NEW YORK (AP) — After a strong start to the holiday shopping season, sales have fallen for the third consecutive week during what is traditionally the busiest buying period of the year. According to ShopperTrak, which keeps tabs on shopping data at 40,000 locations, sales at U.S. stores dropped 3.1 percent for the week that ended on Sunday compared with the same week last year. That follows declines of 2.9 percent and eight-tenths of a percent during the first and second weeks of the month. The numbers, which don't include online sales, are another challenge in what has been a disappointing season for stores.
CHICAGO (AP) — Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today. That's the advice of federal officials in charge of the health care overhaul. It comes on the day that was supposed to be the deadline for signing up for health insurance and getting coverage by January first. Officials have now extended that deadline through tomorrow -- but they're still advising people to try to take care of it today.
HONOLULU (AP) — He doesn't really have to sign up for health insurance through the new exchanges, but President Barack Obama has done so anyway, as a symbolic act. The White House says he enrolled through the Washington, DC, marketplace over the weekend. He did so in private, so it's not clear whether he ran into any of the website glitches that millions of other Americans have experienced.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The diplomat from India whose arrest and strip search caused a diplomatic storm between her country and the United States has now been registered as a member of her country's mission to the United Nations. That's according to the U.N. spokesman's office. The Indian government had reportedly sought the transfer because diplomats at the U.N. have greater immunity. The woman is accused of lying on a visa form about how much she paid her housekeeper.
UNDATED (AP) — Women who eat nuts or peanut butter during pregnancy don't appear to be raising the risk that their children will have nut allergies. That's the indication of a new study published today (in JAMA Pediatrics.) Researchers examined more than 8,000 children who were born to nurses. Of them, those whose moms ate nuts at least five times a month during pregnancy were 69 percent less likely to have nut allergies than those whose moms rarely consumed nuts. Women were once advised to avoid nuts in pregnancy to avoid triggering allergies in their offspring.