Colin Dwyer

A ban on the manufacture of microbeads, those tiny bits of plastic used in some exfoliating cosmetic products, took effect Tuesday in the U.K. The move bars manufacturers from putting them in skin lotions, toothpastes or any other items intended to be rinsed off — and it presages a ban on the sale of such products that will take effect there in July.

For a few fleeting hours Sunday, people perched in the arid heights of northwest Algeria caught sight of something rarely seen: the Sahara Desert, shrouded in white. Residents of Ain Sefra, a small town surrounded by the Atlas Mountains of Northern Africa, walked outside to find a dusting of snow underfoot — and more than a foot of it crowding the town's outer boundaries.

It has been more than 100 days since Germany headed to the polls — but the next handful of days might matter more than all of them combined.

Since late September — when German voters handed Chancellor Angela Merkel a fourth term, albeit without giving her party an outright majority — the country has teetered without a new formal government. Unable to win the support of another party for a governing coalition yet, Merkel is now staring down the possibility that the monthslong standoff may force a new election entirely.

Enter: the Social Democrats.

Updated at 2:49 p.m. ET

Less than one month after U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the case against Cliven Bundy, his two sons, and a self-styled militiaman, Navarro has dismissed the charges entirely. The decision Monday puts an end to the federal case against the four men for their role in the 2014 armed standoff over cattle-grazing rights in Nevada.

Pfizer has announced plans to end its research efforts to discover new drugs for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The pharmaceutical giant explained its decision, which will entail roughly 300 layoffs, as a move to better position itself "to bring new therapies to patients who need them."

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