Taking deep breaths. China is attempting to calm tensions on the Korean peninsula, after North Korean officials announced Thursday they had ended all non-aggression pacts with South Korea and had the capability to launch a nuclear attack on Washington. North Korean officials ramped up the threatening rhetoric after the UN Security Council passed stricter sanctions, a measure drafted by the United States and China. Beijing’s leaders are Pyongyang’s closest allies. Although China voted in favor of the sanctions against North Korea, the country’s officials do not always enforce them.
Making hard decisions. Facing a steep financial shortfall, education officials in Philadelphia voted Thursday to close 23 schools. Hundreds of parents attended the meeting, pleading for their local campuses. But with projections of a $1.4 billion shortfall over the next five years, officials said they needed the $24.5 million in savings the closures would bring.
For hire. In more good economic news, we learned today the monthly unemployment rate fell to a four-year low in February—7.7 percent. The construction sector led the growth, adding 48,000 jobs last month.
The cheesiest. Two bloggers from North Carolina are taking Kraft Foods to task for the ingredients in its Macaroni & Cheese, a staple of many young kids’ diets. The cheesy but not-so-nutritious dish contains the dyes Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6, which some studies have linked to cancer. The bloggers claim Kraft uses other, less dangerous, coloring ingredients in versions of the product sold in other countries.
And in other news … Facebook unveiled a new design for its home page and news feeds yesterday. The bigger photos and links are deigned to appeal to advertisers. CEO Mark Zuckerburg said he wanted Facebook to be the best “newspaper” in the world.