Somber US Department Store Holiday Season Casts Pall over 2017

NEW YORK —  After a disappointing holiday shopping season, the nation’s largest department stores and some of the shoppers who still depend on them are set for an unhappy new year. Macy’s, Kohl’s and other department stores are hurting as more people shop online, visit lower-priced stores or spend more of their money on smartphones and other gadgets. The future of department stores seems bleak as they close locations — and thus give shoppers less options at the mall and more reason to just stay home and shop online.“I don’t think there are any happy endings,” said Mark Cohen, a retail studies professor at New York’s Columbia Business School and a former Sears Canada CEO.Macy’s said it will close 63 of its 730 stores this …

Clint Frazier ready to be big part of the Yankees Core Four 2.0 The red-headed kid with the bulging biceps and five-tool skills, who shouldered an avalanche of praise prior to entering the 2013 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, was already stoking Yankees fans’ excitement after a 2016 summer deadline trade brought Indians outfield prospect Clint Frazier to the Bombers in exchange for stud southpaw reliever Andrew Miller.But four months later, Frazier may have endeared himself to the Bronx even more, when he pressed the “Tweet” button for a post and photograph directed at Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper. “@Bharper3407 maybe i can give you some hair pointers when you join the yankees in the future,” Clint Frazier tweeted Nov. 23, along with a photo of his shorn ginger locks and an emoji of a baseball and a flame. ...

UK Approves Extradition of Alleged British Hacker to US LONDON — Britain has approved the extradition of an alleged computer hacker who is accused of snatching data from the U.S. Defense Department, the U.S. Army and the FBI. Home Secretary Amber Rudd has authorized the extradition of 31-year-old Lauri Love, who faces 99 years in prison if found guilty on cyber-hacking charges for allegedly compromising networks between October 2012 and October 2013 and stealing data. He has 14 days to appeal the decision.Love, who has Asperger's syndrome, told the Daily Mail in an interview published Tuesday that the decision was a ``kick in the gut.'' He says he doesn't ``think much of my future life prospects.''Love's father, the Rev Alexander Love, says "all we are asking for is British justice for a British ...

Woman pulls driver from triple-fatal wreck in Canterbury town of Leeston The vehicle rolled in the early hours of this morning in Leeston. A woman struggled to pull the driver from a wrecked car after she came across the scene of a triple-fatality crash in Canterbury. Katrina Martin was first to arrive at the scene near Leeston, 40 kilometres south of Christchurch, on Monday morning. Three teenagers are dead and two others are injured after their car rolled at an intersection. The group of friends were travelling south after visiting a nearby camp ground on Christmas evening. Two males and a female died at the scene. A teenage boy waved Martin down near the crashed vehicle at the corner of Harts Road and Southbridge Sedgemere Road about 2.20am. She assisted the injured driver from the vehicle and called...

Obama acts tough against Russia President Barack Obama announced a raft of retaliatory measures against Russia on Thursday for its alleged interference in the recent U.S elections. The measures include new sanctions, expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S and closure of two Russian establishments in the country. With Russia threatening to hit back with equally harsh measures, the bilateral relations are set to plummet to a new low ahead of the transition of power in the U.S. The President’s strident steps against Russia found instant approval from Republican veterans, potentially pre-empting a new beginning with Moscow that Donald Trump, who will be Mr. Obama’s successor in three weeks, has planned. The move against Russia is the second instance in seven days in which Mr. Obama and Mr...

Syria sends evidence of gas attack by militants to OPCW: Report The Syrian government has submitted documents to the UN chemical weapons watchdog, bearing evidence of a militant mustard gas attack against civilians near the country’s northwestern city of Aleppo. The documents were sent to a mission with the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Damascus, Russia Today reported on Sunday. An unexploded shell recovered by Russian sappers, which serves to substantiate the contents of the documents, is to be flown to the OPCW headquarters in The Hague next month, according to the report. “The samples will be stored in Syria until all financial difficulties linked to their transportation to Europe will be solved,” it added. The projectile, described as a homemade 240-mm round, was found by the Russian military’s ...

Sam Whitelock captains Crusaders in 2017, Kieran Read concentrates on All Blacks Sam Whitelock will captain the Crusaders in next year's Super Rugby competition to enable Kieran Read to concentrate on his leadership responsibilities with the All Blacks. New Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson announced the appointment on Sunday, saying the 84-cap lock was the obvious choice to succeed Read in the role. Read, who previously captained the Crusaders as Richie McCaw played alongside while leading the All Blacks, will be given the scope to focus on the All Blacks during a season highlighted by a three-match series with the British and Irish Lions in June-July. Whitelock captained the Crusaders in the early rounds of this year's Super Rugby tournament while Read was recuperating from a strenuous 2015 and was approached to assume the responsibility on a permanent...

Presidential scandal shows that ‘Korean disease’ of corruption is far from cured SEOUL — When Kim Young-sam became South Korea’s first democratically elected civilian president in 1993, he vowed to cure the country of the “Korean disease,” the political corruption that had become endemic. Kim oversaw an ambitious drive to clean up the country, even authorizing the arrest of his two immediate predecessors on corruption-related charges, although he eventually became infected by the “disease” himself, when his son was arrested on corruption and bribery charges. Corruption, bribery, embezzlement and the abuse of power have been modulated over the past generation, but remain indisputable components of official South Korea, as the scandal now engulfing President Park Geun-hye shows. Park is set to be questioned by prosecutors Thursday about her role in an influence-peddling scandal centered around...