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24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

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Products featured here are selected by our partners at StackCommerce.If you buy something through links on our site, Mashable may earn an affiliate commission.

Save big this weekend.

Save big this weekend.

Image: Hestan Cue

If you miss leisurely rounds of window shopping, we’ve got a way for you to scratch the itch. You won’t even have to leave the comfort of your (hopefully ergonomic) computer chair.

Here are 24 great weekend deals, including hair straighteners, power banks, bidet seats, and more. There’s even a great travel deal — you might just want to wait a while to use it.

As of September 27, you can take up to 68% off the items below. Be sure to keep an eye out for promo codes. They might help you save even more.

Deals Under $50

2-in-1 Heated Hair and Beard Straightener

This versatile straightener comb heats up in 30 seconds and tidies up thick beards and curly hair while minimizing damage. You can slash the $43 price tag down to just $34.99 for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Home Collection Premium Ultra Soft 4-Piece Bed Sheet Set

Made with double-brushed microfiber yarns, these hypoallergenic sheets are durable, wrinkle-free, and great for people with sensitive skin and allergies. Each set includes a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and a pair of pillowcases, and comes in your choice of gray, navy, or white. For a limited time, you can slash 62% off the original retail price and get a queen set for only $34.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

SUC-IT Patented Silicone Suction Phone Holder with Clips

This nifty little gadget attaches to any phone (with or without a case) and sticks onto smooth surfaces, so you can watch shows or take FaceTime calls from almost anywhere. Grab one for only $9.99 (regularly $14) for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

mbarc 7-Day Weekly Pill Organizer

This seven-day pill organizer is a sleek upgrade from the standard plastic kind. For a limited time, you can snag it for just $26 (regularly $30).

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Extreme XL Bluetooth Speaker

This splash-proof wireless speaker features a convenient top handle, a four-hour battery life, and a sleek geometric design. Slash 50% off and get it for just $29.99 for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

$50 – $100

Wizap™ Cage 360° 3-in-1 Mosquito Trap

Featuring an ultraviolet lamp, a high-powered fan, and a 360-degree electrical grid, the Wizap attracts all flying insects (including mosquitos) within a 300 square foot space, sucks them in, and kills them instantly. Plus, it sits on a flat surface or mounts on a wall to look like a sleek light fixture. Save 40% for a limited time and get this $99 trap for just $59.99.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

SoloQi® X Car/Desk Magnetic Wireless Charger

This sleek magnetic charger mounts to your car vent or dashboard and juices up your Qi-enabled devices. And it looks good doing it. Get it for $59.99.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

MagEZ Juice: Portable Power Bank + Wireless Charging Dock

This three-in-one device acts as a desk stand for your phone, a magnetic charging dock, and a 2,000mAh power bank all in one sleek package. Get it for a limited time for just $74.99 (regularly $79).

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Slim Zero Bidet Seat

This budget-friendly, easy-to-install bidet seat hooks onto your regular toilet seat. Save over 20% and get it for just $99.99 (regularly $129) for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

ClubONE Rewards: Silver Membership

Make your next vacation (in the distant future) less stressful with a ClubONE Rewards Membership. A silver membership includes exclusive rates on hotels, flights, car rentals, golf tickets, and activities while giving you 2% cash back on every booking. Save over 60% and get a two-year silver membership for only $79.99 (regularly $250).

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Hudly Invisible Wireless Charger

The Hudly Invisible Wireless Charger will charge all of your Qi-enabled devices while taking up almost no desk space. It’s originally $99, but you can snag one for only $69.99 for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Wheel of Power Mobile Wireless Charger

Make charging your devices a bit more fun with this 10W wireless charger, which has a gesture-controlled LED light. Get it for a steal at just $64.99 (regularly $139) for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

$100 – $200

TRIO Wireless Charging Station

This classy wooden pad features a three-in-one wireless charging surface plus an additional USB-A port, so you can give all your devices the power they need while minimizing clutter. It’s regularly $144, but you can slash the price down to just $135.99 for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

AXIS Gear: Smart Blinds Controller

The AXIS Gear Controller provides an easy way to motorize the existing blinds in your home, so you can open and close them with your phone. It is typically $249, but you can get the controller on sale for only $199.99 for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Mobile Edge CORE Gaming Backpack with 18″ Molded Panel

Designed by gamers for gamers, Mobile Edge’s Core Gaming Backpack offers three large storage sections pre-wired for a power bank or external battery, as well as four side accessory pockets. Use the code MOBILE15 at checkout and you can knock the $129.99 price tag down to just $110.49.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Acer 11.6″ Chromebook C738T Touchscreen

This grade-B refurbished Chromebook from 2015 features 360-degree rotation, an 11.6-inch touchscreen, a fast Intel Celeron processor, and an impressive 12-hour battery life, which makes it great for working or studying from home. Get it for just $189 for a limited time — 54% off its usual price.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Alienware Area-51m Elite Backpack

Stow your gear safely in the Alienware Area-51m Elite Backpack. With 40 liters of storage capacity, three compartments, six exterior pockets, and seven interior pockets, it can fit everything from your laptop and keyboard to cables and power supply. It’s usually $149, but you can get it for only $127.99 for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Sunbeam M1P Quilted Electric Heated Warming Mattress Pad

This electric heated mattress pad features 10 heat settings and shuts off automatically, so you can stay warm and cozy throughout the night without cranking up the heat. Grab it for just $109.99, a 26% savings on its original price of $149.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

$200 and Up

ICECO TR45: Portable 45L Fridge with SECOP Compressor

Perfect for camping, festivals, and more, the ICECO TR45 isn’t just a cooler: It’s a portable fridge and freezer. It can reach temperatures of -0.4 degrees Fahrenheit and fit up to 67 cans. Get it for $549 (regularly $599) for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Richard Clarkson Cloud Light & Speaker

A gorgeous addition to any home, this fluffy cumulus cloud features hidden LED lights that sync to your music while you play tunes via Bluetooth. You can slash the price from $3,360 down to $2,999 for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Hestan Cue™ Smart Cooking System

This smart cookware set includes a smart pan, saucepan, and chef’s pot, as well as a smart induction cooktop that connects to the companion app and automatically adjusts each piece’s settings to help you achieve delicious culinary masterpieces. It’s originally $899, but you can save over 30% and pay just $599.99 for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Apple MacBook Air 11″ Core i5, 1.6GHz 8GB RAM 128GB (Refurbished)

Take your work with you wherever you go with this slim, lightweight refurbished MacBook Air, hailing from early 2015 and equipped with a 128GB hard drive, a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5 processor, and an 11-inch display. Slash $100 off and get it for only $599.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Apple Mac mini Intel Core i5, 2.3GHz 8GB RAM 500GB (Refurbished) 

Released in 2011, this refurbished Mac Mini features a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 500GB of onboard storage, and multiple ports — four Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A, and one HDMI. It’s regularly $700, but you can slash 40% off for a limited time and get it for only $419.99.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

Apple iPad 6th Gen 9.7″ 32GB

Stream, browse, and take stunning photos wherever you go with this 6th-gen iPad. Slash 22% off and get it for only $310 for a limited time.

24 weekend deals on cool gadgets, Apple products, and more

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The Trump campaign celebrated a growth record that Democrats downplayed.

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The White House celebrated economic growth numbers for the third quarter released on Thursday, even as Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s presidential campaign sought to throw cold water on the report — the last major data release leading up to the Nov. 3 election — and warned that the economic recovery was losing steam.

The economy grew at a record pace last quarter, but the upswing was a partial bounce-back after an enormous decline and left the economy smaller than it was before the pandemic. The White House took no notice of those glum caveats.

“This record economic growth is absolute validation of President Trump’s policies, which create jobs and opportunities for Americans in every corner of the country,” Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign said in a statement, highlighting a rebound of 33.1 percent at an annualized rate. Mr. Trump heralded the data on Twitter, posting that he was “so glad” that the number had come out before Election Day.

The annualized rate that the White House emphasized extrapolates growth numbers as if the current pace held up for a year, and risks overstating big swings. Because the economy’s growth has been so volatile amid the pandemic, economists have urged focusing on quarterly numbers.

Those showed a 7.4 percent gain in the third quarter. That rebound, by far the biggest since reliable statistics began after World War II, still leaves the economy short of its pre-pandemic levels. The pace of recovery has also slowed, and now coronavirus cases are rising again across much of the United States, raising the prospect of further pullback.

“The recovery is stalling out, thanks to Trump’s refusal to have a serious plan to deal with Covid or to pass a new economic relief plan for workers, small businesses and communities,” Mr. Biden’s campaign said in a release ahead of Thursday’s report. The rebound was widely expected, and the campaign characterized it as “a partial return from a catastrophic hit.”

Economists have warned that the recovery could face serious roadblocks ahead. Temporary measures meant to shore up households and businesses — including unemployment insurance supplements and forgivable loans — have run dry. Swaths of the service sector remain shut down as the virus continues to spread, and job losses that were temporary are increasingly turning permanent.

“With coronavirus infections hitting a record high in recent days and any additional fiscal stimulus unlikely to arrive until, at the earliest, the start of next year, further progress will be much slower,” Paul Ashworth, chief United States economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note following the report.

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Black and Hispanic workers, especially women, lag in the U.S. economic recovery.

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The surge in economic output in the third quarter set a record, but the recovery isn’t reaching everyone.

Economists have long warned that aggregate statistics like gross domestic product can obscure important differences beneath the surface. In the aftermath of the last recession, for example, G.D.P. returned to its previous level in early 2011, even as poverty rates remained high and the unemployment rate for Black Americans was above 15 percent.

Aggregate statistics could be even more misleading during the current crisis. The job losses in the initial months of the pandemic disproportionately struck low-wage service workers, many of them Black and Hispanic women. Service-sector jobs have been slow to return, while school closings are keeping many parents, especially mothers, from returning to work. Nearly half a million Hispanic women have left the labor force over the last three months.

“If we’re thinking that the economy is recovering completely and uniformly, that is simply not the case,” said Michelle Holder, an economist at John Jay College in New York. “This rebound is unevenly distributed along racial and gender lines.”

The G.D.P. report released Thursday doesn’t break down the data by race, sex or income. But other sources make the disparities clear. A pair of studies by researchers at the Urban Institute released this week found that Black and Hispanic adults were more likely to have lost jobs or income since March, and were twice as likely as white adults to experience food insecurity in September.

The financial impact of the pandemic hit many of the families that were least able to afford it, even as white-collar workers were largely spared, said Michael Karpman, an Urban Institute researcher and one of the studies’ authors.

“A lot of people who were already in a precarious position before the pandemic are now in worse shape, whereas people who were better off have generally been faring better financially,” he said.

Federal relief programs, such as expanded unemployment benefits, helped offset the damage for many families in the first months of the pandemic. But those programs have mostly ended, and talks to revive them have stalled in Washington. With virus cases surging in much of the country, Mr. Karpman warned, the economic toll could increase.

“There could be a lot more hardship coming up this winter if there’s not more relief from Congress, with the impact falling disproportionately on Black and Hispanic workers and their families,” he said.

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Ant Challenged Beijing and Prospered. Now It Toes the Line.

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As Jack Ma of Alibaba helped turn China into the world’s biggest e-commerce market over the past two decades, he was also vowing to pull off a more audacious transformation.

“If the banks don’t change, we’ll change the banks,” he said in 2008, decrying how hard it was for small businesses in China to borrow from government-run lenders.

“The financial industry needs disrupters,” he told People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper, a few years later. His goal, he said, was to make banks and other state-owned enterprises “feel unwell.”

The scope of Mr. Ma’s success is becoming clearer. The vehicle for his financial-technology ambitions, an Alibaba spinoff called Ant Group, is preparing for the largest initial public offering on record. Ant is set to raise $34 billion by selling its shares to the public in Hong Kong and Shanghai, according to stock exchange documents released on Monday. After the listing, Ant would be worth around $310 billion, much more than many global banks.

The company is going public not as a scrappy upstart, but as a leviathan deeply dependent on the good will of the government Mr. Ma once relished prodding.

More than 730 million people use Ant’s Alipay app every month to pay for lunch, invest their savings and shop on credit. Yet Alipay’s size and importance have made it an inevitable target for China’s regulators, which have already brought its business to heel in certain areas.

These days, Ant talks mostly about creating partnerships with big banks, not disrupting or supplanting them. Several government-owned funds and institutions are Ant shareholders and stand to profit handsomely from the public offering.

The question now is how much higher Ant can fly without provoking the Chinese authorities into clipping its wings further.

Excitable investors see Ant as a buzzy internet innovator. The risk is that it becomes more like a heavily regulated “financial digital utility,” said Fraser Howie, the co-author of “Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise.”

“Utility stocks, as far as I remember, were not the ones to be seen as the most exciting,” Mr. Howie said.

Ant declined to comment, citing the quiet period demanded by regulators before its share sale.

The company has played give-and-take with Beijing for years. As smartphone payments became ubiquitous in China, Ant found itself managing huge piles of money in Alipay users’ virtual wallets. The central bank made it park those funds in special accounts where they would earn minimal interest.

After people piled into an easy-to-use investment fund inside Alipay, the government forced the fund to shed risk and lower returns. Regulators curbed a plan to use Alipay data as the basis for a credit-scoring system akin to Americans’ FICO scores.

China’s Supreme Court this summer capped interest rates for consumer loans, though it was unclear how the ceiling would apply to Ant. The central bank is preparing a new virtual currency that could compete against Alipay and another digital wallet, the messaging app WeChat, as an everyday payment tool.

Ant has learned ways of keeping the authorities on its side. Mr. Ma once boasted at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, about never taking money from the Chinese government. Today, funds associated with China’s social security system, its sovereign wealth fund, a state-owned life insurance company and the national postal carrier hold stakes in Ant. The I.P.O. is likely to increase the value of their holdings considerably.

“That’s how the state gets its payoff,” Mr. Howie said. With Ant, he said, “the line between state-owned enterprise and private enterprise is highly, highly blurred.”

China, in less than two generations, went from having a state-planned financial system to being at the global vanguard of internet finance, with trillions of dollars in transactions being made on mobile devices each year. Alipay had a lot to do with it.

Alibaba created the service in the early 2000s to hold payments for online purchases in escrow. Its broader usefulness quickly became clear in a country that mostly missed out on the credit card era. Features were added and users piled in. It became impossible for regulators and banks not to see the app as a threat.

ImageAnt Group’s headquarters in Hangzhou, China.
Credit…Alex Plavevski/EPA, via Shutterstock

A big test came when Ant began making an offer to Alipay users: Park your money in a section of the app called Yu’ebao, which means “leftover treasure,” and we will pay you more than the low rates fixed by the government at banks.

People could invest as much or as little as they wanted, making them feel like they were putting their pocket change to use. Yu’ebao was a hit, becoming one of the world’s largest money market funds.

The banks were terrified. One commentator for a state broadcaster called the fund a “vampire” and a “parasite.”

Still, “all the main regulators remained unanimous in saying that this was a positive thing for the Chinese financial system,” said Martin Chorzempa, a research fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

“If you can’t actually reform the banks,” Mr. Chorzempa said, “you can inject more competition.”

But then came worries about shadowy, unregulated corners of finance and the dangers they posed to the wider economy. Today, Chinese regulators are tightening supervision of financial holding companies, Ant included. Beijing has kept close watch on the financial instruments that small lenders create out of their consumer loans and sell to investors. Such securities help Ant fund some of its lending. But they also amplify the blowup if too many of those loans aren’t repaid.

“Those kinds of derivative products are something the government is really concerned about,” said Tian X. Hou, founder of the research firm TH Data Capital. Given Ant’s size, she said, “the government should be concerned.”

The broader worry for China is about growing levels of household debt. Beijing wants to cultivate a consumer economy, but excessive borrowing could eventually weigh on people’s spending power. The names of two of Alipay’s popular credit functions, Huabei and Jiebei, are jaunty invitations to spend and borrow.

Huang Ling, 22, started using Huabei when she was in high school. At the time, she didn’t qualify for a credit card. With Huabei’s help, she bought a drone, a scooter, a laptop and more.

The credit line made her feel rich. It also made her realize that if she actually wanted to be rich, she had to get busy.

“Living beyond my means forced me to work harder,” Ms. Huang said.

First, she opened a clothing shop in her hometown, Nanchang, in southeastern China. Then she started an advertising company in the inland metropolis of Chongqing. When the business needed cash, she borrowed from Jiebei.

Online shopping became a way to soothe daily anxieties, and Ms. Huang sometimes racked up thousands of dollars in Huabei bills, which only made her even more anxious. When the pandemic slammed her business, she started falling behind on her payments. That cast her into a deep depression.

Finally, early this month, with her parents’ help, she paid off her debts and closed her Huabei and Jiebei accounts. She felt “elated,” she said.

China’s recent troubles with freewheeling online loan platforms have put the government under pressure to protect ordinary borrowers.

Ant is helped by the fact that its business lines up with many of the Chinese leadership’s priorities: encouraging entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, and expanding the middle class. This year, the company helped the eastern city of Hangzhou, where it is based, set up an early version of the government’s app-based system for dictating coronavirus quarantines.

Such coziness is bound to raise hackles overseas. In Washington, Chinese tech companies that are seen as close to the government are radioactive.

In January 2017, Eric Jing, then Ant’s chief executive, said the company aimed to be serving two billion users worldwide within a decade. Shortly after, Ant announced that it was acquiring the money transfer company MoneyGram to increase its U.S. footprint. By the following January, the deal was dead, thwarted by data security concerns.

More recently, top officials in the Trump administration have discussed whether to place Ant Group on the so-called entity list, which prohibits foreign companies from purchasing American products. Officials from the State Department have suggested that an interagency committee, which also includes officials from the departments of defense, commerce and energy, review Ant for the potential entity listing, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Ant does not talk much anymore about expanding in the United States.

Ana Swanson contributed reporting.

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