Happening Today: Cyber Monday, Gene-Editing, Bertolucci
What to Know
More shoppers turned to the internet for deals to kick off the holiday shopping season, new data showed
A researcher claims he helped make the world's first genetically edited babies — twin girls whose DNA he said he altered with a new tool
Bernardo Bertolucci, who won Oscars with "The Last Emperor" and whose drama "Last Tango in Paris" enthralled and shocked the world, has died
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Cyber Monday Arrives Days After Black Friday Pulled in Record in Online Sales
More shoppers turned to the internet for deals to kick off the holiday shopping season, new data showed, buying everything from apparel to flat-screen TVs and spending record amounts in the process. Black Friday pulled in $6.22 billion in online sales, up 23.6 percent from a year ago and setting a new high, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks transactions for 80 of the top 100 internet retailers in the U.S. like Walmart and Amazon. Those figures arrived as many retailers have pushed big digital deals, days in advance of the holiday weekend. The Friday after Thanksgiving this year was also the first day in history to see more than $2 billion in sales stemming from smartphones, said Adobe. The group found 33.5 percent of e-commerce sales Friday came from mobile devices, compared with 29.1 percent in 2017.
Mexico to Up Security at Border After Migrants Try to Cross
Mexico pledged to shore up security near its border with the United States and local authorities said 39 migrants were arrested after a peaceful march devolved into chaos when U.S. agents fired tear gas into Mexico to stop some migrants who tried to breach the border. Mexico's Interior Ministry said it would immediately deport those who tried to "violently" enter the U.S. from Tijuana. Meanwhile, Tijuana's municipal government said that more than three-dozen migrants were arrested for disturbing the peace and other charges stemming from the march and what followed. The vast majority of the more than 5,000 Central American migrants camped out for more than a week at a sports complex in Tijuana returned to their makeshift shelter to line up for food and recuperate from an unsettling afternoon.
Ukraine Mulls Martial Law After Russia Fires on Vessels
Ukrainian lawmakers were set to consider a presidential request for the introduction of martial law in the country following an incident in which Russian coast guard ships fired on Ukrainian navy vessels. An emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council was also called for. The European Union and NATO called for restraint from both sides. The Ukrainian navy said six of its seamen were wounded when Russian coast guards opened fire on three Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait and then seized them. The two nations traded blame over the incident that further escalated tensions that have soared since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and backed a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
First Gene-Edited Babies Claimed in China
A Chinese researcher claims that he helped make the world's first genetically edited babies — twin girls whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life. If true, it would be a profound leap of science and ethics. A U.S. scientist said he took part in the work in China, but this kind of gene editing is banned in the United States because the DNA changes can pass to future generations and it risks harming other genes. Many mainstream scientists think it's too unsafe to try, and some denounced the Chinese report as human experimentation. The researcher, He Jiankui of Shenzhen, said he altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have — an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus.
Filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci Dead at 77, Press Office Says
Italian film-maker Bernardo Bertolucci, who won Oscars with "The Last Emperor" and whose erotic drama "Last Tango in Paris" enthralled and shocked the world, has died. He was 77. Bertolucci's press office, Punto e Virgola, confirmed the death in an email to The Associated Press. Italy's state-run RAI said Bertolucci died at his home in Rome, surrounded by family. Bertolucci's movies often explored the sexual relations among characters stuck in a psychological crisis, as in "Last Tango." The self-professed Marxist also did not shy away from politics and ideology, as in "The Conformist," which some critics consider Bertolucci's masterpiece. Despite working with A-list American and international stars, Bertolucci always defended his own film-making style against what he said was the pressure of the U.S. film industry. He maintained critical success for most of his career, weathering the controversies that his sexually provocative work would stir and some commercial flops.
Magician, Actor Ricky Jay, of 'Boogie Nights,' Dies at 72, Manager Says
Ricky Jay, a magician, historian of oddball entertainers and actor who appeared in "Boogie Nights" and other films, has died. He was 72. Jay died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles, according to his manager Winston Simone. Jay appeared in several films and television series, including as a cameraman in "Boogie Nights"; in "Magnolia" and "Tomorrow Never Dies"; and in HBO's "Deadwood." He consulted on "Ocean's Thirteen" and "Forrest Gump" and collected rare books on unusual entertainers and performers dating back hundreds of years. His one-man shows played to packed audiences, where his sleight-of-hand artistry impressed even fellow magicians. In one famous trick, he would pierce a watermelon with a card flung through the air. He also wrote several books on games, magic and magicians, including "Dice: Deception, Fate and Rotten Luck."
Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski Secretly Wed in DC
E! News can confirm that Morning Joe's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski are officially married. According to Vanity Fair, the television anchors tied the knot at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. with the nation's founding documents, including the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, right at their side. Scarborough and Brzezinski became the first couple to ever get married at the Archives. The ceremony was officiated by Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings. Despite appearing on millions of television screens around the country every morning, the co-hosts kept their ceremony very private and intimate. There were five guests in attendance, plus both of their children. Scarborough has four kids, Brzezinski two. They kept it that way on purpose, too.