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Report: Bank of America to Cut 3,500 Jobs

Bank of America will cut 3,500 jobs this quarter as part of a wider restructuring that could lead to the loss of thousands more jobs, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The 3,500 jobs to be slashed will come from all sections of the country's biggest bank by assets, and are to be eliminated by the end of September, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

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Oil Prices Slide on Weak Demand Fears

World oil prices sank Thursday, in line with plunging global stock markets, with weak energy demand further threatened by a possible return to recession.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude for delivery in September, shed $1.39 to $86.19 a barrel.

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Brazil Probes Zara Supplier over Forced Labor

Brazilian authorities are investigating claims that a supplier for Spanish clothing brand Zara is forcing workers to toil in inhumane conditions, a labor ministry spokesman told Agence France Presse Wednesday.

The probe that began in May focuses on unsanitary conditions and long working hours endured by workers -- some of them undocumented Bolivians -- in factories in the city of Americana, an industrial town outside Sao Paulo.

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Economic Fears Hit Stocks Again

Downbeat Japanese export and British retail sales figures renewed worries over the state of the global economy on Thursday and hit already fragile confidence in stock markets.

Investors are worried about both the debt situation in both the U.S. and Europe and the pace of the global economic recovery following a run of weak economic data.

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Pope Demands Greater Ethics in Economic Policy

Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday denounced the profit-at-all-cost mentality he says is behind Europe's current economic crisis. The pontiff insisted that morals and ethics must play a greater role in formulating economic policy in the future.

"Man must be at the center of the economy and the economy must not be measured only by the maximization of profit but according to the common good," the pontiff told reporters aboard his plane as he traveled to Madrid for the Catholic Church's World Youth Day.

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Sanctioned Syrian Bank Denies U.S. Allegations

The Lebanese subsidiary of a Syrian bank sanctioned by the United States denied on Wednesday "unfounded political allegations" that it dealt with North Korea and Iran.

"Since the establishment of our institution, we have never had any operation with either a North Korean or an Iranian entity even before the existing sanctions," the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank said.

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Obama Warns Tea Party Holding Back Recovery

President Barack Obama accused Republican Tea Party activists of holding back the economic recovery Tuesday, hiking pressure on Congress to pass his yet-to-be unveiled jobs plan.

On the second day of a three-day bus tour of midwestern states, Obama expanded on his theme that political brinksmanship in Washington was harming America's capacity to speed up the slowed recovery.

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Tobacco Companies: Graphic Federal Warnings aren't Fair

Tobacco companies want a judge to put a stop to new graphic cigarette labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker and pictures of diseased lungs, saying they unfairly urge adults to shun their legal products and will cost millions to produce.

Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights.

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Report: China Lawyer Sues Oil Giants over Spill

A Chinese lawyer is suing a state-owned energy giant and its U.S. partner over a huge oil spill off China's northeast coast, amid public anger over the resulting pollution, state media said Wednesday.

More than 2,100 barrels of oil and oil-based mud -- a substance used as a lubricant in undersea drilling -- have leaked from two platforms in Bohai Bay jointly owned by ConocoPhillips and China's CNOOC.

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Forex Markets Shrug Off Disappointing Eurozone Meet

The euro recovered from an early wobble in Asian trade Wednesday as forex markets shrugged off a Eurozone meeting that failed to land a killer blow in the battle to restore debt confidence.

Shares were mixed, with local concerns largely trumping global uncertainties in Sydney and Seoul, while Tokyo kept its eyes on the main world news.

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