The Arab League will withdraw its observer mission from Syria, admitting a “critical deterioration of the situation in Syria and the continued use of violence,” according to the Arab League’s secretary-general, Nabil Elaraby. A resolution for the UN Security Council has been drafted that calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, but is expected to be vetoed by China and Russia.
The Egyptian government has barred 10 Americans and Europeans from leaving the country. The Americans were members of a democracy-building organization that operates in the Egyptian city of Cairo.
Costa Cruises, the company that operated the cruise ship that partially capsized off the coast of Italy over two weeks ago, has announced that it will offer a $14,400 compensation to each of the uninjured passengers that were on board during the incident. Of the over 4,200 people on board, 16 are confirmed dead and another 16 are still missing. In addition to the loss of life, the ship is now leaking oil and fuel into the Giglio Island shallows.
To address the air quality concerns in major Chinese cities, the Chinese government is moving to monitor particulates that are 2.5 microns or smaller in diameter. Before, the government monitored particulates that were up to 10 microns. By averaging, the Chinese government reported 250 “blue-sky days” last year.
A recent US Commerce Department report stated that the American economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. Economists caution that even with this growth, it will not significantly affect unemployment.
Apple released its “Supplier Responsibility Progress Report” last week, in which it reported on an explosion that occurred at the Foxconn plant in Chengdu, China. The explosion killed four and injured 18, and was caused by excessive aluminum dust.