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World’s biggest shopping day tops $20 billion 

The biggest shopping day of the season has been a record-setter, CNN reported Saturday.

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But it’s not Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba said Saturday that sales topped $20 billion of sales on Singles Day, topping the $17.8 billion collected during last year’s sale.

Singles Day has for years racked up more sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, CNN reported. 

By comparison, American shoppers last year spent more than $5 billion shopping online on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, according to Adobe, which tracks such data. Shoppers also spent $3.39 billion on Cyber Monday last year, the largest single online shopping day in the U.S., Adobe said.

Earlier Saturday, Alibaba said shoppers spent $1 billion in just 2 minutes and $18 billion in 13 hours. 

Singles Day started out as an informal holiday in China celebrating single people on a day that epitomizes not being paired off: 11/11. Alibaba turned it into a festival of discount deals in 2009.

Will Little Debbie trim treat from its roster?

Is Little Debbie going to discontinue one of its iconic snacks?

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A tweet by the company might lead one to think that a choice may have to be made.

Wednesday morning the company tweeted “Which one?” and a secondary phrase “One gotta go forever.” The tweet was accompanied by four favorites: Christmas Tree Cakes, Nutty Buddy, Oatmeal Creme Pies and Honey Buns.

On Monday, the company tweeted, “How ready are you for Christmas Tree Cakes?” Perhaps not enough people responded, because three days later Christmas Tree Cakes found themselves among the four apparently endangered baked goods, WJW reported.

Twitter users began immediately responding, giving their votes for which one should get the boot. It’s going to be a tough decision.

The responses were varied but fervent:

Amazon launches Black Friday deals early

Feeding Americans’ insatiable appetite for exclusive deals, Amazon has decided not to keep its online shoppers waiting until Black Friday. Instead, the digital shopping juggernaut kicked off its Black Friday deals Nov. 1.

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The early launch of Black Friday is a part of Amazon’s “50 Days of Holiday Deals” campaign, which will encompass deals on toys, electronics, home goods and a variety of hottest gifts.

“Customers shop Amazon year-round for our great prices, unbelievable selection, and free shipping on over 100 million products,” Doug Herrington, Amazon’s senior vice president of North American Retail, said in a statement.

“During the holiday season, customers love to discover great deals and must-have holiday gifts for friends and family.”

Beginning Nov. 8, Prime members will also have access to Amazon Key, the new service that will allow eligible packages to be securely delivered inside their homes while they’re out and about.

Though various discounts and deals will be running between now and the official Black Friday, Amazon listed some initial deals in their release on Nov. 1.

‘McVegan’ burger makes debut in Finland

McDonald’s introduced its “McVegan” burger on Wednesday, but vegan lovers will have to travel a long way to find it for now.

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The fast-food giant said its newest menu item will only be available at one restaurant — Tampere, Finland — and for a limited time, Elite Daily reported. The burger will be available through Oct. 21, Fox News reported.

The burger consists of mustard, pickles, onion, lettuce, tomato and a soy-based patty on a sesame seed bun. Food & Wine reported the McDonald's Finland also serves vegan fries, but that's just because their fry recipe is vegan by default (McDonald's fries in the U.S. are made with a hydrolyzed milk, and therefore not technically vegan), Fox News reported.

A McDonald’s spokesman told Today that the company was not planning to offer the burger anywhere else — for now.

Sandusky’s son pleads guilty to 14 counts of child sexual abuse

A son of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky pleaded guilty Friday to charges he pressured a teenage girl to send him naked photos and asked her teen sister to give him oral sex, CNN reported.

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Jeffrey Sandusky's plea deal comes a week before his trial was slated to begin on the charges, and nearly six years after his father was arrested in a child molestation case. Sandusky, 41, pleaded guilty to all 14 counts, including solicitation of statutory sexual assault and solicitation of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, the Centre County district attorney’s office said.

The counts included soliciting sex from a child younger than 16 and soliciting child pornography, CNN reported. According to the district attorney's office, Sandusky will become a Tier III sex offender, the highest level in Pennsylvania.

As part of the plea deal, Sandusky will spend up to six years in state prison, but the judge could impose as much as eight years. The plea deal comes nearly six years after his father was arrested in a child molestation case that shook Penn State.

Both victims said Sandusky tried to use different excuses to try to get them to participate, including saying that he "had studied medicine," CNN reported.

"This outcome also ensures the victims need not suffer the trauma and re-victimization of testifying at trial and importantly, the defendant will have to comply with strict sex offender registration requirements for the remainder of his life," District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said.

Sandusky's defense attorney could not be reached for comment, CNN reported.

Oreo to unveil candy canes for Christmas

It is still six months until Christmas, but Oreo cookies could be part of your holiday tree decorations.

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The cookie maker is unveiling candy canes for Christmas, Country Living reported.

The Candy Hunting Instagram account revealed that Oreo Cookies & Creme Candy Canes will be available in time for Christmas. However, Nabisco, the parent company for Oreo, has not confirmed the product’s release.

Candy Hunting conceded in its post that “I highly doubt these will taste like Oreos, but hey, why not brand everything with Oreo to boost sales?”

KFC debuts romance novel for Mother’s Day

When it comes to a love story, Colonel Sanders might just have a leg up on the competition.

Or a wing. Or even a thigh. 

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KFC is touting the Colonel as a dignified hero with his silver mane and distinctive goatee in its first foray into romantic literature. Sanders becomes “a handsome sailor with a mysterious past” in “Tender Wings of Desire,” USA Today reported.

The fast-food fried-chicken chain is offering the novella as a Mother’s Day promotion. The book can be downloaded for free from Amazon, and 100 Facebook users will be offered a hardback copy, USA Today reported.

“The only thing better than being swept away by the deliciousness of our Extra Crispy Chicken is being swept away by Harland Sanders himself,” said George Felix, KFC’s United States advertising director. “So this Mother’s Day, the bucket of chicken I get for my wife will come with a side of steamy romance novel.”

While KFC touts its chicken as finger-lickin’ good, the company is approaching its book tastefully. The book will mirror the prudish era of Victorian England, USA Today reported. Madeline Parker is a bored housewife who is trying to escape her loveless marriage at stately Parker Manor.

As one might expect, the Colonel delivers, sweeping Madeline off her feet. The chicken might be fried or even extra crispy, but KFC is hinting that the passion between Sanders and Madeline Parker will be steamy.

Rob Lowe debuts as KFC’s newest colonel Sunday

Meet the new KFC colonel — actor Rob Lowe.

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The actor has played many roles through the years — as Sam Seaborn in “The West Wing” and Chris Traeger in “Parks and Recreation,” for example — but the former Brat Pack member who also starred in “St. Elmo’s Fire” is branching out into fast food.

Lowe will portray Colonel Harland Sanders beginning Sunday, donning the colonel’s white suit, black string tie and trademark goatee — but he also will be wearing a space suit, USA Today reported.

Lowe, 53, will be promoting KFC’s Zinger chicken sandwich, the restaurant chain announced Friday.

“My grandfather was the head of the Ohio chapter of the National Restaurant Association in the 1960s and took me to meet Colonel Harland Sanders when I was a kid,” Lowe told USA Today. “It was a big deal. I thought this would be a nice homage to both Colonel Sanders and to my grandfather.”

Among the other seven celebrities who have portrayed the founder of the Finger Lickin’ Good chicken are Darrell Hammond, Norm Macdonald, Jim Gaffigan and actors George Hamilton and Billy Zane.

Lowe, 53, has previously done commercials for DIRECTV.

The spicy Zinger sandwich will debut Monday in the United States after a 33-year stint overseas, KFC said. In a video promoting the sandwich, Lowe steps to the podium in his space suit and proclaims that “The time has come to explore beyond our known horizons.”

Lowe ends the video by asking, “Can you actually launch KFC’s world-famous Zinger chicken sandwich into space?”

His answer? “We certainly hope so. Our entire marketing campaign depends on it.

“But when we succeed, we will lick our fingers. We will lick our fingers good.”

Jack Daniel’s introduces coffee product

Millions of people sip Jack Daniel's. Now, the makers of the Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey product want you to sip in the morning.

 

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But not whiskey — coffee.

 

The Lynchburg, Tennessee, distillery announced a partnership with World of Coffee to release Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey Coffee. On its website, Jack Daniel’s notes that the coffee will be available in an 8.8-ounce collectible tin for $21.95 and a 1.5-ounce bag for $6.95. The coffee can only be bought at the distillery’s online store or in person at the Lynchburg Hardware & General Store in the downtown square.

 

The coffee, dubbed as “100 percent Arabica,” will be ground and available in regular and decaffeinated brands. While the coffee will be "infused" with the whiskey, the drink will be non-alcoholic.

 

Jack Daniel's has produced "gourmet" coffee in 1.5-ounce bags in the past, but the venture with World of Coffee represents a more mainstream push.

 

Jack Daniel's wants to fill your morning with whiskey-infused coffee https://t.co/Bhv1YDKKrR — GB (@iGRRD70) January 14, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

TV viewers can change channels with Harry Potter remote

The narrator for the 1960s television show “The Outer Limits” warned viewers that “We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical.”

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More than 50 years later, television viewers can control their channels with the Harry Potter Remote Control Wand. It’s not an Accio, or summoning charm, but the wand does the work of a remote.

This new piece of electronic wizardry is being sold on Amazon through the Noble Collection. It offers nine different commands, including “Flick Up,” “Flick Down” and the “Big Swish” to control a television or other electronic device. The wand is set up to act as your remote for any infrared remote device, including Blu-ray and DVD players, and PlayStation and Xbox console.

The wand lists for $49 on Amazon.

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