed during gunbattle just south of US-Mexico border; US considering designating drug cartels as terrorist organizations (More)
> House Intelligence Committee to vote on impeachment inquiry report Tuesday, will send to Judiciary Committee to consider charges (More)
> China suspends US Navy visits to Hong Kong after US passes law requiring annual assessments of city's autonomy from Beijing (More)
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Historybook: RIP abolitionist John Brown (1859); HBD US Environmental Protection Agency (1970); HBD Britney Spears (1981); Benazir Bhutto becomes first female Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988); Colombia drug lord Pablo Escobar is killed (1993).
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"To make peace, one must be an uncompromising leader. To make peace, one must also embody compromise." - Benazir Bhutto
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