Israeli Settlements — The U.N. has stepped up pressure on Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, reports the BBC. On Wednesday, the Israeli government announced the construction of 2,610 new homes in a new settlement in East Jerusalem and 1,000 new homes in the West Bank. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and all members of the Security Council except the U.S. demanded an immediate stop to new construction. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, said the settlement expansion would go on.
Hong Kong Pollution — The Hong Kong government will ban high-polluting vehicles and offer subsidies to replace diesel-powered buses and trucks, which are the main cause of air pollution, reports Bloomberg. The autonomous Chinese territory has never met its air quality targets since they were adopted 25 years ago and pollution is believed to cause 3,000 premature deaths annually. Hong Kong will also adopt a new set of air quality targets in 2014, writes Bloomberg.
Canadian Maple Syrup — Authorities in Quebec arrested three men in connection with the $18-million maple syrup theft, notes the New York Times. Quebec produces three-quarters of the world’s maple syrup supply and, according to the Times, its marketing organization runs like the OPEC–not just producing but also adjusting the quantity that is in the marketplace. Five other suspects are still wanted and law enforcement in other parts of Canada and the U.S. are trying to recover some of the stolen syrup.