If everything goes as planned, pro-basketball fans will wake up on Christmas Day ready to open up a shiny new NBA season. December 25th is the day tentatively set to begin regular-season games after the league and its players union agreed on the essential points and a new contract. That likely means an end to the lockout. Though this is not yet a done deal, the terms must be approved by a majority of owners and players.
NPR's Mike Pesca is covering this story. He's on the line. Mike, good morning.
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.
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.
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 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.
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")
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.
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 last 14 months of Ulysses S. Grant’s life were difficult to say the least. He lost all of his wealth in a Wall Street swindle. Then the former president learned he had terminal mouth and throat cancer. Facing family ruin, Grant decided to write his military memoirs. Richmond author Bracelen Flood chronicles events in his new book, “Grant’s Final Victory”…Ulysses S. Grant’s Heroic Last Year.” Flood spoke with WEKU’S Ron Smith about the memoirs origins…