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Extended business hours, live music and an abundance of shopping options were a part of Thursday evening's scene in much of downtown Aiken, with the annual Night of 1,000 Lights event taking place. 

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Applications for jobless benefits decline last week

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits came back down last week and continue to hover around levels suggesting the U.S. labor market has been largely unaffected by the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits came back down last week and continue to hover around levels suggesting the U.S. labor market has been largely unaffected by the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hikes. Applications for jobless aid fell to 225,000 for the week ending Nov. 26, a decline of 16,000 from the previous week’s 241,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The four-week moving average of claims, which evens out week-to-week swings, inched up by 1,750 to 227,000. The Labor Department said Thursday that 1.61 million people were receiving jobless aid the week that ended Nov. 19, up 57,000 from the week before. Read moreApplications for jobless benefits decline last week

College Football Playoff expands to 12 teams in 2024 season

The College Football Playoff says it will expand to a 12-team event starting in 2024

The College Football Playoff says it will expand to a 12-team event starting in 2024. The announcement came after the Rose Bowl agreed to amend its contract for the 2024 and 2025 seasons. That was the last hurdle CFP officials needed cleared to expand the four-team format. The expansion is expected to produce about $450 million in additional gross revenue for the conferences and schools that participate. The plan to expand the playoff was unveiled publicly in June 2021 and it took 18 months of haggling and delays to finally complete. Read moreCollege Football Playoff expands to 12 teams in 2024 season

The PGA Tour referred to Rory McIlroy and Lydia Ko as golf royalty because they ruled the golf world this year. They had great years, no doubt. But neither won a major. And when it comes the PGA Tour, such a label dismisses Scottie Scheffler and ignores Cameron Smith. Both won more than McIlroy. Each won a major. What men's golf had this year was three great years by three players. What makes McIlroy stand out is winning the points title on two tours. And mostly it's for his strong voice of support for the PGA Tour in its fight with LIV Golf. Read moreColumn: 3 great years in golf, 2 of them already forgotten

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