Media Of Day: Aside From Black Friday, Malls Are Dying–And Not For The Reason You’re Thinking

Abandoned Mall Dark Mess

Photo by Brett Levin. Image Source: Flickr

As we sit on the Black Friday perch, the state of the American mall looks just fine. After all, this weekend, some 135 million Americans will spend some $50 billion on retail purchases–an enormous chunk of which still takes place in malls. And the Black Friday shopping extravaganza is only growing, with stores opening earlier and earlier and sales carrying on longer and longer.

But when you realize that nearly a third of annual retail sales take place in the mere four weeks between Black Friday and Christmas, you start to wonder how malls are faring the other 48 weeks of the year. Now, enormous holiday sales spikes are not at all new, but the extent to which malls are suffering outside the holiday season is.

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Rare USSR Shuttle Prototypes Found In Russian Hangar

soviet space ruins reflections

Source: Ralph Mirebs

When photographer Ralph Mirebs happened upon an abandoned hangar at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, he did not expect to find the remains of two shuttle prototypes within its walls. These prototypes, Buran orbiters, were the Soviet response to NASA’s shuttles. A third orbiter – 1K1 – actually made it into orbit in 1988, but was destroyed when the hangar housing it collapsed in 2002.

These relics provide us with more insights into the Buran program, which got its start in 1974 and ended in 1993. The smaller of the two shuttles shown in the derelict hangar – nicknamed Ptichka, or “little bird” – would have docked at the Mir Space station if the Soviet Union hadn’t dissolved in 1993. The second vessel was a full-scale, static model for testing purposes.

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What We Love This Week, Volume CXXXIII

Burundi Woman Crying

A relative of Patrick Ndikumana, who was killed by police last week, mourns his death at the family’s home in Bujumbura, Burundi, on June 28. Source: TIME

Three Months Of Crisis In Burundi

Burundi Violence Rubble Smoke

A protestor throws fuel onto a shop kiosk dragged into the road to form a barricade in the Cibitoke neighbourhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, on May 7. Source: TIME

In the three months since Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term–thus exceeding the constitutional limit of two–the country’s political climate has devolved from tension to protest to violence, with a failed coup along the way. Even before Nkurunziza “won” re-election last week (in an environment the U.N. understatedly called “not conducive for free, credible and inclusive elections”), his government had been violently squashing any opposition. With Uganda’s recent, ongoing mediation between the government and the opposition providing a glimmer of hope for this dire situation, TIME has taken a harrowing look back at the nation’s catastrophic unrest.

Burundi Children Sad Window

Orphaned youths are pictured through a mesh window at the OPDE care home in Bujumbura, Burundi, on July 27. Source: TIME

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