U.S. News

Michael Jackson, cellphones and sweltering heat: 10 headlines from the week that was


Michael Jackson's memorabilia gets sold for nearly $90K

Michael Jackson in 1992
Dave Benett | Getty Images

Going once, going twice...sold for $87,000!

One of the sequined gloves made famous by the late Michael Jackson was auctioned late Thursday by Nate D. Sanders Auctions for $64,850, the auction house said in a statement. Separately, Nate Sanders sold a prototype of a jacket worn by the King of Pop in his "Bad" video album cover for $12,500.

Read MoreThe Dr. Seuss work that nobody wanted

So who was the lucky buyer? A representative for Nate Sanders told CNBC that the auction house "has a policy of not disclosing the winning bidder."

Greece's Varoufakis makes news with his 'bad taste'

Greek Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and former Deputy Finance Minister Nadia Valavani attend the Prime Minister's Questions at parliament in Athens, Greece July 31, 2015.
Yiannis Kourtoglou | Reuters

Greece's controversial former Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, appeared in parliament on Friday—sporting a shirt so unfortunate looking that even his former boss felt compelled to remark upon it. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras confessed to cooking up a contingency plan that would bring back the retired drachma in the event the country was forced from the euro. Varoufakis was tasked with spearheading the effort, which he defended as necessary given the cash strapped republic's troubles.

Tsipras, however, couldn't resist ribbing his former finance chief's flamboyant style.

"You can blame him all you want for his political plan, for his comments, for his bad taste in shirts, for his holidays on the island of Aegina," The Wall Street Journal quoted Tsipras as saying. "But you can't say that he is a crook...You can't say that he had a secret plan to lead the country onto the rocks."

Drive on! Gas prices are sinking fast

A woman pumps gas at the Victory gas station in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
Getty Images

Thanks to the collapsing price of crude, which settled down nearly 21 percent in July for its worst month since October 2008, gas prices have now fallen for 16 days in a row, according to the AAA. On Friday, the national average price of gasoline was $2.66, the lowest average for the comparable time period since 2009.

The drop comes as millions of drivers hit the road for summer vacations and day trips.

"Lower gas prices and a growing economy have helped motivate people to drive more this year. Americans drove 275.1 billion miles in May, which was the highest monthly total on record, according to the most recent report by the Federal Highway Administration," the AAA noted. "It is likely that driving has continued to increase this summer as Americans take long road trips."

J.K. Rowling hits 2 milestones

J.K. Rowling
Getty Images

The author of Harry Potter turned 50 this week, and she has at least a billion reasons to celebrate.

J.K. Rowling's hugely popular series about a boy wizard has made her the world's first billionaire author: The U.K.'s Sunday Times pegs Rowling's net worth at somewhere north of $1 billion. Meanwhile, the actors who cut their teeth in the Harry Potter movies sent Rowling effusive birthday wishes.

Read MoreThe world's first billionaire author is cashing in

Cellphones cause cancer?

Apple iPhone's on the T-Mobile network have had reports of the "blue screen of death".
Getty Images

For years, some researchers have warned of a link between cellphones and cancer. Now, at least one intrepid scientist is warning that too much cellphone use can lead to the disease.

Researcher Igor Yakymenko told The New York Daily News that his data "are a clear sign of the real risks this kind of radiation poses for human health." His study, which surveyed previous results on the subject, showed a link between radiofrequency and DNA damage.

Yakmenko's findings, however, are far from the last word. The Mayo Clinic points out that "the possible connection between cellphones and cancer is controversial. Many years' worth of studies on cellphones and cancer have yielded conflicting results. Currently, there's no consensus about the degree of cancer risk—if any—posed by cellphone use."

Bringing chicken to a rap fight

Drake performing
Getty Images

This week, the world was transfixed by the sight of two high profile rappers, Drake and Meek Mill, firing salvos at one another in the form of diss tracks.

After days of social media sparring—and a growing consensus that Drake got the best of his target—White Castle decided to leap into the fray with a tweet that quickly went viral:

White Castle tweet

Planned Parenthood on the defensive

Supporters of employer-paid birth control rally in front of the Supreme Court before the decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores was announced June 30, 2014 in Washington.
Getty Images

The website of Planned Parenthood, under fire for a series of leaked videos that show the organization's top officials discussing the potential sale of fetal tissue, went down last week. The woman's health provider claimed it was hacked by "extremists," but some observers cast doubt on that theory.

Meanwhile, Congressional pressure on Planned Parenthood is growing, amid a movement among Republican lawmakers to strip the organization of public funding.

Read More

Wildfires strafe drought-hit California

A firefighter from Cosumnes Fire Department monitors a back fire while battling the Rim Fire on August 22, 2013 in Groveland, California.
Getty Images

The Golden State, already parched by severe drought conditions and extreme heat, is now grappling with wildfires. Late Friday, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, citing "extreme weather" that has turned the state into a "tinderbox."

The move allows the governor to mobilize California's National Guard to assist first responders to extinguish the blazes, which threaten the state's infrastructure and has prompted major highways to close.

AIG and GE Capital are too big to fail (again)

AIG headquarters in New York City.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Nearly seven years after the financial crisis, two familiar names are still too big to fail.

AIG and GE Capital were both part of the multi-billion bailout to shore up companies that were laid low by the global financial pandemic. AIG was considered one of the biggest contributors to the meltdown. Late Friday, the U.S. Treasury said as part of an annual review, both were re-designated as "systemically important"—another term for institutions whose operations are integral to global market liquidity.

100 degrees in the shade in the Middle East

Phototreat | iStock/360 | Getty Images

This week, parts of the United States wilted as the mercury reached well above 90 degrees in some places. Yet Iran and Iraq would love to be so lucky: Both countries were in the throes of sweltering temperatures well above 100-degrees this week.

In Baghdad, thermometers registered a Hades-like 120 degrees, Meanwhile, in one Iranian city, the mercury hit an even hotter 154 degrees. Someone pass the ice bucket, please!