Thursday morning news – November 26, 2020

Trump Pardons Michael Flynn » President Trump has pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn. 

The president tweeted Wednesday,“It is my Great Honor to announce that General Michael T. Flynn has been granted a Full Pardon.

Flynn initially pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI in 2017. 

But wrongdoing within the FBI later came to light, including evidence that agents may have tried to entrap him. That prompted the Justice Department to drop charges against Flynn. 

Biden calls on Americans to unite and renew fight against virus » President-elect Joe Biden addressed the nation of the eve of Thanksgiving calling for unity, and for Americans to remain vigilant against the coronavirus. 

BIDEN: I know the country has grown weary of the fight, but we need to remember, we’re at war with a virus, not with one another, not with each other. This is the moment when we need to steel our spines, redouble our efforts and recommit ourselves to the fight.

He said that means wearing masks and social distancing until vaccines have had enough time to beat back the virus. 

The first vaccine doses could be just two weeks away, but it will take months to vaccinate enough people to end the pandemic. 

Unemployment claims rise for second week » The number of Americans applying for jobless benefits rose last week for a second straight week. 

Workers filed 778,000 new claims—up 30,000 from the week before. It’s further evidence that the surging coronavirus is once again pressing down on the U.S. economy. 

The total number of people who are continuing to receive traditional state unemployment benefits dropped from 6.4 to 6.1 million. 

That’s due in part to some Americans returning to work. But in other cases, workers simply maxed out their unemployment benefits. 

Retail trade group expects strong Christmas shopping season » Despite lagging jobs numbers, a top retail trade group expects shoppers to open their wallets this holiday season. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The National Retail Federation is expecting a strong Christmas shopping season, with an increase of roughly 3-and-a-half to 5 percent over last year. 

The group says several factors could counteract the economic impact of the pandemic. Among them: a robust stock market, record personal savings rates and growing home values.

The NRF is expecting online holiday sales to top $200 billion for the first time, up from about $169 billion last year. 

President and CEO Matt Shay said “consumers are very engaged” and are “looking for opportunities to celebrate.” He added that “the outlook for the holiday season is very bright.” 

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Gas prices drop over holiday » In another sign of the times, holiday travel and gas prices are down in what is normally the busiest travel week of the year. 

According to AAA, the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded dropped 11 cents over the past week to $1.92. 

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said demand for gas is down. 

LUNDBERG: Because of the employment situation and the increased lockdown. And that’s in spite of a great discount. The current price is 51 cents lower than it was one year ago. 

AAA says the state with the lowest average price right now is Missouri at $1.76 per gallon. 

On the local level, the highest average price is $3.33 a gallon in the San Francisco area, according to the Lundberg Survey. The lowest average price is $1.73 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Macy’s Parade will march on despite pandemic » The show will go on despite the pandemic. 

AUDIO: [Sound of parade 2019] 

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will march and float its way through Manhattan as it has since 1924.

Sounds there from last Thanksgiving.

But this year’s parade will be different in a few ways. First and foremost, no crowd. Officials are telling New Yorkers to stay home and watch from their living rooms. 

And organizers have scrapped the usual 2 ½-mile route through Manhattan. Instead, the parade will roll past TV cameras in a one-block stretch in front of Macy’s flagship Manhattan store. Also, most performers will be locally based to cut down on travel.

The parade will stream on YouTube beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: European leaders rethink their approach to fighting extremism.

Plus, Kim Henderson on an iconic Thanksgiving painting.

This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, departs a federal courthouse after a hearing, Monday, June 24, 2019, in Washington. 

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