Indiana Women’s Basketball Moves Up to No. 13 in AP Poll

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana women’s basketball has moved up three spots in the Associated Press top-25 poll this week, improving to the No. 13 team in the country.

This comes after Indiana’s first game of the season in which they defeated Eastern Kentucky 100-51.

Junior Grace Berger recorded the first triple-double in program history with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Berger was named Big Ten Player of the Week for her performance.

Indiana is now the top ranked Big Ten team in the top 25, with Maryland and Northwestern not far behind.

The Hoosiers are one of five Big Ten teams in the top 25. The Hoosiers will play its second game on Thursday, Dec. 3, against Samford in Assembly Hall.

Below is the full top 25:

1. South Carolina

2. Stanford

3. UConn

4. Baylor

5. Louisville

6. Mississippi State

7. Arizona

8. NC State

9. UCLA

10. Oregon

11. Kentucky

12. Texas A&M

13. Indiana

14. Maryland

15. Northwestern

16. Arkansas

17. Oregon State

18. Gonzaga

19. Ohio State

20. DePaul

21. Missouri State

22. Syracuse

23. Iowa State

24. Michigan

25. Texas

Others receiving votes: 

South Dakota St. 31, North Carolina 24, South Dakota 20, Notre Dame 20, Arizona St. 10, Wake Forest 9, Ohio 6, South Florida 1, Boston College 1, Tennessee 1, Rutgers 1, Duke 1.

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Online shopping set a Black Friday record as consumers stayed home.

This year’s Black Friday looked nothing like a usual one. Crowds at suburban malls and city shopping districts were comparatively sparse. With the coronavirus touching virtually every corner of the United States, social distancing, restrictions on business activity and health concerns kept many people home.

They shopped online, however.

According to Adobe Analytics, which scans 80 percent of online transactions across the top 100 U.S. web retailers, consumers spent $9 billion on Friday. That’s a 21.6 percent increase over Black Friday in 2019 and the second-biggest number for online retailers Adobe has ever tracked. In the four days from Thanksgiving through Sunday, consumers spent $23.5 billion online, a 23 percent increase over last year, according to Adobe.

Another research firm, Facteus, which monitors millions of debit and credit card payments made in the United States, found that department stores’ in-person sales fell significantly on Friday, but that their online sales spiked. The firm found a similar pattern for electronics retailers.

And Friday’s online sales surge is expected to be outdone on Monday, which is Cyber Monday, a promotional event concocted in 2005 when most retailers still offered deep discounts online.

A large portion of consumer spending moved online long before the pandemic, but the global health crisis is accelerating that trend. About 59 percent of shoppers had started their holiday shopping by early November this year, the National Retail Federation estimated.

During earnings calls this month, several retail executives said that they were uncertain about how much holiday shopping had actually been done in October and early November thanks to promotions that started well before Halloween. Matthew Bilunas, chief financial officer at Best Buy, said “it’s really difficult to predict exactly how much was pulled into” the third quarter.

Most retailers operate on a calendar where the fourth quarter starts in November and ends in January, in part to fully capture the holiday shopping season.

“We think it’s going to be a prolonged shopping season,” Brian Cornell, chief executive of Target, said on a separate call. “We’re going to see very different shopping patterns. We don’t expect to see those big spikes during Black Friday and on weekends.”

The holiday shopping season comes at a critical moment for the U.S. economy, which is struggling again as the number of coronavirus cases surges with colder weather in many parts of the country. Millions of people are still out of work or have been forced into part-time employment. Overall consumer spending, which drives as much as two-thirds of economic activity, has slowed in recent months along with the expiration of some emergency government spending programs.

Sapna Maheshwari contributed reporting.

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Online Shopping, Virus in Winter, Stock Market: Your Monday Evening Briefing

(Want to get this newsletter in your inbox? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. The holiday shopping season started with a bang. But only online.

Consumers spent $9 billion on the web on Friday, a 21.6 percent increase over Black Friday in 2019. The surge in online sales is expected to be outdone today during Cyber Monday, a promotional event that internet retailers concocted in 2005.

Physical stores, however, appear to have had more of a “bleak Friday.” A large portion of consumer spending had moved online long before the pandemic, but the global health crisis is accelerating that trend.

The holiday shopping season comes at a critical moment for the U.S. economy, which is struggling again as the number of coronavirus cases is soaring amid colder weather.

3. Republicans kept up their challenges to the election.

On Dec. 8, the nation’s voting results will be considered final.

Still, in the past week, Republicans have made last-ditch efforts to halt or reverse the certification process in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin (which approved its results today, as did Arizona). Above, Joe Biden campaigning in Wisconsin in September.

There are also two federal lawsuits pending in Michigan and Georgia courts. And Republicans have at least one path to the nation’s highest court: After the Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday rejected their attempts to stop or reverse the certification of Pennsylvania’s results, President Trump’s lawyers vowed to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider the case.


4. U.S. markets ended November with large gains.

Even with a small decline today, the S&P 500 jumped by 10.8 percent in November, its best monthly showing since April and the fourth-best month for the index in 30 years. The Dow Jones industrial average posted its biggest monthly gain since 1987.

Bitcoin, too, achieved a record. The price of the cryptocurrency hit $19,850.11, nearly three years after its last high. Bitcoin has soared since March, after sinking below $4,000 at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

But in one of the biggest retail collapses in Britain since the start of the pandemic, Arcadia Group, the company that includes the Topshop clothing chain, has gone into administration, a form of bankruptcy.


A ruling for the Trump administration would upend the agreement that the Census Bureau must count all residents, whatever their immigration status, which has governed the count for more than two centuries.

The decision could shift political power from Democratic states and districts to areas that are older, whiter and typically more Republican.


6. An army of angry farmers is encircling New Delhi.

The tens of thousands of

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Mando Mondays week 6 delivers new Mandalorian apparel and accessories

The Mandalorian continues to get new merchandise and products with week 6 of Mando Monday.

Disney and Lucasfilm continue to use Mando Monday to announce and share new products and merchandise based on the hit Disney+ series, The Mandalorian. With us getting into the thick of Season 2, more and more content is coming from Disney and its partnered manufacturers. Now in week 6 of Mando Monday, there is a solid batch of new Mandalorian and Star Wars themed, goodies for the most dedicated of fans. 

Week 6 of Mando Monday got its proper reveal on the official Star Wars website on Monday, November 30. This week goes heavy on apparel, with plenty of clothes and accessories for fans to sport their Mandalorian pride. First up, we see a T-shirt themed around the villainous Moff Gideon. On the shirt, Gideon is holding the darksaber, which we see him use in the final episode of the show’s first season. The shirt also has the phrase “long live the empire” a common saying that comes into play during Season 2.

A personal favorite from this batch of new products, Invicta has partnered with Disney and Lucasfilm to create some Mandalorian-themed watches. These analog watches come with a few unique face designs, including the beskar helmet, mythosaur skull symbol, and the armorer. 

Of course, there’s still some traditional collectibles featured in the latest Mando Monday offerings. A new Funko Pop figure envisions the titular Mandalorian with his blaster, with a shiny red recolor. This Funko is sold exclusively by target.

If you’ve missed some of the other products revealed during past Mando Mondays, visit the Shacknews topic page dedicated to The Mandalorian. Be sure to check back with us next week as we’ll be unpacking the latest announcements in Mando Monday week 7.

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom’s desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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This holiday season, everyone is shopping from home

The viral pandemic is accelerating a transformation of America’s holiday shopping season

NEW YORK — The viral pandemic is accelerating a transformation of America’s holiday shopping season.

Few people showed up at the mall this weekend, with millions of pandemic-wary shoppers staying home to shop online.

The result? Overall holiday sales are projected to rise a slight 0.9% in November and December — and even that modest gain will be due to an explosion in online shopping, according to the research firm eMarketer. It expects online sales to jump nearly 36%, while sales at physical stores fall 4.7%.

The online rush was on fully display Monday, known as Cyber Monday, a day of sales promoted by retailers back in 2005. Once the final numbers are tallied up, this year’s Cyber Monday is projected to become the biggest online shopping day in American history.

Here’s how this holiday shopping season is shaping up:

“BLEAK FRIDAY”

Black Friday, typically the frenzied kick-off of the holiday shopping season, was eerily quiet this year. Health officials had warned shoppers to stay home, and stores followed suit by putting their best deals online to discourage crowds.

Half as many people shopped inside stores this Black Friday than last year, according to retail data company Sensormatic Solutions.

“Black Friday was really Bleak Friday,” says David Bassuk, a member of the retail practice at the consulting firm AlixPartners.

Online was a decidedly different story. Sales hit a record $9 billion on Black Friday — up a sharp 22% from last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online shopping.

CYBER MONDAY STILL ON TOP

Even though shoppers had access to weeks of online deals, many held out for bargains that they could get only on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Amazon offered 30% off on board games and discounts on many of its gadgets. Target had 40% off Legos and robot vacuums for $75 off.

Cyber Monday is expected to generate as much as $12.7 billion in sales — a 35% jump from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics.

SHIPPING SLOWDOWN

A big unknown hanging over the shopping season is this: Will retailers and shippers be able to deliver all those online orders in time for Christmas? Retailers have been warning shoppers to buy early this year, because with far more people shopping online during the pandemic, shippers may become overwhelmed with packages to deliver.

Prolonged delays could send people back to physical stores closer to Christmas, if many people eventually decide that old-fashioned stores are a more reliable way to obtain their gifts on time, said Charlie O’Shea, a retail analyst at Moody’s.

MORE CURBSIDE PICKUP

Curbside pickup, in which people order online and pick up at a store’s parking lot, is becoming a popular option for those who want their gifts right away or who fear that they won’t

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Illinois mayor Steve Chirico shamed for maskless wedding

A bride holds a bouquet

A bride holds a bouquet

KRT/Miami Herald file

We all miss travel, and people and friends, and doing actual things that involve standing less than six feet from other humans without a face covering.

But experts in the science and medical community are telling us not to, at least for the time being. So that’s why those who are in the public eye who partake in maskless celebrations get duly roasted.

The latest politician to be COVID shamed is Steve Chirico, mayor of Naperville, Illinois.

Last weekend, Chirico apparently attended his daughter’s wedding in Naples, Florida, and even posted a picture smiling ear to ear maskless with a group of other nonmasked folks, including one child.

Who brought his pandemic-related misdeeds to light? The mayor’s very own niece, who was either not invited, or just decided not to go.

“I can’t believe I have to say this but if you are HAVING A WEDDING THIS WEEKEND WITH UNMASKED PEOPLE IN ATTENDANCE something is wrong with you!!!!” blasted food blogger Kristen Chirico of the controversial snap of her uncle.

As the post quickly spread, many commenters were surprised the journalist would rat out her own family.

“I actually don’t need to protect these people, because they don’t think they’ve done anything wrong,” she fumed. “Maybe they’ll be mad but also maybe we might save some lives so I’m willing to roll the dice on this.”

A Naperville woman Holly Hootman retweeted Chirico’s rant with the snap in question and called him out because he recently proposed a mask mandate.

The mayor later sent out a statement defending his actions.

“My family and I all took COVID tests and tested negative prior to traveling to Florida this weekend for my daughter Jenna’s wedding,” it said. “It was an outdoor wedding and reception with a total of 53 guests. Upon my return to Naperville, I will be quarantining and testing again.”

It was unclear the following Monday if Chirico or any guests had since tested positive for coronavirus. Florida’s Department of Health confirmed 6,659 additional cases, pushing the Sunshine State closer to the one-million mark.

Celebrity/real time news reporter Madeleine Marr has been with The Miami Herald since 2003. She has covered such features as travel, fashion and food. In 2007, she helped launch the newspaper’s daily People Page, attending red carpet events, awards ceremonies and press junkets; interviewing some of the biggest names in show business; and hosting her own online show. She is originally from New York City and has two daughters.

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Five Takeaways From Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto

Faced with the pandemic this year, the biennial Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO) chose to go virtual this time around—but if you’re thinking that meant just a handful of live-streamed runway shows, you’re greatly mistaken. Held from November 26 to 29, IFWTO drew in some of the biggest names in Indigenous fashion—including designers such as Evan Ducharme, Lesley Hampton, and streetwear brands such as Mobilize and Section 35. Now in its second year, it’s become more than a week of catwalks, and instead, a multi-platform experience, complete with special short films, a shoppable marketplace, and even live panel discussions. 

IFWTO is currently one of the biggest showcases of Indigenous design in North America. The event provides a much-needed space for underrepresented talent to showcase their work on a large scale, all of whom challenge preconceived notions of what Indigenous design is and can be. Whether it’s streetwear or accessories, these designers—from a variety of tribes—all infused their work with messages of maintaining tradition and practicing sustainability. 

This mindful spirit is what sets apart IFWTO from other fashion weeks, says Sage Paul, IFWTO’s founder and artistic director. “It’s based in community, and our connections to our way of life,” says Paul, who is Denesuliné. “Everything I know about being Native is from family, so it’s really important to recognize where we’ve come from, and recognize the people who pass things on to us. We are a fashion week, but it’s also about bringing people together.” Unabated by the pandemic, the fashion week is gaining traction, fast. “It’s growing much quicker than we had expected,” says Paul. “I hope that we are not only this incredible platform for designers to be able to show and sell their work, but also so that consumers can do their own research and find really cool stuff.”  

Below, the five need-to-know takeaways from this year’s Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto.

1. The presentation formats were unconventional. 

Over 15 Indigenous designers participated in the IFWTO “shows” this year. Their new collections were shown via short films created and directed by IFWTO, with each film featuring their pieces worn by models. The models didn’t just walk down a catwalk, rather moved around a special set in the clothes to choreography done by the Indigenous dancer Brian Solomon. “We still wanted it to feel like they were at IFTWO,” says Paul of the nontraditional format. “We still want people to feel like they’re going to a live show and that there was a vibe. We watch so much online, and we really wanted to lift people up and [have them] be excited about what they’re seeing.” The films are available to view on IFWTO’s YouTube page. 

2. Collections were rooted in tradition.

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‘Bleak Friday’ for Stores as Pandemic Pushes Holiday Shopping Online

The 2020 edition of Black Friday did not offer the usual scenes of bustling stores and shoppers lined up outside discount chains and electronics retailers. Instead, most people bought online, if they bought at all.

Crowds at malls and city shopping districts were relatively sparse over the holiday weekend in the face of rising coronavirus cases and warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid large groups. Major chains closed on Thanksgiving, after years of being open that day. And many Americans did their shopping before the weekend even began, drawn by sales that began in October.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley estimated that retailers’ overall Black Friday sales fell 20 percent from last year, based on early reports of drops in store foot traffic and increases in online sales. Consumers spent $9 billion online on Friday, a 21.6 increase from last year and the second-biggest figure for online retailers ever, according to Adobe Analytics, which scans 80 percent of online transactions across the top 100 U.S. web retailers. The firm said online sales rose to $23.5 billion in the four-day Thanksgiving-to-Sunday period, up 23 percent from last year.

“This wasn’t a Black Friday, it was a bleak Friday in stores,” said David Bassuk, global co-head of the retail practice at AlixPartners, a consulting firm. “It is such a stark contrast to past years. The stores were really ghost towns.”

The early results from the weekend, which has traditionally kicked off holiday shopping in the United States, show how the season is being upended by the pandemic. Major retailers started offering deals well before Halloween, a shift that was amplified by Amazon’s decision to hold its annual Prime Day event in the middle of October. Consumers have been encouraged to shop early to avoid shipping delays. Chains have replicated deals once limited to stores on their websites and canceled visits with Santa Claus to minimize crowds.

Americans were already spending online before the pandemic, but the crisis has accelerated the trend. About 59 percent of shoppers had started their holiday shopping by early November this year, the National Retail Federation estimated. Shopper foot traffic declined by 52 percent on Friday, according to data from Sensormatic Solutions.

“The ability to pull the holiday forward may linger with us,” said Simeon Siegel, a retail analyst at BMO Capital Markets. “It’s been a long time since Black Friday was simply three hours in the morning on Friday. Black Friday was already stretched into early November, it just happened to make it into October as well.”

During earnings calls in November, several retail executives said they were uncertain about how much holiday shopping had actually been done in October and early November. Matthew Bilunas, chief financial officer at Best Buy, said “it’s really difficult to predict exactly how much was pulled into” the third quarter.

Most retailers operate on a calendar where the fourth quarter starts in November and ends in January, in part to fully capture the holiday shopping season.

“We

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RAM, LDV importer mounts big accessories push

Big suppliers sign on to Ateco’s new Upfitter outlet for RAM, Chevy, Ford trucks and more

More than 40 aftermarket accessory brands have signed on to a new initiative from RAM and LDV importer Ateco Group, which has developed an online store called Upfitter that is targeting Australian ute and SUV owners.

Whether it’s bull bars or spot lights, roof racks or suspension lift kits, big-name brands such as Warn, Husky, WeatherTech and many more are involved in the new e-commerce site, which is designed to cater for not only Ateco brands – vehicles such as the RAM 1500 and 2500, and the LDV T60 ute – but others including Ford and Chevrolet.

The move is clearly designed to cash in on the booming aftermarket accessories sector in Australia, as well as direct more business through Ateco’s 170-strong dealer network and servicing points which can fit the accessories.

Ateco claims its research and development team spent the past two years in the US to better understand the scale and capabilities of existing accessories before it decided to launch locally.

Upfitter’s chief operating officer, David Smitherman, says gaining local traction for Australian accessory manufacturers can be difficult.

“Upfitter allows them to have national exposure and significant fitment coverage, so we welcome the opportunity to represent them,” Smitherman said.

“Camping, off-roading, road trips and fishing adventures – these are all activities rooted deep in Australian culture and require fit-for-purpose accessories. If the product comes from Upfitter, it means it’s an accessory we’ve tested and loved.”

Ateco said the business is split between interior, exterior and performance hubs, covering “everything from antennas to fuel locks, floor mats to bed steps, lighting to suspension lifts” and that “this range is being added to daily”.

The company said that alongside universal fitment accessories, there are specific products for Ford, Chevrolet, LDV and RAM vehicles, with additional brands and vehicle types to be added early in 2021.

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Melania Trump unveils 2020 White House holiday decorations

This comes on the heels of Trump being labeled a Christmas grump after her stunning “Who gives a f— about the Christmas stuff and decorations?” comment to former East Wing adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. The taped conversation, secretly recorded in 2018 and released in October, created a major stir.

Nevermind. The first lady carried on with her duties, and this year she’s dished up decorations that aptly reflect her patriotic theme, including ornaments in the Library that honor the anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and, in the State Dining Room, a gingerbread replica of the White House, including the recently renovated Rose Garden. The official White House Christmas tree, in the Blue Room, features more than 160 pieces of artwork created by students from each state honoring what they think makes their state beautiful.

A Red Room mantel honoring first responders, including a snow-dusted hospital, is a sobering moment in the tour, bringing attention to the pandemic that has killed more than 266,000 Americans.

The White House reported that “more than 125” volunteers worked on the project, and photos shared on the FLOTUS Twitter feed depict some wearing masks while participating in the weekend’s assembly sessions. (In 2018 and 2019, 225 volunteers worked on decorations.)

According to a Nov. 23 article from the Associated Press, the White House is still planning to host a number of holiday parties, despite CDC guidelines indicating that gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading the coronavirus. Stephanie Grisham, first lady Melania Trump’s spokeswoman and chief of staff, told the AP that this year’s holiday events will include smaller guest lists, require masks and encourage social distancing on the White House grounds. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the State Floor.

She told the AP: “Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass-protected food stations. All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food safety guidelines.”

The first lady’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comments on this or questions on how many gatherings were planned.

The 40 towering crimson topiary trees that appeared in the East Colonnade in 2018 (which quickly became known on social media as “the avenue of blood red trees”) this year have been replaced by classical urns filled with “foliage representative of the official tree of each state and territory.”

Certain decorations have become Christmas staples during the Trump era. Be Best ornaments honor the first lady’s children’s initiative. Her “signature wreaths” (pine circles with red bows) made their debut on exterior windows of the White House in 2017 and this year there are 106 wreaths, one adorning each window. The Gold Star Family Tree honoring military families is an annual tradition upon entering through the East Wing, and the 18th century Neapolitan Creche, now in its 53rd year on display at the White House, according to the first lady’s press

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