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China steps up quarantine checks on US apple, log imports as trade tensions remain high

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China’s main ports will step up quarantine checks on imports of apples and logs from the United States, and shipments found carrying disease or rot could be returned or destroyed, the Chinese customs agency said on Monday.

Reuters reported last week that the main Chinese ports of entry have ramped up checks on fresh fruit imports from the United States, which could delay shipments from U.S. growers already dealing with higher tariffs as China-U.S. trade ties sour.

“Recently, pests were detected in apples and logs imported from the United States at the ports of Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Xiamen and others,” the Chinese General Administration of Customs said in a statement posted on its website.

If apples or logs are suspected of carrying pests, samples will be sent to laboratories for inspections, and while the tests are under way goods will not be allowed to pass through customs.

Previously, customs officers in China had let shipments through while they conducted sample checks.

The measure was announced days after a U.S. delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin visited Beijing for two days of talks aimed at easing trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on up to $150 billion in Chinese goods over allegations of intellectual property theft.

Fruits were among 128 U.S. goods that China slapped with more expensive import tariffs early last month in retaliation for U.S. levies on Chinese steel and aluminum.

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Black Friday 2020 online shopping surges 22% to record $9 billion, Adobe says

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Customers queue outside Bath & Body Works during black Friday. Shoppers go to stores to take advantage of Black Friday sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Spending online on Black Friday this year surged nearly 22% to hit a new record, according to data from Adobe Analytics, as the Covid pandemic pushed more people to shop from the sofa and avoid crowded stores and malls.

Consumers spent $9 billion on the web the day after Thanksgiving, up 21.6% year over year, according to Adobe, which analyzes website transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. online retailers.

This makes Black Friday 2020 the second-largest online spending day in history in the United States, behind Cyber Monday last year, Adobe said. Cyber Monday this year is slated to become the largest digital sales day ever, with spending reaching between $10.8 billion and $12.7 billion, which would represent growth of 15% to 35% from a year earlier.

“New consoles, phones, smart devices and TVs that are traditional Black Friday purchases are sharing online shopping cart space this year with unorthodox Black Friday purchases such as groceries, clothes and alcohol, that would previously have been purchased in-store,” said Taylor Schreiner, a director at Adobe Digital Insights.

As many retailers kicked off their holiday sales in October this year, tied to the delayed timing of Amazon‘s Prime Day event, and put more doorbuster deals online, shoppers had less of a reason to head to stores on Black Friday. People who did venture out were greeted with fewer lines and emptier parking lots than holiday sales events of the past.

On Black Friday, Adobe found consumers spent $6.3 million per minute online, or $27.50 per person, on average. Spending on smartphones surged 25.3% year over year to reach $3.6 billion, representing 40% of total e-commerce spending.

And with retailers from Target to Best Buy to Dick’s Sporting Goods encouraging customers to buy online and then safely pick up their orders at stores, the use of curbside pickup on Black Friday increased 52% from a year earlier, Adobe found.

Hot items on Black Friday included Hot Wheels, Lego sets, Apple AirPods, Apple Watches, Amazon Echo devices and Samsung TVs, according to Adobe data, as consumers scoured the web for things to entertain themselves and their kids.

People also are turning to the internet for fresh food and snacks this holiday season. Online grocery shopping on Black Friday surged 397% compared with October daily averages, Adobe said. Sales of personal care products skyrocketed 556%, and online spending on pet products rose 254%.

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Jason Momoa was ‘completely’ in debt after ‘Game of Thrones’

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Jason Momoa is best known in Hollywood for his roles in high-profile projects like “Game of Thrones,” “Aquaman” and the upcoming “Dune” adaptation.

Momoa started his career in 1999 when he landed a role on “Baywatch” after the show held an open casting call in Hawaii. He and his cousins attended just to “meet chicks,” he said in a recent interview with InStyle, but he walked away with a new career path in mind. 

Still, the actor’s success has been a slow burn. “We were starving after ‘Game of Thrones,'” he told InStyle. “I couldn’t get work.”

Momoa’s “Game of Thrones” character was killed off in season one, before the show became a massive hit. The actor struggled to cover the expenses for the house he shares with his wife, Lisa Bonet, and their two children. “It’s very challenging when you have babies, and you’re completely in debt,” he said.

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Momoa isn’t the only celebrity to face financial hardship in the midst of a period when the public assumes they are successful. After her second worldwide tour, The Monster Ball, which ran from 2009 to 2011, Lady Gaga found herself $3 million in debt

“It was funny because I didn’t know!” she told the Financial Times. “I remember I called everybody and said, ‘Why is every­one saying I have no money? This is ridiculous, I have five No. 1 singles.’ And they said, ‘Well, you’re $3 million in debt.'”

Still, Lady Gaga pressed on and was able to pull herself out of the red. Today, she’s worth an estimated $150 million, according to Forbes

As for Momoa, things have definitely improved. In 2017, he starred in “Justice League,” followed by “Aquaman” in 2018, in which he played the titular role. There’s more on the horizon: He’s completely booked through 2024, InStyle reports.

Check out: This millennial couple earns $6 million a year from YouTube and real estate—here’s how they spend their money

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Stocks on track to close out month of big gains as jobs data looms

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