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")
Chinese love World Cup Soccer and NBA basketball. Selling them NFL football has proven much more difficult. On Sunday, the NFL set up an elaborate, interactive exhibition outside a Shanghai stadium in an attempt to build a fan base in the world's most populous nation.
The economy is still far from healthy, and we've been asking people for one idea that could help fix even just one small part of the economy. And we have this latest idea from author and management consultant Jim Collins. He wants to change the way that CEOs are paid. Instead of granting stock options, he says executives should have to buy company stock with their own money.
JIM COLLINS: I want executives who are willing to be aligned in their own risk profile with how well the company does over time.
Officials overseeing a new performance hall had to decide on a mobile phone policy. While theaters generally remind patrons to turn off their devices, The New York Times reports the new theater in Bellevue, Wash., will encourage smartphone use. The theater wants to attract younger audiences, and that means there's no use forbidding the technology.
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.
We've been hearing a lot about the economic meltdown affecting a string of European countries, and the sort of tough austerity measures that they're now facing. Britain was among the first to embrace a tough austerity program. And now, the economy is stalled. Unemployment is going up. Young people are hit hardest of all - one in five is now out of work. NPR's Philip Reeves spent a day with one of those jobless Britons, a young man named Dean Smith.
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.