Retailers are enjoying some extra Christmas cheer. Fueled by high consumer confidence and a robust job market, U.S. retail sales in the holiday period rose at their best pace since 2011, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and in-store spending. Sales, excluding automobiles, rose 4.9% from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve, compared with a 3.7% gain in the same period last year, according to the Mastercard Inc. unit, which tracks all forms of payment. E-commerce continued to drive the gains, rising 18.1%.
North Korea has described the latest UN sanctions imposed on the country as an "act of war". A foreign ministry statement said the measures were tantamount to a total economic blockade, the official KCNA news agency reported. It added that strengthening North Korea's deterrence was the only way to frustrate the US. ... The US-drafted resolution - unanimously backed by all 15 Security Council members -- includes measures to slash North Korea's petrol imports by up to 90%. North Korea is already subject to a raft of sanctions from the US, the UN and the EU.
I find this one of the better long running Xmas stories...
he Miss America Organization CEO, Sam Haskell, has resigned over leaked emails that disparaged pageant contestants. In a statement, the organisation said it would accept Mr Haskell's immediate resignation. Its chairperson, Lynn Weidner, is also leaving. The emails reportedly include vulgar references to past winners and comments about their sex lives. Former contestants criticised the "appalling" revelations.
President Donald Trump's latest judiciary nominee has withdrawn his name after failing to answer basic legal questions at his Senate confirmation hearing. Video of Matthew Petersen's embarrassing encounter went viral. "It has become clear to me over the last few days that my nomination has become a distraction," Petersen wrote in a letter. Petersen was nominated as a federal judge in the District of Columbia. Trump had accepted his offer to withdraw, the White House said. read more