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Let's make a deal
December 2, 2018

Former FBI Director James Comey is dropping his legal challenge to a congressional subpoena, his attorney announced Sunday.

Comey has made a deal to testify privately in front of the House Judiciary Committee regarding the FBI's investigations into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. He will be able to speak freely once the hearing is over, and a transcript will be released 24 hours after he finishes his testimony, The Associated Press reports.

Comey was fighting to make his testimony public because, as his attorneys explained, he was concerned that House Republicans would leak select parts of his testimony. President Trump fired Comey in May 2017. His interview is scheduled for Friday. Catherine Garcia

August 30, 2015

Ann Arbor resident and big-time sneakerhead Matt Neal never expected a hobby could end up saving his life. But with two failing kidneys, the 26-year-old stumbled upon a solution: He could trade his limited-edition Yeezy Boost 350s for a new kidney.

Neal's offer, which he posted to a Facebook sneakerhead group on Thursday and then to his own timeline, started entirely as a joke, he told The Ann Arbor News. To his surprise, strangers actually started getting in touch, many of whom didn't even care about rocking Kanye West's Adidas sneakers, which are going for hundreds of dollars on eBay.

"A lot of people have been getting in contact with me to get tested!" he wrote on a Facebook thread Thursday. "I can't believe the love and support I'm getting from random strangers."

Neal started dialysis two years ago after his Berger's disease led to kidney failure. A healthy kidney from a Type B positive donor would last him up to 15 years. He's on the waitlist at University of Michigan Hospital, and is encouraging potential donors to get tested through that facility. But now that he's seen an outpouring of support, he recognizes the potential he has to help other patients, too.

"Now that I've gotten the world's attention, I would like to raise awareness about organ donation," Neal said.

Praise Yeezus. Julie Kliegman

January 10, 2015

North Korean official news agency KCNA reported on Saturday that the country used "a relevant channel" to send Washington a proposal on Friday, Reuters reports.

However, the floated deal — North Korea will halt its nuclear tests if the U.S. stops conducting military drills with South Korea — is similar to others made by Pyongyang before. They never stick, Reuters notes. North Korea calls its goal of creating a nuclear arsenal its "sacred sword" — in 2012, the country agreed to halt nuclear tests in exchange for an easing of tensions with the U.S. But Pyongyang called off the deal two months later.

For its part, the U.S. State Department denounced the "proposal" as something more aggressive.

"The DPRK statement that inappropriately links routine U.S.-(South Korea) exercises to the possibility of a nuclear test by North Korea is an implicit threat," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. Sarah Eberspacher

December 14, 2014

U.N. members on Sunday reached a historic climate change agreement that will for the first time require all nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Reached by delegates from 196 countries, the pact itself does not accomplish the U.N.'s goal of reducing emissions to sustainable levels. Rather, it requires every country to create a specific plan over the next six months to slash emissions. Those plans will then form the bedrock of a longterm climate deal, to be signed next year in Paris and enacted in 2020.

The U.N. had hoped to announce the deal Friday, but negotiations stretched into the weekend over disagreements about the contributions of developed and developing countries. For two decades, climate talks have asked developed nations to shoulder the burden while letting off rapidly developing nations, like China and India, that are among the planet's biggest producers of greenhouse gases. Jon Terbush

November 3, 2014

Trick-or-treaters visiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue this Halloween didn't have to worry about the First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-obesity campaign cutting into their collection of treats. While the White House's Halloween offerings did include an apple, they also featured Hershey Kisses, black licorice, jelly beans, a White House Sweet Dough Butter Cookie, kettle corn, and other assorted candy.

The first lady has come under fire for hypocrisy in regards to her healthy eating campaign in the past. But the real takeaway here is those delicious sounding butter cookies, which you can make using this recipe. Bonnie Kristian

May 6, 2014

There's been a high-stakes reshuffling of the deck in the global pharmaceutical industry, and the latest company to show its hand is Germany's Bayer, which said Tuesday morning that it's purchasing Merck's consumer care unit for $14.2 billion. That means the company that pioneered aspirin — and now also makes Alka-Seltzer, Aleve, and Flintstones vitamins, among other brands — will own Claratin, Afrin, Coppertone, and Dr. Scholl's foot products. But the bigger prize for Bayer, assuming the deal goes through, is that it will be the No. 2 consumer drugmaker in the world, after Johnson & Johnson. Peter Weber

April 22, 2014

Two of the world's biggest drugmakers, Britain's GlaxoSmithKline and Switzerland's Novartis, announced a complex hodgepodge of deals worth at least $25 billion on Tuesday. The main components:

* Novartis agreed to buy Glaxo's oncology business for between $14.5 billion and $16 billion
* Glaxo is buying Novartis' vaccine business for between $5.3 billion and $7.1 billion
* The two companies are combining their consumer health (over-the-counter) divisions, with Glaxo taking 63.5 percent of the joint venture
* Eli Lilly will purchase Novartis' animal health unit for about $5.4 billion

The transactions will let Novartis focus on high-margin businesses like cancer drugs while Glaxo boosts its position in consumer goods and the low-margin, high-volume vaccine market. But the pharmaceutical giants aren't the only drugmakers making high-stakes deals. The Wall Street Journal says the $25 billion worth of transactions cap a 24-hour period where "deals worth, conservatively, $65 billion" were announced, not counting Pfizer's unsolicited $101 billion offer to buy Britain's AstraZeneca.

"The Novartis-Glaxo deal and rumors about a potential AstraZeneca acquisition by Pfizer are giving the pharma sector a decent run this morning," Danish strategist Witold Bahrke tells Bloomberg News. "It's also fueling further M&A expectations." Peter Weber

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