Nation briefs 11/25/05

Friday, November 25, 2005

Sales have many people shopping on Thanksgiving

NEW YORK -- Forget the bird -- shopping was on the minds of many Thursday as people sought an early start to the frenetic season of gift buying. Most said they liked the idea of stores being open on Thanksgiving so they could avoid today's onslaught of the retail masses. Most major department stores were closed but several discount chains such as Kmart, Payless ShoeSource Inc. and Big Lots Inc. opted to open and lure shoppers who wanted to start early and avoid the large hordes that will descend on "Black Friday." Other shoppers just went straight online, to click and buy.

Three Calif. airports have the worst safety records

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles International Airport and two others nearby have the worst runway safety records among the nation's busiest airports in recent years, a review of federal aviation data shows. Federal officials are most concerned by the situation at LAX, where commercial jets have come perilously close to crashing at least twice since 1999, the first year of data reviewed by The Associated Press. The problem persists because, despite millions spent to reduce violations known as runway incursions, LAX's airfield has built-in flaws: It's too tightly packed and arriving aircraft must cross runways used for takeoffs. Nationwide, the number of incursions has dropped about 20 percent from its 2001 peak.

Tropical Storm Delta strengthens in Atlantic

MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Delta neared hurricane strength Thursday in the central Atlantic. The 25th named storm of the season formed Wednesday and poses a threat only to shipping, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was not headed for the United States. "It's way out there in the middle of nowhere," hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said. Delta's top sustained winds had strengthened to 70 mph. If winds reach 74 mph, it would be the season's 14th hurricane.

Cranberry supply could be tighter by Christmas

WAUSAU, Wis. -- Fresh cranberries were easy to find to complement a Thanksgiving Day feast, but they may not be as plentiful for the Christmas holiday, growers say. About 45,000 acres of cranberries are grown each year in the United States, primarily in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Washington and Oregon. Wisconsin, the nation's leading cranberry-producing state, harvested an average crop this fall, but yields were down in Massachusetts and Washington, leading to concerns of tighter fresh fruit supplies next month, particularly outside the Midwest, said Tom Lochner, executive director of the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association. About 25 percent of the consumption of fresh cranberries, sauces and juices in the United States takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Lochner said.

-- From wire reports

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