Friday morning news: November 23, 2018

Holiday shopping season arrives » The Christmas shopping season is upon us. Millions of bargain hunters are packing department stores today.  

An estimated 116 million Americans planned to go holiday shopping today. That according to an annual survey from the National Retail Federation.

Katherine Cullen is director of retail and consumer insights with the NRF. She told Chicago’s WGN radio, with a solid economy, retailers are expecting strong sales this year.

CULLEN: We’re expecting in November and December to see sales of up to $720 billion in retail, and of course, a lot of that is holiday shopping and gifting.

Retailers are trying to get shoppers into their stores, but this year they’re also trying to get them out faster. Some big box stores are trying to cut down on those dreaded long lines. Walmart, Target, and others are sending workers throughout the stores to check out customers with mobile devices. And at stores like Macy’s, shoppers can scan and pay for items on their own smartphones.

President Trump honors tradition of thanking troops Thanksgiving » President Trump and the first lady are spending the holiday weekend at his private resort in South Florida. Prior to his own Thanksgiving dinner, the president served Thanksgiving meals to Coast Guard service members in Florida.

AUDIO: [Sound of Trump and Coast Guard]

He thanked them for their work during recent hurricanes and natural disasters across the U.S.

He also had this message for American troops across the globe in a Thanksgiving teleconference.  

TRUMP: I want to thank you all for serving. Today we thank God for the blessings of having you people be our heroes, and you really are our heroes. And your families are back here and they love you and respect you, and they look forward to you because you’re the ones who keep America safe and strong a free. You do a job like nobody else. 

President Trump also said he plans to visit troops in a combat zone in the near future. He’s taken some criticism of late for not having done so already.

Data show drop in U.S. abortions » New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the number of abortions in the U.S. fell in 2015. That’s the latest year for which data is available.

In fact, the numbers show abortions at their lowest level since Roe v. Wade.

The 2015 numbers show that for every one thousand women aged 15 to 44, 11.8 women had an abortion. That was a 2 percent drop from the year before.

The CDC also showed a sharp decline in teen girls having abortions over the the last decade. The abortion rate among girls age 15 to 19 fell 54 percent from 2006 to 2015.

Overall, the numbers continued a positive trend of abortions slowly dropping since the 1980s.   

Democrats gain ground in House as two more races end » Democrats widened their newfound majority in the House this week. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones reports.

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: Midterm vote counting finally wrapped up in Utah’s suburban 4th District. Democratic Salt Lake City Mayor Ben McAdams defeated Republican incumbent Mia Love by fewer than 700 votes. Love was the first Republican African-American woman in Congress.

Meantime, in New York’s 22nd District near Syracuse, it appears Democrat Anthony Brindisi has unseated GOP Congresswoman Claudia Tenney though she has not yet conceded.

But at least one of the remaining outstanding House races tipped to a Republican. Congressman Rob Woodall will keep his job in Georgia’s suburban 7th District. Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux conceded on Wednesday.

It now appears Democrats will hold at least 234 seats in the House. Republicans will have at least 200.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

Interpol selects new leader » The international law enforcement agency Interpol this week appointed South Korean Kim Jong Yang as its new president. The decision was made during the agency’s annual assembly this week in Dubai attended by most of its 194 member countries. Kim had been serving as acting president after China detained former President Meng Hongwei as part of an anti-corruption sweep in September.

(Warren Dillaway/The Star-Beacon via AP) More than 200 people wait in line to go holiday shopping on Thanksgiving afternoon at the J.C. Penney store Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018, in Ashtabula, Ohio. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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