Morning Business Memo

Feb 21, 2012 9:26am

Hours before ABC News’ “Nightline” airs its global exclusive on working conditions at Foxconn tonight, Apple has reportedly told prominent environmental activists in the United States and China that it will soon allow independent reviews of at least two suppliers’ factories in China.

USA Today reports the environmental examinations would be separate from an independent probe of working conditions at the Chinese factories of Apple suppliers, including Foxconn Technology, that began last week. “Nightline” anchor Bill Weir was granted unprecedented access to Foxconn, one of the Chinese companies Apple uses to manufacture their products. A special edition of “Nightline” will air tonight.

Greece is on track to avoid defaulting on its mountain of debt next month. Finance ministers in the single- currency eurozone have agreed on a $170 billion bailout. The meeting in Brussels lasted almost 13 hours, and agreement only came after overnight haggling by European governments. Any relief in Greece is offset by a grim reality that it faces years of sacrifice. Income reductions and tax increases are part of the proposal to reduce the Greek deficit and help it deal with past debts that have gone unpaid.

The Dow Jones index opens for business today about 50 points shy of 13,000. Financial markets have been steadily gaining ground in the past few months as Europe makes progress dealing with its financial crisis, and optimism grows about growth for the U.S. economy. Oil prices remain high after their increase Monday. West Texas crude futures are at $105 a barrel. The increase might lead to even higher gasoline prices for U.S. motorists. But the rise is tempered by much lower heating costs for many households thanks to cheap natural gas and a mild winter in most of the country.

YouTube plans to create 25 hours of fresh TV programming a day as it tries to reach a generation of viewers more familiar with smartphones than TV remotes. The Google-owned site is spending $100 million to get Hollywood’s help to create original content. Hollywood producers, directors and filmmakers are being approached. The fund represents YouTube’s largest spending on original content so far.

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