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Black Friday delivers retail sales boost

Black Friday delivers retail sales boost

Business
Black Friday helped retail sales grow by a better-than-expected 1.1% last month, official figures show.Electrical household appliances were a key factor in boosting sales.The figures appeared to allay some of the gloom surrounding the high street as rising inflation eats into household income, shaking consumer confidence.The growth reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) beat the average expectation of economists that sales volumes compared to the previous month would increase by just 0.4%.ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy said: "Household goods stores had a good November, with a number of businesses saying that Black Friday promotions boosted sales."The 1.1% growth in November was the strongest monthly figure since April. The ONS also revised up October's reading from 0.3%...
First black astronaut honored on 50th anniversary of death

First black astronaut honored on 50th anniversary of death

Technology
America's first black astronaut, Air Force Maj. Robert Lawrence Jr., finally got full honors Friday on the 50th anniversary of his death. Several hundred people gathered at Kennedy Space Center to commemorate Lawrence, who almost certainly would have gone on to fly in space had he not died in a plane crash on Dec. 8, 1967. The crowd included NASA dignitaries, astronauts, fellow Omega Psi Phi fraternity members, schoolchildren, and relatives of Lawrence and other astronauts who have died in the line of duty. Lawrence was part of a classified military space program in the 1960s called the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, meant to spy on the Soviet Union. He died when his F-104 Starfighter crashed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. He was 32. Astronauts at Friday's two-hour ceremony said La...
Astronomers observe most-distant supermassive black hole yet discovered

Astronomers observe most-distant supermassive black hole yet discovered

Science
Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Astronomers have spied the most-distant supermassive black hole yet discovered using the Magellan Telescopes at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile.The black hole is positioned at the center of a quasar, the massive, highly luminous accretion disks found at the center of many galaxies. The quasar's light traveled some 13 billion light-years before reaching the Magellan Telescopes.The new observations -- detailed in the journal Nature -- reveal the black hole as it was just 690 million years after the birth of the universe.Scientists were surprised by the black hole's tremendous mass, 800 million times the mass of the sun."Gathering all this mass in fewer than 690 million years is an enormous challenge for theories of supermassive black hole growth," Eduardo Bañados, an as
Farthest monster black hole found

Farthest monster black hole found

Science
Astronomers have discovered the most distant "supermassive" black hole known to science.The matter-munching sinkhole is a whopping 13 billion light-years away, so far that we see it as it was a mere 690 million years after the Big Bang.But at about 800 million times the mass of our Sun, it managed to grow to a surprisingly large size such a short time after the origin of the Universe.The find is described in the journal Nature.This relic from the early Universe is busily devouring material at the centre of a galaxy - marking it out as a so-called quasar. Matter, such as gas, falling onto the black hole will form an ultra-hot mass of material around it known as an accretion disk. "Quasars are among the brightest and most distant known celestial objects and are crucial to understanding the e...
How much? Richest man's big Black Friday boost

How much? Richest man's big Black Friday boost

Business
For most shoppers, Black Friday is a chance to save some pennies by landing a bargain.But as most of us rummage for deals, one man has come out on top - by several billion dollars.On Friday, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos became the only person with a $ 100bn (£75bn) fortune, seeing his wealth creep up by $ 2.4bn thanks to a 2% jump in Amazon's shares.Mr Bezos is the first person to hit that level since Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in 1999.Image:Bill Gates was the last person to get to $ 100bn in 1999The increase, to $ 100.3bn, is thanks in part to the clamour for Black Friday deals - Amazon shares have gone up 5% this week alone.Online sales for Black Friday are up 18.4% from last year, while the projected final spend is $ 5bn, according to Adobe Analytics.:: How to avoid getting ripped off