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Nov. 24, 2012 at 12:37 PM
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Small Business Saturday is here

NEW YORK, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Independent U.S. booksellers are using an independent retail store discount holiday to kick off a retail discount week this year, an industry newsletter said.

"We love the message of thanking our customers for supporting independent businesses during the Thanksgiving holiday," Libby Cowles, community relations manager for Maria's Bookshop in Durango, Colo., told the cleverly named newsletter ShelfAwareness.

The Christian Science Monitor reported Saturday that sandwiched in between Black Friday, a big box store discount extravaganza, and Cyber Monday, the Internet retail attempt to not be left behind, is Small Business Saturday, a sort of "me-too," for independent store owners.

With those shopper-friendly puzzle pieces in place, the American Booksellers Association decided to go with "Thanks for Shopping Indie," a week-long discount prices event that celebrates stores that cater to browsing customers.

For some booksellers, there are specially discounted items available during discount events that kick off discount weeks.

Some bookstores are selling the Kobo Mini, billed as the smallest e-reader, for $49.99 for two days, ending Saturday Nov. 24, the newspaper said.

That's a $30 break from the standard price.

The Washington Post reported that shoppers can make a commitment, as well, by signing a pledge that takes a stand against retail chains in favor of independent store owners.

The "Shop Outside the Big Box Pledge," is meant to keep customers focused on their locally-owned retailer that often has trouble competing against the buying power of a national chain.

Refurbished iPhone 5 available

DALLAS, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T has listed its refurbished iPhone 5 for $99 for the lower-end version with the units available ahead of expectations.

The Los Angeles Times reported the refurbished versions of the latest iPhone, which was launched in September, were not expected to hit the market until January. Prices were also expected to be about $50 higher than the prices listed by AT&T, the newspaper said.

The refurbished iPhone 5 is listed for $99 for the 16 GB model, $199 for the 32 GB model and $299 for the 64 GB model.

The Times said it could not clarify how long those prices would be available.

Those prices were also restricted to first-time customers who sign two-year contracts with AT&T and to customers with an upgrade option available to them.

NYC ends gas rationing

NEW YORK, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that hurricane-related gas rationing in the city ended at 6 a.m. Saturday.

The city had imposed an odd-even gas selling system, based on numbers on car license plates, since Nov. 9, when about 25 percent of the city's gas stations were operational, The New York Times reported.

That figure has grown considerably. Now 85 percent of the city's gas stations are up and running, the Times said.

The mayor said the system prevented long lines at gas pumps and panic over supplies.

NBC News reported that 26,500 free Thanksgiving meals were delivered in the city to residents affected by the super storm.

About 2.7 million meals have been delivered since the hurricane struck.

Britain's EU rebate is under threat

BRUSSELS, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Prime Minister David Cameron said he protected Britain's European Union budget rebate from proposed cuts but predicted efforts to cut the rebate will persist.

"I have successfully defended the rebate, but I will have to go on doing so in future discussions," Cameron said after EU budget talks broke down this week in Brussels, Belgium.

French President Francois Hollande said after the talks ended he would support future efforts to cut Britain's rebate, an idea proposed by EU President Herman Van Rompuy.

Britain's rebate was put into place during former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's era, due to high payments Britain makes to support French farmers in the EU's subsidy system.

Taking away the rebate would cost Britain about $4.8 billion between 2014 and 2020, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

Hollande told reports this week Britain, "through its rebate, has contributions below those of France. He (Cameron) put forward protection of his rebate and his refusal to contribute further."

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