NPR's business news begins with a strong showing for retailers. Consumers spent a record $52.4 billion at stores and on the Internet over the weekend. It's the official start of the holiday shopping season. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers hunting for Black Friday bargains spent an average of about $400 each, which is a big jump over last year.
The new movie "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" made more money at the box office over the holiday weekend, beating new releases like "The Muppets" and "Arthur Christmas." Now, going to the movies is fun, but for some fans it's not enough to simply watch the action. They want an interactive experience. In fact, they want to be the stars. NPR's Travis Larchuk explains.
TRAVIS LARCHUK}, BYLINE: All right. So here's a scene from the movie "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World."
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD")
Britain opted out of the euro, but it's by no means protected from the eurozone troubles. Declining demand on the continent means fewer British exports. The picture is particularly bleak in places like Hull — a dreary port city with the highest rate of youth unemployment in Britain.
Egyptians in Cairo and Alexandria are among those voting today in the first stage of parliamentary elections. These are the first elections since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted. Two other stages are scheduled for December and January.
The Democratic Republic of Congo holds elections for president and parliament Monday. These are the second elections since a long dictatorship ended in 1997. Elections held in 2006 represented a transition to democracy.
The dream of high speed rail in California is running into tough realities. Cost estimates have more than doubled — to nearly $100 billion — since the project was approved by voters in 2008. The date of completion has been pushed back to 2030.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sets off for Asia Monday, and part of her trip will see her as the first U.S. secretary of state to visit Myanmar – formerly known as Burma.
Secretary Clinton says she's going to Myanmar to test the waters to see how committed the country's new leader is to reforms. She'll also meet with Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is rejoining the political process in the country and who has been guiding U.S. policy, according to activist Aung Din.