The Tu-154 plane - carrying soldiers, members of a famed army music ensemble and reporters - was heading for Syria. All those on board are feared dead after Sunday's crash. Monday has been declared a national day of mourning. First bodies found Search teams - including 139 divers - worked through the night in three shifts, and the operation "did not stop for a minute", Defence Ministry spokesman Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov said at a briefing on Monday morning. He said that 11 bodies and "154 fragments" have been found since the operation began. Overnight, he added, powerful spotlights were used to search the crash area. The 10.5 sq km (four square miles) search area just off the coast had been extended, the spokesman said. "Fragments of the Tu-154 plane of the Russian defence ministry were found 1.5km (one mile) from the Black Sea coast of the city of Sochi at a depth of 50m to 70m (165-230ft)," the defence ministry said on Saturday. Image copyright EPA Image caption In Moscow, a makeshift memorial has appeared at the home of the Alexandrov Ensemble On Monday, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov said that terrorism was not "among the main versions" of the possible causes of the crash. He reiterated that investigators were looking into whether a pilot error or technical fault may have brought down the aircraft.
Retailers are pushing deals and incentives for the final week of the season. AP FILE Photo Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site. Stores are pushing deals and incentives like free shipping for the final week of the holiday shopping season, as numbers show people are so far spending at a bit of a slower pace than last year. Retailers pared down their inventories and offered more exclusive merchandise this season in a bid to avoid having to offer big discounts that shoppers have come to expect. But customers seem willing to wait, and so stores are once again counting on last-minute buyers for the final stretch. "This has really become a game of chicken. In that game of chicken, retailers once again were the ones who flinched," said Joseph Schmitt, director at the retail consulting firm AlixPartners. Retail spending is up 2 percent, slightly slower the 2.4 percent gain at this time last year, with the rate of online spending far outpacing buying at physical stores from Oct. 29 through Dec. 12, according to First Data.
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