Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline
Business

Holiday Spending Increased, Defying Fears of a Decline

Despite lingering inflation, Americans increased their spending this holiday season, early data shows. That comes as a big relief for retailers that had spent much of the year fearing the economy would soon weaken and consumer spending would fall.Retail sales increased 3.1 percent from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to data from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which measures in-store and online retail sales across all forms of payment. The numbers, released Tuesday, are not adjusted for inflation.Spending increased across many categories, with restaurants experiencing one of the largest jumps, 7.8 percent. Apparel increased 2.4 percent, and groceries also had gains.The holiday sales figures, driven by a healthy labor market and wage gains, suggests that...
In This Mexican Neighborhood, Locals Say ¡Viva el Beetle!
World

In This Mexican Neighborhood, Locals Say ¡Viva el Beetle!

Rusted and stripped of their right seat, the cars parked in queues rounding street corners serve as the unofficial taxi in the hillside neighborhoods in Cuautepec in Mexico’s capital. The curvy symbol of the 1960s hippie era is admired — even decorated and named — by residents who say the car represents their resilience and work ethic.They can be spotted throughout Mexico City, but they swarm the vibrant streets in Cuautepec, where Beetles can be heard climbing steep hills past residents relaxing on their roofs and dogs standing guard on balconies. One of the Cuautepec’s many mechanics is usually just a couple blocks away. The smell of car exhaust fumes fills the streets as yellow, green, red and purple Beetles buzz by one another at intersections.“It is not a standard car like any other,”...
Your Top Health Questions of 2023, Answered
Health

Your Top Health Questions of 2023, Answered

One thing I love about editing the Ask Well column is the camaraderie of it. Every week we answer a health question: Why am I so congested all the time? (I’ve wondered that too!) Why does my sleep get worse as I age? (I’m right there with you.) Is my coffee habit in need of an intervention? (Pour me another while we figure it out.)When I survey our inbox, I’m amazed at what comes in — questions that cover the joys, agonies, confusions and vulnerabilities of being a person. And luckily for us all, we get to seek out the answers.Here are 10 of the most popular health questions of 2023.1. Is it bad to wash your hair every day?The answer depends on your hair texture, how oily it is, whether it’s color-treated and more.“While it may seem that getting the scalp squeaky clean and without any oils...
Golf with a purpose: How The Park dared to be different
Sports

Golf with a purpose: How The Park dared to be different

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It’s lunchtime on a mid-November Saturday afternoon and the word of the day is eclectic. I’ve just finished my morning round at The Park with a three-putt for par on the forgiving 18th hole, and I saddle up at the cabana, the bar/small bites stand strategically located at the front of the property.A foursome that was a few holes ahead of me is heading off to their vehicles — while allowing for their anonymity, let’s just say they can be members anywhere they want to be in the golf-rich West Palm Beach/Jupiter area. Making the turn to the back nine are the bros wanting to chase down their transfusions with High Noons. Though they represent very different ends of the Saturday golfer spectrum, you recognize both groups as what a golfer “looks” like.But the cabana occup...
Suit Against Twitter Over Unpaid Bonuses Gets Go-Ahead From Judge
Technology

Suit Against Twitter Over Unpaid Bonuses Gets Go-Ahead From Judge

A federal judge on Friday gave the go-ahead to a lawsuit against the social media company X, formerly known as Twitter, in which workers claim that the company promised but never paid millions of dollars in bonuses.In June, Mark Schobinger, a former senior director of compensation for Twitter who lives in Texas, sued the company, claiming breach of contract under California law. The company has its headquarters in San Francisco.Mr. Schobinger said that both before and after the billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter last year, the company had orally promised employees 50 percent of their 2022 targeted bonuses if they stayed with the company in the first quarter of 2023. However, the bonuses were never paid, according to the suit.Mr. Schobinger filed the suit on his own behalf and on behalf o...
What to Read and Listen to During Your Holiday Break
Business

What to Read and Listen to During Your Holiday Break

Whether your holiday season comes with flight delays, a long road trip or a rare day with space on your calendar, it’s likely you’re about to have some free time.If you’d like to use it to get a little smarter about deals and the economy — and perhaps even enjoy yourself in the process — you’re in luck: Here are our favorite books and podcasts from this year (plus one game) that will help you do just that.An investigative reporter unpacks the crypto industry“Number Go Up: Inside Crypto’s Wild Rise and Staggering Fall” by Zeke FauxCryptocurrency has its detractors, including the JPMorgan Chase chief executive, Jamie Dimon, who told a congressional hearing this month that the government should ban digital assets. But few crypto critics have been as committed to trying to understand the techn...
Israeli Military Says 15 Soldiers Were Killed in Gaza in 72 Hours: Live Updates
World

Israeli Military Says 15 Soldiers Were Killed in Gaza in 72 Hours: Live Updates

At night, amid heavy rains and dropping temperatures, Heba and Ehab Ahmad held their two youngest children tightly, relying on their body heat and a thin blanket to keep them warm as water and gusts of wind blew through the holes in their makeshift tent.“We have nothing to keep us warm and dry,” said Ms. Ahmad, 36. “We are living in conditions that I could have never in my entire life imagined were possible.”The Ahmad family is among the 1.9 million Gazans who the United Nations says have been displaced since Israel began its relentless bombing campaign and expanded ground operation in retaliation for the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel.They came to Gaza’s southern Al-Mawasi neighborhood three weeks ago, just as winter crept in. The family of seven took shelter in a small, flimsy tent t...
This Gorilla’s Caregivers Face Familiar Questions About Aging
Health

This Gorilla’s Caregivers Face Familiar Questions About Aging

This month, as the patient lay anesthetized on a table, a cardiologist made a half-inch incision through the skin of his chest. She removed a small implanted heart monitor with failing batteries and inserted a new one.The patient, like many older males, had been diagnosed with cardiac disease; the monitor would provide continuing data on heart rate and rhythm, alerting his doctors to irregularities.Closing the incision required four neat stitches. In a few hours, the patient, a gorilla named Winston, would rejoin his family in their habitat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.“Winston, at 51, is a very old male gorilla,” said Dr. Matt Kinney, a senior veterinarian at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance who led the medical team through the procedure. With improved health care, new technology a...
No Hit League? The ‘lost art’ of body checking in the NHL
Sports

No Hit League? The ‘lost art’ of body checking in the NHL

Seventeen years and more than 1,200 games ago, Andrew Cogliano remembers how difficult it was to traverse the state of California.The Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks were three of the biggest, heaviest teams in the league. If you had to play all three in succession? Well, good luck. Not only were those teams willing to play a punishing brand of hockey, but they were all highly skilled and generally successful, too.After a few years in Edmonton where he broke into the league, Cogliano was dealt to the Ducks as a free agent in the summer of 2011 and was part of a team that qualified for the playoffs in six straight seasons from 2012-13 through 2017-18. Those California road trips became regular intrastate battles. And they were vicious.“My first couple years in Anaheim, ...
Substack Says It Will Not Ban Nazis or Extremist Speech
Technology

Substack Says It Will Not Ban Nazis or Extremist Speech

Under pressure from critics who say Substack is profiting from newsletters that promote hate speech and racism, the company’s founders said Thursday that they would not ban Nazi symbols and extremist rhetoric from the platform.“I just want to make it clear that we don’t like Nazis either — we wish no one held those views,” Hamish McKenzie, a co-founder of Substack, said in a statement. “But some people do hold those and other extreme views. Given that, we don’t think that censorship (including through demonetizing publications) makes the problem go away — in fact, it makes it worse.”The response came weeks after The Atlantic found that at least 16 Substack newsletters had “overt Nazi symbols” in their logos or graphics, and that white supremacists had been allowed to publish on, and profit...